Jerry Seinfeld’s eponymous character once said that he had “looked into the eyes of Newman,” and that he was, “pure evil,” but perhaps that’s debatable. Is Newman, arch-enemy of Jerry Seinfeld, buddy of Kramer, and resident of apartment 5F, really a sinister menace or is he simply a misunderstood public servant? I’ll attempt to answer that question by examining some of Newman’s most shameful moments throughout his six-year run on Seinfeld and determine if he really was a menace or just a scapegoat for Jerry’s frustration.
First, we must look at just who Newman is and his history with the residents of the Seinfeld universe. We know that Newman is a mailman, but not exactly the “friendly neighborhood” kind considering that he doesn’t even bother to deliver mail when the weather is unpleasant and Buford the bulldog hates him.
While Jerry certainly despises Newman, the backstory is never explored — though, Seinfeld recently summed it up by simply saying that it was “fun to hate him.” If we want to look for a reason within the show, though, one can understand the animosity after Newman ratted Jerry out in “The Suicide” for cozying up with his comatose neighbor’s girlfriend. As for the rest of Jerry’s circle of friends, they don’t seem to loathe Newman with as much ferocity. Kramer, of course, considers Newman to be his good buddy and more often than not invites Newman along on his harebrained schemes. George merely ignores Newman unless he needs his services, and the same goes for Elaine, who plays on Newman’s affection for her if he has something she wants. Such as the case when he finds the fur coat in a tree that she regrettably tossed out the window.
Hardly any of this makes Newman “pure evil” which means a thorough investigation is needed to determine if Jerry’s neighbor really is as diabolical as he was made out to be. Let’s examine the evidence.
Newman offers his blood.
Jerry is in desperate need for blood after a training accident with the Mandelbaums goes awry and he gets dragged by a car. Kramer’s all tapped out though, and surprisingly Newman steps up to the plate. Saving a man’s life by offering him your very lifeblood doesn’t seem like a villainous act, EXCEPT that Jerry is horrified by this realization. So perhaps it was part of Newman’s scheme all along to ensure that a part of him would forever be coursing through Jerry’s veins.
Diabolical rating: 4/10
Elaine’s dog removal problem.
When Elaine is on the brink of insanity because of her neighbor’s dog’s incessant barking she turns to Kramer who puts her in touch with Newman — a known dog hater. When Elaine mentions that she doesn’t want the dog whacked just removed, Newman seems a little disappointed, but nevertheless hatches a plan to kidnap the dog. In the end, the dog finds its way home and the cops arrest Kramer, Elaine, and Newman for the dastardly deed.
Diabolical rating: 8/10
Jerry’s mail fraud investigation.
Upon learning that Jerry might have committed mail fraud, Newman becomes obsessed with building a case to take Jerry down. When he finds the evidence that he needs to expose Jerry, he takes such feverish delight that you can almost see the insanity burning in his eyes.
“How I’ve longed for this moment, Seinfeld. The day when I would have the proof I need to haul you out of your cushy lair and expose you to the light of justice as the monster that you are!”
Humiliating George was just an added bonus.
Diabolical rating: 6.5/10
Newman and Mr. Steinbrenner’s calzone.
George would have probably been better off making a deal with Satan, but Newman was closer, so foolishly he turns to him for help after botching Mr. Steinbrenner’s lunch order. What George forgets, though, is that Newman is an incredibly lazy postal worker who not only takes advantage of George by requesting his own extravagant lunch order, but fails to deliver the calzone and steals George’s money.
Diabolical rating: 7
Newman asks Kramer to lie under oath.
In an effort to evade paying for a speeding ticket, Newman pathetically enlists Kramer in his plan to convince the judge of a desperate lie. It’s a weak case even without Kramer’s involvement and when Kramer naturally fumbles the plan, Newman flies into a vicious rage, attacking Kramer for his failure.
Diabolical rating: 5
Day of reckoning.
If there was ever any doubt of Newman’s sinister nature, it becomes crystal clear in Seinfeld’s final episode. As Jerry prepares to jet off to Paris with Kramer, Elaine and George, Newman makes a desperate plea to tag along. It’s when Jerry brushes off the idea that Newman spews his wish for a wrath upon Jerry so venomous that it would shock even the most evil of supervillains.
Diabolical rating: 8
So, how evil is Newman? Pretty damn evil, if you ask us.