Assembling the Costanza Family Tree

Think of it as ‘23andGeorgeCostanza’
Assembling the Costanza Family Tree

Researching your own family tree can be a major pain. It takes time, costs money and comes with the risk that youll find out that youre related to a universally hated historical figure, or, worse... Thankfully, delving into the genealogical history of a fictional person is a tad less fraught. Which today brings us to George Costanza

Beyond Georges fatherFestivus grievances and mothers creepy dolls, Seinfelds Costanza clan contains arguably one of the most confusing (and surprisingly tragic) pop-culture lineages we can recall. How well do we know the family that gave us the guy who ate an éclair out of the garbage as casually as he knocked senior citizens to the ground to escape a grease fire? Well, we can trace it back to…

The Elders

We dont know all that much about Georges grandparents; he mentions visiting them in the third episode of the show but never again. Meaning that they likely died off-screen at some point, and George seemingly didnt care enough to ever mention it, which, to be fair, is totally on brand. The only time the subject came up again was when George brought up his late maternal grandmother, purely to question whether or not she was bosomy.

As for Franks grandparents generation, we learn in The Doll that when the Costanzas came to America, one brother stayed behind in Italy, although his name is never mentioned.

The First Generation in America

The first generation of Costanzas to be raised in America included Frank, and, presumably, his sister Baby, who tragically died at the age of seven due to ill-defined internal problems, which is a pretty intense detail to casually throw into a series that normally focuses on rude soup peddlers and masturbation contests. Frank also had a brother, Moe, who died a young man. And Estelles sister Henny seemingly also met a grim fate.

As for the Costanzas who remained in Italy, Frank attempts to track down his long-lost cousin Carlo, who he fondly remembers playing with every day until the age of four. But when Frank makes the trip to Tuscany, the man he thought was Carlo turns out to be named Giuseppe. Hes still most likely related to Frank, though, because A) they look exactly alike; and B) as fans have pointed out, Giuseppe is an importer-exporter, just like his first cousin once removeds go-to fake persona.

Georges Generation

We meet two of Georges cousins over the course of the show; first, theres Shelly, who comes to visit Estelle when shes in the hospital following the Glamour magazine incident. Unfortunately, we didnt learn much about Shellys life, or who her parents are, as George is immediately distracted by a nearby sponge bath.

Then theres Rhisa, George's cousin/girlfriend, from one of the shows grosser Constanza storylines. George states that Rhisa is Franks brothers daughter, but its unclear if hes talking about the ill-fated Uncle Moe or an entirely different brother.

One of the most beguiling missing pieces of the overarching Seinfeld mythology is Georges mysterious brother. In the episode The Suicide, George tells a psychic that he has a brother who once impregnated a woman named Pauline (suggesting the possibility that the Costanza bloodline may continue), and in The Parking Space George says that his brother, like his parents, refuses to pay for parking.

The brothers conspicuous absence in later seasons spawned the shows most depressing fan theory — that Frank and Estelle's other son took his own life, thus explaining their long-standing resentment toward George. Then again, maybe Georges brother is living on a private island somewhere with Jerrys forgotten sister.

You (yes, you) should follow JM on Twitter (if it still exists by the time you’re reading this). 

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