What if 'Seinfeld' (and Other Iconic NY Shows) Took Place in LA?
What is it about New York that makes people think it's the perfect place to set a TV show? Sure, there are millions of people trapped on a tiny island, but that sounds more like a B-level horror movie than a sitcom. Since the very early days of television, New York has been the fictional home of too many fictional people (even when the show's shot in LA) and it's time to see what would happen if we pulled these New Yorkers out of their Manhattan bubble and put them on the 405. Here are nine shows that would be completely transformed if they took place in LA.
Sex and the City
New name:Netflix and Chill
Treatment: Kari Bradshaw has made a name for herself as a Vine star who gives relationship advice in six-second increments, but she can't seem to make a relationship last for more than six dates. Netflix and Chill follows Kari as she navigates the murky waters of LA's online dating scene with the help of her three best friends: talent agent Moronda, restaurant publicist Sam, and Shepard Fairey.
Standout episode: Kari decides it's time to be friends with her ex-booty call @MrBig4176, but when she finds out he's seriously dating the Tinder girl he met right after her, she flips out and goes on a juice cleanse for almost a week.
New name: Skype Friends
Treatment: Six 20-something friends used to live in the same building in West Hollywood, but now they've moved to different parts of LA and -- of course -- never see each other. To keep their friendship alive, they all get together at six different coffeehouses every night to talk to each other in a group Skype chat. A bleach-blond barista named Gunther works at all six coffee shops.
Standout episode: The One With Just One Resolution. Everyone in the group vows to stop wearing fedoras, but Ross can't put his away. As punishment, the group makes him wear a pair of leather pants that wind up being so uncomfortable that he has to take them off in the coffee shop bathroom. Once his legs cool off, he tries to get the pants back on but discovers that he can't do it. Ross tries to use whipped almond milk as a lubricant, but ultimately gives up and walks back out without pants on into the coffee shop... where he's discovered by a low level executive at MTV and given a talent holding deal.
Law & Order: SVU
New name:Law & Order: JWU
Treatment: The newest version of Law & Order follows the JWU, an elite sub-unit of the LAPD that focuses exclusively on jaywalking crimes. The Jaywalking Unit is responsible for making sure that nobody crosses the street without seeing the illuminated walk signal, even if no cars are coming in either direction. From Santa Monica to the mean streets of DTLA, the brave men and women of the JWU devote every day of their lives to preventing one of Los Angeles' most dangerous crimes: illegal street crossing.
Standout episode: Detectives find a baby abandoned in a garbage can, but before they can investigate they stumble upon a massive underground jaywalking ring where rich foreign men pay to watch videos of young girls jaywalking on the streets of Echo Park.
New name: 100 Universal City Plaza
Treatment: An eccentric behind-the-scenes look at an SNL-style sketch show on the Universal Studios backlot where perpetually single head writer Liv Loquat forms a deep friendship with the actual chairman of NBC Entertainment, Bob Greenblatt. Liv also develops an unnatural connection to her golf cart, which she uses to go absolutely everywhere.
Standout episode: Bob gets worried about his legacy at NBC and records a sentimental video for the next network president where he shares all of his secrets for finding the next Blacklist. Liv has finally met the man of her dreams, the wine director of a small bistro in Beverly Hills, and the relationship is giving her so much confidence that all of the PAs on the lot are trying to impress her by constantly washing her golf cart.
New name: LAPD Very Very Dark Blue
Treatment: Hardened New York City detective Andy Sipowicz transfers to the LAPD and finds that his new precinct is a little different than his last. Instead of busting robbers, Sipowicz is assigned to track down writers who haven't yet paid their quarterly commission to the WGA and illegal street vendors selling tainted bacon-wrapped hot dogs to club kids on Cahuenga.
Standout episode: Sipowicz has to go undercover to find a plastic surgeon who's been Botoxing patients with illegal generic Botox from Latvia. To infiltrate the doctor's office, he claims to be embarrassed about the wrinkles on his ass and needs Botox treatments. This leads to a full posterior examination and the longest bare-ass scene in network television history.
New name:Culver Chaps
Treatment: The 1960s advertising game may have been set on Madison Ave in New York, but this series follows new upstart agencies heading west to Culver City where the most creative marketing minds on the West Coast formed their own version of Madison Ave while navigating life and love just down the street from legendary MGM Studios. Over the course of a decade, Culver Chaps follows the travails of ad pitchmen trying to sell the American public on everything from the brand-new musical stylings of The Doors to the kooky cookbook of the Manson Family.
Standout episode: Agency creative director Dick Whitman flashes back to his past as a young boy growing up on a ranch in Ukiah, which helps him create an incredible pitch for turning the Whisky A Go Go into America's first franchised night clubs.
Treatment: A glimpse into the world of ride-share drivers in Los Angeles, where your life is controlled by an app, there's nobody available at tech support, and liquored-up Brentwood girls throw up in your car three times a week.
Standout episode: Mild-mannered Korean driver Hyung Min-Joo is tired of hearing about all of the sexcapades of the other drivers, so he creates a Casanova alter-ego named Jerry Lamborghini to woo his passengers. Unfortunately, Jerry's a little too aggressive and his once-pristine five-star rating drops to three stars, causing him to lose his job and deal with a civil case filed by one of his passengers who believes her $1 “Safe Ride Fee” didn't go far enough in protecting her from creepy dudes like Jerry.
New name: Gulls
Treatment: Four highly self-conscious seagulls move to the area right below the Santa Monica Pier and experience the agony of becoming adult seagulls while making a series of really terrible decisions and forgetting what seagull friendship is all about. Gulls features rising bird star Beaka Dunham, who won critical acclaim for her indie film, Tiny Buoys.
Standout episode: The titular gulls take a trip out to Catalina where Beaka's character Cawcaw wears a bikini that's way too small for her and nobody says anything about it. Literally nothing else happens for the entire episode.
New name: Um... Seinfeld
Treatment: Comedian Jerry Seinfeld deals with the little foibles of life as an Angeleno. Over the course of nine seasons, he discovers the deal with: carpool lanes, half-caf lattes, malls that look like theme parks, theme parks that look like malls, Armenians, the insanity of San Vicente, attractive homeless people, the right amount of salsa in a burrito, and much, much more.
Standout episode: Jerry gets lost inside the parking garage of The Grove. It takes four episodes before he finds his car and another six before he finds the exit. Then he realizes he lost his ticket. After another 12 episodes, he finally gets out of the garage. Basically, all of Season Four takes place in the parking garage of The Grove.
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Jason Kessler is a TV writer and lifelong couch potato who would totally watch Gulls if they made it into a real show. Follow him @thehungryclown.