[Contains much-coveted coffee cakes and SPOILERS!!!]
Season three of Seinfeld (1991) was the first to boast a full episode order, allowing the cast to lock into their characters, and the writers to hit their stride… there aren’t really any notable changes in the characters’ lives until the finale, when Kramer decides to move to Hollywood to become an actor (and score a cameo in a sitcom on a rival network!). Towards the end of the season, Julia Louis-Dreyfus became pregnant, so you see Elaine wearing baggier clothes, and spending a lot of scenes holding cushions and coats over her growing belly… but before that there were a lot of classic Lainey moments, such as when she got goofy on muscle relaxants in ep #3.3 (“The Pen”), begged assistance from disinterested shoppers while toting an expiring goldfish in ep #3.6 (“The Parking Garage”), took an IQ test on George’s behalf in ep #3.7 (“The Café”), suffered hunger-fuelled hallucinations while fasting for an operation in ep #3.15 (“The Suicide”), and acted totes adorable while dating a famous baseball player in ep #3.17/18 (“The Boyfriend”). There’s also the rather ahead-of-its-time episode in which she’s asked to serve as the “best man” at a lesbian wedding, but gets trapped on a malfunctioning subway train and misses the ceremony (#3.13, “The Subway”) .
That said, I did go off her a little in ep #3.11 (“The Alternate Side”), when she broke up with a 66-year-old boyfriend after he suffered a stroke and was confined to a wheelchair, unable to even feed himself… so I was glad they added a line of dialogue in a later scene explaining that he’d made a full recovery off-screen and admitted he was only dating her for the sex. A bit of a cheat, I know, but it did make me feel better about how she’d treated him.
Meanwhile, this season also featured plenty notable supporting actresses: Dale Raoul appeared in ep #3.1 (“The Note”) as a barely-conscious ‘Dental Patient’ that George and Jerry talk over… though she didn’t get any lines, and I didn’t recognise her at all. Siobhan Fallon returned as Elaine’s annoying flatmate ‘Tina’ in ep #3.2 (“The Truth”), this time having a noisy affair with Kramer… while Valerie Mahaffey played ‘Patrice’, a girlfriend of George’s, who ends up in a mental institution after he dumps one too many truth bombs on her. Ann Guilbert appeared in ep #3.3 as ‘Evelyn’, a neighbour of the senior Seinfelds. Cynthia Ettinger appeared in ep #3.6 as ‘Michele’ a helpful hottie who agrees to drive the gang around a parking garage until they find their car. Susan Diol appeared in ep #3.9 (“The Nose Job”) as ‘Audrey’, a girlfriend of George’s with a prominent proboscis he talks into getting cosmetic surgery (boo!). Bridget Sienna appeared in ep #3.12 (“The Red Dot”) as ‘Evie’, a cleaning woman with very strong feelings about cashmere. Mimi Lieber appeared in ep #3.15 (“The Suicide”) as ‘Rula’, a pregnant psychic whose smoking offends Elaine… while Gina Gallego appeared as ‘Gina’, the sultry girlfriend of Jerry’s neighbour, who attempts to seduce him over the comatose body of her boyfriend!
Maggie Wheeler (nee Jakobson) appeared in ep #3.16 (“The Fix-Up”) as Elaine’s bulimic gal-pal ‘Cynthia’, who gets set up on a date with George. Carol Ann Susi (RIP) appeared in ep #3.18 as ‘Carrie’, the single daughter of a worker at the unemployment office (played by Rae Allen) that George tries to win over with various favours to increase the length of his allowance. Suzanne Snyder appeared in ep #3.19 (“The Limo”) as ‘Eva’, a neo-Nazi groupie besotted with an author named “O’Brien”, who George impersonates in order to score a free limo ride home from the airport! Melinda McGraw appeared in ep #3.20 (“The Good Samaritan”) as ‘Angela’, a hit-and-runner driver Jerry follows from the scene of the crime, and then asks out on a date after he sees how gorgeous she is. I loved her aggression in the scene where she bullies him into keeping her secret… but sadly his cowardice costs him the chance to hook-up with the damaged car’s equally attractive owner, ‘Becky Gelke’, played by Helen Slater. And finally, Catherine Keener appeared in ep #3.21 (“The Letter”) as ‘Nina’, a well-connected painter who plagiarises lines from a Neil Simon movie to win Jerry’s affections.
Oh, I also have to give a shout-out to Philip Baker Hall, who played the hilariously intense library detective ‘Lt. Bookman’ in ep #3.5 (“The Library”)… his monologues were a highlight of the season, and it’s a shame he never returned for a repeat performance (though it’s hard to imagine how he could have, considering his profession).