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The Ubiquity of Social Norms. Seinfeld was a show about norms, not nothing. At its minutiae-focused best, the series was a 22-minute weekly discourse on the unwritten rules that guide social interaction: After how many dates are you obligated to break off a relationship in person? Which calls are too important to be made via cell phone? What’s the appropriate way to dip a chip? And so on.
The influence of social norms on human behavior is pervasive, from governing when we’re comfortable speaking up versus remaining silent to shaping our divergent expectations regarding the tendencies of men versus women. As Jerry sarcastically but astutely explains to George-who has just objected to the need to bring wine to a dinner party — “the fabric of society is very complex” (clip below). And Seinfeld attracted an audience by exploring those very complexities.
*But while lip-syncing could be solved given enough time and patience, aligning cultural references often proved too difficult.
*They were translating too literally.
Sitcoms weren’t their thing, and they tended to enjoy more simple, straightforward shows like police drama Alarm für Cobra 11, crime drama Der letzte Zeuge, and Medicopter 117. ALF was famously more popular in Germany than in America — the David Hasselhoff of sitcoms. Who’s the Boss? was also a sensation. Sarcasm and sophisticated, plot-based humor did not tend to appeal to large audiences there. Sebastian also oversaw dubbing for the caustic British comedy Absolutely Fabulous — it too flopped in Germany.
Dubbing Seinfeld into German