After the countless warm and fuzzy, family-friendly sitcoms of the 1980s, Seinfeld shook up television conventions in a major way. While they were making the show, Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David set a now-famous rule for the show’s writers room: “no hugging, no learning.”
The characters on Seinfeld were not going to learn important lessons about love and friendship. There would be no sentimental moments or personal growth and evolution. There certainly was no painstaking concern over making sure the characters seemed likeable to the audience.
It was George Costanza, played indelibly by Jason Alexander, who most embodied this motto. The character may have been loosely based on Larry David, but even Larry’s character on Curb Your Enthusiasm wouldn’t have attempted some of the things George tried to get away with. What makes the character especially interesting is that for someone so neurotic, emotionally volatile, and frequently unemployed, he often displays remarkable overconfidence. The audacity of his schemes make George somehow worth rooting for - even if it’s just to enjoy what a mess he’s made.
Let’s just say that it’s a terrible idea to get engaged to George for all of the reasons. In the much-talked-about Season 7 finale, Susan finds out the hard way. As they pick out wedding invitations, George of course picks the least expensive option possible, despite warnings that the glue isn’t very adhesive.
Susan spends the day licking envelopes and gets progressively sicker until she collapses. In perhaps his most sociopathic moment in the series, George, after being told by the doctor that Susan has perished, shows no emotion, responding simply, “Huh.”
When George, Jerry, Elaine, and Kramer decide to buy a big-screen TV as an engagement gift for their friends, they head to the mall to pick it up. But just when you think George is being a good friend and thoughtful human being, he parks in the handicap spot.
This prevents a woman in a wheelchair from parking there, and because she must park far away, the battery in her chair runs out, sending her falling down a ramp and out of her chair.
In the premiere episode of the final season, George is using a cane while recovering from a fall down the stairs during the final episode of Season 8, "The Summer of George." He’s also on the hunt for a new job and, in true Costanza fashion, happily uses the assumption that he is disabled to land a gig.
A playground equipment company completely falls for it and even offers him his own private handicap bathroom. But, of course, George can never keep his lies believable for long, and a confrontation with seniors and motorized carts leads to George running away... right into his new boss.
It should come as no surprise that George doesn’t like being expected to buy anyone a holiday gift. But only he would also be angered when he does not receive a holiday gift because a charitable donation has been made in his name instead.
When he remembers that his father once made up a holiday called Festivus, George makes up a charity he calls "The Human Fund" and, as his gift to his coworkers, proudly announces he’s made donations in all of their names. When his boss finds out the charity doesn’t exist, George compounds the lie by saying he didn’t want to be persecuted for celebrating Festivus.