‘Seinfeld’: 10 Times George Was Wrong and 10 Times George Was Right
Over the nine seasons of Seinfeld, George Costanza established himself as one of the most scheming, selfish, morally bankrupt characters in the history of television. His flaws are many — he’s a liar, a cheater, a thief and a chip double-dipper. Nonetheless, there are still a number of times on Seinfeld when George is completely in the right.
And so, for the sake of balance, we've assembled a roundtable of Seinfeld experts to give us 10 times George was right and 10 times he more than earned the nickname “Can’t-Stand-Ya!”
WRONG: Having Sex with the Cleaning Woman at Work
Episode: “The Red Dot,” Season 3, Episode 12
What He Does: They consummate things atop his desk no less.
Why He’s Wrong: “That’s obviously wrong. You can’t do that at work,” says Eric Dobin, co-host of The Place to Be: A Seinfeld Podcast.
RIGHT: You Can’t Park Front First
Episode: “The Parking Space,” Season 3, Episode 21
What He Does: George is backing into a parking space when another driver pulls into the spot front first, which George believes is unacceptable.
Why He’s Right: “I’m in Chicago, where the parking situation is pretty much the same as New York City, and you cannot park front first,” explains Adam Crouch, who runs @seinfeldepisodes on Instagram. “In the episode, Jerry puts it perfectly when he says, ‘Front first, that’s how you park when you’re pulling a bank job.’”
WRONG: Everything Having to Do with ‘The Human Fund’
Episode: “The Strike,” Season 9, Episode 10
What He Does: George creates a fake charity, The Human Fund, to get out of giving people at work Christmas gifts, claiming he made a donation to the charity in their name. Later, when his boss makes a donation to the charity, George considers keeping the money.
Why He’s Wrong: “Not only does he weasel out of getting anyone a Christmas gift, but he tries to keep $20,000 intended for charity, that’s obviously horrible,” explains Dobin.
RIGHT: Men’s Room Stall Doors Should Extend All the Way to the Floor
Episode: “The Postponement,” Season 7, Episode 2
What He Does: George makes the argument that no gap should exist between the bathroom floor and the stall door.
Why He’s Right: “I’ve talked about this with my buddies a lot, and the door in the men’s room definitely should extend to the floor,” Crouch agrees. “At my first job, I worked at a place where there were private stall doors in the bathroom, and it was awesome. It was way better. It was like having your own little office.”
Episode: “The Implant,” Season 4, Episode 19
What He Does: At a wake filled with people George doesn’t know, he dips a chip, bites it, then dips it again. He is then confronted for “double-dipping.”
Why He’s Wrong: “Double-dipping is definitely wrong,” says Crouch. “That’s a social faux pas that most people would agree is unsanitary. I’ve posted about this, and some people try to justify it by saying if you turn the chip, it’s okay. But it’s not. It’s gross.”
RIGHT: The ‘Worlds’ Theory
Episode: “The Pool Guy,” Season 7, Episode 8
What He Does: George gets mad at Elaine for spending time with Susan because he wants to keep the worlds of “Independent George” and “Relationship George” separate.
Why He’s Right: “Some people might feel that you should include your significant other with your friend group, but George was right in that you should keep your worlds separate,” Crouch argues. “Especially in George’s situation, where Susan wouldn’t enjoy what his friends do — which is really just talking at Jerry’s place and at the coffee shop.”
WRONG: Faking Being Disabled
Episode: “The Butter Shave,” Season 9, Episode 1
What He Does: George is mistaken for being disabled at his new job because he’s walking with a cane. Rather than correct people, he goes with it and enjoys the great parking space and personal bathroom that comes with his disabled designation.
Why He’s Wrong: “Pretending to be disabled is a true scumbag move,” says Crouch in no uncertain terms.
RIGHT: We Need Less Cops and More Garbagemen
Episode: “The Chinese Restaurant,” Season 2, Episode 11
What He Does: When Elaine argues that New York City should bolster its police force, George disagrees, pushing for additional trash collectors instead.
Why He’s Right: “That’s something I can get behind,” says Adam Pacecca, Dobin’s co-host on The Place to Be. “Having lived in New York City, we do need more garbage men, not cops. Just like George says, ‘We’ll never stop crime, we can at least be clean.’”
WRONG: Stealing the Clock
Episode: “The Chicken Roaster,” Season 8, Episode 8
What He Does: To try to get another date with a woman, George leaves behind a hat in her apartment, but when he comes to retrieve it, she says it isn’t there. To get back at her, George steals a clock from her apartment.
Why He’s Wrong: “I mean, he’s stealing, that’s pretty obviously wrong,” Dobin plainly states.
RIGHT: The Hospital Should Pay for His Car After a Suicide Victim Landed on It
Episode: “The Bris,” Season 5, Episode 5
What He Does: A patient jumps off the roof of a hospital and lands on George’s car, after which George tells the hospital they should cover the costs for the damages.
Why He’s Right: “The hospital administrator acts like it’s some outrageous thing that he’s asking for, but I agree with George,” says Dobin. “The hospital is responsible because that patient was in their care. Plus, they must have insurance for this kind of thing. All George did was park his car!”
WRONG: Pushing Ahead of Women and Children During a Fire
Episode: “The Fire,” Season 5, Episode 18
What He Does: A fire starts at a kid’s birthday party, and George moves whomever necessary out of his way — women, children, the elderly — to get to safety.
Why He’s Wrong: “George is totally wrong here and his reasoning — that he’s trying to lead the way out of the fire — is ridiculous,” Dobin explains.
RIGHT: Looking Annoyed Makes It Look Like You’re Hard at Work
Episode: “The Hot Tub,” Season 7, Episode 5
What He Does: George explains to Elaine that he appears to work hard at his job by pretending to be annoyed.
Why He’s Right: “This is a great life hack,” Crouch enthuses. “It works especially well in the corporate world. If you walk anywhere with a stack of papers or a clipboard, and if you walk just a little faster than everyone else, nobody bugs you.”
WRONG: Eating a Candy Bar with a Knife and Fork
Episode: “The Pledge Drive,” Season 6, Episode 3
What He Does: To appear sophisticated, George uses cutlery on his Snickers.
Why He’s Wrong: Simply put, Crouch says, “That’s totally wrong. You can’t eat a candy bar that way.”
RIGHT: We Have a Deal with Pigeons
Episode: “The Merv Griffin Show,” Season 9, Episode 6
What He Does: George runs over some pigeons, but later claims he wasn’t responsible because humans have “a deal” with pigeons where they get out of the way when we’re driving, and we look the other way when they defecate on statues.
Why He’s Right: “In the episode, George’s girlfriend is appalled that George runs over these pigeons, but that’s not on him,” Crouch concurs. “That’s the deal we have — they have to get out of the way.”
WRONG: Trying to Prevent His Convict Girlfriend from Getting Paroled
Episode: “The Little Jerry,” Season 8, Episode 11
What He Does: When George is dating a felon, he’s called as a character witness during her parole hearing, and he tries to say things to keep her in jail.
Why He’s Wrong: “He’s trying to keep his girlfriend in jail, even though she probably deserves to get out. That’s got to be wrong,” says Dobin.
RIGHT: Doing the Opposite of Everything He Normally Does
Episode: “The Opposite,” Season 5, Episode 22
What He Does: Realizing that every instinct he’s ever had was wrong, George flips the script and follows anything but his typical impulses.
Why He’s Right: “Doing the opposite of your natural instincts makes a lot of sense,” says Dustin Lee, the creator of Constanzagrams on Instagram. “I posted something about this recently, and people in the comments were saying that this is a real thing and that they started doing the opposite themselves and things started to work out for them. A lot of people should really look into doing the opposite.”
WRONG: Cheating on Your Fiancée
Episode: “The Cadillac,” Season 7, Episode 14
What He Does: While George is engaged, he goes on a date with Marisa Tomei.
Why He’s Wrong: “Even though George argues that it’s ‘just a cup of coffee,’ he’s obviously attracted to her, and he’s going behind Susan’s back to see if he has chemistry with Marisa Tomei,” Dobin says. “That’s one of many wrong things he does to his fiancée.”
RIGHT: A Sweater with a Small Flaw Is Still a Nice Gift
Episode: “The Red Dot,” Season 3, Episode 12
What He Does: George gifts Elaine a cashmere sweater, which he received at a discount because it had a small red dot on it.
Why He’s Right: “Elaine overreacted when she found out the sweater had a red dot on it,” says Pacecca. “George was strapped for cash, and it was still a really nice sweater.”
WRONG: Reaching into the Tip Jar
Episode: “The Calzone,” Season 7, Episode 20
What He Does: George drops money into a tip jar, but the cashier doesn’t see him do it. So, he reaches into the jar to get his money back and re-tip it so the cashier can see what he’s doing.
Why He’s Wrong: “I’ve been in a situation where this has happened, and you simply can’t reach into the tip jar. It’s a really risky move,” says Lee. “You just have to try again next time.”
RIGHT: Wanting to Reach into the Tip Jar
Why He’s Right: “George wasn’t doing anything wrong. He’s just doing what we all want to do when our tip isn’t recognized,” counters Pacecca. However, Crouch believes that things are a bit more nuanced than that, arguing, “George was totally right in his attitude. You want a tip to be visible — you want the credit. But he definitely was wrong for taking the next step and reaching into the jar. There’s just no way to justify it.”