In honor of the 30th anniversary of The Seinfeld Chronicles premiering on July 5, 1989, Emily Todd VanDerWerff explains how a "show about nothing" influenced television for decades. For instance, Seinfeld made viewers want to watch self-involved jerks long before The Sopranos. "Seinfeld is perhaps the earliest series to essentially dare the audience to identify with its characters by seeing their own worst traits reflected in them," says VanDerWerff. "It believed it could do this simply by crafting characters who were as interesting and funny as possible. It was mostly right." Seinfeld also changed the way stories are written, blowing up the typical sitcom structure of having an A-story and a B-story. Seinfeld also was groundbreaking for Julia Louis-Dreyfus' Elaine Benes, a tremendously influential female character. "Elaine was different," says VanDerWerff. "Many of her stories were about her love life, but she also had weird jobs and got just as involved in the shenanigans of a given episode as any of the male characters. Thanks to the work of Julia Louis-Dreyfus, one of the great comedic actresses of American television, Elaine could be both deeply weird and deeply feminine. TV hadn't known a character like her before, and she paved the way for everyone from Leslie Knope to Hannah Horvath." Seinfeld also heralded the death of the multi-camera sitcom with its insertion of many single-camera sequences. "The longer it ran, the more it broke up its stories into smaller and smaller pieces, presaging the joke-a-second pace that most single-camera sitcoms run at today," says VanDerWerff. Finally, Seinfeld predicted the growing whiteness of network television. "In its early years, as it struggled in the ratings, it was not only kept alive because it earned critical acclaim and awards attention, but because the people who were watching it were more demographically desirable to advertisers," says VanDerWerff. "And what that usually means is young white people with lots of money who live in cities. As that demographic was targeted with more and more focus in years to come, it would lead to shows with fewer and fewer people of color, shows that could be good (Friends or Girls) or bad (the many, many Seinfeld clones of the mid-’90s) but still shows that were overwhelmingly about a bunch of white, affluent people who never had to worry about anything but the trivial details of life. What felt revolutionary on Seinfeld quickly curdled into something harder and harder to stomach on the many shows it inspired."