George Louis Costanza is a character in the American television sitcom Seinfeld — , played by Jason Alexander. He has variously been described as a " short, stocky, slow-witted, bald man " by Elaine Benes and Costanza himself , " weak, spineless, man of temptations " by Cosmo Kramer , and " Lord of the Idiots " by Costanza himself. George and Jerry were junior high school friends although in "The Betrayal", Season 9, Episode 8, George says the two have been friends since fourth grade and remained friends afterwards.
George appears in every episode except " The Pen " third season. Alexander reprised his role in an episode of Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee , reuniting with Jerry Seinfeld and Wayne Knight also reprising their roles as Jerry and Newman, respectively. George twice mentions that he has a brother although never again after season 3. Lloyd Braun is his childhood nemesis whom George feels was the son his parents always wanted. Kennedy High School, class of Heyman Biff Yeager , who deliberately mispronounced his name as "Can't stand ya" and gave him wedgies.
Two of George's cousins appear on the show: Shelly, who briefly appears in " The Contest ",  and Rhisa, whom George plans to date in order to shock his parents in " The Junk Mail ".
George is neurotic , self-loathing and dominated by his parents, yet also prone to occasional periods of overconfidence that invariably arise at the worst possible time. Throughout Seinfeld ' s first season , George is depicted as moderately intelligent — at one point, he mentions an intellectual interest in the Civil War and, in some early episodes, appears almost as a mentor to Jerry — but becomes less sophisticated, to the point of being too lazy even to read a ninety-page book Breakfast at Tiffany's , preferring to watch the movie adaptation at a stranger's house instead.
However, one Chicago Tribune reviewer noted that, despite all his shortcomings, George is "pretty content with himself". George exhibits a number of negative character traits, among them dishonesty, insecurity and neurosis , many of which seem to stem from a dysfunctional childhood with his squabbling parents Frank and Estelle , and often form the basis of his involvement in various plots, schemes and awkward social encounters.
George's relationship with Frank is estranged. Episode plots frequently feature George manufacturing elaborate deceptions at work or in his relationships in order to gain or maintain some small or imagined advantage or pretend image of success. He had success in " The Opposite ", where he starts with Jerry's encouragement to do the complete opposite of what his instincts tell him to do, which results in him getting a girlfriend and a job with the New York Yankees.
His neurosis is also evident in " The Note ", where he begins doubting his sexuality after receiving a massage from a male masseuse. George's occasional impulsiveness often gets him into trouble, like when he flees a burning kitchen during his girlfriend's son's birthday party, knocking over several children and an old woman in the process, so he can escape first in " The Fire ".
However, there are moments where George exhibits remarkable courage, but usually accidentally and often in support of inane lies he would rather not confess to. For instance, in " The Marine Biologist ", he goes into the sea alone to save a beached whale because his date, a woman on whom he had a crush in college, thinks he is a marine biologist and even tells her the truth about his occupation after he saves the day. However, this causes her to reject him immediately, and he is forced to take the bus home.
George often goes to impressive measures to build and maintain his relationships with women. In "The Conversion" , he goes through the process of converting to the Latvian Orthodox religion as his girlfriend's conservative parents would not let her date somebody outside their religion. In "The Susie" , he deems it so important that he make a grand entrance at his work's ball with his attractive girlfriend Allison that, upon finding out that she plans to break up with him, George goes to great lengths to avoid her before the ball, stating "If she can't find me, she can't break up with me.
In some episodes, George aligns with both Kramer and Elaine, each of whom he is also frequently pitted against. While he gets into arguments with Elaine, they also work together, most notably in " The Cadillac ", although George states in " The Dinner Party " that he is frightened of her.
George and Kramer usually feel awkward around one another but find themselves working together and against one another in " The Busboy ", " The Stall " and " The Slicer ". He has an interest in nice restrooms and his personal bathroom habits border on obsession. In " The Revenge ", he quits his real estate job solely because he is forbidden to use his boss' private bathroom. In " The Voice ", he admits that one of the reasons he is staying at a job his boss has asked that he resign from for feigning a disability is that it gives him "private access to one of the great handicapped toilets in the city".
In " The Busboy ", he claims to have an encyclopedic knowledge of the locations of the best public bathrooms in the city. In " The Gymnast ", he told Jerry that he always removes his shirt when using the bathroom because "it frees me up It is unclear if he dropped this habit after an embarrassing incident where he walked out of a bathroom shirtless at a lunch party attended by his girlfriend, her mom and other female members of her family.
When working for the Yankees, he suggested having the bathroom stall doors stretched all the way to the ground letting people's legs not be seen while in the stalls , and, in many episodes, he shows a fascination with toilet paper and its history. He also displays a fear of diseases, like lupus and cancer. In " The Wife ", George gets into trouble for peeing in the shower at a gym but defends his action with, "It's all pipes!
What's the difference? Although occasionally referred to as dumb by his friends, many signs point to the fact that George is actually quite intelligent despite his neurotic behavior. Apparently, George's neurotic stupidity would progress until it became one of his primary characteristics. By " The Couch ", he could not even concentrate enough to read a ninety-page book Breakfast at Tiffany's.
In " The Abstinence ", it is discovered that George actually has what would appear to be genius-level intelligence but can never access it because his mind is always so completely focused on sex. When circumstances let him temporarily remove sex from his mind, he is able to reach his true intellectual potential, solving a Rubik's Cube, answering a string of questions on Jeopardy!
George and Jerry have been best friends since meeting in high school gym class. The extreme closeness of their friendship is occasionally mistaken for gayness. When George is forced to note to himself that the idea of a female Jerry who he can have a close personal and also sexual relationship with would be everything he has ever wanted, George, in horror, breaks off his relationship with the woman.
When something goes wrong, George has been known to hold his head. Seinfeld co-creator Larry David based George largely on himself. Casting director Marc Herschfield stated that, during casting for the character, "we saw every actor we could possibly see in Los Angeles ", but they could not find the right actor for the part. Alexander did his first official audition and met David and Seinfeld. After his final audition he returned to New York City, and when he landed he received a phone call informing him that he was hired.
Many of George's predicaments were based on David's past real-life experiences. In " The Revenge ", for example, when George quits his job in a fury only to realize he has made a mistake, he goes back the next day as if nothing happened; this mirrors David's actions while working as a writer for Saturday Night Live , when he quit and then returned to his job in the same manner. As Alexander explains in an interview for the Seinfeld DVD , during an early conversation with David, Alexander questioned a script, saying, "This could never happen to anyone, and even if it did, no human being would react like this.
This happened to me once, and this is exactly how I reacted. George and Susan date for a year, during which time commitment-phobic George is constantly trying to find ways to end their relationship without actually having to initiate the breakup with her. In " The Engagement ", he proposes to her in a short-lived bout of midlife crisis , after he and Jerry make a pact to move forward with their lives.
When Jerry breaks up with his girlfriend almost immediately thereafter for eating "her peas one at a time" and declares the deal over, George panics and again tries repeatedly to weasel out of his engagement. He gets his wish about 2 weeks before the wedding in " The Invitations ", when he inadvertently kills her by selecting cheap envelopes for their wedding invitations, not knowing they contained toxic glue. When notified of her death at the hospital, George displays a combination of shock, apathy and relief later described by the doctor in Part 2 of The Finale as "restrained jubilation".
A few moments after being notified of Susan's death, he says to Jerry, Kramer and Elaine, "Well, let's go get some coffee. George is very bad at meeting women and even worse at maintaining his romantic relationships and, as a result, his relationships usually end badly. In the season 7 Curb Your Enthusiasm episode " Seinfeld ", George has married and divorced a woman named Amanda in the time since the finale. It is unclear, however, whether these events are considered canon in the Seinfeld series.
George's professional life is unstable. He is unable to remain in any job for any great length of time before making an embarrassing blunder and getting fired, and he is unemployed for a large amount of time throughout the series. Very often, the blunder is lying and trying to cover it up, only to have it all fall apart.
Most of the many short-lived jobs George holds throughout the series are in sales. Over the course of the series, he most notably works for a real estate transaction services firm Rick Bahr Properties , a rest stop supply company Sanalac , a publishing company Elaine also works at Pendant Publishing , the New York Yankees his longest running job , a playground-equipment company Play Now and an industrial smoothing company Kruger Industrial Smoothing.
He is fired from his job at Pendant Publishing for having sex with the cleaning woman on his desk in " The Red Dot " he professes he has always been attracted to cleaning women.
George works briefly for his father selling computers, although he is always outshone by co-worker Lloyd Braun. His original job when the series starts is as a real estate agent; he ends up quitting and getting re-hired, but fired immediately afterward for drugging his boss. He always wanted to be an architect or least "pretend to be an architect". He first mentions this desire in " The Stake Out ", and claims in " The Race " that he had designed "the new addition to the Guggenheim ".
The plan backfires when George is called on to save a beached whale with a Titleist golf ball in its blowhole. He saves the whale, but the woman tells him off when he confesses that he is not, in fact, a marine biologist: "She told me to go to hell, and I took the bus home.
During Season 4, George gains experience as a sitcom writer as he helps Jerry to write the pilot for the fictitious show Jerry. While pitching the concept of a "show about nothing" to NBC executives, George dates executive Susan until " The Virgin ", when she is fired. Following the only episode "The Pilot" , executive Russell's obsession with Elaine has cost George and Jerry a shot at getting a television series. George is known for his balding hair, which is less noticeable in " The Seinfeld Chronicles " or a flashback in " The Slicer ", but gets thinner as the series progresses.
In " The Beard ", he starts to wear a wig, until Elaine throws it out the window in disgust. He also tries to restore his hair in " The Tape ", when he starts using a Chinese cream that is said to be such a great cure for baldness that it will make him "look like Stalin". His hair is rarely seen styled. His clothing is usually very plain.
He frequently wears jeans and Nike Cortez sneakers. In " The Pilot ", George wears sweatpants; Jerry says that this makes George look like he has given up on life. In " The Subway ", when his clothing is taken, he goes to the coffee shop with a sheet, causing a bystander to mistake him for a Hare Krishna.
In " The Muffin Tops ", he steals clothing from a tourist who asks him to watch his suitcase. George has, however, mentioned that his clothes are color-coded based on his mood. Several times throughout the show, George mentions a desire to "drape" himself in velvet if only it were socially acceptable , which he does in " The Doodle ". Art Vandelay is a fictional person first used in " The Stake Out ". To explain their presence in the lobby of an office building, Jerry and George come up with a story that they are meeting Art Vandelay, an importer-exporter who works in the building.
George frequently reuses the invented name in one of the show's running jokes. In " The Boyfriend ", George tells the unemployment office he is close to getting a job at "Vandelay Industries". He uses the name when asked which authors he reads during an interview with Elaine's publishing house in " The Red Dot ". Art Vandelay. Vandelay", to hide his lack of sales success. Pennypacker" to take advantage of an open house to watch a Mets game on television.
For his performance as George, Alexander was nominated for various awards.