VIDEO: Curb Your Enthusiasm coachy vs. first class

On this week’s episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm, Larry David returned to New York, home of Seinfeld. On the plane, he got into an argument with a coach passenger on using the bathroom in different classes. Larry claims to still be “coachy” even when flying first class. This isn’t the first time Larry David has tackled the class issue, here’s a classic scene of Elaine suffering in coach on Seinfeld, and here’s why you can’t just move up to an empty seat up front.

Do you consider yourself first class or coachy? What other sitcoms have had great airplane scenes?

Bronx Zoo cobra on the loose takes Manhattan…and Twitter

On Friday, an adolescent Egyptian cobra escaped from New York’s Bronx Zoo.

The reptile house closed immediately after her escape, and zookeepers are saying she could take weeks to come out of hiding. While we can’t vouch for the authenticity of the snake taking Manhattan, you can follow her adventures on Twitter, where @bronxzooscobra has been chronicling the travels of the errant snake with over 25,000 followers and counting. So where does a young snakess on the town go?

She first mused over a Broadway show, then taunted followers with her location in front of “the original” Ray’s Pizza (good luck checking all 46 locations claiming to be the first). After taking in the other wildlife at American Museum of Natural His(s)tory, she went downtown for a workout at Equinox Gym and a slither atop the High Line park. The Bronx Zoo cobra then tweeted about getting tickets for Jimmy Fallon before spotting Tina Fey at Rockefeller Center and heading back downtown to Wall Street. Despite asking for a vegan restaurant near Union Square, she ended up way uptown at Tom’s Restaurant from Seinfeld, where she may have found a hiding spot for the night in an unsuspecting apartment. Where will she go today?

Any New York travel tips for the cobress? Have you spotted any snakes, tweeting or just taking in the sights? While she is just 20 inches long, she is venomous, so watch your ankles!

Undiscovered New York: All things TV in NYC

The television screen is a strangely natural way to view New York City. In fact, even if you’ve never visited New York, your perception of the city most likely stems from NYC TV icons like Bill Cosby, the cast of Friends or Jerry Seinfeld. In fact, television and New York tend to go hand in hand. Ever since NBC started broadcasting its signal here in the 1940’s the city has been dominated by all things related to the small screen.

Television’s presence in New York is fairly obvious. Anyone who’s ever wanted to check out a taping of The Daily Show or the Colbert Report, David Letterman or Saturday Night Live, knows where to find the tapings. But for every Jon Stewart appearance or Tony Soprano reference, there’s a world of strange TV history that lies waiting to be discovered. This is a city, after all, that has been in love with TV from the very beginning, with a history that dates back over 60 years.

Ever wanted your own private screening of a vintage TV classic from the 1940’s? Curious to discover some of the most famous facades and settings in New York City TV history? Don’t touch that dial, this week Undiscovered New York is covering all things TV. Click below to read more.
Famous Settings
When you picture the filming of a television show, it often brings to mind a giant studio lot decked with lights. Yet many of New York’s most famous TV moments and vignettes are played out right before our eyes as we walk the city’s many side streets and avenues. Ever wanted to check out the real life homes and businesses from your favorite TV shows?

Make your first stop in New York’s West Village, where 10 Leroy Street is the site of the Cosby family’s famous facade. And who knew Bill Cosby was neighbors with Monica, Joey and Ross? The building used as the apartment building for Friends is just around the corner at the corner of Bedford and Grove. Hungry for more TV locations? Why not stop by Monk’s Diner, site of so many meals on Seinfeld? It’s located at 112th Street and Broadway.

Making TV History
Ever since NBC began the first continuous TV broadcast in 1944, New York has been hooked on the small screen. Yet for all the show’s we’ve come to know and love in recent years, there’s more than 60 years of TV history waiting to be explored. A good place to start is Manhattan’s Paley Center for Media, formerly The Museum of Television and Radio, on 52nd Street. The museum is dedicated to exploring the “cultural, creative and social significance of television.” The way they accomplish this goal is quite a feat – in addition to ongoing exhibitions on some of TV’s greatest moments, visitors are free to explore more than 120,000 archived TV shows, commercials and radio programs at their leisure using individual consoles. It’s an interesting way to explore the evolution and and history of this influential medium.

TV Today
Although many of our fondest TV memories are behind us, it would be incorrect to assume television is dead. In fact, New York is also a great place to investigate the future of the medium. A good place to start would be the annual New York Television Festival, held each fall. The event was designed to showcase the work of those “creating for the small screen” and as a venue to discuss such topics as the future of advertising, sitcoms and broadcast journalism.

Are positive stereotypes bad?

That’s the question I found myself considering after reading about a mini-controversy over a new Randy Newman song called “Korean Parents.” The song praises the academic achievements of Korean students, and gives a lot of the credit to their parents– hence the song’s title. After crooning about the problems of underperforming public schools and dangerous neighborhoods, Newman offers a solution:

We got the answer
A product guaranteed to satisfy

Korean parents for sale
You say you need a little discipline
Someone to whip you into shape
They’ll be strict but they’ll be fair

Look at the numbers
That’s all I ask
Who’s at the head of every class?
You really think they’re smarter than you are
They just work their ass off
Their parents make them do it.

Remember the Seinfeld episode in which Jerry declares that he “loves Chinese women”? When Elaine points out that attitude might be “a little racist,” Jerry asks, “If I like their race, how can that be racist?” This song is in a similar vein.

Now, keep in mind that Randy Newman is a satirist and this isn’t meant to be a serious song. But in this video in which Newman defends the song, he seems to imply that its lyrics contains at least a kernel of truth. In a recent Slate write-up of the song, Jeff Chang wrote that the song “skillfully whipsaws between condescension and flattery, packages shortcuts as lifesavers, fears as hopes.” The song works as satire because its narrator is sort of an earnest doofus, which is a character Newman has previously channeled in songs like “Short People” and “Political Science.”

So are positive stereotype bad? Well, it’s obvious that many people are uncomfortable with making any kind of generalization about a large group of people. Given some of the world’s more embarrassing and shameful episodes, this impulse to treat people as people is probably a healthy one. Seeing people as merely representatives of certain ethnic groups is (and should be) automatically suspect. But our hesitancy to make generalizations can also prevent us from asking important, serious questions, like why do, say, Korean and Indian students seem to excel in school when others are left behind? What are their parents doing that others’ are not?

So what say you, Gadling faithful? Are all stereotypes, even positive ones, to be avoided? Or do some stereotypes serve a purpose in helping us think more clearly about the world?

And, hey, back to the all-important Seinfeld question: is declaring your love for Chinese women a little racist?

Seinfeld Via Google Maps

It pains me to think that there will come a time when people think of Seinfeld the way I now think of, say I Love Lucy. Already, you watch some of those older episodes and the pictures a bit faded, the styles dated and even some of the jokes a bit worn. I don’t want Seinfeld to get any older. I want to show to range in my thoughts as fresh as the bread I buy at the local bakery. Having lived in New York for the last (almost) eight years, I feel like Seinfeld and New York are one, and to see the show get old kind of makes me feel old.

All of that is a long preamble to a nice little Google mash up I saw over at Gothamist that refreshes the Seinfeld allure, if just for a moment. The map shows many of the spots in Manhattan where various scenes and episodes took place. Take, for example, Jerry’s apartment on 81st and Columbus, where, the map tells us, Jerry actually DID live while here doing stand up. And, of course, the location in mid-town of the infamous Soup Nazi, who has made quite a little business keeping that character alive. So, good stuff for Seinfeld fans and New Yorkers alike.