A while back when I took on the unenviable scientific research process of ranking all of Jerry’s girlfriends from Seinfeld, I vowed that my crack team of experts was far from done. I also mentioned not only the fact that Jerry Seinfeld’s TV neighbor, Cosmo Kramer, was a terrible neighbor, but that he was an awful human being in general, one who should have been tossed in prison for myriad reasons. Today, on the occasion of Michael Richards’s 65th birthday, I decided that it was time to discuss some of those reasons while determining just how long that a disgusting, selfish, womanizing, thieving scoundrel like Kramer truly deserved to be locked away in the darkest prison on this planet.
Narrowing the field of Kramer’s offenses was perhaps the most difficult task for my researchers and lab-trained scientists, as nine seasons and 180 episodes created plenty of opportunities for Jerry’s neighbor to take advantage of all of his friends, murder animals and generally give nothing back to society. So I decided that for the sake of not turning this into a novel, we’d focus solely on the instances that violated the unwritten codes between neighbors, who just so happen to be best friends. After all, despite his own many flaws and generally terrible behavior toward others, Jerry was perhaps the most generous person in his own group of friends.
Before we get into these specific violations, let’s briefly examine Kramer’s entire body of work in being a detriment to this planet. For starters, he never had a job, which meant that he was constantly suckling from the government’s already raw and chewed up teat, and he clearly had no concern for managing his finances, as he was not only willing to sell his life stories to J. Peterman for a measly $750, with little to no negotiation process, but he threw a party for friends – that didn’t even include Jerry and George – to celebrate his “windfall.” Later, he’d give all of the money back because he was too inept to create new stories. Oh, and don’t even get me started about the fact that he had constantly displayed poor hygiene, and he wore the pants that he was returning to the store that he bought them from.
In addition to his dependency on welfare and the bottomless fridge that he helped himself to in Jerry’s home, Kramer filed at least two frivolous lawsuits against companies for the sake of making himself wealthy. He could have held himself accountable for his own actions as an adult, but instead he tried to make a poor, innocent tobacco company and a harmless coffee chain pay for his mistakes. Fortunately, karmic justice prevailed in that he screwed himself out of any settlements, and the innocent corporations were never harmed by Kramer and his greed again.
Over the years, Kramer’s reckless disregard for anyone but himself put a number of his friends and their loved ones in harm’s way, as he was responsible for Susan’s family’s cabin not only burning down, but the revelation of her father’s homosexual affair with John Cheever. In fact, we could make a case that on a philosophical level, Susan’s death was mostly a release from the constant mental anguish inflicted upon her by Kramer. Between stealing her lesbian love and eventually revealing that he never even knew her name, Kramer was far worse to Susan than George ever was, and that’s a remarkable statement because George basically murdered her.
The murder and abuse didn’t end with humans either. As we saw in the pilot, Kramer once had a dog, but what happened to that dog? It was never mentioned again, probably for reasons that would make even the dog-eaters at CNN cringe. Then there was Rusty. Poor, poor Rusty. What kind of soulless maniac and sociopath thinks that feeding an equine Beefareeno straight from the can is acceptable? At least Rusty lived, though. The poor whale that Kramer suffocated to death with a Titleist golf ball must have suffered in ways that we wouldn’t ever wish on our worst enemies. If Seinfeld ever returned for one more season or even episode, I would pray that Kramer meets the same fate as that poor mammal.
Now, I believe that I promised to make a point. Ah yes, Kramer was a terrible friend and neighbor to Jerry Seinfeld, who was practically a saint for what he put up with. Granted, there’s another argument to be made that Jerry was a sadomasochist who brought everything on himself, but I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. For a short explainer of how terrible Kramer was, we can always just resort to this opening clip from “The Bookstore,” the 17th episode of the show’s ninth season:
In defense of Kramer, some would argue that his plan with Newman to use homeless people in a rickshaw service was rather inhumane, but I actually thought that it was the best idea that he ever had. Think of the jobs that it could have created in major cities across America, had it not been ruined when Kramer’s runaway rickshaw almost murdered Elaine’s recovering heroin addict boyfriend. Funny how the best ideas are always ruined by heroin abusers.
But this thesis will not qualify for a Pulitzer with only a short clip, so I present these examples of why Kramer was the worst friend and neighbor in TV history.