Don't Be a George, Be a Kramer (or Be a Little of Both)
Roger Stringer / January 9, 2017
6 min read
If anybody asked me, I have always denied this, and I have hated to admit it but I am secretly a closet Seinfeld fan.
Every week, I would tune in to watch Jerry, George, Kramer, and Elaine run into new messes.
Seinfeld ran for 9 seasons from 1989 until 1998 and was billed as a show about nothing. There was something about a tv show about nothing that made it worth watching every week.
Who are these people? And why do we care?
The four main characters of Seinfeld always struck me as being more realistic than most TV show characters. It's hard to explain, but there's just enough realism to each character than it gives the show a better feel.
In fact, the realism of these characters is what prompted this post.
Since this show was from the 90s, maybe you aren't as familiar with them. Just to recap who the main characters are (for anyone who's not familiar with the show):
Jerry Seinfeld a "minor celeb" stand-up comedian who is often depicted as "the voice of reason" amidst the general insanity generated by the people in his world.
Elaine Benes is Jerry's ex-girlfriend and later friend. She is attractive and genial, while also being humorous, arrogant and occasionally impulsive. She sometimes has a tendency to be too honest with people, which often gets her into trouble.
Cosmo Kramer is Jerry's "wacky neighbor." At times, he appears naïve, gullible, and ignorant, and at other times, intelligent, understanding, and well-read; similarly, he is exaggeratedly successful, socially, with his charisma and laid-back personality.
George Costanza is Jerry's best friend and has been since high school. He is miserly, dishonest, petty and envious of others' achievements. He is depicted as a loser who is perpetually insecure about his capabilities.
They sound pretty typical right?
At some point in our lives, we've all met someone like these characters.
Heck, at some point in our lives, we've all been one of these characters
Each of these characters has their good traits, and their bad traits, which makes each one more adjusted to different situations, and everyone can relate to at least one of them.
So why would you want to be the wacky one?
First, let's look at George. George is who you are when you feel jealous of others' successes, rather than being supportive or when you yourself have no support and you feel insecure about your abilities.
You feel like the entire world is out to get you and anything is up for grabs if you can just grab it.
Most of George's successes are things he ends up lucking into mostly by chance, and which he inevitably manages to mess up due to his own insecurities, basically, he goes about his daily activities fully expecting to mess up while at the same time, saying he won't.
These factors make George unreliable, and the last person you'd want to go to for any problems, or anything at all.
This is also not how you want to feel or behave. This is a mindset that is guaranteed to be a way to lose (which you can see over and over with this character).
Whereas Kramer.... Kramer is unassuming, his character is quirky and goes between being smart and understanding, always supporting his friends and coworkers in their successes. Even if Kramer doesn't understand something (and let's face it, he usually doesn't understand it), he's still the one who people go to when they need something.
Kramer's way of thinking is to let things happen and deal with them as needed. Knowing full well that while he may not always come out on top, he's still managing better than others and that is just fine by him.
Basically, Kramer's way of thinking is not overthinking the problem, and he's the happiest of anyone he knows
Hold up, what about Jerry and Elaine?
Elaine tends to be that arrogant friend who has to make everything a joke, often at the expense of others. She's that friend who is brutally honest with everyone and doesn't hold her words in, that friend who'll rush headlong into something without thinking and end up trying to run away from the consequences. And let's not even go there with her dancing skills.
This makes her another type of person who you do not really want to be.
Finally, we have Jerry...
Jerry is that friend, the one who tries to be the voice of reason amongst all the insanity, but most of the time, he's really the crazy one because he's afraid to really put himself out there and hides it behind his jokes and sarcastic words of wisdom.
Neither of these two characters is who we want to be either.
Do you want to be that friend who is brutally honest about everything? Even to the point of being mean about it?
Or do you want to be that friend who always has some sage advice that 98% of the time will lead you astray?
Of course not, neither of these two characters will come out on top ever.
In the end, we're all a little bit like each of these characters.
Every one of us, we are all:
- Jealously Insecure like George
- Quirkily Supportive like Kramer
- Impulsively Honest like Elaine
- Crazily Afraid like Jerry
The question is: Who is it better to be more like?
Honestly, I would always pick Kramer since he comes out the happiest of the bunch, but in the end, maybe it's better to be a little of every character?
And let's not forget, in the end, all four of them ended up the losers, so maybe it's better to be a little bit like each, while also not being too much like any single one character.