|Elaine Marie Benes|
|First appearance||"The Stakeout" (1990)|
|Last appearance||"The Finale, Part II" (1998)|
|Created by||Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David|
|Portrayed by||Julia Louis-Dreyfus|
|Occupation||Editor, Personal Assistant to Mr. Pitt, Copy Writer for J. Peterman, Waitress at Tufts University cafeteria|
Grandma Mema (grandmother)
|Relatives||Holly (cousin), Pete (uncle), unnamed nephew|
Elaine Marie Benes // is a fictional character on the American television sitcom Seinfeld (1989–1998), played by Julia Louis-Dreyfus. Elaine's best friend is her ex-boyfriend Jerry Seinfeld, and she is also good friends with George Costanza and Cosmo Kramer. Julia Louis-Dreyfus received critical acclaim for her performance as Elaine, winning an Emmy, a Golden Globe and five SAG Awards.
- 1 Elaine's debut
- 2 Real-life inspiration
- 3 Personality
- 4 Family
- 5 Background and education
- 6 Residence
- 7 Employment
- 8 Romantic relationships
- 9 Enemies
- 10 Insecurities
- 11 Influence/effect on others
- 12 Physical moments
- 13 Notes
- 14 References
- 15 External links
Unlike her three close friends, Elaine is absent from the pilot episode. Previously the female role was supposed to be Claire, the waitress at Pete's Luncheonette played by Lee Garlington, but the luncheonette was replaced by Monk's Restaurant and Garlington was dropped from the role. Elaine first appears in the second episode, "The Stake Out," but in production order she appeared in a final scene eating M&Ms in "Male Unbonding." NBC executives felt the show was too male-centric, and demanded that creators Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David add a woman to the cast as a condition for commissioning the show, as revealed in the commentary on the Season 1 and 2 DVD. In addition to the first episode, Elaine did not appear in a two-part episode ("The Trip") and thus appears in fewer episodes than Jerry and George.
After it was discovered that Jerry Seinfeld once dated writer and comedian Carol Leifer, speculation grew that Elaine was based upon Leifer, though that was later largely denied. Leifer, who wrote or co-wrote a number of episodes for the show, has said only some elements of the backstory of the character—that she and Seinfeld had dated and have remained good friends since the relationship ended—relate to her. She says some elements of the character of Elaine, especially her assertiveness, intelligence and sense of humor, are drawn from the off-screen personality of Julia Louis-Dreyfus herself. According to Seinfeld's biography (written by Jerry Oppenheimer), Elaine was based in part on Susan McNabb (who was dating Seinfeld when the character was created), though eventually named after friend and fellow comic Elayne Boosler. Also, the character was partially based on Monica Yates, the daughter of novelist Richard Yates. Larry David once dated Monica Yates, and the two remained good friends after they broke up.
Elaine is normally intelligent and assertive, but also quite superficial. She is 'one of the boys', and despite the troubles they go through as a group, she remains the closest female friend to the main male cast throughout the entire series. Her traits are usually edgy and neurotic and she has a tendency to easily get angry with almost everyone. She has ruined her friends' ambitions, like throwing George's toupee out the window after trying to explain the irony behind it in "The Beard" or revealing what Jerry said in "The Cheever Letters" about the "panties her mother laid out for her".
Elaine is a serial dater, a trait lampooned in Season 7's "The Sponge", where she is desperate to buy a cache of discontinued contraceptive sponges before they are all bought up. She coins the word "spongeworthy" debating her then-boyfriend's prospects of intimacy at the expense of her inventory. Her neuroses often interfere with her relationships, leading to the premature end of a blossoming relationship. For example, in "The Stall", Elaine is dating Tony, a very good-looking athletic type. After a rock climbing accident mangles Tony's face, Elaine admits to Jerry that she can't date someone who isn't attractive and wonders how long she is obligated to stay with him post-accident. Later, in "The Couch" after proclaiming her love for new boyfriend Carl, she immediately ends the relationship upon learning that he does not share her opinions on abortion. Elaine also is attracted to men with lucrative jobs, particularly doctors.
Generally, her hair was long with curls or waves, but underwent changes since Season 5. By Season 7, her hairstyle had matured and had a more modern look for the rest of the series, even wearing it straight in Season 7's "The Wait Out" and "The Invitations". After cutting it short in "The Soul Mate", and growing it out in "The Bizarro Jerry", it was shoulder length again by "The Little Kicks", and straightened once more from Season 8's "The Summer of George" to Season 9's "The Betrayal". There were a few episodes in which her hair had an effect on mostly her boyfriends. In Season 9's "The Strike", it was damaged when affected by steam. In "The Smelly Car" a valet made Jerry's car and Elaine's hair smell like body odor. In "The Movie" George describes Elaine as having "a big wall o' hair".
Her clothing is normally quite conservative. She usually wears formal dresses and whenever she's not at work, she'll wear her usual casual clothes. It is revealed by Peter Mehlman on audio commentary in "The Sponge" and "The Betrayal" that female fans favor the brown leather jacket that she wears from Season 7 onward. Occasionally she is entirely out of her usual attire, as in "The Betrayal" (when she wears an Indian outfit and hairstyle) and "The Millennium" (in which she dons Mayan dress). Elaine also wears glasses at times, usually during work hours.
Although she is friends with George, Elaine tends to be combative with him. Still, Elaine does see him as a good friend: in "The Wife", he argues with Elaine over her love interest, who is threatening to kick him out of the health club. The depiction of Elaine as smarter and more successful than George was occasionally reversed for comic effect: In "The Opposite", George finds success and happiness doing the opposite of whatever his instincts tell him, while the normally successful Elaine falls on hard times. In "The Abstinence", George becomes smarter while not having sex, but Elaine gets dumber. In a few episodes Elaine and George work together, most notably in "The Revenge" and "The Cadillac".
She does sometimes go to Kramer for help. She asks him and Newman to help her get rid of a neighbor's dog in "The Engagement". In "The Slicer", she asks him first to lose power at her neighbors' house and also to feed the cat with meat. In "The Watch" she asks him to pose as her boyfriend so she can dump Dr. Reston, her controlling psychiatrist boyfriend. In "The Soup Nazi", she asks him to watch an armoire for her on the street until she can move it in the following day. The only conflict is in "The Seven" over a girl's bike in which Newman is the judge over the dispute.
Elaine is the only main character who does not own a car. In "The Busboy" (off camera) and "The Pothole" she borrows Jerry's, and in "The Wait Out" she borrows her friend Elise's car. In "The Burning" she borrows then-boyfriend David Puddy's. Also, it's revealed that she is a horrible driver who slams on the brakes and wildly steers the car.
Elaine also has a very refined taste in film, citing many movies, plays, and characters throughout the series. She has a particular affection for the 1951 film A Streetcar Named Desire, revealed first in "The Fusilli Jerry" the episode where Elaine first begins to see David Puddy and an utter dislike for The English Patient. She remarks sarcastically to Jerry (after he expresses surprise that she would date Puddy, who is a mechanic) that it's "such a huge turn off" for her when Puddy comes home "dripping with animal sexuality like Stanley Kowalski". In "The Pen", Elaine shows her love for the movie when she becomes unintentionally high on muscle relaxers and repeatedly screams "Stella" at a fancy awards dinner for Morty Seinfeld in Florida. (See also: Vincent's Picks and Sack Lunch)
In "The Boyfriend", Elaine reveals her disgust for smokers, which helps lead to a breakup with Keith Hernandez. Her dislike of smoking also leads to an argument with a fortune-teller in "The Suicide". However, in "The Calzone" and "The Foundation" she is seen smoking with a Cuban cigar. She is also seen smoking a cigar in "The Blood", but only to make herself look bad in front of the mother of the child she's babysitting.
In the ninth season episode "The Maid", Elaine has a telephone serviceman in her apartment to change the apartment's phone number (in response to receiving numerous attempted faxes meant for Kramer). While the serviceman is at work kneeling beside the phone, and while holding a large candlestick, she speculates (heard via voice-over) whether it would be discovered if she killed the serviceman (credited as "Phone Guy #1" played by actor Sam Whipple). Upon learning that the new phone number will have the 646 area code instead of Manhattan's traditional 212, she tells the man: "You know, I could have killed you and no one would have known," to which the serviceman repeats those exact words back to her.
Elaine is the only main character whose mother never appears. Benes' father, a gruff novelist named Alton Benes (portrayed by Lawrence Tierney), a character based on the novelist Richard Yates, was featured in the episode "The Jacket". He is an alcoholic and a war veteran, and is very well respected in the literary community. In the same episode, Elaine's father asks how her mother is; later, in "The Wait Out", Elaine reveals to David Lookner that her father left her and the rest of her family when she was nine years old.
Elaine has a sister, Gail, and a nephew who are first mentioned in "The Pick". In "The Wait Out", it is revealed that Gail lives in St. Louis. She also makes reference to a brother-in-law in "The Phone Message".
Elaine has a cousin, Holly, who appears in "The Wink". In this episode, reference is made to Elaine's Grandma Mema, from whom Holly inherited a set of cloth napkins.
In the first season episode "The Stock Tip", Elaine mentions she has an Uncle Pete. In "The Secret Code", she mentions another uncle who worked in the Texas School Book Depository with Lee Harvey Oswald.
Background and education
Unlike Jerry, Kramer, and George, Elaine is not a native of New York, having grown up in the affluent Baltimore suburb of Towson, Maryland, and is shown in the series to be a fan of the Baltimore Orioles. She attended finishing school, and completed her undergraduate education at Tufts University, revealed to be her safety school in "The Puerto Rican Day", as a French Literature major. In "The Dog", she tells George she moved to New York in 1986, which by coincidence, is the year Jerry moved into his apartment across the hall from Kramer (as seen in "The Betrayal"). She began dating Jerry later that same year.
Elaine's religious beliefs are never confirmed, and she appears to have no interest in religion. She expressed shock when her boyfriend David Puddy, is revealed as a devout Christian. She views saying "God bless you" as a "silly superstition" in "The Good Samaritan". On the other hand, she is seen making the sign of the cross before entering Jerry's apartment to retrieve a manuscript while it is being fumigated in "The Doodle", and crosses herself again in "The Betrayal" after turning her back on a Hindu altar. This may suggest that Elaine was raised Catholic. In multiple episodes, including "The Strong Box" and "The Wizard", she can be seen wearing a crucifix. In "The Pick", Elaine is horrified when she realizes she sent a Christmas card (which features her nipple) to "Sister Mary Catherine. Father Chelios."
Elaine is confirmed to be a gentile in "The Postponement", when she talked to a rabbi about not being herself after finding out George got engaged before she did. She tells him she is not of his Jewish faith. Elaine also states that she is not Jewish in "The Fatigues." Though her ethnicity is never made clear, the name Beneš (anglicized as Benes) is a common Czech surname. Her ethnicity is incorrectly assumed to be Hispanic in "The Wizard". In "The Wink", her cousin Holly repeatedly mentions a "Grandma Memma" who apparently shared a mutual dislike with Elaine's side of the family. Elaine claims to have an IQ of 145 (although her scores range from 85 to 151).
Early in the series, Elaine lives with a roommate Tina. Later on, she lives on her own at 16 West 75th Street, Apartment 2G and 78 West 86th Street, Apartment 3E.
Elaine works several steady jobs throughout the show's entire run, mostly as a writer or editor.
- During season two to season five, she works at Pendant Publishing under her boss Mr. Lippman, where she served as a copy editor before losing her job at the end of the fifth season when the company went bankrupt, and a merger that may have saved the company was thwarted by a misunderstanding resulting from her penchant for chewy, speech-impairing Jujyfruit candies ("The Opposite").
- She later becomes a personal assistant to the eccentric and demanding Justin Pitt, starting in "The Chaperone", but later is fired when Pitt thinks she and Jerry are conspiring to kill him in "The Diplomat's Club". Her duties for Mr. Pitt included largely mundane tasks, such as buying socks for him or removing the salt crystals from his pretzel sticks (as featured in "The Mom & Pop Store").
- After her dismissal from this position, she meets J. Peterman on the street ("The Understudy") and becomes an editor at his J. Peterman Catalog, where she remains employed for the rest of the show's run. Starting in "The Foundation", she takes charge of the catalog when Peterman suffers a nervous breakdown and flees to Burma. She goes on a spending spree on the company account (she buys George an $8000 sable hat in "The Chicken Roaster"). Once Peterman returns to find an ineffective reshuffling of employees in "The Money" she is demoted back to her former position. She is also fired twice by Peterman: first when her penchant for poppy seed muffins cause her to fail a drug test in "The Shower Head" and then in "The English Patient" when she expresses her hatred for the movie The English Patient. She is able to recover her job by agreeing to live temporarily in a remote cave in the desert of Tunisia.
Elaine has a string of boyfriends, most of whom appeared for only an episode or two.
- Elaine and Jerry had dated for a while before the show began. They began dating in 1986 (as revealed in "The Truth"; per "The Betrayal", this would have been shortly after Jerry moved into his apartment and shortly after Elaine herself first moved to New York, suggesting Jerry was her first New York boyfriend), then dated for three years up until 1990, indicating they began dating in mid-1986 and broke up in mid-1990; however, in "The Deal", Elaine states the two only had sex 37 times together, and in the same episode Jerry states he had thought it was 25 times, numbers which, considering the length of their relationship and their post-relationship promiscuity, seem rather low if not downright implausible. In any event, during conversation in "The Deal," Jerry and Elaine make it clear that their breakup was not due to sexual issues; the precise reasons for their breakup are never elaborated upon.
- Also in "The Deal," the two create a set of rules whereby they can sleep together but remain only friends. However, their theory is ruined when Elaine is furious over Jerry giving her $182 as a birthday gift. In season 5's "The Mango", Jerry is shocked to discover that Elaine had faked her orgasms while they were together. Elaine isn't too concerned, but a bitter Jerry is unable to let it go and unsuccessfully demands another chance. Ultimately, as they are about to bitterly part ways, she finally agrees to give him another chance "to save the friendship". Though the friendship goes back to normal, the attempt fails as Jerry is unable to perform.
- The idea that Elaine and Jerry still have feelings for each other occasionally comes up in the series. In season 3's "The Tape", Elaine jokingly leaves a dirty message on Jerry's tape recorder which reignites Jerry's (along with George and Kramer) passion for Elaine. In the episode "The Fix-Up", Kramer stops an argument between Jerry and Elaine and tells them, "Can't you two see that you're in love with each other?" The two, however, dismiss it. In season 6's "The Mom & Pop Store", when Elaine is temporarily deafened by a big band music party, Jerry jokingly asks her to marry him. In season 7's "The Cadillac", after Elaine realizes that Jerry is financially successful, she begins to flirt with him incessantly. In season 8's "The Abstinence", Elaine abstains from sex with her boyfriend until he passes his medical exam. This results in such mental congestion that she becomes markedly less intelligent. She then begs Jerry to have sex with her, he briefly considers it but turns her down, saying that the situation was "too weird". However, this was likely just a desperate attempt from Elaine, as she then goes as far to ask if Kramer was home.
- In season 9's "The Serenity Now", Jerry's uninhibited and exaggerated emotional state causes him to ask Elaine to marry him. Shocked, she makes an excuse and leaves. She returns later to accept his proposal, but Jerry has by that time settled to his usual stable emotional state and says "I don't see it happening." In "The Finale", when they think their plane is about to crash, Elaine says "I've always loved...", but then pilot is able to steady the plane. Elaine later explained in court that she had been confessing that "I've always loved United Airlines." Jerry questioned Elaine about Puddy when she first started dating him and was disappointed she'd be dating his mechanic, telling her "You always want to know who your ex-girlfriend is dating".
- During her interview on Inside The Actor's Studio, Julia Louis-Dreyfus said she believed Jerry and Elaine were soul mates but would never end up together because they were both too "insane and messed up."
- In the reunion episode featured in the seventh season of Curb Your Enthusiasm, it is revealed in the years since the finale Jerry has donated sperm to Elaine that results in her having a daughter. The daughter has taken to calling Jerry "Uncle Jerry", but by the episode's end, it is said she now refers to him as "daddy" - to the clear discomfort of Elaine and Jerry.
- Elaine's longest relationship, besides that with Jerry, is with David Puddy (Patrick Warburton), an auto mechanic turned car salesman whom she dates starting in the latter half of season six and later for the majority of season nine. Puddy's personality and physicality contrast those of Elaine: he is of minimal intelligence and maturity, and of much greater bulk than Benes. Elaine and Puddy break-up and make-up repeatedly during their relationship, often doing so several times in one episode as demonstrated to extreme effect in "The Butter Shave" and "The Voice". It's also known that the phrase "Yeah, that's right" carried on to Elaine in which she uses the phrase a few times whenever she hangs around with Puddy. It is likely that Puddy does not have overly strong feelings for Elaine. This is shown in a few episodes. In "The Voice", Puddy claims he just likes to see her and have sex. In the same episode, when Elaine tells him that they're back together, he answers "Oh, no". In "The Finale", when Elaine is about to be taken away to jail, she emotionally tells Puddy to "not wait for her". Puddy answers back with a simple and casual, "Alright", leaving Elaine in shock and confusion. And the fact that they constantly break-up in various episodes explains that they can't maintain a long-term, loving relationship.
Men attracted to Elaine
- Newman has a long-running crush on Elaine over the course of the series. Even though Jerry shows Elaine's "Christmas Card" in "The Pick", he reveals his feelings in "The Soul Mate" until "The Reverse Peephole" in which Elaine tries to get the fur coat but he is already in love with Svetlana.
- In "The Tape", George, Jerry, and Kramer become attracted to Elaine after hearing a joke erotic message that she recorded on a tape on which Jerry was recording one of his live shows. Elaine and Kramer are very occasionally seen to flirt with each other, such as calling each other "darling" or "my love".
- In "The Serenity Now", Elaine attracts the romantic attentions of both Mr. Lippman and his 13-year-old son, Adam. George tells her she has 'shiksa-appeal, the attraction Gentile women have over Jewish men ("Jewish men love the idea of meeting a woman that's not like their mother").
- In "The Cigar Store Indian", Elaine becomes the obsession of a nerdy television fanatic named Ricky whom she meets on the subway; he shows up at the Costanzas' home with a paper bouquet for her which he made out of Frank Costanza's copy of TV Guide (which Elaine had accidentally left with him). In a later episode, "The Pie", it is revealed that Ricky designed a mannequin in Elaine's likeness.
- In "The Big Salad", an office supply store clerk, Barry, who has become obsessed with Elaine constantly calls Jerry about a pencil order she placed for Mr. Pitt.
- In "The Contest", John F. Kennedy, Jr., who works out at the same gym as Elaine, lets her know through the countergirl that he would like to meet her. Elaine and John ride together briefly in a cab.
- In "The Jimmy", Elaine thinks she is being set up on date with a handsome man from the gym that she fancies, but instead she has unwittingly agreed to a date with a strange man named Jimmy who refers to himself in the third person.
- In "The Shoes", Elaine catches the eye of NBC president Russell Dalrymple by wearing a dress with a décolletage. Elaine breaks off the relationship after one date, sending Russell into an emotional spiral that causes him to quit his job and join Greenpeace to impress her. Russell's departure from NBC causes Jerry and George's pilot to be rejected, and it is implied at the end of "The Pilot" that Russell dies at sea during a Greenpeace mission.
- In "The Van Buren Boys", J. Peterman suggests that when Elaine writes the "romantic escapade" section of his autobiography, she can feel free to throw herself into the dialogue.
- In "Tucson Dreams", Mike Powell proclaims his love for Elaine after she researches his fashion for an issue of the J. Peterman catalogue.
Other notable boyfriends
- She dates baseball player (and Kramer and Newman's nemesis) Keith Hernandez in "The Boyfriend".
- She also dates Tim Whatley, a dentist who appears in several episodes, most notably "The Label Maker".
- Over several episodes in season 4, she dates "Crazy" Joe Davola, who is simultaneously stalking Jerry, unbeknownst to her until "The Opera".
- In "The Masseuse", she dates a man named Joel Rifkin, who shares the same name as a notorious serial killer.
- In "The Sniffing Accountant" she dates Jake Jarmel, an up-and-coming writer and star client of Pendant Publishing. She breaks up with him because of his reluctance to use exclamation points. They get back together in "The Opposite", but he breaks up with her for stopping to buy Jujyfruits after hearing he was in a car accident. Later, in "The Scofflaw", Elaine taunts Jarmel by wearing a pair of glasses that are identical to his—he's upset because he thought he had the only pair. She then gives them to Mr. Lippman, Jarmel's publisher, who inadvertently angers Jarmel by wearing them to a book promotion.
- In "The Bizarro Jerry", she dates Kevin, the nice, kind antithesis of Jerry whose friends Gene, Feldman and Vargus are polar opposites of George, Kramer and Newman, respectively, each described as coming from the backwards Bizarro World of Superman comics.
- In "The Stall", her boyfriend Tony, dubbed a male bimbo or "mimbo" by Jerry, becomes George's new idol.
- In "The Wallet" she dates her psychiatrist, Dr. Reston, who has such control over her she calls him her Svengali (but mispronounces it "Svenjolly").
- In "The Checks", her boyfriend Brett is so obsessed with the song "Desperado" that she feels ignored whenever the song comes on. She tries to find a song that they can share and comes up with "Witchy Woman", but it doesn't work. Both songs are by the Eagles.
- In "The Wizard", Elaine isn't sure if her new boyfriend Darryl is African-American or not and gets mixed signals when she tries to find out. Turns out he is white and thought Elaine was Hispanic.
- In "The Non-Fat Yogurt", Elaine dates Lloyd Braun. Since Lloyd works for the mayor, she tells him that the city would be a better place if everyone wore name tags. He mentions this to the mayor and the mayor eventually loses his election as a result.
- In "The Maestro", Elaine begins dating Bob Cobb, a conductor who insists on being calling "Maestro". They eventually go to Tuscany together.
- In "The Junk Mail", Elaine dates Jack, the television pitchman for The Wiz.
Elaine's quick temper makes her several enemies and gets her into several confrontations over the years:
Sue Ellen Mischke
- She has a long-running hatred and inferiority complex for former schoolmate and candy-bar heiress Sue Ellen Mischke. Elaine's nickname for Sue Ellen was "The Braless Wonder" because she never wore a bra in high school, which enticed Elaine's boyfriend to dump her for Sue Ellen. Sue Ellen appears in four episodes: in "The Caddy", she struts down the street wearing a bra as a top, causing Kramer to crash George's car; in "The Bottle Deposit", Elaine spends $20,000 on a set of golf clubs (owned by John F. Kennedy) for Mr. Peterman when she is caught in a vicious bidding war with Sue Ellen at an auction; in "The Abstinence", Elaine boasts to Sue Ellen about dating a doctor but then is made to look foolish when her boyfriend is completely useless during an emergency at the coffee shop; finally, in "The Betrayal", Elaine is so unhappy at receiving an "Unvitation" (a super-last-minute invitation) to Sue Ellen's wedding, that she travels all the way to India just to show up. It finally ended when George blurted out that Elaine "slept with the groom". Her comeuppance is Sue Ellen hurting her nose by ripping out her nose-pierced stud, which is band-aided at the beginning of the episode. (Note: "The Betrayal" aired in reverse chronological order where the episode began with the confrontation and ended with Jerry first moving into his apartment.)
- Elaine conflicts with Frank Costanza on several occasions. Frank refers to her as "supercilious" in "The Chinese Woman". In The Cigar Store Indian, she angers him first by taking his TV Guide without asking and then by spilling her gyro on it. Then, in "The Little Kicks", she and Frank come to blows after George is arrested along with Elaine's co-worker Anna. Elaine says to Frank, "I could drop you like a bag of dirt." Frank replies, "You want a piece of me? You got it!" Later, when Jerry chides her for fighting with an old man, she says, "Hey, he wrote the check. I cashed it." suggesting that she won the fight.
- Her abortion argument with restaurateur Poppie gets him so angry that he loses control of his bladder in "The Couch" and again in "The Doorman."
- In "The Soup Nazi", Elaine refuses to abide by the rules of a strict soup stand owner nicknamed "The Soup Nazi" and thus becomes the subject of his ire. When she finds his secret recipes that he had accidentally left in an armoire, she hints that she will drive him out of business, gloating that he is "through!"
- In "The Summer of George", Elaine makes enemies out of her co-worker Sam (Molly Shannon). First, when Elaine criticizes Sam's way of walking ("It's like she's carrying invisible suitcases"), Sam gets furious and threatens revenge. Then, Raquel Welch (who was recently fired from a musical for dancing without swinging her arms), sees Elaine describing the walk to the police and thinks that Elaine is making fun of her and attacks her. Both events end up arousing Jerry, Kramer, George and even the police, because as Jerry tells Elaine, men love "catfights".
- In "The Understudy", after she thinks her Korean manicurists are making fun of her, she angers them by bringing in Frank Costanza, who is fluent in Korean, to eavesdrop on them.
- In "The Fire", Elaine reveals her hatred for her overly energetic and always-happy colleague Toby. Then, when Toby loses her pinky toe in an accident (caused by Jerry), an outpouring of office sympathy leads Toby to a major promotion instead of Elaine, who is more qualified.
- In "The Visa" she and Jerry anger Pakistani immigrant Babu after she fails to notice Babu's visa application among Jerry's mail that she is picking up for him.
- Elaine has had run-ins with her co-worker Peggy on a few occasions. In "The Susie", Peggy tells Elaine, who she thinks is a woman named Susie, that Elaine Benes is a "dolt" and a "disaster." Later, in "The Apology", Peggy thinks Elaine has germs, and in retaliation Elaine deliberately coughs on Peggy's doorknob, rubs her stapler in her armpit and rubs her keyboard on her rear end.
- Also in "The Susie", we learn of a woman named Sharon who Elaine seems to not care for. Elaine describes Sharon as a "pom-pom-wavin' Backseat Bimbo" who grew up to be a "bulimic, chain-smoking, stenographer from Staten Island."
- Elaine makes a particular enemy of Chinese restaurants on no fewer than four different occasions. In "The Chinese Restaurant", she makes a fool of herself when she tries to bribe the waiter to get her a table faster. Then in "The Race", she gets "blacklisted" from a Chinese delivery restaurant for refusing food delivery, also getting her Communist boyfriend blacklisted as well. Finally, in "The Pothole", she pretends to live in a janitor's closet in a different apartment so that she can live inside the delivery zone of a certain Chinese restaurant. She was also once sued by a Chinese deliveryman named Ping for causing him to get in a bicycle accident in "The Virgin". This storyline falls out in "The Visa" and is left unresolved.
- In "The Package", it is revealed that Elaine's medical charts characterize her as a "difficult" patient, to such a degree that she cannot receive treatment for a rash because one doctor after another refuses to treat her.
- In "The Andrea Doria", Elaine dates Alan, a "bad breaker-upper", who makes her feel insecure about having a big head. In the episode she describes herself as a "walking candy apple" after a bird runs into her "giant, freak head."
- In "The Smelly Car", Elaine's boyfriend Carl is repulsed by her when her hair stinks of B.O. from riding in Jerry's car. She goes to extreme lengths to get the smell out but nothing works, and he continues to be grossed out.
- In "The Postponement", Elaine confides in a rabbi that she is jealous of George's engagement to Susan Ross because George would be getting married before she did and she considers George to be a loser. The Rabbi proceeds to tell everyone in Elaine's apartment complex and later on his cable TV show about Elaine's insecurity.
Influence/effect on others
Elaine's charm and confidence contribute to her ability to influence others, often with disastrous consequences.
- In "The Chinese Woman", Jerry describes how Elaine has had a destructive effect on her relationship with her friend Noreen. It is revealed that over the course of their friendship, Elaine has convinced Noreen to join the army, go AWOL from the army, dump her "high talker" boyfriend, and dump her "long talker" boyfriend. Eventually, Kramer steps in and forbids Elaine to have any more contact with Noreen.
- In "The Muffin Tops", Elaine convinces her former boss Mr. Lippman to start his own business selling just "muffin tops". However, they soon run into problems when nobody will take the leftover stumps, and only by calling in "The Cleaner" (who turns out to be Newman) can they get rid of them.
- In "The Non-Fat Yogurt", Elaine suggests to Lloyd Braun, an advisor to Mayor Dinkins, that everyone in the city should wear name tags. Lloyd Braun suggests this idea to Dinkins and he likes it so much that he adds it to his campaign, subsequently leading to his loss in the mayoral elections. In "The Gum", it is revealed that Lloyd Braun also loses his job and later suffered a nervous breakdown.
- In "The Pilot," Russell Dalrymple's love for Elaine drives him to the point near the end of the show that he joins Greenpeace just to impress her and dies in the aftermath.
- She often shoves a person and shouts "get out!" whenever she hears good news. It first appeared in "The Apartment" and goes on like a normal push. By "The Engagement", the show ramps it up as the tone of the humor changes, which allows Elaine to really shove a person into another room for comic effect, most memorably "The Engagement" with Jerry and "The Soup Nazi" with Kramer. Also, the most memorable moment is in "The Bizarro Jerry": she shoves Kevin to the ground, helping end her friendship with the bizarro group.
- She is a breathtakingly poor dancer. Her performance at a J. Peterman company party, the central plot theme of "The Little Kicks", causes George to describe it as "a full-bodied dry heave set to music." The moves are repeated in her bedroom in a short scene of the episode "The Slicer". Both clips appear in "The Clip Show, Pt. 1".
- In "The Doodle", she holds her breath looking for the manuscript she was meant to read and memorize for her appointment.
- Elaine is missing from "The Seinfeld Chronicles" and "The Trip", and she has minimal roles in "The Pitch", "The Ticket" and "The Butter Shave" because of maternity leave, making her the most absent of the four main characters.
- Julia Louis-Dreyfus's pregnancy is notable in seasons 3 and 8. In production order, she hides her growing belly in some subtle ways such as putting a pillow over her stomach when she sat down. Her stomach is noticeable from "The Subway" to "The Keys" in season 3 and from "The Pothole" to "The Summer of George" in season 8. It would later be referenced by the character of C.C. Babcock on The Nanny, who mentions seeing an episode where Elaine is "twelve months pregnant" and trying to hide it with a large handbag, while C.C.'s portrayer, Lauren Lane, was doing exactly the same thing since she was also pregnant herself.
Elaine's hairstyle changed in Season 7. It remained like that for the rest of the series.
- Patricia Heaton, Megan Mullally, and Rosie O'Donnell also auditioned for the part, and when it was offered to Louis-Dreyfus she wasn't sure if she should accept.
- Lyman, Rick (September 7, 1997). "Touching Moments with Leifer? Get Real!". The New York Times. Retrieved May 8, 2015.
- Bailey, Blake. A Tragic Honesty: The Life and Work of Richard Yates. Picador, 2003.
- "Seinfeld - NOW PLAYING - The Sponge". Sonypictures.com. Retrieved 2011-09-11.
- "The Movie". Seinfeld Scripts. 1993-01-06. Retrieved 2011-09-11.
- "Seinfeld - Cast and Characters". Sonypictures.com. Retrieved 2011-09-11.
- How it Began (a making-of-the-show documentary)
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