2. George Costanza
Best-known episode: "The Comeback"
He was, in no particular order, a petty human being, a pathological liar, a spendthrift, an egomaniac, a hypochondriac and a self-loathing schlemiel. Whether he's making up an implausible excuse that involves Art Vandelay, using his "dead fiancee" to gain entrance to an all-models club, brushing off his actual dead fiancee's passing with an indifferent "Huh" or knocking over children to escape a fire, George was the wizard of id. ("I feel like my old self again. Neurotic, paranoid, totally inadequate, completely insecure. It's a pleasure.")
He's not just the alter ego of the show's co-creator Larry David; he's also the craven heart of Seinfeld, and it's impossible to imagine this misanthropic masterpiece of a TV show without him. Jason Alexander had a field day playing Jerry's right-hand man, turning this self-involved sidekick into a sitcom creation with no equal. Neither the actor nor the writers ever made him seem likable or sentimental, yet somehow, we were with this character every warped step of the way. Jerry was charismatic, Elaine was tart and sexy, Kramer was wacky and eccentric — but George was us, all of our bad instincts and selfish motivations crammed into one compact Costanza frame. GAVIN EDWARDS