Jason Alexander Disavows Infamous ‘Metroid Prime’ Picture, Denies Being A Nerd

Alexander claims to have no recollection of the iconic pic — but the photographer remembers it all too well
Jason Alexander Disavows Infamous ‘Metroid Prime’ Picture, Denies Being A Nerd

The internet will never forget the moment George Costanza traded up from Frogger to Metroid Prime, but Jason Alexander did – or so he claims. 

The iconic photo of Marisa Tomei’s favorite short, stocky bald man in an expressive moment of pure rage after a photographer interrupted his gaming session at the 2003 People’s Choice Awards inspired internet speculation for twenty years – which motivated Time Extension to track down the principal parties from the picture. Many doubters theorized that Nintendo staged the photograph in an early attempt at viral marketing, while other internet contrarians doubted the visual validity of the masterpiece as they claimed that the photograph was an absolute photoshop fabrication. Yesterday, we learned the truth.

Alexander’s representatives claimed that the actor has “no recollection of that photo” – but the picture’s photographer, Lester Cohen, remembers it all too well.

Cohen recalled how he crept into the “gifting room” at the ceremony – a place where companies such as Nintendo display their latest products with the hopes that a photographer like Cohen will come along and snap a candid shot of a star such as Alexander enjoying their wares, which enables the company to drum up some free publicity by association with a popular figure. The photographer did his duty that day and captured a moment now etched in pop culture history – Cohen snuck up behind Alexander while the actor toyed with Samus’ arm cannon before Cohen called out his name, which startled the Seinfeld star whose palpable rage created a Renaissance-esque tableau that now serves as an immaculate time capsule of early 2000s culture.

"I look at that photo now and I know he wasn’t happy. I can just tell. Here’s the thing about it: when you do these gifting lounges and the products that these people have, I’ve had Academy Award winning actresses where I feel stupid saying, ‘Could you please hold up this toothbrush for this sponsor?’” Cohen explained, saying, “They look at me like, ‘No’. You just feel like an idiot, but that’s your job. (The brands) want a photo with their product.” Cohen adopted a more naturalistic approach to the task out of sheer necessity at some point leading up to the Alexander snap – said Cohen, “More and more as the celebrities caught onto this, they wouldn’t even show up. They would just send their handlers in to gather everything up and take it to them, because they say it’s too embarrassing for them."

Clearly, Alexander finds any association with videogames to be embarrassing – he once responded to a fan’s earnest invitation to play Mario Party by claiming, “I literally have no idea what you just said.” Unlike George Costanza, Alexander would never let his name – or his initials – be associated with such a nerdy hobby.

Nevertheless, those who indulged in games like Metroid Prime in 2003 know the look on Alexander's face to be the unmistakable mark of a gamer, lost in the digital world, furious at an interruption to his flow. We can practically hear him exclaim, “George is getting upset!”

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