If there’s one defining characteristic that sums up Frank Costanza throughout his years on Seinfeld, it’s that the man is a complete psycho. All that’s required to understand the way George Costanza works is to look at his father, a rageaholic that can explode without warning. The man is a polyester-clad stick of dynamite and his haunting rage loom’s over George’s life every day. While George doesn’t drop his father’s name in “The Marine Biologist” it’s safe to assume that he’s referencing his father when he delivers the line “The sea was angry that day my friends, like an old man trying to send back soup in a deli.” And recalling what should have been a pleasant childhood memory for George, like a birthday party, is just another bookmark in Frank’s timeline of rage.
To understand WHY Frank Costanza is so angry, we must understand who Frank Costanza is, and what makes him tick, tick, tick, explode. We learn in “The Understudy” that he used to work as a salesman of Christian artifacts. This had to be a niche market and likely had him stressed out and on the road constantly. We also know that he had his heart broken when he refused to take off his shoes upon visiting his girlfriend’s home and being rejected by her father. This of course happened while Frank was serving as a cook in the Korean War and sent sixteen of his own men to the latrines in a single night. And lastly, he’s married to Estelle.
While Frank is about as far from a loving and supportive father as one could get, he’s not a bad man. He served as the president of the United Volunteers charitable organization, and created the greatest holiday for the rest of us that mankind has ever known. As noble as those acts are, they can’t overshadow Frank Cosntanza’s explosive rage. Hardly any scene involving Frank was without an outburst, it was only a matter of why and when it would happen. To help you understand just why George is the angry man-baby that he his, here’s a rundown of Frank Costanza’s greatest psychotic outbursts.
11. Jerry and Elaine don’t say hello
Frank can’t comprehend why Elaine and Jerry didn’t say hello when they saw him in the city. But, let’s be honest, if you knew Frank Costanza and saw him talking with a man in a cape, you’d probably do everything in your power to avoid an interaction with him, too.
10. Frank spies at the nail salon
In one of the few times Frank Costanza is actually useful, Elaine uses him as her secret weapon to spy on the women at the Korean nail salon. It doesn’t take long for their cover to be blown when Frank let’s his anger get the best of him, because nobody says Frank Costanza has a tail and gets away with it.
9. Frank calls out George Steinbrenner
You can tell that it’s only a matter of time before Frank blows his gasket when this scene begins. Nevermind that Mr. Steinbrenner is there to deliver the news that their son is dead, Frank Costanza won’t be robbed of his opportunity to unleash his frustration with the Yankees lineup.
8. Hoochie mama > Serenity now
Serenity now, followed by the insanity of an angry man yelling “hoochie mama” in a desperate attempt to ward off his wife’s car later. Starting a computer company out of a garage might have worked for Bill Gates, but he didn’t surround himself with two psychos like Lloyd Braun and Frank Costanza.
7. Frank helps the handicapped
I wouldn’t wish the punishment of being Frank Costanza’s personal butler on my worst enemies. Plunging down a hill in a wheelchair with no brakes has to be a terrifying experience, but I think I’d still take that over trading places with George after Frank discovers that his son is the reason he’s being removed from the United Volunteers.
6. Frank’s TV Guide collection
A simple and angry man like Frank doesn’t have many prized possessions in life, he’s got his cabana clothes and TV Guide collection. Both of which are destroyed because of George’s negligence. Missing TV Guide Vol. 41 No. 31 aside, the real issue here is that George is using his parent’s bed for sex — which is disturbing on all kinds of levels.
5. Frank calls out the Assman
I wouldn’t trust Kramer with a pet goldfish, let alone with my wife. The Assman comes within seconds of having Frank Costanza’s blows reigned down upon him, only to be saved by fusilli Jerry. A million to one shot.
4. Frank’s Korean War flashback
The horrors of war can take their toll on any man, and for Frank Costanza they robbed him of his joy of cooking. Leave it to Kramer though, to go and open up an old wound. An old wound that would result in Frank flipping out and ruining what was otherwise a pleasant Jewish Singles Night event.
3. Franks vs. the doll
If you need proof that Frank Costanza is one of the most psychotic individuals living in Queens, look no further than “The Doll” episode. That’s pure insanity burning in his eyes when he rips the head off of Susan’s doll.
2. “You wanna piece of me?!”
We know that George is a little scared of Elaine from that time she pushed his head through a straw hat, but being caught between her AND his father — George might be better off taking his chances in a jail cell. You do NOT want to interrupt Frank when he’s in the middle of a periodical.
1. Nobody keeps Frank Costanza out of Del Boca Vista
Forget about getting a phone call from Liam Neeson in Taken, picking up the phone and hearing “This is Frank Costanza” is sure to send chills down one’s spine. May God have mercy on anyone who tries to keep Frank out of Del Boca Vista.
Growing up with this man almost makes you feel sorry for George. Almost.