You know how old George is in season 1 of Seinfeld? 31!! How is this possible? What's ever stranger is that I find myself looking at someone like George now, at 34, three years beyond 31, and saying, "wow...I've grown up into George Costanza."
But it dawned on me that there's a reason for this, and there's a reason why probably no one but the odd few would say that they take after Jerry or Kramer in real life. And thus, why Costanza is my favorite character.
Who is Jerry? For the sake of simplification, Jerry is probably what Freud would describe as the division of the human psyche known as the Super-Ego. He's fastitious, orderly, has a dream job that affords him a great Manhattan apartment and scores of beautiful women, and attains all this despite having the fashion sense of a blind Bill Cosby. He's the most "grounded" character in the series, and casually avoids most of the real-life pratfalls that his co-stars seem to have to endure on a weekly basis, offering only witty observations and musings , seemingly about nothing, but that's exactly what makes him so unrealistic. It's so nice when it happens good. That's Jerry in a nutshell. New gig and girlfriend every week.
Now what about the K. Man, Cosmo Kramer? Anyone who's ever taken intro to Psych can tell you where he falls. Let's see, no real job, yet falls backwards into money. He does whatever he wants, be it asking out the naked woman in the apartment across the street, or smuggling in some real Cubans to make great cigars, he is our Id. He's just about everything that is not Jerry. He's a loathsome, offensive brute, and we cannot look away, and this of course makes him a funny character, but realistic in real life? Nope.
But George. Ah, George. The everyman. The Ego. There's a little bit of George in all of us. He has ups and he has downs. He's got a job one week, but the next is out because he slept with the cleaning woman. He cuts corners, tries to take advantage of the system, but it never really works out for George in his grand schemes. He's always pulled back to reality by, well, reality. Which, if you wiki this whole Freud thing like I did ;-) , you'll see that the Ego is what happens when the Id meets reality. Look at it this way: who hasn't wanted to hide under their desk to take a nap at work? Or take a pastrami sandwich into bed with you? If Kramer tried those things, they'd work. But not with George. Jason Alexander was the only cast member not awarded an emmy for his character, despite being the funniest and most realistic character on the show. Perhaps the voters saw too much of themselves in him and shied away.
George is there to remind us that life sometimes sucks Sometimes you get dumped, even though it's not you, it's them. Sometimes your boss throws your clothes into the ocean, or you get handcuffed to a bed and robbed, or try to make yourself sound like you have a great job working for Vandalay Industries as an import/exporter even though you're really just scamming the unemployment system. We've all been there. George is such a great character because he knows where he stands in life, and embraces that fact. Sure, he freaks out and is going bald (I'm not, thankfully) and has crazy parents that in the end he still clearly loves. But he doesn't let it get him down. He goes at it, week after week, trying to do his best in this world that keeps doing its best to keep him down.
I know Elaine falls into this discussion somewhere, but honestly, I clearly slacked and didn't look into this fully.