If you always wanted to be able to take a psychology course based around the most popular sitcom of all time then now is your chance to do just that. New Jersey’s state university Rutgers’ Robert Wood Johnson Medical School is offering such a course.
The characters from Seinfeld have been described as being anywhere from dysfunctional to outright narcissistic. The judge in the series finale summed it up best when he mused as to how such a group of people ever came together in the first place.
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The psychological issues were not limited to the show’s main four cast members, however. Recurring characters such as Newman, Whatly, Banya and others all exhibited signs of one dysfunction or another.
The course is taught by Anthony Tobia, an associate professor of psychiatry at the Medical School. As he explained to NJ.com, “You have a very diverse group of personality traits that are maladaptive on the individual level. When you get these friends together the dynamic is such that it literally creates a plot: Jerry’s obsessive compulsive traits combined with Kramer’s schizoid traits, with Elaine’s inability to forge meaningful relationships and with George being egocentric.”
Tobia says that each and every character who ever appeared on the show could be the subject of an entire case study on his own. He has even created a database of every single Seinfeld episode.
On Jerry’s neighbor and nemesis Newman, Tobia said, “Newman’s sense of self, his meaning in life, is to ensure that he frustrates Jerry. We actually have talked about Newman in that context and related him to Erik in ‘The Phantom of the Opera.’ The Phantom, while he starts out as being the tutor to the Prima Donna, actually has his life change and he is bent on revenge and that becomes who he is… and that’s Newman.”