To truly understand the character of George Costanza, you have to understand one thing:

Just because you have no morals, doesn't mean you are the Übermensch.

George has no morals. He lies when necessary. He cheats when it's in his best interest. He steals to further his goals. He uses his friends as stepping stones towards whatever he desires. He does whatever it takes to get whatever he wants, regardless of the consequences.

Still, he fails in most of his missions. That is where the humour in George Costanza manifests itself. The audience enjoys watching him fail time and again with his nefarious schemes. Parking in a handicap spot results in a destroyed car and servitude to his father as payment. Taking an unpurchased book into the washroom eventually leads to an arrest for shoplifting.

But if we continually watched someone fail at EVERY endeavour, the character would grow boring. This is the other part of the laughs in George Costanza. Even when he is bungling and bumbling, somehow, someway, he manages to win once and a while. While perpetuating the lie that he is a marine biologist, he is somehow able to become the hero by rescuing a whale from certain death. When he is at his lowest point and decides that everything he does is wrong, he somehow ends up getting his dream job and working for the New York Yankees.

George Costanza is one of the funniest characters in sitcom history because he represents everything wrong with us, and pays the price for his actions, but still gives us hope because he sometimes gets away with it. He's like the anti-Andy Griffith.

Officially George Costanza is based on Larry David. However, there is much speculation that George Costanza is based largely on a friend named Mike Costanza Seinfeld met while they both attended Queens College. If the similar last names aren't a give away, consider like the George character, Mike is short, stocky, and bald. Mike, like the George character, had a problematic high school teacher who nicknamed him "Can't stand ya". Both Costanzas have a "thing" about parking spaces and bathrooms. Mike was a hand-model at one point and so was the George character. Mike is a real estate agent and George was a realtor in the initial seasons.

Oddly enough, Seinfeld, Larry David, and Castle Rock Entertainment refuse to credit Mike as the inspiration for the role. However, they freely credit Seinfeld's friend Kenny Kramer as the inspiration for the Cosmo Kramer role. The difference is, Castle Rock paid Kenny Kramer money to let them borrow freely from his identity.

About the only bone the Seinfeld camp ever tossed Mike Costanza was he had a bit part in 1992's "The Parking Space" episode. On another episode, the Kramer character enigmatically refers to the George character as "Mike".

It's speculated that Seinfeld believed since he and Mike had been much closer friends than his relationship with Kenny Kramer, he could borrow freely from his friend's life.

In 1998, Mike Costanza launched a lawsuit against Seinfeld, Larry David, and NBC. He wanted $100 million for the use of his likeness and claimed the George depiction was an invasion of his privacy. A judge eventually tossed out the suit, ruling it frivolous. Mike and his lawyer were fined $2,500 each for wasting the court's time. The judge commented, rather waggishly, "While a show about nothing can be successful, a lawsuit must have more substance."

Many question why Mike waited nearly a decade to launch a lawsuit. It's probable that it was vexatious after Seinfeld severed his friendship with Mike. Seinfeld notoriously tries to shield his personal life and past from the public. Shortly before the lawsuit Mike wrote a book called The Real Seinfeld: As Told by the Real Costanza. Seinfeld felt that Mike violated his privacy in his "tell all" book. Mike had been Seinfeld's closest friend and confidant during his hard-knock days as a stand-up comedian on the club circuit.

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