Posted by: Nathan | July 17, 2006

Your favorite Seinfeld Character, Etc.

Due to the success of my post about Dusty Baker in which I asked you, dear reader, to contribute to the discussion, I will continue the trend with a debate the wife and I have been having recently with the Bowens. The questions are: of the big four Seinfeld characters (Jerry, George, Elaine, and Kramer), who is your favorite? Who is the worst character on the show? Which character is most necessary, i.e. if you had to remove one of the big four, whom couldn’t you get rid of?

Here’s my take:
Favorite: Jerry. He’s always above the situations the others muddle through, and he has the best one-liners. Sure, he can’t act at all, but that adds to the charm of him for me. Jerry’s my guy.

Worst: George. Elaine can be annoying and vicious at times (e.g. The Soup Nazi episode), but George is the worst “person” on the show. If I knew George, I wouldn’t like him at all and wouldn’t want to hang out with him. He’s pathetic, arrogant, and cheap.

Most Necessary: Jerry again. The premise of the show is based on his life, and his stand up material and cynical comments are the glue that holds the show together. It wouldn’t be nearly as good of a show without the others, however. I’ll go out on a limb and argue that Kramer is the most necessary after Jerry. WHAT?!? you exclaim? Elaine and George’s sideplots are always funny and awkward, and Jerry’s can be too, but if it were just those three, the neuroses would be overpowering. It’s Kramer’s uncanny physical humor, straighforward honesty, and surprising integrity (well, as close to integrity as any character on the show) that make the actions, situtations, and dialogue of the others much more palatable for me.

All right, reader, what ‘choo got? I fully expect ODB to defend his boy.

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Responses

  1. I would say my favorite Seinfeld character is Kramer. H’e exactly what you said, Nathan. I guess I don’t have to go in depth with that one.

    Worst: It is Elaine BAR NONE!!! Her character is pointless. But, they feel like that need a female character (which they do) but they could’ve found a better female character.

    I know Dan’s favorite character is George. He is either my second favorite or second favorite. I love all of the sticky situations he gets in to. I can see your point, Nathan, but there are SO MANY good episodes which revolve around Greorge (i.e. the summer of George, George divided against itself, Bubble Boy and the Moops, and George doing everything against his nature) NEED I SAY MORE?

    Anyone else want in on this?

  2. I meant he is either my favorite or second favorite (so much for checking my work).

  3. I think you’re forgetting, Nathan, that George brings out the best in Jerry. Without George, Jerry would have less opportunities to be funny:

    “So let me get this straight. You find yourself in the kitchen, you see an eclair in the receptacle, and you think to yourself, ‘What the hell, I’ll just eat some trash.'”
    “No no no no no. It was not trash.”
    “Was it in the trash?”
    “Yes.”
    “Then it was trash… Adjacent to refuse is refuse. You, my friend, have crossed the line that divides man and bum. You are now a bum.”

    I agree that Kramer is important (and hilarious – “I’m taking the Congo as a penalty!”), but neither he or Elaine are as important as George, since Jerry is nothing without him.

  4. Way to go Nate and Jason. I hardly need to comment! George makes the show. He is undoubtable the most morally despicable person on the show, but it is his shallowness that drives most of the plots and, as Jason so abtly pointed out, the best parts of the comedy. George gets laughs by the pathetic situations he gets himself in. Jerry gets laughs by making fun of George, Elaine, and Kramer. Kramer gets laughs mostly through socially inacceptable comments and physical humor. Elaine.. well, the only positive side of Elaine is that the guys get to make fun of her. Other than that, she is just a downright annoying, not to mention poorly acted, character. Great Seinfeld episodes have been done without Elaine.

    Michael Richards is excellent as Kramer, but the character is made to add spice to the show, not to be central to it. Kramer’s comments and actions are often great, and sometimes steal the show, but nonetheless are usually subplots.

    George and Jerry make up the show’s core. The main plots almost always revolve around either or both of them, most of the dialogue is spoken by them – and mostly to each other.

    If anyone is still questioning George’s role in the show, just watch the DVD commentaries – how often does Larry David (Seinfeld co-maker with Jerry) say that such and such awkward situation happened to him and that they decided to give that part to George? It’s practically every episode!

    A Seinfeld without George cannot stand!

  5. This is apparently the real “Summer of George.” At the end of his comment, Dan puts his finger precisely on the reason that Jerry and George are the most central to the show: Larry David is George and Jerry is Jerry. I will agree that they drive the show. Here are my picks, though:

    Favorite: Jerry. As Nathan pointed out, he’s in many ways the character to whom the audience relates the most. His humor is fantastic and I even think some of the mediocre acting adds to the charm of the character.

    Least favorite: Elaine. She’s a bad person and doesn’t (understandably) have a whole lot of great episodes that revolve around her. The character is not all that poorly acted, though. She’s better than anyone else would have been. Part of the problem is that the Seinfeld writers were primarily men, and we all know that men don’t know the first thing about women.

    Best person: Kramer. All the rest of them are consistently self-serving and manipulative. When Kramer is self-serving (getting Jerry to dry clean his comforter, getting money back on bottles in MI) it seems to be much more innocent and more ‘caper-like’ rather than simply a ‘what’s in it for me’ mentality.

    Worst person: George. George is perhaps the most depraved person in the history of sitcoms. I don’t think there’s been an episode when he’s been genuinely nice. He doesn’t do anything that doesn’t benefit him in some way. Jerry, George, and Elaine are all bad people, but George takes the cake.

    Fourth wheel on a tricycle: Elaine. I think we can all agree with Nate that Elaine is a character of demography. They needed someone to bring in the female demographic, and Elaine was it. That said, she is the best female character I think they could have created.

    Favorite non-big four: Frank Costanza. He’s just hilarious. Plain and simple.

  6. Kyle: “Favorite non-big four: Frank Costanza.”

    Absolutely!

  7. Yeah, Frank Costanza is great, but I think I’d have to go with Newman as my favorite non-four, b/c he’s so evil. Every Newman episode has an added edgy humor element that is so fantastic, plus he’s around more than Frank. Frank’s a great pick though.

    Oh, won’t anyone come to the defense of Elaine?

  8. I would say one of the few good Elaine episodes is the little kicks episode. But, that’s about it.

  9. Oh man! I forgot about the Elaine dancing episode! Now THAT is a classic. Good thinking, Nate

  10. The dancing episode brought about one of my favorite Seinfeld quotes:

    George upon seeing Elaine dance: “Sweet fancy Moses!”

  11. You guys are all wrong about who your favorite character is (except nate)…it’s clearly Kramer!! He is not only the greatest character on Seinfeld, but the best one of the 90s! He’s eccentric, hilarious and yes, he is the most moral person on the show…I mean, he creates the most interesting/clever plot lines of the show: i.e. – running for president of a retirement home, creating “comfort lanes” in his adopt-a-highway program, falls hopelessly in love with Bette Midler, rescues the Pig man in the hospital, lives in the shower, hosts his own Merv Griffin show, etc…the list goes on and on! The most hilarious moments of the show center around him, no doubt. I challenge you to think of a more hilarious television moment that can stand up to Kramer’s seisure in Jerry’s apartment when Entertainment Tonight comes on!! I crack up EVERY time. 2nd best character is George, Most essential is Jerry because there could still be some good shows without Kramer, but without Jerry being the connecting piece with everyone, it would die. Worst character is Elaine, obviously…best 5th character is Newman.
    By the way, I’m considering starting up a blog to help pass the time at work when I’m considerably bored. It would be eloquently titled “The Bored at Work Blog”, I will let all ya’ll know if/when that happens. Adios
    – Justin

  12. […] A few weeks ago when we discussed our favorite Seinfeld characters, etc. (remember that?), Elaine took a drubbing from all y’all. Now, I’m not the biggest Elaine fan in the world, but I do like her as a part of the show, and I think she’s a better person than George (usually). To counteract the abuse Elaine took, here is my defense of Elaine. […]

  13. 1)George
    2)Jerry
    3)Kramer
    4)Elaine
    Jerry, George and Kramer rule! They are so funny. Elaine is ok, but not that funny.


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