The Life of George Costanza: Seven Classic Interactions Involving a Short, Stocky Bald Man
Ever get the impression that Seinfeld's George Costanza gets a bad rap? This is the guy who, when pushed far enough, will literally say or do anything. His actions can be both admirable and repulsive, sometimes both at once. Sometimes, I wish I were that guy. I could provide reason after reason why, but in honor of what he hoped to one day name his child, here are seven classic interactions between George Costanza and the people in his life.
There are a couple episodes that feature a Bizarro George: one where he stops having sex and becomes a genius, and the other, this gem, where he gets ahead in life by acting against his instincts. For instance, instead of lying to women, saying he's an architect, he tells them straight up, "My name is George. I'm unemployed, and I live with my parents." Brilliant. Now, he has a buxom, blond girlfriend, who then gets him an interview to work with the New York Yankees. Instead of shaking George Steinbrenner's hand and pretending how much he admires him, he lets him have it. "In the past 20 years, you have caused myself and the city of New York a good deal of distress, as we have watched you take our beloved Yankees and reduce them to a laughingstock all for the glorification of your massive of ego." To which Steinbrenner replies, "Hire this man." Strangely, the opposite George and the regular George are equally as funny.
2. "The Susie" - George and His Soon-to-be Ex-Girlfriend
Preemptive measures: They're Costanza classics. Once he gets that vibe, he has to find a way to stay one step ahead of his opponent. In this case, it's his girlfriend, who he believes wants to break up with him before George Steinbrenner's ball. He's not so upset by the fact she wants to end it, but she'd just bought a backless dress, and he was hoping she could make an elegant twirling entrance. His plan is simple: Avoid her until the ball so she a) can't break up with him and b) has no choice but to attend the ball with him. Perverse? Maybe. Ingenious? Of course, especially this made-just-for-you answering machine message. Call it a non-interaction.
3. "The Fire" - George and the Women and Children (also, Eric the Clown)
Who came up with "women and children first," anyway? Was it a man or a woman or a child? Well, whatever, the whole thing stinks. It should be everyone for him or herself. So goes George's thinking when he attends a birthday party for his girlfriend's son. As he's going through the motions talking to the relatives, friends and the hired clown named Eric, he smells something in the kitchen. "Fire! Fire!" he yells as he pushes over an old lady in a walker and shove kids left and right to be the first one out the apartment door. Later, as he's twisting the obvious into a good deed, one of the firemen asks him how he lives with himself. His throw-in-the-towel response is one for the ages: "It's not easy."
5. "The Butter Shave" - George and His New Coworkers
Ever wanted to pretend you were handicapped so you could get all the special pampering that comes with whatever ailment you claim to possess? Costanza makes this happen, though to his credit, it's not his initial doing. After his failed "Summer of George" and a nasty, invitation-induced spill, he emerges from rehab and has to go back to work. During his interview for a job at Play Now, his boss-to-be sees him using a cane and deduces he is crippled. George goes with it, nonchalantly accepting the unreal preferential treatment. It gets so bad (or good, depending how you look at it), that the boss gets him a scooter. But the party is over before it even begins.
7. "The Seven" - George and Susan
When others would give up the fight because they don't think it's worth the effort, George sticks with it. Who else would fly from New York to Akron, Ohio, just to hurl an insult at someone? And then, of course, there was the time when George got revenge on Jerry's kosher girlfriend by cooking her eggs with lobster in them. But that's what happens when you catch a guy with shrinkage and then tell his girlfriend without explaining the circumstances. But I digress... This particular episode, "The Seven," finds our hero with one simple demand: Girl or boy, his child will be named Seven. Unfortunately, his fiancee, Susan, won't hear it. She goes so far as to complain to her cousin and cousin's husband, who are expecting a child as well, and they steal the numerical moniker. George finds out, follows them and fights the good fight all the way to the emergency room, of course.