Serenity Now! Jerry Stiller’s 7 Most Iconic ‘Seinfeld’ Moments
Seinfeld fans are bidding farewell to Jerry Stiller. The actor, who rose to fame playing Frank Costanza on the hit sitcom, passed away from natural causes at 92 years old, his son Ben Stiller announced. In honor of George Costanza’s (Jason Alexander) hilariously resentful father, here are eight of Stiller’s best moments from Seinfeld.
7. ‘The Maaan-ssiere!’
Seinfeld knew it had something special when they put Jerry Stiller in the same room with Kramer (Michael Richards), whose character was the perfect match for Frank’s explosive rants.
Their scenes together are some of Seinfeld’s most iconic moments, including the time Kramer and Frank put their heads together to create a bra for men. Stiller’s quote from the episode (“The Maaan-ssiere!”) proved to be an instant classic.
6. Frank takes on George Steinbrenner
Frank’s disdain with Yankees owner George Steinbrenner (co-creator Larry David) was an ongoing theme on the show, and it came to a head once he traded Jay Buhner.
After Steinbrenner visited Frank to tell them that their son may be dead, Frank is so distracted by the trade that he asks Steinbrenner, “What the hell did you trade Jay Buhner for?” instead of worrying about his son’s health.
Frank [to Steinbrenner] “He had 30 home runs, over 100 RBIs last year, he’s got a rocket for an arm … you don’t know what the hell you’re doing!” he added.
Frank: [on Jerry’s answering machine] “Jerry, it’s Frank Costanza. Mr. Steinbrenner’s here. George is dead. Call me back.”
5. The food poisoning
Speaking of Frank’s days in the army, his story about the time his regiment suffered from food poisoning is a real gem.
“All that kid wanted to do was go home! Well, he went home all right, with a crater in his colon the size of a cutlet,” Frank recalled.
The moment got even better when his wife’s cooking triggered a PTSD moment and he told her that the meat was, “dry.” And after she assured him that it is always that way, he shot back, “Well, it sucks!”
4. Frank vs. Morty
Frank’s rivalry with Morty Seinfeld highlighted how petty people can be. After Frank extends a dinner invitation to the Seinfelds, they decline because they are just a little above the Costanzas. Frank is bitter towards Jerry’s father from that point on, which leads to some hilarious scenes whenever they get together.
And who can forget the Del Boca Vista drama?
3. Frank’s first episode
Jerry Stiller became such an important part of Seinfeld that it is hard to believe that his first appearance on the sitcom did not come until season 5. The character was first introduced in season 4’s installment, “The Handicap Spot,” but was portrayed by John Randolph.
Stiller’s version debuted the following season in the second episode, titled “The Puffy Shirt.” The installment is one of Frank’s best and includes lines like, “Would you believe when I was 18, I had a silver dollar collection?”
Festivus is one of the most enduring ideas to come out of Seinfeld. From the pole to the airing of grievances and feats of strength, this Christmas alternative was the perfect embodiment of Frank. And who better to share it with than Kramer?
The agnostic holiday may have scarred George as a young man, but it also affirmed that we all have parents who do something crazy at some point in their lives. The only difference is that Frank’s genius moment sparked a movement.
Frank Costanza: “I got a lot of problems with you people! And now you’re gonna hear about it! You, Kruger. My son tells me your company stinks!”
1. ‘Serenity Now!’
Aside from Festivus, Frank’s attempts to keep his temper in check by shouting “Serenity Now!” is probably his most iconic scene on Seinfeld. In season 9, Frank explains to George that this is how he keeps his rage under control, a tactic that Kramer quickly adapts.
But instead of easing their anger, the phrase only makes it worse, leading to one of Jerry Stiller’s best moments on Seinfeld. “Serenity now” became so iconic they brought it back again and again.