Why is dishonest, cheap, and petty George Costanza a likable character

Loosely based on Seinfeld co-author Larry David, George is more annoying, insecure, and self-destructive than we will see Larry be in Curb your Enthusiasm years later. Jason Alexander will always be George, the epitome of a regular guy with a few positive traits and is flawed just like the rest of us, constantly failing at stuff.

Abundant insecurities somehow come out in the most awkward ways for Constanza. He can’t catch a break in love or work, and his only anchor is friendship with Jerry and, to some degree, with Elaine and Kramer. We can all find ourselves in miserable failures; George continuously experiences all aspects of life.

Architect Art Vandelay

credit: Seinfeld

Short, bold, unemployed, and living with parents. This was the most depressing low for George in the storied Seinfeld run. Yet, George somehow manages to self-destruct on every job he has. One of the most iconic work-related comic reliefs is when Constanza looks annoyed so that co-workers would think he works hard. Another stunt George pulled was a makeshift resting area underneath the desk.

During his unemployment period, insecure George created a fictional job as an architect. He would introduce himself as Art Vandelay, later known as Vandelay Industries’s chairman. An iconic stunt from George Costanza translated to real life, where police named the mission to take down fake architect “Operation Vanderlay Industries”.

George ultimately gets his dream job at New York Yankees. But, naturally, George is the kind of person that can not survive success for long. So in The Millenium episode, George tries to get fired from the storied sports franchise, but he fails even with breaking the World Series trophy.

If only his parents got divorced

credit: Seinfeld

George Constanza’s troubled character is partially to blame on his parents. George is forced to live for a while with Frank and Estelle, a hilarious duo. A temperamental couple that communicates through yelling is who George blames for many of his character flaws. Portrait by Jerry Stiller and Estelle Harris, George’s parents display many common traits we find problematic with our parents, but in a more inspired, louder, and comical way. In the episode The Contest, Estelle catches George masturbating, leading to a series of guilt-driven moments with Estelle in the hospital. It also sparked the competition of can restrains from masturbating.

Perfectly cast, Georges’s parents excel in The Rye episode, where they buy Rye bread to meet soon-to-be-wife Susan and her parents. However, when Sunan’s family forgets to serve the bread, Frank takes it back.

Failed relationships

credit: Seinfeld

George is the personification of all that can go wrong in a relationship. All our deepest fears come alive in a self-destructive way. Constanza communicates with women. Aside from both Jerry and George finding the craziest little things to break up relationships, George goes up a few levels. The most outrageous ending is with his fiancée Susan. George tries to break up a couple of times, and finally, Susan dies after licking cheap envelopes for the wedding invitation.

Episode The Opposite shows the George character perfectly. Everything he knew and did around women was wrong, so George decided to do the opposite. A bold, unemployed man in his mid-30s approaches a beautiful woman in a coffee shop and succeeds.

Not perfect, but who is

A neurotic character filled with self-loathing emotions, with brimming intelligence buried under his sex drive and basic instincts, goes through life showcasing negative behavior. Dishonest and insecure at the worst time, George unveils what lies in most people. Sometimes he goes beyond effort for a relationship like converting to the Latvian orthodox church. In other instances, he runs first from a burning room pushing women and children aside.

Going through his lies about being an architect or marine biologist, up and down relationship with eccentric parents, and hanging out with Jerry and Elaine, George is captivating and the most authentic character in Seinfeld. Burdened by a lack of confidence, his mistakes are relatable, and unlike the successful Seinfeld, who has a great career and success with women, George has nothing. Yet, his character seems much more in line with real life, layered with genuine cravings and often exaggerated shortcomings.

Talented actor Jason Alexander is arguably the best actor on the set, and his interpretation of Jerry’s best friend and total antipode is what kept the iconic show on the track for so long.

 

 

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