We at The Dad were devastated to learn about the passing of legendary character actor, Jerry Stiller. The man exuded incalculable amounts of dad energy.
Most recently as Kevin James’ obnoxious father-in-law, Arthur, on King of Queens…
But his most memorable character to date, bar none, number one with a bullet, was on Seinfeld, portraying George Costanza’s loud, opinionated, quick-tempered father, Frank.
In memoriam, let’s look back on Frank Costanza’s 10 most unforgettable Seinfeld moments.
“What the hell did you trade Jay Buhner for?”
Season 7, “The Caddy” – Over the show’s eight-season run, Frank had a less than amicable rapport with his son’s bosses. When George goes “missing” at work, his boss, Yankee’s owner George Steinbrenner, breaks the news to his parents. Frank just wants to know why Steinbrenner traded Jay Buhner.
A Festivus for the rest of us
Season 9, “The Strike” – Annoyed with the routine pandemonium and unchecked commercialism of Christmas, Frank took it upon himself to invent an alternative holiday. On one December 23rd, Festivus was born. Between a nondescript aluminum pole and brazenly contentious traditions like The Airing of Grievances, Festivus perfectly encapsulates Frank’s chaotic demeanor and his commitment to every conviction he so obnoxiously holds.
This blooper with Julia Louis-Dreyfus
Season 8, “The Little Kicks” – Seinfeld episodes were typically bookended with Jerry’s standup, and in later seasons concluded with short epilogue scenes. So when a blooper reel popped up under the end credits once, you know it was something special. Watch as Julia Louis-Dreyfus is unable to control her laughter as Jerry tees up one of the funniest line readings in sitcom history.
The singles night cooking incident
Season 8, “The Fatigues” – Frank Costanza has seen some shit, man. While serving as an Army cook in the Korean War, he accidentally gave his fellow troops food poisoning after serving them expired meat. When Kramer taps his culinary expertise to assist in catering a singles night, Frank winds up succumbing to an admittedly hilarious PTSD flashback.
Season 9, “The Serenity Now” – The hallmark of Frank’s personality is his temper. In the show’s final season, a self-help recording advises he adopt the mantra “serenity now” to curtail his blood pressure. It’s a phrase rooted in composure and tranquility. Frank, of course, has difficulty with that part.
George’s bra salesman interview
Season 5, “The Sniffing Accountant” – When George lines up an interview for a sales job at a bra manufacturer, Frank hands down some tips. He reminisces on the first time he encountered a bra, grills George on what material they’re made from, and offers a refresher course on cup size. Just a very funny, uncomfortable scene.
Frank vs. the Seinfelds
Season 7, “The Shower Head” – One of Seinfeld’s funniest bits is the openly contemptuous relationship between Jerry’s parents and George’s parents. The Seinfelds “never cared for the Costanzas.” Upon learning this, Frank elects to move to Del Boca Vista, the Seinfeld’s retirement community in Florida, purely out of spite. Quintessential Frank behavior.
Season 6, “The Doorman” – Frank fancies himself a bit of an innovator. In addition to Festivus, he also pioneered a brassiere for men. He names it The Manssiere, although Kramer suggests calling it The Bro. The episode’s funniest moment comes when mother Costanza walks in on Kramer helping Frank into a prototype.
Season 6, “The Chinese Woman” – Frank often operates without rhyme or reason. This is best exemplified by the fact that, when faced with divorce, he hired an attorney that wears a cape. Frank trusts him implicitly, but no further explanation of the cape is given. But hey, that’s Seinfeld, baby.
Season 7, “The Rye” – When the time came for the Costanzas to meet the parents of George’s fiancée, Susan, Frank makes good on his first impression by gifting them a lovely loaf of marble rye. Ultimately, he notices they neglected to serve it at dinner, and in a proficient display of pettiness, steals back the bread he bought. It’s a very funny story, but we’d like to highlight this one quote in particular, in which Frank fails to understand the mating habits of chickens and roosters.
You will be missed, Mr. Stiller. Serenity now and always.