An Unforgettable (And Dark) Seinfeld Fan Theory
The heart of Seinfeld may be Elaine Benes, and the brain may be Jerry himself, but the kidneys and bladder are definitely George Costanza, everybody's favorite velvet-loving, Twix-craving, Art Vandelay-inventing, Festivus-hating, short, stocky, bald man. Before the internet got a hold of every minor neurosis that one could have and wrung them dry for clicks, George was here to show that, even though someone has a lot of insecurities, they still probably won't be that cool. Oh, and he may have caused his brother's suicide.
In his session with a psychic in the third season episode "The Suicide," the psychic asks George whether the name "Pauline" means anything to him, and he recalls that his brother impregnated a woman named Pauline. Wait, George has a brother?
George Would Totally Cause This
It stands to reason that George called his brother after his psychic visit to tell him about how Pauline had come up, which would remind the brother of his terrible impregnation mistake. If you've watched any part of Seinfeld, you know that committing social blunders like calling someone to remind them of a bad choice they made and could be ashamed of is just one of George's inexplicable Earthly duties.
Again, one of many.
If you've never watched Seinfeld, just think about that friend that most people have who, in an attempt to console you after a breakup, will remind you that he didn't just cheat on you with one girl. He did it with six, so it's really his fault. This friend is constantly pitiable in his attempts to relate to a world that baffles, overtakes, and rejects him. This friend isn't so much a person as he is a "How Could This Go Wrong?" test subject in the grand experiment of life. George exists to filter potentially positive situations through himself until they become unrecognizable and awkwardly horrific. This would not change with something like the reminder of Pauline. And overcome with regret and guilt, the brother decides to end it all.
George's brother commits suicide, and it is essentially George's fault. Therefore, George's behavior, family dynamic, and almost all of the Costanzaic depressiveness of the show is given a shocking context.
You know, besides the Feats of Strength.
It Would Explain Why That Episode Is Called "The Suicide"
No one actually commits suicide in it. The only thing we see is Jerry's neighbor Martin attempting suicide and recovering from it. And while it may seem far-fetched, the episode titles of Seinfeld usually refer to a very literal thing happening in the episode. Sure, the conversations and the events that surround those literal things usually amount to petty nothingness, but there is a suicide going on. And there is no place like Seinfeld for something tragic like George's brother offing himself to happen while the four main members of the cast bicker over something entirely inconsequential.
"How can you talk about airline food at a time like this!?"
It Would Explain Why George's Brother Is Never Mentioned Again
Never. Just a very brief, passing reference in "The Parking Space" episode, which aired not long after this one. In it, George very hastily, yet emotionally mentions that his brother never paid for parking and therefore George wouldn't either.
George: I can't park in a garage.
George: I don't know; I just can't. Nobody in my family can pay for parking, it's a sickness. My father never paid for parking -- my mother, my brother, nobody. We can't do it.
"Literally, in my brother's case."
That would certainly explain George's intense zeal in making sure he gets the free space he wants, as a tribute to his recently deceased brother. Also, it would be typical of George to never be able to come to terms with what he did to his brother and never be able to properly ask for help in dealing with it. Outbursts, like this one over something as frivolous as parking, are the only coping mechanism that he has. His brother passes without ever being able to do something as simple as pay for parking. Why would George be able to?
Yeah, that's what I thought.
It Would Explain Why George Is The Way He Is In The Very Next Episode (And Others)
There are definite signs that support this theory in the episode "The Fix-Up," which came immediately after "The Suicide." George is clearly feeling depressed and useless from the outset. His first line in the "The Fix-Up" is "Why even try anymore?" which not only seems to be George's personal mantra but would also certainly match the feeling he'd get just after a tragic death/funeral has taken place.
As would George's wildly uncharacteristic act at the end of the episode in which, upon learning he may have gotten a woman pregnant himself, he puts the woman's needs ahead of his own. He's extremely excited to find out that he is able to impregnate someone, but this joy goes past the basic pride that comes from knowing that you have proactive sperm. He rushes to her and promises to do whatever he can to take care of the baby, only to be told by the woman that she just got her period. A man discovers that he still may never have offspring or anything that will unconditionally love him. The signature Seinfeld bass line plays. Comedy!
"That's gotta hurt!"
So it could be deduced that his brother's impregnation mistake prompts George to handle his own differently and that the grief of his brother's passing makes him shift in personality and become a lot more caring and empathetic, even if momentarily. It takes a hell of a lot for something to make George act un-George-like, but trying to right a wrong of that magnitude could possibly do it.
Or he could just stop jerking off all the time. That works too.
Looking beyond that, George mentions in "The Limo" episode, very soon after "The Fix-Up," that he hurt his hamstring in a hotel room bed. Why would George have stayed in a hotel room? He's unemployed, so the idea that he rented one on a business trip is out. It's common to stay in a hotel room for an out-of-town funeral, which would've been his brother's. And considering George's relationship with his parents, it's also not surprising that he'd want to stay anywhere that wasn't near them. Speaking of ...
It Would Explain Basically Everything About George's Parents
Why else would they be inexplicably cold and hostile to George all the time? To the point where they even disown him! It's clearly residual rage because he caused the death of their other son, and it'd explain why they're so loving and gushing toward George's former schoolmate Lloyd Braun, as he clearly reminds them of the son they lost. He reminds them of simpler times, when they had one good son and one sentient anxiety glob named George and could consider that, in a glass-half-full scenario, they at least broke even. However, when George is all by himself, they're quick to remove him from the family. They'd rather cut their losses than be stuck with the one son that not only drove their favored son to kill himself but is an apparent failure in his own right.
"In other words, geriatric boning is preferable to you."
The death of a son would certainly prompt heightened sentimentality, which the Costanza parents demonstrate by continuing to display baby pictures throughout the house. And it doesn't stop there; not only is Frank Costanza's constant anger a potent clue but so is his prolific hoarding of TV Guides and old clothes. Also, his inability to part with the broken screen door represents something that is way more meaningful that just an old man who refuses to get rid of his old shit. Hoarding is a confirmed reaction to significant trauma, and not much is more traumatic than burying a good son and keeping a George.
Except maybe sending 16 of your men to the latrine.
As for Estelle, you not only have her extreme sensitivity and melodrama but the very telling indicator of assuming that something bad has happened or that someone is dead whenever George decides to call her. The second clip is from the aforementioned "The Limo" episode, so the timing works out. And for someone so continuously heartbroken over a child's passing, it wouldn't be a stretch to say that she associates all of George's calls with a sad call that she once got from him.
"No, ma, it's just neo-Nazis. Everything's fine!"
It Would Explain Why There's Room At The Costanzas' Dining Table For Another Person
Trying to add another chair to an elderly person's dining room arrangement is an insurmountable task. I've invited girlfriends to dinners at my grandparents' house, and they're doomed to stand up or sit on the couch in another room forever. It's why they set up "kids tables" for the children a few feet away. Not because they don't want adult talk seeping like poison out of their mouths and into the ears of babes but because, fuck you, new changes. We're not setting up another spot (or taking one away) at this main table. This table has been the same way for anywhere between 20 and 50 years, and they're going to have to bulldoze the whole house if they want to alter it in any way.
"ARE YOU USING HIS SPOON?! DON'T YOU EVER USE HIS SPOON!"
The Costanzas, who we've already proven can hold a grudge, could definitely keep around an open space in the dining room that was once inhabited by their No. 1 spawn. And if they follow the trend set by old people everywhere, that empty seat is going to haunt George for as long as that house still stands. Also:
RIP George's unseen sibling. May you find the peace that will always elude your sad sack of a brother.
We suspect you looked something like this.
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