List of major, recurring and minor characters from Seinfeld
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Jerry Seinfeld (Jerry Seinfeld)
Elaine: "Everything always has to be so jokey with you."
Jerry: "I'm a comedian..."
- Anti-Hero: Type V Why does he fight the antagonist(s)? Because he's either bored, obsessed or just picky.
- As Himself
- Author Avatar
- Berserk Button: He finds it very emasculating whenever someone he's hanging out with gets asked out on a date right in front of him.
Jerry: How do you know we're not together?!
- Born Lucky: Jerry was at his funniest when everything goes right for him, which is often. Much of an episode is dedicated to reiterating the fact that everything consistently turns out all right for him, and nobody else. And then he gets thrown into prison with the gang for a year. But before then, he's pretty darn lucky.
Elaine: (exasperated) You know, one of these days, something terrible is going to happen to you! IT HAS TO!
Jerry: (nonchalant) No, I'll be just fine.
- The Casanova: Had relationships with around 75 women over the course of the series.
- Catch Phrase: "That's a shame."
- "Hello... Newman."
- "I don't want to be an X!"
- Control Freak
- Deadpan Snarker: Jerry is made of snark. It's his defining quality — for example, when he and Kramer started taking on each other's personalities due to an apartment switch, Kramer's non-existent snark level immediately shot Up to Eleven.
- Easily Forgiven
- Four-Temperament Ensemble: Phlegmatic
- Informed Judaism
- It's All About Me
- It Amused Me: As far as Jerry is concerned, his friends exist to provide him with enjoyment at their misery.
George: What gives you pleasure?
Listening to you. I listen to this
for fifteen minutes and I'm on top of the world. Your misery is my pleasure.
- Jews Love to Argue
- Lack of Empathy: And unlike George and Elaine, who if pressed will at least acknowledge that they are horrible people, Jerry seems to relish it.
- Manipulative Bastard: The real life Jerry has stated that if the character Jerry sees his friends about to do something that will backfire, he will often push them towards doing it in order to watch the results for his own amusement.
- Minor Flaw, Major Breakup: The other main characters do this as well, but Jerry takes the cake for breaking up with a girl for having no flaws, which he considered a flaw.
- Mistaken for Gay: With George in "The Outing". In the same episode, he mentions that a lot of people think he's gay because he's thin, single, and neat.
- He is offended at not being Mistaken for Gay when a gay man he is talking to suddenly gets approached and asked out on a date by another man, which presses his Berserk Button (see above).
- Neat Freak: Taken to near-pathological levels when he accidentally knocks his girlfriend's toothbrush into the toilet and she uses it before he gets a chance to tell her. After sanitizing her mouth using every product on the store shelf and even making her rinse with bleach, he still can't bring himself to kiss her. When the girl finds out what happened, she gets revenge by putting something of his in the toilet and not telling him what it was. He goes absolutely insane trying to figure it out. Eventually she tells him that it was the toilet brush, which makes him very relieved... because it's something that he can replace easily.
- Nice Character, Mean Actor: While the character Jerry Seinfeld is rarely what you'd call nice, in interviews, at least, the real Jerry Seinfeld comes off as quite a bit more acidic than his aloof TV persona.
- Nice Jewish Boy: Subverted. Jerry's mother can't be persuaded that her son isn't a nice Jewish boy, although he very obviously is not.
- No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: He tries to help Babu save his restaurant and avoid getting deported. Both fail due to outside circumstances and Babu later testifies against him, sealing his fate at the trial. They were probably the only genuinely good and unselfish things Jerry ever tried to do.
- One-Hour Work Week: Outside of the openings, he's rarely seen performing standup (which is supposed to be his livelihood) and even more rarely seen writing new material, something which is often lampshaded by other characters. Despite this he's very successful at it, makes the most money of the group, and regularly appears on shows like Leno and Letterman.
- Only Sane Man: Most of the time.
- Pet the Dog: Despite his many faults, he is very generous with his money and gives a lot of very nice gifts to his friends and family. Of course, Seinfeld being the kind of show it is, it usually ends up backfiring horribly on everybody.
- Really Gets Around: All of the main characters do to a certain extent, but he had more girlfriends than any of them.
- Sex God: His "Move" is famous. The only exception is Elaine, who claims she faked orgasm.
- Status Quo Is God: Seems to have this as a superpower, causing Kramer to call him "Even Steven". Everything tends to even out for him and leave him no better or worse than when he started. To test this, Elaine takes 20 bucks from him and tosses it out the window, and sure enough when Jerry puts on his jacket to leave he puts his hand in the pocket and finds 20 bucks. This also explains how he's dated so many women. Whenever he has a break-up he'll always find a new woman very soon.
- Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist: Jerry is a selfish jerk, who is amused by the misery of his friends.
"For I am Costanza, Lord of the Idiots."
- Ambiguously Jewish: On the one hand, he has an Italian last name and his father is allegedly a member of the Knights of Columbus. On the other hand, his mother fits the Jewish Mother stereotype, he's played by a Jewish actor and he is the avatar of co-creator Larry David, who is also Jewish.
- And Starring: "And Jason Alexander as George".
- Anti-Hero: Type V
- Author Avatar: Basically a more evil version of co-creator Larry David.
- Blind Without 'Em
- Breakout Character
- Brilliant but Lazy: George comes up with surprisingly brilliant schemes, but for the purposes of completely pointless things. One can only wonder how successful he'd be if he put the effort into work that he puts into avoiding work.
- In "The Abstinence", it's shown that if he stops obsessing about sex and uses his brain for other things, he becomes a genius (although that episode shows that this applies to all men, not just George).
- Referenced in one of the few pieces of Jerry's standup that had to do with the plot: "I've got a friend on welfare right now, and if they had any idea of the time and effort that he has put into keeping this thing going, I'm sure they'd give him a raise. He's down at the office every day, making all kinds of excuses. He's doing an incredible job not working."
- Butt Monkey: Nothing goes right for him. Ever.
- Catch Phrase: "George is getting upset!" is a minor one.
- The Chew Toy
- Consummate Liar
- Deadpan Snarker
- Dirty Coward: Is willing to shove old ladies and children to the floor in order to get away from a fire.
- The Ditz: Self-proclaimed 'Lord of the Idiots'. He's really not exaggerating. In general, it seems to be more an issue of really bad decision making, and not a question of intelligence. When he wants to be, he's brilliant.
- Evil Is Petty
- Four-Temperament Ensemble: Melancholic (exhibiting most of the negative traits and just about none of the positive ones)
- The Friend Nobody Likes: The other three seem to only keep him around so their own lives look better by comparison (and in Jerry's case because his misery brings them amusement).
She's the loser of the group. Every group has someone that they all make fun of... Like us with Elaine.
- Go-to Alias: Art Vandelay
- Groin Attack: He never carries a pen because he's afraid of it accidentally puncturing his scrotum.
- Hilariously Abusive Childhood
- Freudian Excuse: It's implied that his childhood is what caused his very warped view on the world and humanity. In his eyes, everyone else is a selfish jerk, so to get ahead, he needs to be the biggest and most selfish jerk of them all.
- Hollywood Dateless: Is bald, overweight, often unemployed, and his personality flaws are too long to list. The show draws heavy attention to what a loser he is, yet he had sex with 43 (very attractive) women over the course of the show.
- It's All About Me: Upon hearing about Susan's death, his reaction is to get a cup of coffee with his friends.
- Jerk with a Heart of Jerk: Best seen when he gets Susan Killed Off for Real and shows no remorse.
- Kavorka Man: Kramer is the Trope Namer, but it applies to him too. He has dated many attractive women during the series, despite being a short, stocky bald man with virtually no positive qualities.
- Lack of Empathy
- The Lancer: To Jerry.
- Large Ham
- Laser-Guided Karma: After indirectly killing Susan and acting elated after her death, he is put on the board for the Susan Ross Foundation, taking away much of his free time and leaving him with the constant reminder of how wealthy he would have been had she not died. This may have even been the entire point of the Foundation, since Susan's parents never liked George very much, and also suspected (along with everyone else on the board) that he murdered Susan deliberately.
- After faking involuntary muscle spasms in his arm in front of Lloyd Braun, Lloyd gets him a doctor's appointment, which George has to go to in order to keep up the act. The doctor examines George, deduces that he's faking, and angrily tells him to get out. As George leaves, he bangs his arm, which causes him to have real spasms exactly like he was faking before.
- Lazy Bum
- Mean Character, Nice Actor: Jason Alexander is, by all accounts, the exact opposite of George in real life. As an amusing demonstration of this, during the show's early days Alexander often complained to Larry David and the other writers that the character and his associated plots were too unrealistic because he couldn't fathom how a real person could behave like that, at which point David told him those stories were based on events from his own life.
- Mistaken for Gay: With Jerry in "The Outing".
- Obfuscating Disability: He had to walk with a cane for a while when he was injured in "The Summer Of George". When he goes in for a job interview in "The Butter Shave", the cane makes his new boss think he is disabled. Before George can clear things up, the boss mentions that to accommodate his "disability" they would be giving him his own private bathroom, among other things, so he starts faking it. He even goes as far as having a secretary carry him to his office.
- Pet the Dog: His genuine guilt over and desire to help a busboy that he accidentally got fired. It's one of the only times in the series where he shows any sign of empathy.
- Real Men Wear Velvet: Or at least they would, if it was socially acceptable. He finally manages to live out his fantasy of dressing in all velvet when dating a girl who doesn't care about physical appearance. Unfortunately for him, he gets Squicked when she starts to suck on a peach pit from a peach he ate, and breaks up with her.
- The Scrooge: Even when he is making money, he's still incredibly tightfisted. This has included searching for money under vending machines and even taking tips back from waiters.
- The Slacker
- Small Name, Big Ego: Early in season 4 when they agree to write the pilot for NBC and he thinks he's not getting enough money. Specifically, he seems to think he deserves as much money as Ted Danson.
- The Sociopath
- Suddenly Shouting: "George is getting upset!"
- This Loser Is You (Until he starts doing the Opposite).
- Throw the Dog a Bone: Sure he probably deserves the bad things that happen to him more than the other three but that said, he does get a pretty big win in the last episode of season 5 when doing everything the opposite of what his instinct tells him gets him a new high profile job (with the New York Yankees!), a beautiful girlfriend and finally gets to move back out of his parents house. Pretty much the only episode to have a happy ending for George.
- Trademark Favorite Food: Chocolate syrup, specifically Bosco, as Kramer deduces.
- The Unfavorite: Somehow manages to be this despite being an only child. His parents (or at least his mother) clearly favour Lloyd Braun over him.
- Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist: Easily the worst of the four main characters, he's selfish, insensitive, untrustworthy, abrasive, cowardly, dishonest, annoying, cheap, lazy and stupid. And is a borderline sociopath and a Villain Protagonist.
- You Have Boobs, I Must Obey!: "Every woman on the face of the Earth has complete control over my life... and yet, I want them all. Is that irony?"
"I can't spend the rest of my life coming into this stinking apartment every ten minutes to pore over the excruciating minutia of every single daily event."
- Aborted Declaration of Love: 'I've always loved you...nited airlines.'
- Brainy Brunette
- Break the Haughty: Often happens to her.
- Brutal Honesty
- Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Two different jobs despite her pettiness and insanity and held them for years. Pendant Publishing was the publishing company she worked at in the early years, under Mr. Lippman. J. Peterman was when she wrote for the Peterman Catalogue. In both it's suggested she's pretty good at her job.
- Butt Monkey
- Catch Phrase: "Get OUT!"
- The Chick
- Cloudcuckoolander: Not as much as Kramer but she has had a number of these moments as well.
- Deadpan Snarker
- Drives Like Crazy
- Four-Temperament Ensemble: Choleric
- Giftedly Bad: With her dancing skills, which George likens to "a full-body dry heave set to music."
- Hair-Trigger Temper
- Ironic Fear: Loves animals, but Elaine is usually seen either giving them harm or running from them.
- It's All About Me
- The Lad-ette: Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld told the writers to write her as if she were a guy.
- Large Ham
- Naked Freak-Out: After Kramer sees her (off-camera) in "The Truth."
- One of the Boys: Possibly Trope Codifier as it was groundbreaking at the time. In one episode she realizes she has no female friends, to which Kramer replies "Of course you don't. You're a man's woman. You hate other women, and they hate you."
- Pointy-Haired Boss: Whenever she is given even a hint of authority she becomes insufferable.
- Paper Tiger: Elaine can be very mean, tough, and enjoys seeing people run for their lives. However, when push comes to shove, Elaine is very cowardly and loses her edge.
- Small Name, Big Ego
- The Smurfette Principle
- Tears of Fear: When Elaine thinks she is about to die in the finale episode.
- Tsundere: Type A.
- Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist
- Women Are Wiser: Elaine likes to think she's this. In reality, she's just as much of a petty, vindictive schemer as the others.
Jerry: "You sure have a lot of friends; how come I never meet any of these people?"
Kramer: "They wonder why they never meet you."
- Anti-Hero: Type II
- Big Eater: Usually of Jerry's food, since he's apparently too lazy (or unemployed) to shop for himself.
- Breakout Character
- Brilliant but Lazy
- Brutal Honesty: Very often. Particulary with George's large-nosed girlfriend
- Bungling Inventor: Every once in a while he comes up with an invention which he plans to use to start up his company "Kramerica Industries", but they never turn out so well.
- He had the idea for a pizza place where you make your own pizza, which he almost got off the ground with help from Poppy, but the two got into an argument about pizza toppings reminiscent of a pro-life vs. pro-choice argument and abandoned the whole thing.
- In one episode he suggests a restaurant that just serves variations of Peanut Butter and X sandwiches called "PB@J's". A few years later such a restaurant opened in California.
- In another episode he and Frank come up with an idea for a male-brassiere that could stand to make them millions and has a bra company very eager to buy the concept off them, but it falls through simply because the pair can't agree on what to call it.
- Bunny-Ears Lawyer: When he applies himself to something, he usually does very well.
- The Casanova: Claims to be this several times but Kramer had the fewest onscreen girlfriends of all the main characters, likely simply for the reason that his personal life is explored the least on the show. This is made up for the fact that he tends to get much better (and harder to get) girlfriends than Jerry and George. Hell, the man got Uma Thurman's and Elle MacPherson's phone numbers, just like that. After all, "he's Kramer".
- Catch Phrase: "Giddyup!"
- Character Tic: He twitches and spasms so often it could be considered exercise.
- Conspiracy Theorist: Has espoused a variety of crazy ideas, such as that the government is secretly experimenting on pig men and are withholding a cure for cancer. On occasion, he turns out to be right.
- Drop-In Character
- Dynamic Entry: One of his trademarks.
- Early Installment Weirdness: Is depicted as a shut-in named "Kessler" who hasn't left the apartment building in years and owns a dog in the pilot.
- Embarrassing First Name: Cosmo, though he eventually embraces it.
- One-Hour Work Week: Try no-hour work week.
- Four-Temperament Ensemble: Sanguine
- "Friends" Rent Control: Out of the show's nine year run, Kramer has held a legitimate job for all of four episodes. In one case, he wasn't even an employee of the company he was working at.
- This is lampshaded by George when Kramer goes to a baseball fantasy camp.
"Why does Kramer need to go to a fantasy camp? His whole life is a fantasy camp. People should plunk down $2000 to live like him for a week. Do nothing, fall ass-backwards into money, mooch food off your neighbours, and have sex without dating. Now that's a fantasy camp!"
- The Gambling Addict
- The Ghost: None of his oft-mentioned friends (Bob Sacamano, Jay Remenschneider and Lomez) have appeared on screen. This is Justified by Jerry himself in Entertainment Weekly's "Special Seinfeld Issue," May 4, 1998, covering the entire run leading up to the finale. In the "Introduces" section of the review of "The Pony Remark," Jerry said that cousin Jeffrey and Bob Sakamono were never seen because "they became too large in our imagination for anyone to fill those shoes."
- Lampshaded in one episode, where Jerry wonders to Kramer why he's never met any of these friends of his. Kramer responds that they're all wondering why they've never met him.
- Go-to Alias: H.E. Pennypacker, as well as the last name "van Nostrand". Over the course of the show he's been Doctor, Martin, and Professor Peter van Nostrand.
- Hipster: According to Elaine.
- Honor Before Reason: In fact, of the main characters, he's the only one with any genuine moral code.
- Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: He's 6"4" so most of his relationships fall into this.
- Idiot Houdini: Much to his friends' chagrin, as they all avert this trope.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: The only one to ever show genuine kindness or depth.
- Jewish Mother: Briefly takes on the characteristics of one while trying to cook a lot of Jewish food for Jewish Singles Night.
Kramer: (to Jerry) "Eat! Eat! You're nothing but skin and bones!"
- Kavorka Man: The Trope Namer
- Kindhearted Simpleton: The only person who cares about his fellow human beings in the franchise... and is portayed as an idiot by Larry David because of it.
- The Klutz
- Large Ham: Easily outstrips any other Large Ham on the show.
- Last Name Basis: Even after his name is discovered.
- Loony Fan: Is nicer to celebrities than he is to his own friends. His slavish devotion to Bette Midler in "The Understudy" stands out particularly.
- Messy Hair
- Morality Pet: A minor one for Jerry, as he lets him use his home and fridge without expecting anything in return.
- Nice Guy: Compared to the other guys? Hell yes.
- No Name Given: Until The Reveal that his first name is Cosmo.
- Show Stopper
- The Slacker: Look at his entry under 'Friends Rent Control' and you'll see how this trope could be renamed The Kramer.
- Small Name, Big Ego: As "The Real J. Peterman".
- Team Dad: He's often quick to lecture his friends on their actions even if he is no better.
- Token Good Teammate: The only member of the group with a conscience.
- Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist: But still the best human being out of the four.
- Wacky Guy
- Where Does He Get All Those Wonderful Toys?: Kramer has stated and been told numerous times that he has no job, but he frequently appears in episodes having purchased some bizarre, completely random, and expensive objects, objects like a professional-grade deli meat slicer ("The Slicer"), boxes and boxes of Cuban cigars ("The Bubble Boy", plus various other episodes), a high-end blazer, golf clubs, and a leather suitcase.
Kramer: Are you sure you don't have a fax machine? Because there's a lot of stuff in my apartment I've never seen before.
Elaine: Then maybe you have a fax machine.
Kramer: (beat) You just blew my mind.
- Why Do You Keep Changing Jobs?
- You Just Had to Say It: "You're as beautiful as any of them... you just need a nose job!" "And you... look just like Jerry." and "Why don't you just give up... Well that's what JERRY says!"
- Zany Scheme: Usually masterminded by him, with Newman's help.
— Multiple Characters
- Ambiguously Jewish
- Jewish Mother: Her ethnicity is not revealed in the show, but she's portrayed by a Jewish actress and acts like a stereotypical Jewish mother.
- One of the strongest pieces of evidence is that she refuses to ride in a Mercedes. If she is Jewish, it's highly likely that she had family affected by the Holocaust, and that's why she hates German cars.
- No Accounting for Taste: She and Frank can't seem to speak to one another without shouting.
Susan Ross (Heidi Swedberg)
- Bi the Way: Briefly becomes a lesbian, but it "didn't take". It's implied that dating George is what drove her to lesbianism, since she hooks up with the woman George dated after her.
- Butt Monkey: Big time, easily the biggest one on the show. Susan goes from being a respected NBC executive to getting vomited on, having her father's cabin burn down, finding out her father was gay, losing her job at NBC, and later getting killed by poisonous envelopes.
- Character Death: Via the toxic glue found in extremely cheap wedding invitations. She and George were expecting about 200 people.
- Control Freak: Constantly, George is such a doormat when it comes to her.
- Dark Comedy: Her death and the gang's reaction to it are the best examples of this in the entire series.
- Bunny-Ears Lawyer
- Department of Redundancy Department: The last word of most of his sentences is often repeated, restated, reiterated.
- Frivolous Lawsuit: Aids Kramer in a number of these, in particular he was very, very eager to "get a piece" of the tobacco industry. These lawsuits always wind up humiliating him due to Kramer's stupidity.
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: An obvious parody of Johnnie Cochran. For the record, Cochran liked the performance quite a bit until Morris was preparing to do commercials as the character, at which point he asked him to stop.
- Token Minority: Only major black recurring character on the show.
"The Soup Nazi" Real name: Yev Kassem
- Appropriated Appellation: Because of his Super OCD.
- Catch Phrase: "NO SOUP FOR YOU!"
- Cloudcuckoolander: Though Kramer claims otherwise, the rest of the cast see him as a super strange soup guy.
- Disproportionate Retribution: If you screw up the ordering procedure, to quote Jerry, "He yells at you, and you don't get your soup." Elaine is banned for a year for doing an impersonation of Al Pacino. Al Yagenah (who served as the inspiration for the Soup Nazi), explained that the reason he has this rule is his soup stand was located in a cold part of town, where patrons had to stand outside before they could enter and order. Customers messing up their order, or requesting a change held up the line.
- Ironic Echo: Has his own "No soup for you!" line thrown back at him by Elaine.
- The Comically Serious:
Alton: We had a funny guy with us in Korea. A tail gunner. They blew his brains all over the pacific. There's nothing funny about that.
- The Dreaded: Both Jerry and George are flat out terrified of him.
George: We can't possibly have dinner with him alone!
Jerry:How are we going to get out of this?
George: We say we're frightened and have to go home!
- Guttural Growler: He has a very raspy voice.