The Thesis

“Do you ever get down on your knees and thank God you know me and have access to my dementia?”

-George Costanza, “The Switch” (06.11)


The Hilarity of Failure

The Hilarity of Failure

In the entire series of Seinfeld (1989-1998), the focus of all the issues, drama, and overall chaos seems to be pinpointed on to one main character in particular: George Costanza (Jason Alexander.) As the audience watches the daily hijinks and shenanigans of Jerry (Jerry Seinfeld), George, Kramer (Michael Richards), and Elaine (Julia Louis-Dreyfus), one begins to question what is really making people continuously laugh. In the sense of George Costanza, written as creator Larry David, one seems to chuckle at his misfortune or his offensive and childish responses to adult situations. For example, in the episode “The Invitations” (7.24), George’s fiancé Susan dies from licking too many toxic envelopes, which is followed by George calling up Marisa Tomei, asking her to accompany him to the funeral. In “The Boyfriend” (3.34-35), George makes up the Latex company Vandelay Industries so he can extend his unemployment extension; in this episode, the audience watches George run out of the bathroom, his pants around his ankles, to save Kramer from messing up this plan (which Kramer does, in fact, ruin.) I will argue that the Seinfeld series did not only have its audience consistently laughing due to its precise writing, slapstick humor, and outrageous characters; Seinfeld had audience members laughing at the pathetic nature that George Costanza seemed to constantly find himself in.


Before the “dive-in,” here is a taste of what is to come: