Posted by: Nathan | August 25, 2006

In Defense of Elaine

A few weeks ago when we discussed our favorite Seinfeld characters, etc. (remember that?), Elaine took a drubbing from all y’all. Now, I’m not the biggest Elaine fan in the world, but I do like her as a part of the show, and I think she’s a better person than George (usually). To counteract the abuse Elaine took, here is my defense of Elaine.

I’m not a fan of Elaine’s politics on the show, but they do help the show out a lot. Her mega-feminist stance on everything counteracts all the masculinity the show has (3/4 of the main characters are guys, and most of the writers are males also). Additionally, this political stance of hers makes for good humor. For example, remember the famous abortion episode? Elaine leaves Poppy’s restaurant because Poppy is Pro-Life, but then she ends up breaking up with the best boyfriend she’s ever had he’s for the same reason. Her politics ruin the best chance she ever had at happiness. Plus, it’s a tremendous epidsode: “What are you talking about? It’s not a pizza until it comes out of the oven!” “It’s a pizza the minute you put your hands in the dough!”

One of the best things about Elaine is that she’s hilarious when she suffers. Julia Louis-Dreyfus suffers comically better than anyone else on the show. And when you think about it, Elaine goes through a lot in Seinfeld that’s negative (not as much as George of course). Remember when she tries on the dress at the store with lying mirrors, but then she takes it out into the street to see if it’s really a good fit? Or what about “The Airport” wherein she’s forced to ride in coach and gets stuck between the guy who won’t check his luggage and that crazy lady? How about the time she tries to help the elderly (a rare unselfsih moment for Seinfeld) and ends up with that lady with the huge goiter? Then there’s the episode where she can’t find socks to satisfy Mr. Pitt: “Mr. Pitt, what do you want?!” “I WANT A SOCK THAT’S COMFORTABLE AND STAYS ON MY FOOT!”

Elaine also has a lot of great moments. The horrendous dancing. The patented “Get OUT!” shove. One of the show’s best walk-off lines ever: “I’m going to see my mother. She bought some panties and they’re all laid out for me!” “The Contest” and her failure to land JFK, Jr. Falling into Teri Hatcher and finding out that indeed she hadn’t had a boob job. Or what about the shrinkage episode: “It shrinks?” “Like a frightened turtle!” “I don’t know how you guys walk around with those things.”

As the only woman on the show, Elaine (like her or not) represents woman-kind, as that last quote shows. She’s a real woman, but she can stick it to the guys. Sure, you might say, it’s good that a woman’s viewpoint is represented on the show, but Elaine represents it poorly. I agree; however, one can just as easily say that Jerry, Kramer, and especially George represent the male viewpoint poorly. They’re all immoral, loose, self-absorbed, cynical, and hilarious. That’s the show. Elaine fits perfectly in the show’s premise, and her character allows the writers to poke fun at the male sex from the outside, something’s that’s definitely needed. Take “The Implant” episode, when Jerry talks about how George can only make a move on a woman from the left, while he, being a lefty, can’t go right. He asks if women have sides they prefer to use, and Elaine replies, “We just play defense.” Perfect.

I know my little piece hasn’t swayed you Elaine bashers, but I for one am glad that she’s on the show. She suffers well, she’s funny, and she represents the secular women’s viewpoint perfectly. I will continue to enjoy her as a necessary part of Seinfeld.

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Responses

  1. Your post did make me chuckle, I’ll give you that much in support of Elaine. She can be funny but still not be the best – she has some pretty stiff competition.

  2. My contention here is not that she’s the best but that’s she’s not so bad. Glad you enjoyed the post!

  3. A fine defense of Elaine. She’s as good a female character as a ‘Seinfeld’ fan could ask for. Perhaps my favorite Elaine caper is her increasing stupidity due to the lack of sex (all while George experiences the opposite effects). Great stuff!

  4. Nathan, I admit it. You’re right. Elaine isn’t that bad. But that’s it. THE LINE MUST BE DRAWN HEEYAA. THIS FAR, NO FARTHER.

  5. Wow Dan. While your use of the spelling “HEEYAA” very effectively conveys Picard’s British accent (I know he was French, but his aaccent was not), I don’t think I’ve ever seen the language look less classy.

  6. It takes a big man to admit that he’s somewhat wrong. It takes an even bigger man to type Picard’s British accent. DAP to you, big D. And DAP to Word Press’s comments function, without which I would’ve missed your and Jason’s wonderful comments. W00t!


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