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Yada Yada Yada Econ and Using “Seinfeld” as a Teaching Tool

Yada Yada Yada Econ and Using “Seinfeld” as a Teaching Tool (photo)

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Next time someone tells you you’ll never accomplish anything sitting on your ass watching syndicated “Seinfeld” reruns for the bazillionth time, you look them dead in the eye and tell them they’re wrong. You’re not just watching “Seinfeld.” You’re learning economics.

So says a website, reported on last Thursday by Business Week, called Yada Yada Yada Econ, which uses episodes of the classic ’90s sitcom to demonstrate principles of economics. For instance:

“…take “The Sponge,” an episode that Princeton economist Avinash K. Dixit has written an entire paper about. Hearing that her preferred brand of contraceptive sponge is being pulled from the market — creating scarcity — Elaine buys a case of them and begins to hoard her dwindling stash. She starts to think in terms of opportunity cost: Is sex with a current boyfriend worth giving up sex with a future date who might be better? Is he, as she puts it, “sponge-worthy”?

As someone who’s wasted half a lifetime rewatching the same 180 episodes in an endless cycle learning economics through “Seinfeld,” this was incredibly heartening news. And it made me wonder how else the show could be used as a teaching tool. Off the top of my head, I can easily envision academic applications in the following fields:

Sports Management: Future NFL executives learn how to work in the front office of a professional sports team by doing the opposite of everything George Costanza does as the assistant to the traveling secretary for the New York Yankees. And since George only got the job with the Yankees by systematically “doing the opposite” of his base impulses, I’m sure he’d approve.

Medicine: Students in the field of health and healing study “Seinfeld” for invaluable information on the dangers of holistic medicine, proper hygiene techniques and the medicinal value of Junior Mints.

Theology: Judaism? Latvian Orthodox? Festivus? “Seinfeld”‘s got you covered.

So thank you, “Seinfeld,” for teaching us all so much. Who says it’s a show about nothing? Turns out it’s really a show about everything.

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The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at

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Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

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Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

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