Notable TV shows that don’t have redeeming characters

This may be one of the first examples of television’s fascination with incorrigible characters. Seinfeld gave us characters who were deliberately flawed, vain and insensitive. The show, created by comedians Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld, ran from 1989 to 1998. Jerry Seinfeld plays a semi-fictional version of himself as a budding stand-up comedian. He acts like a straight man for his eccentric friends, but that doesn’t make him any better than the rest.

George Costanza is Jerry’s best friend, as well as a deceitful, jealous, desperate and cowardly loser. Some of his schemes include lying about being unable to get a job, drugging his boss, and allowing a serial killer to escape police custody. His cheapness leads to the accidental death of his fiancée, which he is not so secretly happy about. His only salvation lies in the fact that he is not the neurotic neighbor Jerry Kramer, who can be casual towards others, impulsive and callous (and who, for entertainment purposes, hitting children). Elaine Benes, the only female in the group of friends, is also selfish, manipulative, and cruel, traits that often get her into trouble.

Fortunately, all these traits create absurd situations that are played out for laughs. In fact, the cast seemed witty, charming, and likable enough that many viewers took offense at the show’s ending, which showed that they had received retribution. The fact that many of the storylines were based on the writers’ real life experiences probably made them more intimate. For example, the season 7 episode “Rye”, in which a loaf of rye causes conflict between George and his fiancée’s parents, was based on a similar experience from a high school friend of the writer (via However, if you met these characters in real life, their behavior would be appalling.

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