Seinfeld is one of the very few TV series with no dead weight in its cast. All four characters are hilarious in their own way. Julia Louis-Dreyfus, who played Elaine on the show, has the distinction of being the only actor in the main cast not to suffer from the “Seinfeld curse,” the supposed curse that kept the others from having another successful show after the series ended.
Not only has Louis-Dreyfus enjoyed one other hit sitcom after Seinfeld ended – she’s enjoyed two! And a boatload of Emmys followed her into the future of her career. Of course, she’ll always be best known for playing Elaine. So, here are the 9 Best Elaine Benes Quotes.
9 On “those things”
“I don’t know how you guys walk around with those things.”
Elaine has always had a difficult relationship with “those things.” Remember the guy who “took it out” in the car on their first date? She got the chance to ask about life with “it” when the group went up to the Hamptons. This is one of many great lines from the episode that coined the term “shrinkage.” Jerry and George are explaining the concept to her – which she thinks has something to do with laundry at first – and she makes this immortal statement.
8 On The English Patient
“I can’t do this anymore, it’s too long! Just tell your stupid story about the stupid desert and just die already! Die!”
It’s been Oscar season lately, so a lot of people can empathize with Elaine in the episode “The English Patient.” She’s watching the movie the episode is named after, which was showered with awards and adored by the world, and she finds that she doesn’t actually enjoy it. But when she says she doesn’t enjoy it, it makes people hate her. So, when her boss mentions the movie, she lies and says she hasn’t seen it – so he drags her to the theater to watch it. And then she snaps.
7 On confidence
“Is it possible that I’m not as attractive as I think I am?”
This line has the perfect blend of self-confidence and insecurity that makes the characters of Seinfeld both terrible and lovable people. Elaine clearly thinks she’s very attractive, but then she’s doubting if she’s right about the exact level of attractiveness she thinks of herself.
Jerry responds with the hilarious quip, “Anything’s possible.” This also exemplifies how these people are the worst thing for each other. Jerry doesn’t support his friend and tell her, “No, no, you’re very attractive.” He just throws some more fuel on her insecurities.
6 On dingoes and babies
“Maybe the dingo ate your baby!”
We’ve all been in the situation Elaine is in when she says this. She’s stuck talking to someone at a party who she barely knows and who she finds completely annoying. This woman keeps prattling on about her fiancé, who she calls her “baby,” and then Elaine breaks into an Australian accent and says, “Maybe the dingo ate your baby!” Back in the ‘90s, when this was in its original airing, everyone would remember the court case this is a reference to, but maybe it’s even funnier today without the frame of reference. Maybe it’s even funnier out of context.
5 On toilet paper
“Three squares? You can’t spare three squares?”
We’ve all been in that awful situation. You’re in a bathroom stall and find that there’s no toilet paper left. Elaine, unfortunately, happened to find herself in the stall next to the most stubborn woman in the world who refused to give up a single square. This bartering over the number of squares she can spare has Larry David written all over it, as it’s the kind of trivial debate that would make his show Curb Your Enthusiasm a hit on HBO years later. Of course, the other woman turns out to be Jerry’s new girlfriend, conveniently enough, so Jerry is unwittingly caught in the middle of this debate.
4 On breakups
“I once broke up with someone for not offering me pie.”
One of the main things that Jerry and Elaine have in common is that they both break up with people for trivial things. They can never judge each other for it because they know they’re just as bad. The ironic thing is that this is the reason they didn’t work as a couple themselves. They’re too similar, and this is one of the similarities, so they couldn’t make their relationship work. This is something that all those people who expected Jerry and Elaine to get together in the finale should’ve thought about.
3 On sexuality
“I’m not a lesbian! I hate men, but I’m not a lesbian!”
Like Friends, the other ‘90s sitcom about a group of pals in New York, Seinfeld was both progressive for its time and regressive for today. In the season 3 episode “The Subway,” Elaine is riding the titular subway to attend the same-sex wedding of two women at which she is the “best man.”
As she explains this to a woman on the train, the woman walks off, thinking she’s nuts, and Elaine pleads with her that she herself isn’t gay. That whole situation is muddled about whether it wants to be pro-lesbian or anti-lesbian. There are good points and bad points. But at least it resulted in this terrific line.
2 On making plans
“What are we gonna do there? Talk? I’ll go if I don’t have to talk.”
The way Elaine Benes sees it, social situations are a total facade. Whatever plans you make to go out with people and spend time with them is just a front to show the world that you have a life.
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She cuts right through that facade as she makes plans with Jerry in one of the earliest episodes of the show – season 1’s “Male Unbonding,” the only episode in the whole nine-season run not to follow the show’s “The...” episode titling format – and tells him, “I’ll go if I don’t have to talk.”
1 On priorities in relationships
“I can’t be with someone who doesn’t break up nicely. It’s an important part of the relationship.”
While Kramer has an inexplicable success rate with dating and George has a tremendous lack of success in the same area, Jerry and Elaine are just normal enough that they’ve found a sort of middle ground. They see just as many partners come and go as George and Kramer, but for them, it’s about a 50/50 split of who ends it. Elaine was famously progressive in that she was a promiscuous female character who slept around and never had any intentions to get married or have kids, unlike most other female characters on TV at the time. For her, a breakup is always in sight – relationships are just fun while they last.