“Can You Spare A Square?”

Julia Louis-Dreyfus as ‘Elaine Benes’ in “Seinfeld” (S05)[Contains puffy-shirt eschewing SPOILERS!!!]

Last week I went out on a shopping spree with my b-day money, and came back with all sorts of goodies… including two more Seinfeld boxsets! Hurrah! My collection is almost complete now… so, at some point I should probably try watching them in order, rather than the random, intermittent bursts I’ve been used to up until now. Tch! In the meantime, let’s give Season Five a spin…

As the second season of Veep draws to a close, it’s fun to go back in time and see Julia Louis-Dreyfus dropping the assumed dignity of her exalted office, and acting all Elaine-y again… shoving her friends around, stealing look-a-like mannequins, and dating a string of unsuitable suitors. She begins this season happily working for Pendant Publishing, but ends it by ruining the entire company, with nothing more than a snotty hankie and a mouthful of Jujyfruits. Oops! Although I do like seeing JLD in “power dressing” mode, I thought she looked even cuter after Elaine’s slide into unemployment, with the flat hair, glasses, denim jacket and hoodie. It was all for the sake of a joke about how she felt she was “becoming George”, and was probably supposed to be read as a sign of defeat, but I thought it was a good look for her. Meanwhile, I couldn’t help empathising with the real George, as he found himself condemned to live with his parents for the majority of the season. Of course, back in the mid-90s, it was a pretty uncommon arrangement, but these days more and more people in their 20s-30s are having to swallow their pride, and share a home with the crazy, bickering old people that gave them life. Ack! One survey I found estimates that more than 35% of adults are in this position now, so it’s not necessarily as shameful an admission as it once was… but it’s still not something I’d want to bring up on a first date… assuming I had the confidence to go on dates these dates, of course. Perhaps I should follow George’s example, and strive to become “the opposite” of myself, whatever that may be…?

Jennifer Coolidge as ‘Jodi’ in “Seinfeld” (S05)But enough of this angst! The Seinfeld boys are still dating their heinies off, so there’s plenty supporting actresses to catalogue here: Lisa Edelstein appeared in ep #5.1 (“The Mango”) as ‘Karen’, a girlfriend George suspects of faking her orgasms. Aside from a recent cameo in Elementary, Edelstein is probably most recognisable to me as ‘Cindy McCauliff’, a transwoman who appeared in five episodes of Ally McBeal. Academy Award winner Marlee Matlin appeared in ep #5.6 (“The Lip Reader”), as ‘Laura’, a deaf girlfriend of Jerry’s, who George hopes to use to spy on people talking about him at a party. Matlin was nominated for an Emmy for her guest spot here, and in the DVD’s “Inside Look” feature everyone agrees that she was a lot of fun to work with… in fact, director Tom Cherones reveals that she mooned the crew at one point, although he doesn’t say what prompted her cheeky display! Jennifer Coolidge appeared in ep #5.9 (“The Masseuse”) as ‘Jodi’, a girlfriend of Jerry’s, who refuses to give him a back massage, despite her profession… callously palming him off with hot sex instead! According to IMDB, this was Coolidge’s first screen credit, and it actually took me a few scenes to recognise her, because she plays a fairly staid character with brown (auburn?) hair and baggy clothing… a world away from the bold, brassy, cleavage-flashing blondes we know and love!

Jami Gertz as ‘Jane’ in “Seinfeld” (S05)Kimberly Guerrero (nee Norris) appeared in ep #5.10 (“The Cigar Store Indian”) as ‘Winona’, a Native American friend of Elaine’s, who’s offended by Jerry’s eponymous gift to their mutual acquaintance. So-called “cringe humour” isn’t always my cup of tea, but watching Jerry try to convince Winona that he’s not a racist by self-consciously avoiding any everyday words with negative cultural connotations was pretty damn hilarious. Jana Marie Hupp appeared in ep #5.11 (“The Conversion”), as ‘Sasha’, a girlfriend George is so desperate to stay with, he secretly converts to her family’s religion, Latvian Orthodox. Aside from a cameo as Rachel’s ex-bestie ‘Mindy’ in a memorable episode of Friends, Hupp is probably best known for playing ‘Nancy Burton’ (aka Doctor Mike’s wife), in the criminally underrated series Ed. Jami Gertz appeared in ep #5.12 (“The Stall”), as ‘Jane’, a girlfriend of Jerry’s, who is too mean to pass Elaine a single sheet of toilet paper under the stall divide. Like Edelstein, Gertz went on to enjoy a recurring role in Ally McBeal, as prissy chaperoned-dater ‘Kimmy Bishop’… and even picked up an Emmy for her work on that show. Carol Kane appeared in ep #5.14 (“The Marine Biologist”), as ‘Corinne’, a random passer-by who’s hit in the head by Elaine’s personal organiser, after it’s flung from a car window by a crotchety author she’s schmoozing.

Debbie Lee Carrington as ‘Tammy’ in “Seinfeld” (S05)Debbie Lee Carrington appeared in ep #5.16 (“The Stand In”) as ‘Tammy’, a pretty “little person” working on a sitcom as a child’s stand-in, who catches the eye of Kramer’s equally short acting-buddy ‘Mickey’. I thought she was just as charming and funny as any other girl-of-the-week on the show, so it’s a damn shame that Carrington is so restricted by her size, in terms of the roles that she’s offered. That said, she has racked up some pretty cool credits, including cameos in (the original) Total Recall, The Independent and The New Normal. IMDb also claims that she acted as Jennifer Tilly’s “stunt double” on Bride of Chucky, although I think it’s more likely she was doubling for the Tiffany doll. Just a few months before her big break in Friends, Courteney Cox appeared in ep #5.17 (“The Wife”), as ‘Meryl’ a girlfriend Jerry works through an entire pretend marriage with, from the initial “honeymoon” high, to the syrup-decreeing divorce. Dedee Pfeiffer appeared in ep #5.22 (“The Opposite”), as ‘Victoria’, a cute blonde who’s so impressed by opposite-acting George, she helps him secure his dream job working for the New York Yankees. Apparently Pfeiffer recently retired from acting, to pursue an alternative career as a forensic psychologist… but I’ll always remember her as Cybill Shepherd’s daughter, in her self-titled sitcom. And finally, Siobhan Fallon returned as Elaine’s former roommate, and illegal sub-letter, ‘Tina Robbins’.

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About Dee CrowSeer

A comic book writer with an interest in feminism, philosophy, and affirmative action.
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7 Responses to “Can You Spare A Square?”

  1. Smash says:

    I love Seinfeld, it is my favourite show. I love watching the re-runs because they’re jam-packed with people who have since spring boarded themselves to further fame. That, and it still makes me laugh. Jokes that I’ve heard hundreds of times still get me. It’s a testament to how loveable all of the characters are, and how good the writing was. It accentuated the zaniness of the characters and played to all of their strengths.

    • deecrowseer says:

      Yep… and unlike a lot of shows, it stayed consistently strong all the way through its run. I know some people don’t like the later, Larry David-less seasons, but I still find them just as brilliant and mind-bending as the earlier ones. And it’s really amazing how “loveable” the characters are, considering how despicably they behave… as noted on one of the “Inside Looks”, a lot of that’s down to the performers bringing some of their own less-despicable personality to the screen. Bless ’em.

  2. phantomxii says:

    One of the few shows where I would actually sit down to see the new episodes, looking forward to them with enthusiasm! And Julia was always a treat.

    • deecrowseer says:

      Strange to think they started off without her in the pilot… a Lainey-less Seinfeld would be a very sad thing indeed!

      • phantomxii says:

        It certainly would!

        Those early episodes, with the bits and pieces that were ultimately changed out, did have their moments, like our introduction to George’s fabrications in the form of phony names: “Burt…Har. Bin. Son.”

  3. Loren Riley says:

    I did love this show (who didn’t?) and Julia was AMAZING. She is so freaking funny.

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