Here's How Watching 'Seinfeld' Is Making Your Doctor Better

All that TV watching is paying off.

Legendary "show about nothing" sitcom "Seinfeld" may have gone off the air more than 16 years ago, but reruns and your uncle's impersonations aren't the only thing keeping the show alive -- New Jersey medical students are too.

According to, third and fourth year students at the Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital are required to watch "Seinfeld" reruns twice a week and then gather to discuss and diagnose the characters' neuroses. Psychiatry professor Anthony Tobia, who created the program, calls it "Psy-feld."

He created a database of talking points and teachable moments from each of the series' 180 episodes, and said that Newman was one of the show's most damaged characters.

"Newman’s sense of self, his meaning in life, is to ensure that he frustrates Jerry," Tobia said. "We actually have talked about Newman in that context and related him to Erik in 'The Phantom of the Opera.' The Phantom, while he starts out as being the tutor to the Prima Donna, actually has his life change and he is bent on revenge and that becomes who he is… and that’s Newman."

Tobia said that psychiatry is unique for students' opportunities to learn from pop culture. He's working on other courses featuring movies and TV to teach pathology.

"In order for a surgeon to teach from a movie or TV show, there has to be surgery," Tobia said. "In order for an internist to teach from a movie or TV show, there has to be the portrayal of an illness. Well, every movie, every TV show has human behavior, so a psychiatrist should be able to teach."

Armchair psychologists psychiatrists, rejoice! All this TV means something.


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