George Louis Costanza is a character in the American television sitcom Seinfeld (1989–1998), played by Jason Alexander. He has variously been described as a "short, stocky, slow-witted, bald man" (by Elaine Benes and Costanza himself), "Lord of the Idiots" (by Costanza himself), and as "the greatest sitcom character of all time". He is friends with Jerry Seinfeld, Cosmo Kramer, and Elaine Benes. George appears in every episode except for "The Pen" (third season). The character was originally based on Seinfeld co-creator Larry David, but surnamed after Jerry Seinfeld's real-life New York friend, Mike Costanza.
George is the son of Frank Costanza (Jerry Stiller) and Estelle Costanza (Estelle Harris). Though he never made an appearance on the show, George has mentioned twice that he has a brother, but also often says he is an only child. Lloyd Braun was the other son his parents wanted. George's best friend Jerry Seinfeld (Jerry Seinfeld) described Frank and Estelle as "psychopaths", and said in "The Chinese Woman" that, if they had divorced when George was young, he "could have been normal". George also describes himself as the result of his parents having stayed together.
In the season four episode "The Junior Mint", he states he grew up in Brooklyn, New York, where he went to public school.In a previous episode he mentions he went to high school on Long Island. He met Jerry Seinfeld in a gym locker room, and they remained friends from that point on. George and Jerry both attended John F. Kennedy High School, class of 1971. During their high school years, George and Jerry frequently hung out at a pizza place called Mario's Pizzas, where George, having the highest score 'GLC', would play Frogger. George was picked on by his gym teacher Mr. Heyman (Biff Yeager), who intentionally mispronounced his name as "Can't stand ya" and gave him wedgies.
George has three known cousins: Shelly, who appeared in "The Contest", George Howarth, and Rhisa, who made an appearance in "The Junk Mail". George talks to his parents about his family in "The Money", during which it is revealed that he had an "Uncle Moe", who "died a young man" and an "Aunt Baby", who died at the age of 7 of internal problems. It is also revealed that his mother has a "Cousin Henny". In "The Doll", it is revealed that Frank Costanza was born in Italy and still has a cousin, Carlo, who lives there. As of the first-season episode "The Robbery", George had a living grandmother and grandfather whom he had recently visited, though it is never clarified if these were his mother's or his father's parents.
Art Vandelay first appears in the episode "The Stake Out", in which George and Jerry need an excuse to give to a woman as to why they are waiting in the lobby of the office building where she worked. Their excuse is that they were meeting Art Vandelay, an importer-exporter who works in the same building, for lunch. In one instance ("The Boyfriend"), George tells the unemployment office he is close to getting a job at "Vandelay Industries," a latex manufacturer. The name is also used as a fake boyfriend of Elaine. Here, Art is an importer/exporter and used as a cover story for when George is going on a date with Marisa Tomei, claiming that George and Elaine are meeting to discuss a problem with her boyfriend so that Susan does not think that George is having an affair ("The Cadillac"). George also uses the pseudonym when interviewing for a job with Elaine's boss in "The Red Dot". When asked which authors he reads, the answer is "Art Vandelay" from New York. In "The Serenity Now", George calls up fake customers, one of whom is "Mr. Vandelay", pretending to get computer orders. In "The Bizarro Jerry", George goes to an office and asks for Mr. Vandelay as part of a setup to approach an attractive secretary. Finally, in "The Puerto Rican Day", George pretends to be Vandelay (along with Jerry as Kel Varnsen and Kramer as Pennypacker) to try to sneak into an open house to watch a Mets game that they had left because the team was getting blown out. In the episode "The Finale", the name of the presiding judge is actually Arthur Vandelay, much to George's amazement. George says he thinks it is "good luck" that that is the judge's name.
During the seventh season ("The Pool Guy"), George reveals he has two distinct personas, Relationship George and Independent George. Relationship George, he explains, is the conscientious personality he feels forced to adopt in the presence of his fianceé, Susan. Independent George, on the other hand, is the "real" George. Independent George is composed of a subset of personalities, such as Movie George, Coffee Shop George, Liar George, and Bawdy George. Independent George is the George that Jerry knows and grew up with. George worries that if Susan starts socializing with the group, his two worlds will irrevocably collide, resulting in Relationship George "killing" Independent George. Paraphrasing Abraham Lincoln, he declares, "A George divided against itself cannot stand!"
At one point ("The Maid"), George wants to be known as T-Bone, but his co-workers at Kruger Industrial Smoothing nickname him Koko because of the way he had flailed his arms when demanding the nickname "T-Bone" back from a coworker. George deliberately hires a woman named Coco to work there, only to be nicknamed Gammy instead.
Biff Loman a character from Arthur Miller's "Death of a Salesman" appears for a reference to George in the episode "The Subway". George is on the way to a job interview and Jerry tells him not to whistle in the elevator like Biff did in the book. After a series of events throughout the episode George arrives at the coffee shop wearing only a bed sheet in a toga like fashion, to which Jerry says, "What happened, Biff? Did you whistle on the elevator?" George is also referred to as Biff in "The Boyfriend" by the daughter of his unemployment agent and both "The Pez Dispenser" and "The Visa" by Jerry.