George Costanza

George Costanza

Photo Credit: Everett Collection

Character Analysis

(Avoiding Spoilers)

Grew up... in New York with his forever-bickering parents Frank and Estelle. Estelle never thought George would amount to anything, not like his neighbor Lloyd Braun, while Frank’s annual Christmas (OK, “Festivus”) gift to his son was a wrestling match that invariably ended with little Georgie getting pinned. As George’s best friend Jerry Seinfeld once put it, maybe if George’s parents had gotten divorced thirty years ago, he could’ve been completely normal. But alas they’re still together, and still driving George crazy.

Living... in Manhattan. It’s not easy to find a decent apartment in New York, especially with an iffy job situation, but George is getting by for now. He spends more time at Jerry’s apartment anyway, or at Monk’s coffee shop with Jerry and their other friends Kramer and Elaine Benes. 

Profession... depends on the week. George’s greatest professional strength is getting fired, a feat he’s managed for reasons ranging from sleeping with the cleaning lady on his desk to faking a handicap. Yet even that undeniable talent failed him the one time he actually wanted to get fired, by the New York Yankees, so he could take a better job with the crosstown Mets. George also likes to pretend to have careers that he doesn’t, posing as a latex salesman, a marine biologist and – his ultimate dream (fake) job – an architect. 

Interests... lying, seeking baldness cures, and playing Frogger.

Relationship Status... single but looking. For a self-confessed “short, stocky, slow-witted bald man,” George does surprisingly well with the ladies. At least getting them; holding onto them is the problem. That doesn’t keep him from trying. Says George: “Every woman on the face of the earth has complete control of my life, and yet, I want them all. Is that irony?”

Challenge... overcoming his neuroses. George is a classic self-saboteur. In fact he (briefly) achieves his greatest success when he realizes that since every decision he has ever made has been wrong, that he should instead do the exact opposite of whatever his instinct tells him to do, in every situation. It’s a stroke of rare brilliance, but unfortunately it doesn’t last. 

Personality... self-loathing, selfish, insecure, cheap, and dishonest. On the bright side, he’s self-aware. As he tells Jerry when cooking up a typically underhanded scheme, “Do you ever just get down on your knees and thank God that you know me and have access to my dementia?”


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