SEINFELD: Elaine's transformation from nice girl to caustic bitch

God, what the hell happened to her in later seasons? She became downright hateful. When did this begin, exactly?

I can’t pinpoint a time, but it was early on, and it wasn’t just Elaine. They all became selfish and hateful. George and Jerry were likable regular Joes in the first season, but it shifted. Seinfeld was so fun because the four main characters were people you never would want to be related to, or possibly in the same room as, but, man, it was great to watch them whine and scheme.

I blame Puddy.

High five.

I remember reading an interview with one of the writers who said the transformation was intentional. The problem mainly was that it didn’t make sense for Elaine to be hanging out with Jerry, George & Kramer.

Think about it, she’s pretty, sexy, successful (at least in comparison to the guys in the gang), and had a wicked sense of humor. Why would a nice, likeable girl with so much going for her be hanging out with such losers? It only made sense that she must be a rotten person to alienate every one but the most self-absorbed jerks.

I happen to think that she was a lot funnier when she turned into a bitch.

I disagree about Elaine becoming funnier. I thought she and Jerry were funnier when they had a rapport with one another.

Anyway, I’d mark the change at about 1995. Elaine became a jerk, George went from low self-esteem to high-decibel, and Kramer went from creepy to kooky. Jerry changed some too, I guess.

IMHO, the last two seasons were pretty much abysmal, with some exceptions. Sort of like the last five seasons of The Simpsons, so far.

Agreed. The early Elaine was a little annoying. The Elaine that gave us the J. Peteman catalog with the Urbran Sombrero gracing the cover? Hilarious.

sugaree is right. All the Seinfeld characters went from being mildly neurotic to incredibly insane and self-centered over the years. E.g. Jerry went from being Mr. Nice Guy to a guy who would dump the sweetest girl in the world for the most trivial of reasons (and feel smug about it.)

On the one hand, the change did make the show funnier. On the other hand, they were all pretty much monsters by the end.

The (eventual) theme of the show was that “Selfishness is Attractive.” Look at the Bizarro Jerry story to see the theme reinforced (or at least “selflessness is unattractive”).

Which is what makes the series finale so brilliant and fitting. People said they thought it was a weak ending, but with all the characters telling the foursome “Some day I’ll get you…” over the years, you have to wonder if the writers knew they would have creepy Newman laugh “revenge exacted upon them! Mwahahaha!”

Since the characters existed only to make us laugh, I don’t know that that really qualifies as an “other hand.”


True, but we were laughing at (and pulling for) these ‘monsters’… which I thought was brilliant by the writers, but some people, looking back, might have wondered why they loved a character when s/he was a total jerk.

It’s interesting how a lot of shows tend to drift towards the cynical extreme and how other shows tend to drift towards the sappy lovey-dovey extreme.

I think what happens is that the writers may start running out of ideas, causing them to have to alter the characters to fit new plotlines. In Seinfeld, the whole rejecting people based on stupid trivialities seemed to be a heavily recurring theme that really only took off towards the latter part of the show…

The Simpsons also seemed to follow the trend. The show started out being a bit sitcommy but after a while it morphed away from that into its own take-no-prisoners approach at humor.

Going in the opposite direction were shows like Full House, Family Matters, and Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, all of which became more and more sappy as the shows went on. In particular, the Fresh Prince lost a lot of its edge towards the last couple of seasons, especially after the episode when Will got shot. The sappy Full House-style music started coming on virtually every episode, and the show just became bleh.

I’m glad Seinfeld took the cynical, funny route.

One of the most extreme changes Is King of the Hill. Hank started off as a idiot man who had no idea how to be a father or a husband, and was clueless about the world, and neede his wife to save him from himself. He morphed into the sane fairly normal center of everything. Every body else went the other way. Peggy became totally moronic,self-centered and delusional, needing to be saved by her husband.Dale is a one-dimentional paranoid. Bill is beyond pathetic and worthless now. Boomhauer hasn’t really been part any recent plot I remember. I don’t recall much Khan lately except as a pop over for a one-liner. I havent seen all of them lately, but most of the last couple seasons seem to be; Dale, or Peggy, or Bobby get in trouble then Hank rescues them.

people always complain that tv charactors get insaine or wacky or nerotic over the years… but think about it, think of all the stuff that happens to them.

like the simpsons… after 200 episodes of the stuff that happened to them can you expect them all not to be loony

I think the George never really became a real a**hole until Larry David became less involved. He had a way to make George a jerk, but gave a human quality to his being a jerk. This has nothing to do with Elaine.

Man I always wanted some carnal knowledge of Elaine… Oh, sorry, what were we talking about??

Which is surprising because the Larry David on “Curb Your Enthusiasm” is more of the asshole George, than the “human” George of the earlier seasons.

I have to disagree with that. Even Elain was prepared to abandon Jerry & crew for the Bizarro Jerry & bizarro crew. If she hadn’t pushed the b.j. to the floor, she may have morphed back into the nice person she was.

While I’ll not contradict the argument that the change was intentional, when I relfect on it, it seems that there was a sort of drift that arose as a result of them being so cloistered from the rest of society. They were so self-reinforcing and so lacking in any voice of moderation that the shift to being essentially evil was very natural.

Well, it appears that you don’t like it this way, but I do. I relish slapping my forehead and saying, “What an a–hole…” in response to Peggy’s words and actions. I like it that the writers aren’t afraid to have the female lead come off as a jerk; it’s funnier when taken to the extreme that they do take it. And I like Hank the way he is: he’s every bit as practical and literal as Homer is foolhardy and nonsensical. (Of course, he does laugh at Tony Danza…)

I’ll tell you what does bother me about KOTH: the recurring Bobby-gets-into-something-that’s-not-alpha-male-and-Hank-spazzes-out plotlines. I particularly disliked the season finale, because it was yet another portrayal of magick as BS and its practicioners as half losers, half malicious. But all such episodes get on my nerves, and counting that, there have been three this season.

And why, anyway? In the ep I just mentioned, Hank was telling Bobby he needs to “find his thing”. But he already has! His “thing” is being a comedian! They were going great for a while, with him being a rodeo clown, a Propaniac, and The Amay-zin’ Jesus, but now all of a sudden he’s just being whacked for the sake of it. :stuck_out_tongue:

The problem with monsters as characters is that it gets harder and harder to get a laugh out of them … you have to keep raising the stakes, making them more and more monstrous. And the more monstrous the characters become, the harder it is to relate to them and their problems.

A good example is Family Guy. All the characters there started out as wildly-over-the-top monsters. So the show never caught on, despite having some funny stuff in it.