The 5 Most Out-Of-Character Moments on ‘Seinfeld’
The enduring success of Seinfeld is largely predicated on the strength of its characters but, sometimes, George, Elaine, Kramer and Jerry acted in ways that made us think that they weren’t themselves — and, no, I’m not just talking about the Bizarro Jerry.
Pretty much every plotline on Seinfeld revolves around the unique eccentricities of the central cast. Whether it’s irrational preferences or pet peeves that go feral, the quirks of the core four are the beating heart of the series, and every Seinfeld fan feels a profound sense of connection to the character whose weirdness most closely matches their own. The Seinfeld characters are sacred canon — their likes, dislikes and tendencies as written in their character bibles are as consecrated and consequential to Seinfeld die-hards as the lines written in the actual bible.
However, again, sometimes Seinfeld characters strayed from their fixed paths of their personalities, either deliberately for humorous effect or accidentally due to inconsistent writing. Here are a few moments that made us wonder whether we really knew these Seinfeld characters at all…
Jerry and George Switched Personalities in the Pilot
It’s a given that the way characters behave in the first episode of a show will not reflect how they develop once the series becomes a hit, but revisiting the inaugural “The Seinfeld Chronicles” makes us wonder whether Jerry and George were accidentally reading the other character’s lines. Jerry is paralyzed by uncertainty and indecision as he struggles to differentiate between romantic and platonic intentions behind a beautiful woman’s visit to his apartment while George dolls out dating advice with the confidence of a comedian who’s bagged half of New York City.
Kramer Goes Button-Up at Brandt-Leland
Kramer’s characteristics are the most elastic by design, but the early-rising, suit-and-tie-wearing desk jockey played by Michael Richards in “The Bizarro Jerry” isn’t a character we’re used to seeing on the Seinfeld screen. One of the best running gags in Seinfeld (that is illogically spoiled later in the series) is the fact that Kramer’s professional life is as mysterious and confusing as the character himself, but corporate Kramer was unnervingly normal. Thankfully, his arc as a working stiff was cut short when everyone realized that he never was on the payroll in the first place.
Jerry and Kramer Switched Apartments and Personalities
When a Kenny Rogers Roasters opens up in Jerry and Kramer’s building, the blinding red neon sign that somehow slipped by New York City Code Enforcement forces Kramer to relocate to Jerry’s apartment while Jerry occupies Kramer’s abode — and his mind. In a fascinating examination of “Nature vs. Nurture,” we learn that the geography of the characters’ living space are responsible for their respective peculiarities as the neighbors morph into near clones of each other.
Elaine Devolves into A Gold-Digger When Jerry Buys His Dad A Cadillac
Elaine’s love life could usually be described as heartlessly practical — I mean, who stops for Jujyfruits before going to see their boy toy in the hospital? — but her sudden lust for Jerry once she sees how much cash he has to throw around in “The Cadillac” felt a little too cold and greedy, even for her. On top of that, given Elaine’s general animosity toward everything awful about George, her willingness to hide his attempted fling with Marisa Tomei from his fiancé felt out of place.
George Turns His Life Around By Ignoring His Every Impulse
In one of George Costanza’s finest moments of clarity in the entire series, in “The Opposite,” he realizes that every decision he has ever made has been the wrong one and elects to do the exact opposite of what his gut tells him. This 180 lands him a date with a woman way out of his league (not entirely unusual) and a job with the New York Yankees that launches the next phase of his life — all the while, due to Jerry’s “Even Stevens” principle, Elaine’s life spirals to the point where she reaches rock bottom as the new George.