Last December, @SeinfeldToday started tweeting out addictingly relatable mini-“Seinfeld” plots revolving around modern day annoyances. Co-run by BuzzFeed’s Jack Moore, the account picked up more than 75,000 followers its first day, and after about a week it was in the hundreds of thousands. Stories about it popped up everywhere; it was the parody account of the moment.
An army of imitators followed, and among them was a clunky, typo-ridden faux-clone that had the same gimmick but was deeply dissonant: @Seinfeld2000.
Profane, nonsensical and often dark, the account viciously and hilariously lampooned @SeinfeldToday, attempting to poke holes in its formula while sending up the idea of parody accounts in general. It has an almost insurmountable barrier of entry, and it is often associated with that sect of Twitter users who must not be named. (In a fawning tribute, The Daily Dot called it “Weird Twitter’s parody about nothing.”) But whether the humor is your brand or not, its dedicated fans find it among the funniest parody accounts on Twitter.
The account has amassed more than 7,000 followers, done a Reddit AMA, made believers of Lena Dunham and Rob Delaney, written a few BuzzFeed posts, launched a YouTube channel, and just released a 17,000-word eBook called “The Apple Store.” I caught up @Seinfeld2000 and asked: What’s the deal with S2K?
Jerry use internet and Elaine start using internet— Seinfeld Current Day (@Seinfeld2000)
The person behind the account agreed to an email interview after about a month of cajoling, with a few conditions: I couldn’t identify him for reasons “both personal and professional,” and he wouldn’t give me any detailed information about who he was.
But based on what he would tell me, what I do know is this: He is a 30-year-old male who works “in television and write[s] for a few popular websites.” He majored in English literature at university, he enjoys going to movies, he’s reading Kafka’s “The Great Wall of China,” and he’s “obsessed with the new Daft Punk album.” He is a ravenous “Seinfeld” fan, and told me he once calculated that he had spent a full 1% of his life watching the show. (“A pretty depressing thought,” he said.)
The idea for @Seinfeld2000 wasn’t particularly profound or imaginative: He disliked @SeinfeldToday and wanted to show it.
“Really my only goal was to make fun of an account I didn’t like,” he told me.
“I definitely never thought about it in such grand terms, you know, of it being an ‘idea’ or ‘concept’ that ‘needed’ to ‘happen.’ Honestly? I started following @SeinfeldToday and at first I was like ‘this is a funny Twitter account.’ ”
He went on: “But after a couple weeks, I started to get irritated by it. I’m a huge ‘Seinfeld’ fan … [and] I started to feel like @SeinfeldToday wasn’t really true to the spirit of the show.”
Soup-natsy interups Taylerswift at MTV awards “im gonna let u finish but.. NO Soup for u!!!!” lmao this is probably the best one yet pls RT— Seinfeld Current Day (@Seinfeld2000)
S2K’s first tweets were a far cry from the absurd cynicism it tweets out daily now, but they had the same DNA: “Jerry use internet and Elaine start using internet,” the first dispatch said. It was silly, though it lacked the edge the account would develop later. But the feed got its point across that it thought @SeinfeldToday’s trick, while witty, was overly formulaic: “Seinfeld” characters + pop culture/technology reference = Twitter gold.
The account quickly picked up an oddly dedicated fanbase, including many in New York’s media scene.
“There was a small but positive response initially,” he said. “I feel like maybe I tapped into a feeling shared by other people who were also growing tired of @SeinfeldToday.”
“I kind of got tired with the original right around the time I became aware of this one. I think @SeinfeldToday was a great premise, but like a lot of parody accounts, it lost its edge after a few weeks for me,” LoGiurato said. “This was just amazing … obviously it’s not a ‘serious parody,’ or whatever, but it’s pretty great,” he said. “And I think there’s a lot to be said about how long it’s continued to remain fresh and funny.”
(Jerry + Skrillex, via @Seinfeld2000)
The search for @Seinfeld2000’s identity has all but become a part of the account. Anonymous Twitter accounts in general are not especially noteworthy, but because of the dedication to @Seinfeld2000, its aforementioned popularity among New York’s media scene, and the overt swipes it takes at @SeinfeldToday, the quest to out the author is more or less now folded into S2K’s story.
The most organized hunt seems to have been from BuzzFeed. Suspicious that someone from the website ran the account, staff tried to sniff out the author using tech-based and more creative techniques, according to a handful of employees I spoke with. They all told me the probe singled out one person who the staff agrees is the author of @Seinfeld2000: @woom13, a Canadian named William MacNeish who just graduated from high school.
BuzzFeed was confident with its evidence, staff told me, and contacted @woom13. He responded in the language of @Seinfeld2000, which they took as a confirmation that he ran the account. They had found their man, they thought.
I followed up with MacNeish recently and asked if he was @Seinfeld2000. He told me he was not, but “like 20 buzzfeed employees followed me on Twitter” because they thought he was. (It was 12 employees as of last Friday.)
MacNeish guessed that BuzzFeed staffers had misunderstood his responses when they first wrote to him, mistaking his playing along for a confirmation. MacNeish, for what it’s worth, said he thinks a BuzzFeed employee runs the account.
S2K gave the same denial when I asked him if he was @woom13.
“Wow, looks like Detective BuzzFeed is on the case!” he told me. “I’m not that person though. Really.” When I pressed him, he “promised” he’s 30 years old, meaning he couldn’t be the high school-aged @woom13.
Curiously, the emails S2K sent me came from a Canadian Internet Service Provider, according to their headers. He repeatedly declined to give his location.
— Seinfeld Current Day (@Seinfeld2000)
If @Seinfeld2000’s mere existence is an implicit condemnation of parody accounts, its regular shit-talking tweets at @SeinfeldToday are the explicit attacks. A few times a week S2K calls out @SeinfeldToday for blocking it, or retweets and comments on one of the latter’s tweets.
“I don’t love parody accounts,” S2K told me, “because they’re usually so dependent on a moment, like ‘Mexican Bloomberg’ and ‘Big Bird Romney Women Binders,’ or whatever they’re called.”
Still, S2K said that although he started out with @SeinfeldToday in his crosshairs, he feels “very neutral toward it now, especially since creating this outlet to vent.”
But the war is unlikely to end.
“There’s something very funny to me about the character running @Seinfeld2000 who’s extremely irate and just can’t let it go.”
Moore, who created @SeinfeldToday, is well aware of the feud. But he takes it as nothing more than an admission that he’s hit on something that is getting people talking, he told me over gchat.
“It was hilarious,” Moore said of when he first saw the account, “and very flattering to be parodied. I mean it’s weird for what is itself a parody to be big enough to spawn another parody.”
True, @SeinfeldToday remains the incomparably more popular of the two accounts. As of Sunday, it had more than 586,000 followers. That influence has actually turned into opportunity for Moore, he said.
“I’m appreciative of the doors it opens,” he said, noting that he now has an agent and has leveraged his mild Internet fame into a writing gig on Fox’s “Us & Them.”
“That wouldn’t have happened if people didn’t read the account and want to see scripts from me,” he said.
But @Seinfeld2000 is still a part of the @SeinfeldToday story, and Moore said he reads it every so often “to catch up on the adventures of Jary and GARG or whatever he happens to be calling them at that moment.” He even read the eBook and thought it was “amazing.”
“Life’s too short to subject yourself to someone who clearly just wants to just be negative toward you,” Moore said. “But I still read it occasionally. And I think it’s hilarious.”
Linda Denam 💍 twitter.com/Seinfeld2000/s…— Seinfeld Current Day (@Seinfeld2000)
Despite being almost incomprehensible to outsiders, S2K has picked up a handful of famous followers – including Dunham, Ezra Koenig and Anil Dash – and sold hundreds of copies of his eBook. But for all its success so far, the account is ultimately limited by its sole mission of bashing @SeinfeldToday, and S2K will likely be sanctioned off to a corner of Twitter where insiders and fellow nerds can chuckle about it among themselves.
“My friends think it’s funny, to varying degrees. Some don’t really get it at all because they’re not on Twitter, so it’s a bit hard to explain,” he said. “You know, like, ‘So, on Twitter, there are these, like, joke parody accounts, and I do one that makes fun of another joke account, about ‘Seinfeld,’ but mine is poorly spelled, but on purpose, and …’ It makes me sound crazy.”
But some people just can’t resist a guy who’s kind of Twitter-famous.
“There are a couple of women who seem to have a crush on @Seinfeld2000 and have asked to meet,” he said. “It’s hard to tell if they’re being ironic as part of the joke, but if they’re sincere, I’m a bit worried for them.”
S2K added: “And while I’m on the subject, what if ‘Seinfeld’ was still on TV today?”