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|Elaine Marie Benes|
|First appearance||"The Stake Out" (1990)|
|Last appearance||"The Finale, Part II" (1998)|
|Created by||Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David|
|Portrayed by||Julia Louis-Dreyfus|
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. Julia Louis-Dreyfus reprised the role during season 41 of Saturday Night Live.
- 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 3 close friends, Elaine is absent from the pilot episode. Previously the female role was supposed to be Claire, the waiter at Pete's Luncheonette played by Lee Garlington, but Monk's Cafe replaced the luncheonette and Garlington was dropped from the role. Elaine first appears in "The Stake Out," but in production order she appears in a final scene eating M&Ms in "Male Unbonding." NBC executives felt the show was too male-centric, and demanded that 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 doesn't appear in "The Trip" and therefore appears in fewer episodes than George and Jerry.
After it was discovered that Jerry Seinfeld once dated writer and comedian Carol Leifer, speculation grew that Elaine was based on Leifer, though that was later largely denied. Leifer, who wrote or cowrote 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, daughter of novelist Richard Yates, whom Larry David once dated, and they remained good friends after they broke up.
Elaine is normally intelligent and assertive, but also quite superficial. She's '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 series. Her traits are usually edgy and neurotic and she has a tendency to easily get angry with almost everybody. She's ruined her friends' ambitions, like throwing George's wig 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 "The Sponge", where she's desperate to buy a cache of discontinued contraceptive sponges before they're 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 somebody who's unattractive and wonders how long she's 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 doesn't share her opinions on abortion. Elaine also is attracted to men with lucrative jobs, especially 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 "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 "The Summer of George" to "The Betrayal". There are a few episodes where her hair has an effect on mostly her boyfriends. In "The Strike", it's damaged when affected by steam. In "The Smelly Car" a valet makes 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 clothes are normally quite conservative. She usually wears formal dresses and whenever she's not at work, she'll wear her usual casual clothing. Peter Mehlman reveals 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's entirely out of her usual attire, as in "The Betrayal" (when she wears an Indian outfit and hairstyle) and "The Millennium" (where she dons Mayan dress). Elaine also wears glasses at times, usually during work hours.
Although she's friends with George, Elaine tends to be combative with him. Still, Elaine sees him as a good friend: in "The Wife", he argues with Elaine over her love interest, who's threatening to throw him out of the health club. The portrayal of Elaine as smarter and more successful than George is occasionally reversed for comic effect: In "The Opposite", George finds success and happiness doing the opposite of whatever his instincts tell him, while 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 George and Elaine work together, most notably in "The Revenge" and "The Cadillac".
She sometimes goes 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 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 7" over a girl's bicycle where Newman is the judge over the dispute.
Elaine is the only main character not to own a car. In "The Busboy" (off camera) and "The Pothole" she borrows Jerry's, and in "The Wait Out" her friend Elise's car. In "The Burning" she borrows then-boyfriend David Puddy's. Also, it's revealed that she's 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 A Streetcar Named Desire, revealed first in "The Fusilli Jerry" the episode where Elaine first starts to see Puddy and an utter dislike for The English Patient. She remarks sarcastically to Jerry (after he expresses surprise that she'd date Puddy, who's 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's seen smoking with a Cuban cigar. She's also seen smoking a cigar in "The Blood", but only to make herself look bad in front of the mom of the child she's babysitting.
In "The Maid", Elaine has a phone 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 holding a large candlestick, she speculates (heard via voice-over) whether it'd be discovered if she killed the serviceman (credited as "Phone Guy #1" 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 mom never appears. Her dad, a gruff novelist named Alton Benes (Lawrence Tierney), a character based on novelist Richard Yates, was featured in "The Jacket". He's an alcoholic vet and very well respected in the literary community. In the same episode, Alton asks how her mom is; later, in "The Wait Out", Elaine reveals to David Lookner that Alton left her and the rest of her family when she was 9 years old.
Elaine has a sister, Gail, and nephew who are first mentioned in "The Pick". In "The Wait Out", it's revealed that Gail lives in Saint Louis. She also makes reference to a brother-in-law in "The Phone Message".
Elaine has a cousin, Holly, who appears in "The Wink", where reference is made to Elaine's Grandma Mema, who Holly inherited a set of cloth napkins from.
Background and education
Unlike George, Jerry and Kramer, Elaine is not a native of New York, having grown up in the affluent Baltimore suburb of Towson, Maryland, and is shown 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. She started dating Jerry later that year. In "The Doodle" it is stated by George that Elaine takes a drawing class at The New School with his girlfriend Paula.
Elaine's religious beliefs are never confirmed, and she appears to have no interest in religion. She expresses shock when 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's seen making the sign of the cross before entering Jerry's apartment to retrieve a manuscript while it's being fumigated in "The Doodle", and crosses herself again in "The Betrayal" after turning her back on a Hindu altar. This might 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" and "Father Chelios".
In "The Chinese Woman", Elaine asks Jerry about the ethnicity of Donna Chang, whose surname was shortened from Changstein, a move not unusual for Jewish immigrants. Jerry responds to Elaine that Donna is "like you". However, 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 her. She tells him she's not of his Jewish faith. Elaine also states that she's not Jewish in "The Fatigues." Though her ethnicity is never made clear, the name Beneš 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 W. 75th St., Apt. 2G and 78 W. 86th St., Apt. 3E.
Elaine works several steady jobs throughout the show's entire run, mostly as a writer or editor.
- During Seasons 2 to 5, 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 Season 5 when the company went bankrupt, and a misunderstanding resulting from her penchant for chewy, speech-impairing Jujyfruit candies thwarted a merger that might have saved the company. ("The Opposite").
- She later becomes a personal assistant to the eccentric, demanding Justin Pitt, starting in "The Chaperone", but later is fired when Mr. Pitt thinks she and Jerry are conspiring to kill him in "The Diplomat's Club". Her duties for Mr. Pitt included largely mundane tasks, like buying him socks or removing the salt crystals from his pretzel sticks ("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 series. 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's demoted back to her former position. Peterman also fires her twice: 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 hate for the movie The English Patient. She's 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.
- Jerry and Elaine had dated for a while before the show started. They started dating in 1986 (as revealed in "The Truth"; per "The Betrayal", this would have been shortly after Jerry moved into his apartment and Elaine first moved to New York, suggesting Jerry was her first New York boyfriend), then dated for 3 years until 1990, indicating they started dating in mid-1986 and broke up in mid-1990; however, in "The Deal", Elaine states they only had sex thirty-seven times, and in the same episode Jerry states he'd thought it was twenty-five times, numbers which, given the length of their relationship and post-relationship promiscuity, seem rather low if not downright implausible. In any event, during conversation in "The Deal," Jerry and Elaine make clear that their breakup wasn't due to sexual issues; the precise reasons for their breakup are never elaborated on.
- Also in "The Deal," they 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 "The Mango", Jerry is shocked to discover that Elaine had feigned her orgasms while they were together. Elaine isn't too concerned, but bitter Jerry is unable to let it go and unsuccessfully demands another chance. Ultimately, as they're 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 Jerry and Elaine still have feelings for one another occasionally comes up in the series. In "The Tape", she jokingly leaves a dirty message on his tape recorder, reigniting the three other main characters' passion for her. In "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?" They, however, dismiss it. In "The Mom & Pop Store", when a big band music party temporarily deafens Elaine, Jerry jokingly proposes. In "The Cadillac", after Elaine realizes that Jerry is financially successful, she starts to flirt with him incessantly. In "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 effort from Elaine, as she then goes as far to ask if Kramer was home.
- In "The Serenity Now", Jerry's uninhibited, 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 airplane is about to crash, Elaine says "I've always loved...", but then pilot is able to steady the airplane. Elaine later explained in court that she'd been confessing that "I've always loved United Airlines." Jerry questioned Elaine about Puddy when she first began 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 Season 7 of Curb Your Enthusiasm, it's revealed in the years since the finale Jerry has donated sperm to Elaine that results in her having a daughter, who's taken to calling Jerry "Uncle Jerry", but by the episode's end, it's said she now refers to him as "daddy" - to Jerry and Elaine's clear discomfort.
- Elaine's longest relationship, besides that with Jerry, is with Puddy (Patrick Warburton), an auto mechanic turned car salesman who she dates starting in the latter half of Season 6 and later for the majority of Season 9. Puddy's personality and physicality contrast those of Elaine: he's of minimal intelligence and maturity, and much greater bulk than Elaine. Puddy and Elaine break 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 where she uses the phrase a few times whenever she hangs around with Puddy. It's likely that Puddy doesn't 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 prison, she emotionally tells Puddy to "not wait for her". Puddy answers back with a simple, 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" where Elaine tries to get the fur coat but he's 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 Jerry was recording one of his live shows on. Kramer and Elaine are very occasionally seen to flirt with one another, like calling one another "darling" or "my love".
- In "The Serenity Now", Elaine attracts the romantic attentions of both Mr. Lippman and his thirteen-year-old son, Adam. George tells her she has 'shiksa-appeal, the attraction of Gentile women 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 TV fanatic named Ricky who 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 "The Pie", it's revealed that Ricky designed a mannequin in Elaine's likeness.
- In "The Big Salad", an office supply store clerk, Barry, who's 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'd like to meet her. JFK Jr. and Elaine ride together briefly in a cab.
- In "The Jimmy", Elaine thinks she's being set up on date with a handsome man from the gym that she fancies, but instead she's 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. She 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 George and Jerry's pilot to be rejected, and it's 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 Joe Davola, who's 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 dumps him because of his reluctance to use exclamation points. They get back together in "The Opposite", but he dumps her for stopping to buy Jujyfruits after hearing he was in a car crash. Later, in "The Scofflaw", Elaine taunts Jake by wearing glasses that are identical to his—he's upset because he thought he had the only pair. She then gives them to Mr. Lippman, Jake's publisher, who inadvertently angers Jake 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 it 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 black or not and gets mixed signals when she tries to find out. Turns out he's 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 everybody wore name tags. He mentions this to the mayor, who eventually loses his election as a result.
- In "The Maestro", Elaine starts dating Bob Cobb, a conductor who insists on being called "Maestro". They eventually go to Tuscany together.
- In "The Junk Mail", Elaine dates Jack, the TV 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 hate and inferiority complex for ex-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, who appears in 4 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 Pres. Kennedy) for Mr. Peterman when she's 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 bandaged at the beginning of the episode. (Note: "The Betrayal" aired in reverse chronological order where the episode started 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 spilling her gyro on a replacement before giving it to him. Then, in "The Little Kicks", she and Frank come to blows after George is arrested along with Elaine's coworker 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 therefore becomes the subject of his ire. When she finds his secret recipes that he'd accidentally left in an armoire, she hints that she'll drive him out of business, gloating that he's "through!"
- In "The Summer of George", Elaine makes enemies out of her coworker 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 George, Jerry, Kramer 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's fluent in Korean, to eavesdrop on them.
- In "The Fire", Elaine reveals her hate for her overly energetic, 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 the more qualified Elaine.
- In "The Visa" she and Jerry anger Pakistani immigrant Babu Bhatt after she fails to notice Babu's visa application among Jerry's mail that she's picking up for him.
- Elaine has had run-ins with her coworker Peggy on a few occasions. In "The Susie", Peggy tells Elaine, who she thinks is a woman named Susie, that Elaine is a "dolt" and "disaster." Later, in "The Apology", Peggy thinks Elaine has germs, and in retaliation Elaine intentionally coughs on Peggy's doorknob, rubs her stapler in her armpit and keyboard on her backside.
- Also in "The Susie", we learn of a woman named Sharon for whom Elaine doesn't seem to care. 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 4 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 custodian's closet in a different apartment so that she can live in the delivery zone of a certain Chinese restaurant. A Chinese deliveryman named Ping also once sued her for causing him to get in a bike crash in "The Virgin". This storyline falls out in "The Visa" and is left unresolved.
- In "The Package", it's revealed that Elaine's medical charts characterize her as a "difficult" patient, to such a degree that she can't 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 repulses her boyfriend Carl when her hair stinks of BO 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's jealous of George's engagement to Susan Ross because George would be getting married before her and she considers George a loser. The Rabbi proceeds to tell everybody in Elaine's apartment complex and later on his cable TV show about her 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's revealed that over the course of their friendship, Elaine has convinced Noreen to join and go AWOL from the army and dump her "high-" and "long-talker" boyfriends. Eventually, Kramer steps in and forbids Elaine to have any more contact with Noreen.
- In "The Muffin Tops", Elaine convinces her ex-boss Mr. Lippman to start his own business selling just "muffin tops". However, they soon run into problems when no one 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 Dave Dinkins, that everybody in the city should wear name tags. Lloyd Braun suggests this idea to Mayor Dinkins, who likes it so much that he adds it to his campaign, subsequently leading to his loss in the mayoral elections. In "The Gum", it's revealed that Lloyd Braun also loses his job and later had a mad fit.
- 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 yells "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 lets Elaine 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's 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 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 has minimal roles in "The Pitch", "The Ticket" and "The Butter Shave" because of maternity leave, making her the most absent of the 4 main characters.
- Julia Louis-Dreyfus' pregnancy is notable in Seasons 3 and 8. In production order, she hides her baby bump in some subtle ways like putting a pillow over her stomach when she sat down. Her stomach is noticeable from "The Subway" to "The Keys" in Season 3 and "The Pothole" to "The Summer of George" in Season 8. The character of CC Babcock would later reference it on The Nanny, and mentions seeing an episode where Elaine is "12 months pregnant" and trying to hide it with a large handbag, while CC's portrayer, Lauren Lane, was doing exactly the same thing since she was also pregnant herself.
- Elaine's hairstyle changed in Season 7 and remained so 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.
- Louis-Dreyfus reprised her role while hosting an episode of Saturday Night Live in its 41st season. In the context of a Democratic debate taking place in the Bronx, moderator Wolf Blitzer announces that they will take questions from "long time New Yorkers". Benes first poses a question to Bernie Sanders, as portrayed by Seinfeld creator Larry David. The two engage in an exchange about saying "yada yada yada", reminiscent of George (who was based on David) and Elaine. Louis-Dreyfus also joined in as Elaine to deliver the show's signature line.
- 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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