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.
1) He was always smoking cigars in Jerry’s apartment.
Jerry smoked cigars in his own apartment on at least two occasions, so we can’t be upset with Kramer if he had joined his friend and they puffed on a fine Cuban together. That wasn’t the case most of the time, however, and Kramer had a tendency of smoking cigars in Jerry’s apartment whenever he felt like it, sometimes even in the middle of the day. For as fastidious and clean as Jerry tried to be, this was basically like a smelly slap in the face to both the man’s lungs and his furniture’s fabrics. Additionally, as we saw in the aforementioned montage, Kramer used Jerry’s couch cushion to clean up juice. We’d have to believe that thanks to Kramer, Jerry’s apartment smelled like rotten B-hole, which is a scientific term.
2) He “sold” part of Jerry’s storage unit to Newman, making him an accomplice to mail theft.
Stealing someone’s mail is a federal crime, so what would have happened if the many large bags of U.S. mail had been discovered in Jerry’s storage unit? Based on Kramer’s behavior throughout the entire series, as well as Newman’s natural disdain for Jerry, I would deduce that Kramer and Newman would have rolled over on Jerry and blamed him for stealing the mail, even though he had no clue that it was there. That kind of crime would have had Jerry locked up for at least the next 10 years, and his career would have been over.
3) He evicted Jerry and wiped chicken grease all over his bed sheets.
Jerry showed the lengths that he was willing to in helping a friend when he agreed to switch apartments with Kramer so that Seth’s job at Kenny Rogers Roasters wasn’t in jeopardy, since it was technically Jerry’s fault that Seth lost his much better job in the first place (however, that is debatable, because Seth was a pushover and should have just said no). So how did Kramer treat his best friend’s kindness? By not only occupying his apartment, but then lying straight to his face about how he was eating Kenny’s chicken on a daily basis, often with Newman and sometimes even in Jerry’s bed, where he’d wipe his hands and mouth on his sheets.
4) He called sex lines from Jerry’s home phone on multiple occasions.
Remember 900 numbers? Those were the good, old days, when a guy had to really use his imagination to get off, instead of just being able to pull up one of a trillion websites to watch men and women do bizarre things with any number of sex toys or partners. Kramer was precisely the type of pervert that called 900 numbers to get his rocks off, and of course he used his neighbor’s phone to do it. But the worst part of it all is that Kramer implied that he was only doing it as a joke. Haha, great waste of $2.99 a minute, jerk.
5) He got Jerry involved with a violent criminal who threatened their lives.
In “The Little Kicks,” the fourth episode of the eighth season, Jerry did a very nice thing by getting two sneak preview tickets for what we’re supposed to believe is a blockbuster action film, Death Blow. Kramer, displaying his lack of respect for Jerry’s generosity, immediately requested a third ticket and invited a man named Brody to go with them before Jerry has had a chance to secure the ticket. Fortunately, whatever strings Jerry pulled came through, and the three men were able to attend the packed screening. At that point, we learned that Brody is a bootlegger and film piracy is no laughing matter. After he became ill from eating too much candy, Brody intimidated Jerry into recording the rest of the movie by threatening his life. Ultimately, Jerry got out of the situation unscathed, but Kramer’s poor judgment and careless criminal associations could have cost multiple people their lives.
Additionally, Kramer loaned Brody a baseball bat to be used, presumably, in a violent crime. That makes Kramer an accessory.
6) He had a long, sick history of stealing other men’s and women’s girlfriends.
As I’ve already mentioned, Kramer stole Susan’s girlfriend, but that was just the tip of the scumbag iceberg. In the ninth episode of Season 3, “The Nose Job,” Kramer bluntly told George’s girlfriend, Audrey, that she needed a nose job, causing her to actually do it. Then, she dumped George to date Kramer, who obviously had no problem taking his friend’s girlfriend. In “The Soulmate,” the second episode of Season 8, Kramer showed some restraint in pursuing his crush on Jerry’s girlfriend, Pam, but when Jerry decided that he could be “gaga” over her, Kramer chose to compete for her favor. In “The Frogger,” we also learned that at some point in their history, Kramer stole Slippery Pete’s mail order bride when he signed for her because Pete wasn’t home. There is no boundary that this slimeball wouldn’t cross in trying to get laid, seeing as he was worse than Jerry when it came to keeping a girlfriend for more than one episode.
7) He destroyed Jerry’s stereo and then framed him for mail fraud.
Another example of Kramer’s blatant disregard for the government and an honest living was when he tried talking Jerry into committing mail fraud, and then went ahead and did it anyway when Jerry refused the idea. In the end, a picture of Jerry trying to fix the stereo ended up being all the proof that Newman would need to prove that Jerry was guilty of fraud, and Kramer’s careless criminal idea ended up costing Jerry money. Additionally, Kramer’s terrible insistence that George partake in the “timeless art of seduction” cost him a date with photo store Sheila, who was way out of George’s league.
8) He was Sally Weaver’s informant in slandering Jerry.
The greatest decision that Kramer ever made was to finally shut his big mouth when he somehow realized that he talks too much and thus insulted everyone around him and got people into trouble regularly. Still, Kramer didn’t shut up soon enough, because he very rudely told Sally Weaver that she should give up on her comedy and acting career and then pinned it on Jerry. Of course, Sally went on to build her name in comedy by destroying Jerry in her act and eventually a TV special, and she should have run out of material once Jerry cut ties. However, Kramer then not only broke his silence when Sally ran into him, but he proceeded to spill a variety of personal details about Jerry that she then twisted into a tale of a horribly narcissistic man.
9) He had no regard for hygiene in Jerry’s kitchen.
Let’s face it – there could be an entire separate list of examples of Kramer’s horrible nature based solely on what happens in Jerry’s kitchen. On any given day, Kramer helped himself to everything in Jerry’s fridge, and there were plenty of times that he wasted food because it simply wasn’t to his liking. Then there was the time that Kramer was dating Hildy from Reggie’s (“The Soup” – Season 6, Episode 7) and she demanded food at any given moment, and that of course came from Jerry’s kitchen, too. But for the sake of this series of violations, I’m concentrating on two offenses:
a) The time that Jerry was out of town and Kramer was cooking sauce in his kitchen with no shirt on. That’s disgusting. There’s no reason for another man’s chest and body hair to be anywhere near where another man cooks.
b) The time that he and Newman took over Jerry’s kitchen to make their sausages.
AND he left the door open behind him. What a sorry excuse for a civilized man.
10) He is the de facto reason that Jerry, Elaine and George ended up in prison for one year.
Had Kramer not started jumping up and down on a small private jet while trying to dislodge the water from his ear, an emergency landing may have never been necessary. Had Kramer not had his video camera on for no reason while he, Jerry, Elaine and George were waiting in Latham, Massachusetts, the prosecution might have had a harder time in proving that the four of them were guilty of extreme indifference. Yes, each person in this group was guilty of various crimes against humanity that were called out in the ensuing trial; however, it was Kramer’s generally careless, reckless and sociopathic behavior that led the four of them to their one-year prison sentences. Additionally, while I have nothing to back this up, I believe that George was murdered in prison, and I pin that on Kramer as well.
In conclusion, the scientific team that investigated this matter has determined that Cosmo Kramer should have been sentenced to no less than 12 consecutive life terms in solitary confinement. May God have mercy on his soul.