Seinfeld: 5 Times Elaine Was An Inspiration (& 5 Times She Was A Hot Mess)

Seinfeld's Elaine was a well-rounded, complex character, which means she had plenty of inspirational moments...and some messy ones, too!

Elaine (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) is quite a character. She’s strong-willed, independent, doesn’t take anything from anyone, and intelligent. She’s even a bit daunting in that way. In Seinfeld, Elaine has proved herself many times by standing up for her rights, calling out people she dislikes, and being quite an inspiration. At times.

There are moments in the show where Elaine has broken down and can be described as a “hot mess.” Certain situations get the best of her and she loses her cool. Who can forget the famous Soup Nazi incident? Elaine is a strong-willed woman many can aspire to be, but can also have her moments where it’s best to look away.

Mess: She’s Really Hungry

Elaine season 3 episode 15 of Seinfeld

In season three of Seinfeld, Elaine needs to fast for an ulcer test. It’s one of her more comical moments as well as her messiest. Not eating for long periods of time makes her cranky and delusional. While waiting, she starts seeing figures and acting out of sorts.

Elaine is almost rabid. So close to taking the test and ending it, Elaine gives in. She eats Drake’s coffee cake that she wrestles off Numan. Elaine devours it like an animal. The only problem is that she has to re-fast for the same test.

Inspiration: Loses A Client Over George’s Statue

Elaine holds a stack of books in an elevator

This may seem like a small act of inspiration but it tells a lot about Elaine’s morals and her dedication to her friends. In season two, Elaine gets the opportunity to edit the work of a well-known writer. As the story progressed George finds a statue exactly like the one he once broke that his parents never forgave him for.

The statute goes missing and the writer’s boyfriend is to blame. While unable to prove it, Elaine confronts the writer about it. In a heated argument in the elevator, the writer refuses to accept the blame and chastizes Elaine. Fed up with her behavior and the couple’s lack of taking responsibility, Elaine dumps her manuscript in the trash refusing to work with her.

Mess: The Pain Pills

Elaine season 3 episode 3 of Seinfeld

Some of Elaine’s worst and messiest moments come from situations she didn’t mean to happen. In season 3, Elaine and Jerry go to Florida to visit his parents. Their visit is anything but fun. Elaine gets a horrible back cramp from the couch sofa that leaves her immobile.

To try and alleviate the pain, she takes some pain pills but it goes terribly wrong. At the ceremony held for Jerry’s father, Elaine goes off the rails having taken too many pills. She delirious, uncontrollable and can’t stop laughing. She yells, “STEEEELLLLLAAAA!”

Inspiration: The Dying Fish In The Car Park

Elaine season 3 episode 6 of Seinfeld

Many can agree that Elaine takes her values very seriously, even if it involves the life of two goldfish. When the crew is unable to locate their car in the mall parking lot, Elaine takes charge in trying to find someone who can help. It’s inspiring seeing as none of the guys did so.

Elaine gets increasingly upset that everyone turns a blind eye and isn’t willing to help. She even has a few choice words for some muscled men and doesn’t back down until George pulls her away. She has no issue in letting her anger over people’s unkindness to be known, especially when she’s doing it to save her dying fish.

Mess: Elaine’s Shoes

Elaine season 4 episode 6 of Seinfeld

One can never fully understand Elaine’s consistent anger towards one of Jerry’s ex-girlfriends talking about her shoes. The ex-girlfriend loves her Boticelli shoes and ends up talking about them to other people. But Elaine doesn’t like it. She believes that there’s no reason to go around talking about her shoes and that she bought them at Botticelli’s.

She even confronts the ex-girlfriend in her restaurant demanding why. It’s not one of Elaine’s best moments and that she got worked up over a pair of shoes. To make matters worse, Elaine sneezes of the pasta primavera that ends up going to the TV executive at NBC.

Inspiration: Injustice At The Coffee Shop

Elaine season 4 episode 23 of Seinfeld

This inspirational moment is also comical once Elaine realizes the real reason behind the issue. In season four, Jerry notices that there’s something peculiar at the coffee shop. All the waitresses have the same looks, assets, and build. To prove her theory, Elaine tries to apply for a job to only be rejected.

She believes the owner to be discriminative towards certain women for their looks. Upset and angered over the fact that it’s occurring, she takes it a step further. She files a report with the Equal Employment Opportunity office. It’s inspiring to know that Elaine would stand up for such inequality in the workplace. That’s until she finds out that the waitresses are the owner’s daughters.

Mess: The Unwanted House Guest

Elaine in season 2 of Seinfeld

In season two, Elaine invites her boyfriend that she met out of town to stay with her. It ends up being a nightmare and one of Elaine’s messiest moments. Within days of his visit, Elaine can no longer stand him. She tries everything possible to get rid of him and books him on a new flight back home.

Having overslept, Elaine rushes in her nightgown forcing him to hurry to the airport. Her attempt ends in failure. She arrives at Jerry’s apartment looking wide-eyed and like a zombie. She recounts her ability to zoom through traffic like she’s never done before. So certain she’ll get rid of him, she ends up in a five-car pileup on Rockaway Blvd.

Inspiration: The Nipple Incident

Elaine in The Pick episode of season 4

“The Pick” episode from season four of the show had a moment where it showed Elaine being fed up with people’s childishness. Elaine becomes mortified when the Christmas picture Kramer took shows off one of her nipples. She becomes distraught as she sent a card to everyone she knows. At work and amongst her family, she becomes a laughing stock and the subject of anger.

At work, she’s referred to as “nips” and she finally cracks and gives her coworker a few choice words, chastising him. It happens again when her boyfriend appears to break up with her over the incident. Elaine delivers a similar speech to Jerry’s over the lack of matureness over something so childish.

Mess: The Airplane Break Up With Puddy

Elaine and Puddy on season 9 episode 1

Elaine is set to return from a trip to Europe with Puddy. To which her friends already know will be an utter disaster. They were right. In the cab ride to the airport, Elaine lashes out at Puddy and breaks up with him over his obsession with the currency. On the plane, it gets worse.

Elaine can’t stand to hear Puddy’s sad monologue. She ends up trying to chat with the person next to her and becomes jealous of Puddy talking to another woman. They get back together but Elaine breaks it off again after becoming upset that Puddy is going to sit staring into space. She distraught, a mess, and clearly not in her best state.

Inspirational: The Fur & Abortion Debate

Elaine in "The Stranded" and "The Couch" episodes

Elaine’s best inspirational moments come from two episodes. One in “The Stranded” and the other from “The Couch.” Fans know that Elaine is very much willing to stand up for her moral values and what she thinks is wrong. A perfect example is when she and Jerry accompany George to a party.

Elaine sees Geroge’s potential one night stand wearing a fur coat. Elaine is quick to confront her about it and how wrong it is for animals to be killed for it. She also suits up a woman who won’t stop talking about her fiancé.  The second is at Poppy’s restaurant when she asks him his views on abortion. Upset over his answer, Elaine stands up and gives him a few choice words. She gets up to leave in protest. Her actions cause other women who agree to leave as well.

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