Until very recently (ie: last week) the photo on my phone’s lock screen was not of my child, my husband or my dog. It was a pixelated screenshot of George Costanza from Seinfeld, slumped on a sofa with crisps all down the front of his jumper. Why? He’s my hero.
If you’ve never seen Seinfeld (and if you haven’t, watch it right now) George is one of life’s biggest losers – or winners, depending on how you look at it. He’s a balding, socially inept, lazy ingrate who lives with his parents and can’t hold down a relationship or a job. And now all nine seasons of the legendary Nineties sitcom have come to Netflix, I anticipate that George will quickly become the poster boy for our post-lockdown end times.
You see, for audiences burnt out by the endless demands of capitalism, George Costanza is an icon. He rejects productivity by making himself virtually unemployable, and sits in a diner all day whining about nothing. He manages to weasel out of all responsibility, yet somehow manages to enjoy a certain level of success. He is a time millionaire who cheats the system so effectively he would now be the subject of New York Times articles and podcasts, marvelling at his audacious cunning.
The aimless slacker attitude that defined Gen X is now a soothing balm
In fact, things have changed so much in the last 30 years that when you watch Seinfeld now, it no longer looks like a sitcom about the trivial, empty lives of petty, self-absorbed New Yorkers. Their lifestyles are positively enviable. Who wouldn’t want to be Kramer, wallowing shirtless in his homemade sauna at 3pm on a Tuesday? Or Elaine, who goes out for dinner every night despite doing nothing all day at a publishing house? Or even Jerry, who works for approximately half an hour a night then spends the rest of the time mooching around and eating cereal?
The aimless slacker attitude that defined Gen X is now a soothing balm. We crave a dose of that good old-fashioned Nineties nothingness like never before – an argument in a dry cleaners, a trip to the bagel shop, a mix-up about cinema tickets. What a luxury! And I can see the wheel of fashion turn as I watch it with my teenage son, who mooches around with his friends all day, eating cereal, going to charity shops, buying CDs, reading real books and craving a slower, more analogue life. I swear to god, George and his friends are going to be huge in 2022. In fact, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if beige sports jackets, checked shirts, wire-framed glasses and chinos were the hot look at the Met Gala next year, worn by Harry Styles, Timothée Chalamet and Cara Delevingne. Late capitalism has failed us; it’s time for a reset.
So why don’t we all just close our laptops, fall asleep under our desks and Be More George?