Could George Costanza’s alter ego, Art Vandelay, have invented the LED light? Jerry Seinfeld added a lot of street-cred to the architecture profession when he decided that his best friend George had always wanted to become an architect, but never made the leap.
Comedians like Jerry are astute observers of reality and the particular quirks carried by our culture. He’s right too! In social settings, when I meet new people and tell them I am an architect, the responses range from, “I always wanted to be an architect”, to “my uncle is an architect”, to “have you ever watched Seinfeld?” Yes, the circle is complete.
Unlike George Costanza and the many people I meet on a regular basis, I did not always know I wanted to be an architect. In my college days, I bounced around for a couple of years until I finally took an aptitude test. Aptitudes are inborn traits and skills that we are naturally good at doing. The tests showed that I was a strong fit for architecture, and with guidance from my Aunt Sara, I decided to give it a try. The rest is history!
The Progression Toward Architect-Genius-Inventor
I actually love the Seinfeld seasons and George is my favorite character. I can identify with his resourcefulness and tenacity. All the architects that I know tend to be overachievers, and this fit well with George's personality.
We have to assume that George has always wanted to be an architect or least "pretend to be an architect". He first mentions this desire in "The Stake Out", and claims in "The Race" that he'd designed "the new addition to the Guggenheim". “It didn’t take very long,” he says.
In "The Van Buren Boys", he denies his young protégé a scholarship from the Susan Ross Foundation when the young man decides he no longer wants to be an architect and wants to become a city planner instead. "Steven, nothing is higher than an architect!" George exclaims.
Of the 180 episodes, George only related to architecture three times. George’s Architect References (At least, so far):
George Finally Made It Big
If Seinfeld was still on today, George’s architect metamorphosis surely would have taken him farther. Of course, he wouldn’t have to work. He would have invented something truly revolutionary and ubiquitous like the LED light. Claiming credit to such a feat would land him in the upper tier of architect-genius for which he worked so hard to achieve.
Because of his incredible tenacity and resourcefulness, I might even believe George if I existed in that realm. Let’s watch it play out…
Scene from (Proposed) Episode 181, Entitled "Eureka"
Open scene getting off an elevator for a Steampunk Halloween Party at The Drake’s flat. Jerry, Elaine, Kramer, and George arrive together.
Jerry: Now remind me, are you guys Sherlock Holmes and Watson, or Laurel and Hardy?
George: I told you we are famous inventors. Thomas Edison, dear boy!
Kramer: Yeah and I invented dirigible technology.
George: What is a dirigible?
Kramer: You know the Hindenburg...
Jerry: You are a dirigible, dear Watson.
Elaine: This party is bound to go up in flames alright!
They knock on the door to The Drake's apartment.
Drake: Come in. Ha-ha. Jerry, I didn’t know Big Bird was into steam-punk?
Jerry: Oh yeah? I don't believe you've seen... this.
Jerry provides a leather wing flourish and small cackle.
Elaine: Oh, lovely...
Jerry: ...I know, right
Later at the party George is surrounded by a group of very attractive steampunkers.
George: ...Yes, of course, Edison…bless his heart. He tried, but it only took my team 3 months to invent the LED light and take it worldwide.
Punk Girl 1: Oh, working on space-station must have been so fab!
George: After we finished Dubai I just wanted another challenge as an architect. Not too many of us invent new technology, you know? Not many smart enough...
Punk Girl 2: So, uh, you invented them to save energy…to save the planet, right? To use less fossil fuels?
George: That was my first thought of course. But now the cheques won’t stop rolling in.
Jerry: Oh, he's a real martyr this one...All those cheques! (pause) And, you know he gives them right to his parents. He currently runs his laboratory from their basement.
George: Girls Y'know what? Let's go out to the terrace to talk. I can show you the improvements to the Statue of Liberty's torch...
Elaine: Mizeur Edison Steampunk, huh. Well, at least our friends at Vandelay Enterprises will have something besides chips and diapers to Import now!
Jerry: …And Export!
P.S. Thank you for reading. In truth, this post was about nothing.
This post contributes to #Architalks 32
ArchiTalks is a collaboration of practicing architects that blog from all across the world. One day each month, we will blog on the SAME topic on the SAME day. We hope this can give you more insight into the multi-dimensional field of architecture. As a new blogger, I enjoy the chance to break from my typical niche and explore thoughts prompted by others in the group.
This month’s assigned topic was "Eureka" (led by Steve Ramos) and George Costanza sprang to mind. After watching the Seinfeld seasons over and over again for so many years, the idea of George finally achieving his manifest destiny as an architect was important to me. I knew it was time for Georgie Boy to make it big!
To see how the other architects responded to our "Eureka" theme, follow the links below.
#ArchiTalks 32 Contributors:
Lora Teagarden - L² Design, LLC (@L2DesignLLC)
Eureka!? Finding myself amid the "busy."
Jeremiah Russell, AIA - ROGUE Architecture (@rogue_architect)
Gee, golly, gosh EUREKA: #architalks
Eric T. Faulkner - Rock Talk (@wishingrockhome)
Eureka! -- Things That Suck
Michele Grace Hottel - Michele Grace Hottel, Architect (@mghottel)
Stephen Ramos - BUILDINGS ARE COOL (@BuildingsRCool)
Searching for that Eureka Moment
Jeffrey Pelletier - Board & Vellum (@boardandvellum)
Finding That "Eureka!" Moment in the Design Process
Keith Palma - Architect's Trace (@cogitatedesign)
Naked in the Street
Jim Mehaffey - Yeoman Architect (@jamesmehaffey)
Mark Stephens - Mark Stephens Architects (@architectmark)
Eureka moments and what do if clients don't appreciate them
Larry Lucas - Lucas Sustainable, PLLC (@LarryLucasArch)
Eureka for George in Seinfeld Episode 181