|“||The female body is a work of art, the male body is utilitarian. It's for getting around. It's like a Jeep||„|
|~ Elaine to her friends|
|“||… I love bossing people around||„|
|~ Elaine Benes|
Elaine Marie Benes is one of the main central characters of the hit comedy series Seinfeld along with her three closest friends Jerry Seinfeld, Cosmo Kramer and George Costanza. Unlike the rest of the main cast she did not appear in the pilot episode and three episodes after that, making her the least appearing main character on the show.
Similar to Jerry, Elaine is able to hold down steady jobs however she did have a tendency to get fired, from season 2 to season 5 she worked at Pendant Publishing where she served as a copy editor for her boss, Mister Lippman however she lsof her job after a misunderstanding and the company went bankrupt only to later become the personal assistant to Mister Pitt only to be later fired when he believed that Jerry and Elaine were conspiring to kill her and take his fortune. After this however she went to become an editor for his catalogue until Peterman fled to Burma, leaving her in charge of the catalogue but after she costs them thousands of dollars he returned and Elaine was demoted to her normal job. Elaine's been fired twice from the catalogue once when Peterman mistook her for being addicted on opium and later when she admitted she hated the raving new film, The English Patient however she was able to get her job back after agreeing to live in a remote cave in Burma.
Elaine seems to have two most recurring relationships in the series, although it was only mentioned off-screen she had a very prominent relationship with Jerry Seinfeld and throughout the series there is a lot of speculation that the two still love each other, such as them getting jealous whenever one of them gets into a serious relationship with another person. Elaine frequently has an on and off again with David Puddy.
At the end of the series, Elaine suffers the same fate as the rest of the main characters, while trying to fly to California to produce Jerry's TV series Kramer cuases thier plane to come down landing them in a small town where they are seen mocking a fat man over being mugged and they break The Good Samaritan Law. After a televised trial Elaine and the rest of the group go to jail for a year.
She was portrayed by Julia Louis-Dreyfus who received acclaim for role as Elaine, winning her an Emmy, a Golden Globe and SAG Awards.
Unlike her friends, Elaine is not a New York native. She was born in Baltimore suburb of Towson, Maryland and has shown to have been a fan of the Baltimore Orioles. Elaine is assertive and intelligent, the smartest member of the group which she is aware of and reminds her friends of, if not also neurotic, edgy and short-tempered. She easily fits in with Kramer, George and Jerry, and is one "of the boys" but at the same time she feels trapped and even humiliated by her friends, normally going out of her way to making sure her work and love life doesn't meet her social but in the end she remains their closest female friend.
Elaine can also be very mult-faced. For the best part, she is polite and friendly normally trying to set her friends up on dates or trying to help them with their own personal problems however becuase of her quick-to-anger attitude it makes it just as easy for her to make enemies. Her file at the doctor remarks her as being a "difficult" patient and her ex-boyfriend, David Puddy describes Elaine as being "a bitter, unstable person". She has destroyed her friends ambitions, such as ripping off George's wigs after he raged that she set him up with a bald women after he as well was bald and wanted to remind him of that.
She can also be a shallow, superficial serial dater, and the most sexually experienced member of the group. In a relationship, Elaine deemed her boyfriends by their level of intimacy, clearing them as "sponge-worthy" (which was a contraceptive sponge) and if they met her standards, she would grant them her inventory or simply break up with them if she was disappointed. Elaine was also more concerned with appearances than an actual connection or would break up with a man even if she was in love, simply because they couldn't share the same opinions indicating how her neurosis can interfere with her relationships. An example would be while she was dating Tony, a very good-looking and athletic type, she broke up with him after a climbing accident caused a scar across his face and broke up with a jailed man who planned to marry her simply becuase his hair was receding and by the time he got out he would be completely bald. Elaine was mostly attracted to men lucrative jobs, such as doctors but despite this she did engage in a very frivolous relationship with David Puddy who was a mechanic.
Occasionally Elaine is aware of her good looks, and normally uses her sexuality to get what she wants. An example of this would be when she flirted with Newman, a man she was virtually disgusted by only becuase she wanted her bosses coat back and even had sex with an adoptive agency so one of her couple friends could get a baby however when they broke up she commented "I think I'm going to be sick". As revealed in "The Serenity Now", Elaine possessed a "Shiksa appeal" meaning Jewish people were attracted to her. This eventually got so bad it caused an entire family and a Rabbi to passionately (forcefully) to kiss her and eventually causing them to convert their religions.
Elaine hated dogs, something that was very mutual. On one episode she remarked that she was a cat person however it's revealed that she was allergic to her boyfriends cats, she was actually prepared to "bump off" his pets and when she finally confronted him with an ultimatum, he actually chose them and broke up with her. Although Elaine will try to be polite towards them, she obviously has a bad history with dogs such as while trying to pet one in an antique store and ends up being bitten then catching rabies. Another example would be when her neighbour's dog constant barking kept her awake all night and hired an "assassin" (Newman) to get rid of it only to eventually return to its master.
Elaine was a monumentally bad dancer, or as Kramer describes it a full-bodied dry heave, set to music. She was the only main character who didn't own a car, however it's revealed that she is a bad driver, normally slamming the brakes or recklessly steering but she was able to safely drive Puddy's car.
She had no time, respect or patience for her colleges. She is easily displeased by them, even when they were trying to be polite to her such as when she had taken a sick day simply because she was "sick of them" and they brought her a "Get Well Cake" causing her to scream at her co-workers as she despised forced socialising and didn't consider them as friends or even just cheery associates. A specific case would be, Peggy a woman who mistook her name for Susie and then bad-mouthed Elaine behind her back yet to her face, as said by Jerry. In one episode its revealed that Peggy was a germaphobe however it's revelaled that she was only concerned with catching Elaine's germs but was not seen after this, Peggy may have either left the catalogue or simply transferred to another department. She also described one of her own co-workers who didn't move her arms while she walked, as an orangutan however when she caught wind of this, it caused a psychotic breakdown with her trashing her entire office and leave a threatening message which her co-workers and boss mistook for a catfight.
There are time when Elaine expresses wishes to leave Jerry, George and Kramer such was the case in "The Peaurto Rican Day Parade" while trying to beat the crowds and Jerry says that "you can't leave the group" Elaine replies "I've been trying to leave this group for eleven years". Elaine feels trapped in their relationship, the prime example would be in the opening of The Slicer where she dreamed that she was in bed with George, Jerry and Kramer, indicating that she felt suffocated by the relationship they have, she was also willing to simply forget them if a better deal came along such as The Bizarro Jerry, when she met the group's opposites who were thoughtful, sensitive and emotional, she cut all ties with the original group only to be rejected later by the Bizarro one.
Despite her wanting to leave the group, her time with Jerry, George and Kramer has obviously affected Elaine. She could be as neurotic and bitter as George, as mooching as Kramer and as emotionally unpredictable as Jerry. As she chose to spend more time with the "Bizarro Jerry", such as entering his apartment without her friends consent and eating his food (which was a nod to Kramer) she slowly began to realise she no longer fit in, after doing her trademark push when she became excited over getting tickets and was asked to leave. Despite her coming off as confident, Elaine did have several insecurities, the most obvious one would be after going out with a "bad breaker-upper" who remarks that her head was too big, which was true as a pigeon actually ended up crashing into her. Elaine expresses disgust for smokers, even breaking up with Keith Hernandez becuase he occasionally smoked (although in her defence the man was completely self-absorbed) however Elaine does occasionally smoke cigars.
Elaine seems to have the most respect for Jerry out of the group, she considers him the smartest out of Kramer and George but normally ends up frustrated due to her friends emotional immaturity and self-absorption. On one occasion Elaine seemed to mock Jerry, the same way he did with George such as teasing him over the same franticness Jerry did for Costanza. (Jerry: "Elaine you gotta get down here, Puddy's screwing me over on this car, which is black now") (Elaine (smugly): "Who is this?") (Jerry (frustratedly pounds the phone on the box): "Elaine!"). Despite being broken up for years there is evidence to support that they still have feelings for one another, such was when Jerry's overflow of emotions after his girlfriend dumped him, he actually ended up proposing. As their plane began to fall down in The Finale, Elaine begins to tell Jerry "I've always loved y…" however when she came close to finishing the plane levelled and she covered this up by saying "I've always loved United Airlines." Although she doesn't display a lot of affection for Jerry, romantically after she discovered he had the money to buy his parents a Cadillac she became very attracted. In between Series 2, the two engaged in a purely sexual relationship with no strings attached but with rules, eventually the whole erangement unraveled when the two wanted more intimacy and began acting like a real couple which contradicted with their rules.
Elaine is combative with George, normally she tries to set him up on dates with her friends even if her gut tells her otherwise such as agreeing to set a meeting with Marissa Tomei, a famous actress who had a thing for "quirky, funny bald men" despite at the time George was engaged to Susan Ross. Elaine openly calls him an idiot and insults his intelligence (something which he was ok with, as in the past he proudly declared himself as "Lord of the Idiots). She also scoffed at the very idea of George being successful such as when George lied to his dead fiances parents about having a house in the Hamptons, Elaine excessively laughed at the very idea. Depsite this Elaine was also envious over he friend, speicifically the fact he got engaged before she which she confided to a Rabbi who ended up blurting it out on his show which unfortunately Susan and George watched. It's revealed that Elaine and George's intelligence are contrasts of one another, as it's revealed that George's idiocy was due to an over-obsession with sex and whenever he removed sex from the equation, George was able to reach his near-genius level intellect however when Elaine doesn't have sex it has the opposite affect, causing her to become an imbecile. When Elaine planned to leave the group in favour of the Bizarro Jerry, Kramer and George, he planned to follow her indicating that George may have gotten attached to her however she turned him down claiming "we already have a George." Elaine normally ends up working with Kramer, such as him hiring an assassin (Newman) to get rid of the neighbour's dog or allowing her to borrow his slicer to feed the neighbour's cat who became a nuisance and causing her sleepless nights.
The relationship between Elaine and Sue-Ellen Mischke was that of a mutual disliking and competitiveness, with Elaine nicknaming her "The Bra-Less Wonder" due to the fact that she never wore a bra. The root of this rivalry was the fact that Sue-Ellen's attractiveness has caused Elaine to lose boyfriends and as so she took any chance to outshine her, even giving her a bra for her birthday as a joke which she ends up only wearing and it eventually became a thing for most women. Elaine was also the one who came up with idea to sue her when Kramer and Jerry's car crash was due to her walking down the street just in a bra, distracting the two of them however it blew over when Jerry started dating her. Despite this when she was about to get married Sue-Ellen wanted Elaine as a bridesmaid which she mistook as a spiteful way to toy with her, as she knew that no-one would be stupid enough to go to India for a wedding and would have to mail a gift when in reality she wanted to bury the hatchet and become friends however it quickly unraveled when she discovered Elaine slept with her fiancé.
Elaine had a convoluted relationship with her mechanic and boyfriend, David Puddy, he was the most prominent of Elaine's boyfriends however their relationship is on again/off again, they would break for the most minuscule reasons (his answering machine being broken) only to get back together again (such as his apartment being fumigated). A prime example of how on again/off again Puddy and Elaine's relationship is was during a 28-hour flight where they broke up and remended over and over again.
Elaine's views on religion are never fully-explored, it's simply presumed that she is an unreligious person however she was offended when her new religious boyfriend Puddy said she was going to hell, not so much that she was going but that Puddy didn't care or try to stop it. Elaine was a reckless spender as well especially when it came to her company's finances such as spending 10,000 dollars for J.F.K.'s golf clubs when Lippman only gave her 5000 (however this was mostly due to a rivalry with Sue Ellen-Mischke than actual recklessness) and buys an 8000 sable hat for George on the company's money.
Like most of the characters on the show, Elaine uses pseudonyms and aliases so far the most common one was Susie which was given to her by a co-worker however her friends have taken to nicknaming her Laney. A gag in the series was whenever she tried to escape a conversation she was uncomfortable in she would respond to silence however this has only happened twice, once when Jerry proposed and during a meeting with her boss, Lippman.
- Lisa Kudrow was considered for the role of Elaine but it was changed to Julia Louis-Dreyfus.
- The reason that Elaine wasn't seen in the pilot episode was that the character didn't exist at the time. NBC demanded that Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld create a main character as they thought that Seinfeld was too male-centric.
- Julia Louis-Dreyfus' pregnancy was heavily seen in the first few and later seasons, the producers did their best to hide this normally by hiding her stomach with a pillow.