Sunday, February 12, 2012
Cosmo Kramer, usually referred to as simply "Kramer", is a fictional character on the American television sitcom Seinfeld (1989–1998), played by Michael Richards. The character is loosely based on comedian Kenny Kramer, Larry David's former neighbor across the hall. Kramer is the neighbor of main character Jerry Seinfeld, residing in Apartment 5B, and is friends with George Costanza and Elaine Benes. Of the series' four central characters, only Kramer has no visible means of support; what few jobs he holds seem to be nothing more than larks. His trademarks include his upright hairstyle and vintage wardrobe, the combination of which led to his categorization as a "hipster doofus"; his taste in fruit; his love of occasional smoking, Cuban cigars in particular; his bursts through Jerry's apartment door; frequent pratfalls and his penchant for nonsensical, percussive outbursts of noise to indicate skepticism, agreement, annoyance, and a variety of other inexplicable responses. He has been described as "an extraordinary cross between Eraserhead and Herman Munster". Kramer appeared in all but two episodes: "The Chinese Restaurant" and "The Pen", in the second and third seasons, respectively. In "The Trip," Kramer says that a man in a park exposed himself to him when he was a young boy. In "The Big Salad" Kramer reveals to Jerry that he grew up in a strict household where he had to be in bed every night by 9:00PM. In "The Letter", Kramer tells two art patrons that he ran away from home at age 17 and stowed away aboard a steamer bound for Sweden. Kramer never completed high school; however, it is made clear in "The Barber" that Kramer has a GED. Kramer was estranged for a long period from his mother, Barbra "Babs" Kramer, who works as a restroom matron at an upscale restaurant. Unlike George Costanza and Jerry Seinfeld, Kramer's character does not have a well-developed network of family members shown in the sitcom. He is the only main character on the show whose father never makes an appearance; however, in "The Chinese Woman," Kramer mentions that he is the last male member of his family, implying that his father passed away. He also mentions in "The Lip Reader" that he has or had a deaf cousin, from whom he learned fluent American Sign Language (but when Kramer attempts to communicate in ASL, he speaks complete gibberish and he cannot correctly translate the ASL he sees others using). During an opening discussion, Kramer reveals to Jerry that in 1979 he was struck on the head by a falling air conditioner while walking on the sidewalk. Jerry asks if that was when Kramer lived in Greenwich Village, to which Kramer replies that he cannot remember. This is discussed in the beginning of "The Little Kicks". In "The Strong Box", it is revealed that Kramer spent a brief time in the Army, although information about this time is "classified".