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The Most Terrible Things George Costanza Ever Did

It's hard to be a worse person than Jerry Seinfeld, Elaine Benes, or Cosmo Kramer, but George Costanza managed to pull it off. Over the course of Seinfeld's nine seasons, Jason Alexander's George schemes, plots, and schmoozes his way in—and out—of all kinds of nasty situations.

And while Seinfeld might be "a show about nothing," George's actions have pretty major consequences. He's directly responsible for at least one death and numerous physical injuries. George is lazy, self-centered, paranoid, cheap, and judgmental—and he knows it. Like he says: "I'm disturbed. I'm depressed. I'm inadequate. I got it all!"

He killed his fiancee

George didn't murder Susan. Yes, he does everything he can to get out of the impending wedding. He asks Susan for a prenuptial agreement. He takes up smoking. But he doesn't try to kill her.

In true George fashion, he's responsible for her death anyway. At the beginning of "The Invitations," the season seven finale, George decides to buy the cheapest envelopes he can find for the couple's wedding invitations, and then leaves Susan to do all the work of sealing and addressing them. It's the last thing she ever does: the envelope glue is toxic, and after repeated exposure to the chemicals, Susan keels over, dead.

That's pretty bad, but George's reaction makes it worse. Instead of wallowing in guilt—or, at the very least, apologizing—George feels relieved (in the finale, the doctor who tended to Susan in the hospital describes George's reaction as "restrained jubilation."). It's a dark moment, even for Seinfeld, and the fans agreed. While viewers happily went along with most of George's terrible schemes, on a DVD special feature, actor Jason Alexander claims that the fans turned on George twice: when he killed Susan, and when he ate an eclair out of the garbage. Because those are two completely comparable things.

He pretended to be handicapped to get a job

Over Seinfeld's nine seasons, George Costanza held down 14 different jobs, ranging from a sitcom writer to a few different stints as a salesman to a paper-pusher for the New York Yankees. That isn't even including the jobs he claims he has (but doesn't), like a marine biologist, an architect, or a journalist.

In the ninth season premiere, "The Butter Shave," George is on the job market again. When he applies for a position at Play Now, a playground equipment company, he gets it—but not because he's the most qualified candidate. See, George is hobbling around on a cane after falling down a flight of stairs in the previous episode, "The Summer of George." The Play Now executives think George is handicapped, and offer the job largely out of pity.

A good person would correct that mistake. But George Costanza is not a good person. When Play Now offers George his own handicap-friendly bathroom, he accepts the job. Soon, he's taking a custom lift instead of the stairs. Fellow employees carry him to his office. After he sprains his good leg, Play Now offers George a motorized cart, meaning he won't have to walk anywhere. He eagerly accepts.

That's his downfall. After crashing into other patients, George finds himself on the wrong end of a motorized cart chase. In order to save himself, George climbs to his feet and starts running, blowing his cover and starting the countdown to the end of his Play Now employment.

He pushed aside the helpless in order to save himself

George Costanza isn't a very good friend or boyfriend, and if he ever has children (and let's hope that never happens), all the evidence indicates he'd be a particularly lousy father, too.

Just watch "The Fire" to see what we mean. In that episode, George dates Robin, a woman with a young son. As a dutiful boyfriend, George attends the kid's birthday party. That's a mistake. Immediately, George picks a fight with the clown after the painted entertainer admits he has no idea who Bozo is—and that's just the beginning. A small fire breaks out in Robin's kitchen, and George freaks out. He sends everyone into a panic by yelling "Fire!" and bolts for the door, shoving everyone—including Robin's elderly mother, a handicapped woman using a walker, and most of the kids—out of his way (he shoves the clown, too, but that requires a slight detour, and might be intentional).

Naturally, Robin doesn't appreciate being left alone to die in a burning apartment, and she promptly dumps George. In the aftermath, a firefighter asks George, "How do you live with yourself?" In a rare moment of self-awareness, George replies, "It's not easy."

He punctured the Bubble Boy's bubble

Technically, this one isn't all on George—it's Susan, George's doomed on-again off-again love interest, who breaks the protective barrier separating the anemic Donald from the germ-filled world around him. Still, it's George who picks a fight with the Bubble Boy in the first place. While playing the world's most awkward game of Trivial Pursuit, George refuses to give the infirm child the points the kid deserves, thanks to a typo on one of the cards that reads "the Moops" rather than "the Moors." The Bubble Boy responds by trying to strangle George. Susan bats at the bubble to free her beau, the plastic bursts and the bubble deflates. At the very least, George earns an assist with this one.

Of course, Donald verbally and emotionally abuses his parents, and makes crude passes at Susan—when the two first meet, he asks Susan to take off her top—putting him in rarified company: compared to most of George's victims, the Bubble Boy deserves his fate. On the other hand, even as the Bubble Boy is stretchered into an ambulance, George still refuses to admit that "the Moors" is the correct answer.

He tried to steal an injured man's girlfriend and removed his IV

In "The English Patient," George meets Danielle, who tells George he looks exactly like her boyfriend, Neil—except that George is taller and in better shape. If you know the deeply insecure George, you can probably guess what's coming. While he's interested in Danielle—who, let's face it, is way out of George's league—he's infatuated by Neil. In fact, George won't rest until he meets his shorter, less fit doppelgänger, even if it means giving up the opportunity to get to know Danielle better.

Eventually, he succeeds—kind of. Neil ends up in the hospital, thanks to a subplot about Kramer hiring "Cuban" workers (who are actually Dominicans pretending to be Cubans) making explosive crepes. One of the crepes bursts open and scalds Neil's face, and doctors wrap his face in bandages. As a result, not only does George miss out on seeing what Neil looks like, but sympathy compels Danielle to stay with her current boyfriend, who she takes to London for medical treatment. After Danielle makes her choice, Neil leans over to George and whispers, "I win."

But George gets the last laugh. With Neil stuck in bed, George calmly removes Neil's IV drip before leaving the hospital. It probably doesn't kill the man, but it likely causes him quite a bit of pain. Naturally, George doesn't care.

He drugged his boss

Most people probably remember "The Revenge" as the episode in which George quits his job after he's banned from using the executive toilet, regrets his choice, and shows up the next Monday like nothing happened.

That's dumb—although, reportedly, Seinfeld co-creator Larry David did the exact same thing in real life—but it isn't evil. The bad stuff comes later. Understandably, George's boss isn't pleased with Mr. Costanza's behavior, and replies to George's scheme with an insult. George decides to take revenge. With Elaine's help, he drugs his boss' drink at a party. When the boss offers George his job back, George tries to stop the drink from reaching his superior's lips. When the same boss welcomes George back to the company with a snide speech, George changes his mind and lets nature take its course.

We never learn exactly what the drug does, but whatever it is, it isn't good. The next time we see George, he's looking for jobs again. Mission accomplished, and job triumphantly lost—for a second time.

He tried to cheat on his fiancee

As mentioned before, George isn't long-term relationship material. That's never more clear than in Seinfeld's seventh season, which begins with George proposing to Susan, and ends with her unfortunate demise. In between, George does everything he can to prove he isn't worth Susan's time—including trying to cheat on her with a Hollywood celebrity.

In the two-part episode "The Cadillac," George learns from one of Elaine's friends that Marisa Tomei, star of My Cousin Vinny and The Untamed Heart and the future Aunt May in Spider-Man: Homecoming, has a thing for quirky, bald men. George is immediately infatuated. Much to Susan's confusion, George spends an increasing amount of time watching Tomei's movies, and ultimately gets his hands on her phone number. With Elaine's help, he meets Marisa in the park for a date, which goes exceptionally well—until George admits that he's engaged. Tomei punches him and leaves. He gets punched again when Susan, who thinks George is sleeping with Elaine, catches George in a lie. Remarkably, she doesn't break up with him on the spot, calling her judgment into question.

George's obsession doesn't end. After Susan dies, the very first thing he does is call Marisa Tomei again to ask for another date. Appropriately, she hangs up on him, ending the entire would-be affair.

He made up a charity to avoid buying gifts

George isn't just a lying, scheming, self-righteous creep. He's also a notorious cheapskate, and his penny-pinching ways tend to result in some of his worst behavior. While the budget envelopes that kill Susan are by far the worst example of George's self-serving frugality, his miserliness gets him in trouble again in the season nine episode "The Strike."

It's the holiday season in The Seinfeld universe, which means it's time to give gifts to family, friends, and fellow employees. Naturally, George Costanza is having none of it. Instead of giving actual presents, he hands out cards letting his co-workers know he's made a donation in their name to "The Human Fund" (slogan: "Money for People"). It's a generous gift, but there's a big problem: The Human Fund is a fictional group that only exists in George's imagination. It isn't a real charity, but it is a great way for George to get credit for gift-giving without paying a cent.

Of course, like most of George's schemes, it backfires. When his boss tries to make a donation to the Human Fund, he learns the charity is fraudulent, and George has to cover by bringing his superior to the Costanza family's annual Festivus celebration. Still, George did some good. In the real world, The Human Fund became a real thing—and, yes, the Seinfeld connection is 100% intentional.

He bought a disabled woman a broken wheelchair

When George isn't pushing handicapped people out of the way while escaping fires or, y'know, pretending to be one of them, he's making their lives miserable in other ways. In the aptly titled episode "The Handicap Spot," George decides to leave his car in the titular parking place instead of waiting to find a legal spot a crowded lot.

When he and the rest of the gang return, they find an angry mob waiting. Apparently, because George hogged the handicap spot, a disabled woman named Lola had to settle for a spot far away from the store's entrance and suffered from a wheelchair accident as a result. While George, Jerry, Elaine, and Kramer hide and survive, the car—George's father's—doesn't. In their absence, the mob tears it to pieces.

Things get even worse when Kramer visits Lola in the hospital. Kramer falls for Lola hard and insists that they buy her a new wheelchair to apologize for the accident. But wheelchairs, they soon learn, are expensive. Instead of a top-of-the-line model, the pair settle on a second-hand chair lacking most modern features. And by "modern features," we mean things like brakes. Lola shuts Kramer down as soon as she exits the hospital, but it's not long before she's right back where she started. The budget wheelchair has defective brakes, and Lola zooms down a hill shortly after she's discharged, injuring herself all over again.

He let a serial killer escape

Sometimes, George gets in trouble all on his own. Sometimes, he's just in the wrong place at the wrong time. It's the latter in the fourth season episode, "The Trip," which takes George and Jerry to Los Angeles. While they're ostensibly in La La Land so Jerry can perform on The Tonight Show, most of the excursion involves the nefarious Smog Strangler, a serial killer who's prowling the Los Angeles streets. Thanks to some very Seinfeld-ian shenanigans, Kramer ends up getting fingered as the murderer, and it's up to George and Jerry to clear his name.

A police cruiser picks up George and Jerry and takes them to the station. The cops catch a carjacker while en route, however, forcing him to cuddle up in the back seat with an unhappy George. As the journey continues, Jerry and the man get in an argument about tipping—Jerry's too cheap, the carjacker says. The trip gets interrupted again when a police alert claims that the Smog Strangler is in the area. Jerry and George accompany the police to Kramer's apartment, leaving the carjacker alone—and free to escape.

Of course, the carjacker is the real Smog Strangler. He kills someone while Kramer is in custody, clearing the latter's name, and the whole crew returns to New York. Meanwhile, the Smog Strangler continues to prey on hapless Angelenos—but, as the concluding news report notes, at least he tips well.