Elaine Benes

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Elaine Benes
Seinfeld character
First appearance"The Stake Out" (1990)
Last appearance"Saturday Night Live" (2016)
Created byJerry Seinfeld
Larry David
Portrayed byJulia Louis-Dreyfus
In-universe information
Nurse Paloma
Lois Loan
Queen of the Castle
Wanda Pepper
OccupationAssistant to Mr. Pitt
Copy Writer for J. Peterman
Editor at Pendant Publishing
FamilyAlton Benes (father)
Unnamed mother
Gail Benes (sister)
Grandma Mema (grandmother)
RelativesHolly (cousin)
Pete (uncle)
unnamed nephew
Birth DateJanuary 29, 1962
Alma MaterTufts University

Elaine Marie Benes /ˈbɛnɪs/ is a fictional character on the American television sitcom Seinfeld, 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. Louis-Dreyfus received critical acclaim for her performance as Elaine, winning an Emmy, a Golden Globe and five SAG Awards. She reprised the role during season 41 of Saturday Night Live in 2016.

Elaine's debut[edit]

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 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" (the actress having been in the late stages of pregnancy at the time of filming) and therefore appears in fewer episodes than George and Jerry.

Real-life inspiration[edit]

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.[1] 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.[2]

Background and education[edit]

Unlike George, Jerry and Kramer, Elaine is not a native of New York City, having grown up in the affluent Baltimore suburb of Towson, 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 is seen making the sign of the cross before entering Jerry's apartment to retrieve a manuscript while the apartment is 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 (or Episcopalian). Also notable, was Elaine's celebration of Christmas as we see her apartment-holiday decor skills on full display (including a very 90s, grand Xmas tree) in "The Race". 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", suggesting Elaine is Jewish. However, Elaine seems 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 is not of his faith. Elaine also states that she is not Jewish in "The Fatigues."

Though her ethnicity is never made clear, the name Beneš is a common Czech surname. Her ethnicity is 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).


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 series. Her traits are usually edgy and neurotic and she has a tendency to easily get angry with almost everybody, and has a habit of shoving people when displaying extreme emotion. She has ruined her friends' ambitions, like throwing George's hairpiece 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, like Jerry and George, a serial dater, a trait lampooned in "The Sponge", in which she is desperate to buy a cache of discontinued contraceptive sponges before existing stock is exhausted. She coins the word "spongeworthy" debating her then-boyfriend's prospects of intimacy at the expense of her inventory.[3] 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 cannot date somebody who is unattractive and wonders how long she is obligated to stay with him post-accident. Elaine is also attracted to men with lucrative jobs, especially doctors.

Generally, her hair was long with curls or waves, but underwent changes since Season 5. In early seasons, she had long, curly, brown hair and usually wore her hair half-up, framing her forehead with a slight bouffant. By Season 7, her hair darkened and her hairstyle matured resulting in 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 is discussed in relation to the plot. 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".[citation needed]

Her clothes are normally quite conservative. In the first three seasons, she often wears floral, collared, mid-calf length, button-down dresses with white ankle socks and oxfords. She also often wears high-waisted, tapered black jeans or pants and a bright blazer. For work, she dresses more formally. 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 is 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). She also wears glasses at times, usually during work hours.

Although she is 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 is 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 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 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. Their only conflict is in "The Seven" 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. It is also 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 A Streetcar Named Desire. 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. In "The Comeback" Elaine watches Weekend at Bernie's II, which is a staff pick from a video store recommended by Kramer, which she hates. In "The English Patient", Elaine expresses her utter dislike for the film which won nine Oscars including Best Picture, and prefers a comedy called Sack Lunch. Later in the episode, a theater outburst gets her temporarily fired until she agrees to travel to Tunisia and live in a cave in order to save her job.

In "The Boyfriend", Elaine reveals her disgust for smokers, which leads 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 mom of the child she is babysitting.

In "The Maid", Elaine has a phone repairman in her apartment to change the apartment's phone number (in response to receiving numerous attempted faxes meant for Kramer). While the repairman is at work, she holds a large candlestick and speculates (heard via voice-over) whether it would be discovered if she killed the repairman (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 repairman repeats those exact words back to her.

Jerry revealed in the episode, The Pilot, that Elaine's favourite film is Shaft.


Elaine is the only main character whose mother never appears. Her father, a gruff novelist named Alton Benes (Lawrence Tierney), a character based on novelist Richard Yates, was featured in "The Jacket". He is an alcoholic veteran 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 nine years old.

Elaine has a sister, Gail, and nephew who are first mentioned in "The Pick". In "The Airport", 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", where reference is made to Elaine's grandmother Mema, from whom Holly inherited a set of cloth napkins. It is not revealed if Mema is her maternal or paternal grandmother.

In "The Stock Tip", Elaine mentions she has an Uncle Pete. In "The Secret Code", she mentions an uncle who worked in the Texas School Book Depository with Lee Harvey Oswald. Whether the two uncles are the same person is not revealed.


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 is demoted back to her former position. Peterman also fires her twice: first when her penchant for poppy seed muffins causes 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 is able to recover her job by agreeing to live temporarily in a remote cave in the desert of Tunisia.

Romantic relationships[edit]

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 three years until 1990, indicating they started dating in late 1986 and broke up in early 1990; however, in "The Deal", Elaine states they only had sex 37 times, and in the same episode Jerry states he thought it was 25 times, numbers which, given the length of their relationship and post-relationship promiscuity, seem implausible. In any event, during conversation in "The Deal", Jerry and Elaine make clear that their breakup was not due to sexual issues; the precise reasons for their breakup are never elaborated on. However, in "The Stakeout", Jerry tells his parents that the reason for the break-up had to do with fighting too much and "physical chemistry".

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 is not concerned, but Jerry is unable to let it go and unsuccessfully demands another chance. Ultimately, as they are about to part ways, she finally agrees to give him another chance "to save the friendship". Though the friendship goes back to normal, the attempt initially fails as Jerry is unable to perform, though he manages to salvage the situation off-screen by eating mangos before a second successful attempt at sex.

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 so far as 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 y...", but then pilot is able to steady the airplane. Elaine later explained in court that she was going to say "I've always loved United Airlines."

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 is 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 is said she now refers to him as "daddy" - to Jerry and Elaine's clear discomfort.

David Puddy[edit]

Elaine's longest relationship, besides that with Jerry, is with Puddy (Patrick Warburton), an auto mechanic turned car salesman whom she dates starting in the latter half of Season 6, and later for the majority of Season 9. Puddy and Elaine break and make up repeatedly during their relationship, often doing so several times over the course of a single episode as demonstrated in "The Butter Shave" and "The Voice". Puddy has a casual approach to their relationship as seen in "The Voice" when Puddy claims he just likes her for the 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."

Men attracted to Elaine[edit]

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", Newman reveals his feelings in "The Soul Mate" until "The Reverse Peephole" where 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 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 Jewish men to Gentile women ("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 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 "The Pie", it is revealed that Ricky designed a mannequin in Elaine's likeness.

In "The Big Salad", an office supply store clerk, Barry, becomes obsessed with Elaine and 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. JFK Jr. and Elaine 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. 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 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 "The Strike", Elaine is at Tim Whatley's holiday party and sees that she is being eyed up by a man in a denim vest and states that her "fake number" is coming out. She later realizes that she wrote her fake number on a sub sandwich punch card, so to get the free sub has to go to the Off-track betting parlor where the phone number she wrote belongs. When she gets there she meets the bookie at the window and Charlie, two men whom she scammed with a fake number (among many). She then gives out the number for H&H Bagels which is where Kramer is working.[citation needed]

Other notable boyfriends[edit]

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 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 dumps him because of his reluctance to use exclamation points. (In this episode, his behavior — feeling a woman's material — gets George in trouble with the head of the bra company, when he tries the same move after a successful job interview; he is fired before his first day.) 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 is 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 Vargas 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 does not work. Both songs are by the Eagles.

In "The Wizard", Elaine is not sure if her new boyfriend Darryl is black or not and gets mixed signals when she tries to find out. It 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 everybody wore name tags. He mentions this to the mayor, who eventually loses re-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[edit]

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 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 Pres. 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 deliberately last-minute invitation) to Sue Ellen's wedding, that she travels all the way to India just to show up. At the wedding George reveals that Elaine had once dated the groom, leading Sue Ellen to rip out Elaine's nose-ring.

Other enemies[edit]

Elaine conflicts with Frank Costanza on several occasions. Frank refers to her as "supercilious" in "The Chinese Woman" and in "The Strike" he responds to her greeting with a brusque "hello, woman". In "The Cigar Store Indian", she angers him first by taking his TV Guide without asking and then spilling her gyro on it. 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 accidentally left in an armoire, she hints that she will 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 is 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 is 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 whom Elaine does not seem to 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 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 (and her Communist boyfriend) get blacklisted from a Chinese restaurant for refusing the delivery. 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 restaurant deliveryman named Ping also once sued her for causing him to get into a bicycle crash 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 repulses her boyfriend Carl when her hair smells of body odor 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 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[edit]

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, then go AWOL, dump her "high-talker" boyfriend and then 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 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 Mayor David Dinkins, that everybody in the city should wear name tags. Lloyd Braun suggests this idea to the mayor, 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 nervous breakdown.

In "The Pilot," Russell Dalrymple's love for Elaine drives him to a point where he joins Greenpeace just to impress her and dies in the aftermath.

Physical moments[edit]

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 for comedic effect, most memorably in "The Engagement" with Jerry and "The Soup Nazi" with Kramer.

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 Slicer". Both clips appear in "The Clip Show, Pt. 1".[4]

Julia Louis-Dreyfus' pregnancy is notable in Seasons 3 and 8. She would generally hide her baby bump in 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 C.C. 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.


  1. ^ Lyman, Rick (September 7, 1997). "Touching Moments with Leifer? Get Real". The New York Times. Retrieved May 8, 2015.
  2. ^ Bailey, Blake. A Tragic Honesty: The Life and Work of Richard Yates. Picador, 2003.
  3. ^ "Seinfeld - NOW PLAYING - The Sponge". Sonypictures.com. Archived from the original on 2011-06-06. Retrieved 2011-09-11.
  4. ^ "Seinfeld - Cast and Characters". Sonypictures.com. Archived from the original on 2007-12-17. Retrieved 2011-09-11.

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