That never-ending show parodying the ‘90s sitcom Seinfeld using machine-generated content, Nothing, Forever, is back on Twitch after being temporarily pulled offline in early February for generating some transphobic jokes. Unfortunately, this revival that creators Mismatch Media have dubbed season two isn’t quite like the original, with the biggest disappointment being the show’s main cast, and Larry Feinberg (lo-fi Jerry Seinfeld) in particular, getting replaced. Now, viewers in Discord and on Twitch are clamoring for Larry to make a return to AI standup, lamenting that Nothing, Forever is not the same without his off-brand Seinfeld-isms.
Nothing, Forever took the livestreaming platform by storm in February. A 24/7/365 “TV show” using machine-learning technologies like DALL-E, OpenAI GPT-3, and various other automated content generation tools, Mismatch Media’s continuous broadcast captured the internet’s curiosity because of its obvious resemblance to Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David’s popular ‘90s comedy Seinfeld.
It was awkward and uncanny, but it still found an audience thanks to the bizarre humour, fuzzy graphics, and odd camera placements. I and many other viewers couldn’t look away, and the show garnered nearly 20,000 simultaneous viewers at its peak on January 31. That popularity was flushed down the drain when Larry went rogue and started making transphobic jokes, leading Twitch to temporarily ban the channel hosting Nothing, Forever for two weeks. The show is back now, but things are noticeably different in this newly revamped “second season.” Like, a lot different.
Larry is now Leo, and he’s a blogger
One of the most significant changes made to Nothing, Forever is that Larry as we knew him is gone. Now we have Leo Borges, a glasses-wearing guy who still kinda-sorta looks like Seinfeld. But instead of being a standup comedian, Leo appears to be a blogger who starts every “episode” by writing a post on his website, Borges’s Boredom Board, about a totally random subject. One time, he blogged about the philosophical meaning of “the early bird gets the worm.” (As you can guess, it wasn’t that deep.) Another time, he posted about his desire for crispy bacon (which made me pretty damn hungry). It’s a complete vibe shift from the Seinfeldian standup routines that previously kicked off each episode, signalling that nothing is the same in Nothing, Forever.
It’s not just Larry who’s different as Mismatch Media has essentially recast the entire show. The first season’s Kramer (Zoltan Kakler) is now Nick Sterling and Elaine (Yvonne Torres) has become Kelly Coffee. George (Fred Kastopolous), who is now Manfred Freeman, hasn’t made an appearance in season two yet. The laugh tracks are still present and the characters still saunter around their New York-esque apartment, but much of what made Nothing, Forever entertaining — like the nonsensical jokes and the hilarious conversations — have been stamped out. Now, alongside just standing around, they seem to largely talk about a pizza place they never actually visit.
That’s not to say Nothing, Forever sucks. Some jokes occasionally land, and because the tech is a bit wonkier, characters sit in the same chair, overlapping each other like they’re trying to fuse into one AI entity. They also move around much faster, frequently get stuck walking into each other, and attempt physical comedy (like magic tricks) without doing anything. It’s funny to watch as the tools adapt in real time, but the meta-humour that came with parodying Seinfeld is no longer there. It feels neutered, or like the show was cancelled only to be picked up by an entirely different network.
Viewers really want AI Larry to come back
Since returning to Twitch on March 8, viewership just hasn’t been the same. A little earlier today, some 2,600 people were watching with me, a noticeable dip when compared to the numbers the show pulled in February. And it seems to be primarily because everyone’s fave AI comic, Larry, is gone. Viewers across Discord and Twitch are making it clear they want him to come back.
“[IDK] man, it feels like the soul has been sucked out,” a Discord chatter said. “And this is some cheap knockoff.”
“The magic is gone,” said a viewer in the Twitch chat. “I’m out.”
“Part of the humour [in Nothing, Forever] came from the contrast between the characterization of Jerry, George, Elaine, and Kramer versus their AI counterparts if you were familiar with actual Seinfeld,” a Discord user said of season two. “But now they seem so [nondescript] you lose that meta humour.”
While the creators of Mismatch Media are present in the Nothing, Forever Discord server, they haven’t posted much of anything since announcing the show’s March 8 return to Twitch. However, a moderator who’s reportedly been in contact with Mismatch Media said that the team is both “going to continue developing the show to bring the best things to the community” and “very much understands everyone’s sadness about the old characters.” Still, folks watching this new season think the “shit is arse” with Larry no longer around.
“Missing Larry”, said a Discord watcher.
“This is really the worst timeline,” a Twitch viewer said. “Larry is gone.”
Kotaku reached out to Mismatch Media for comment.
Machine-learning technologies like those that power Nothing, Forever are adaptable. It’s possible that season two could grow to become just as entertaining as the first season, or surpass it altogether. That remains to be seen. For now, though, everyone wants Larry. Not Leo.
“Larry, we need you to come back,” a chatter on Twitch said. “Just please don’t get banned again.”
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