The Seinfeld Seven and the Seven Deadly Sins

In Matthew 5:48, Christ instructs us “To be perfect as your Heavenly Father is perfect.”  This is a tall order, but it indicates that Christ has no tolerance for moral imperfections.  Fortunately there is forgiveness.

On the other hand it is commonly held that sinning  indicates that the sinner is only human.  Falling from grace, however, which happens quite regularly, proves that there is a moral ideal, something to fall from.  At the same time, this fall can be a source of humor.  It can be the laughable spectacle of a human being not quite acting as a human being is supposed to act.

The “Seinfeld Show,” which continues to air re-runs long after its immensely successful run of 180 episodes over a span of nine years has expired, is considered one of the most entertaining, well-acted, and well-written comedy shows of all time. It feeds on viewers’ appetite for taking pleasure in watching others make fools of themselves.  It is said to be a show “about nothing” since nothing substantial is ever accomplished.

The seven main characters in the show are hampered by the Seven Deadly Sins.  These sins are dolled out one by one to each of them.  Cosmo Kramer, who is jobless, continually dreams of projects for which he has absolutely no aptitude.  He is referred to as a “hipster doofus.”  His pride goeth before his ability.

George Costanza, Jerry Seinfeld’s best friend, envies just about everyone.  He is unable to accept himself.  Therefore, he lies to others he meets about being a marine biologist or an architect.  In backtracking from who he is, he is branded as a “ loser.”  This results in his complaining incessantly.

George’s father is in a state of constant anger.  He tries to adopt a “serenity now” posture, but anger persists.  He is angry even about Christmas, trading it in for “Festivus for the Rest of us.”

Newman, the postal worker, looks at delivering 50% of the mail as an ideal.  His girth suggests that he has never missed a meal.  Gluttony is his persona.  He has an inordinate desire for Twinkies.  Jerry has an intense dislike for him.

Elaine, Jerry’s former lover, personifies lust.  She has an inveterate habit of choosing the wrong boyfriend.  Discretion forbids further specification of her love life.

George’s mom, the least developed of the seven, characterizes avarice  by her need for better things, especially a better life style in Florida, and more glamorous makeup.

We come to Jerry Seinfeld, the star of the show.  His life is not dominated by any of the sins that his colleagues display.  He puts up with his associates without much criticism.  In comparison with them, he appears normal.  Everyone in the cast comes to him with their problems.  But the Deadly Sin that characterizes him is not glaring.  It is more subtle.  Jerry is spiritually bankrupt.  He disdains any kind of spiritual activity from reading a book, listening to good music, affirming the cuteness of babies, to making any reference to God.  He is the personification of sloth.  Although this vice is often mistaken for laziness, it is really the reluctance or refusal to participate in anything of a spiritual nature.

The final show finds five of them sentenced to a year in jail for exhibiting bad behaviour in violating a newly adopted “Good Samaritan” city ordinance.  The sentence is fitting.  The wages of sin is death, or at least imprisonment. 

The Seven Deadly Sins are personally ruinous:  pride distorts, envy disheartens, anger blinds, lust consumes, gluttony immobilizes, sloth enfeebles, and avarice devours.  The Seinfeld Show, though in a laughable way, show us how not to behave.

Photo by Pro Church Media on Unsplash

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Dr. Donald DeMarco is Professor Emeritus, St. Jerome’s University and Adjunct Professor at Holy Apostles College.  He is is the author of forty-two books and a former corresponding member of the Pontifical Academy of Life.  Some of his latest books, The 12 Supporting Pillars of the Culture of Life and Why They Are Crumbling, and Glimmers of Hope in a Darkening World, Restoring Philosophy and Returning to Common Sense and Let Us not Despair are posted on  He and his wife, Mary, have 5 children and 13 grandchildren.  

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