On Twitter yesterday morning, Jerry Seinfeld accused the folks behind The Lego Movie of stealing his material: “I think Lego Movie stole my Superman has issues with Green Lantern bit from Amex Seinfeld and Superman webisode. Anyone else catch that?” Seinfeld is referring to a pair of web commercials for American Express he did in 2004 in which he starred with an animated Superman.
Bee Movie auteur Seinfeld added a jab at The Lego Movie itself, writing, “Also loved Lego Movie. A story would have been a nice added touch, though…” and “I’m glad they did. It was a fun bit. #legomymaterial.”
The similarities between Seinfeld’s Superman/Green Lantern thing and The Lego Movie’s don’t really seem to be there. Seinfeld’s commercial features a short scene where a woman obsessively talks to Superman about how great Green Lantern is and he feels sad, and The Lego Movie features Superman being annoyed by Green Lantern trying to buddy up to him throughout. The idea of these two superheroes generally not getting along (not that that’s really in Seinfeld’s commercial) doesn’t seem like it’s similar or specific enough to warrant calling it plagiarism, and I doubt the writers of The Lego Movie are cribbing material from old credit card commercials.
Anyway, check out Seinfeld’s Superman commercial below (the short mention of Green Lantern is at the :55 mark):