June 4, 2015

"Julia actually said, ‘I know — don’t you just wanna kill her?'"

Julia = Julia Louis-Dreyfus. Her = the "Susan" character on "Seinfeld" (George's love interest, who died from licking the glue on the wedding invitation envelopes).
“The actress is this wonderful girl, Ms. [Heidi] Swedberg,” [Jason] Alexander said. “… I love her. She’s a terrific girl. I love her. I couldn’t figure out how to play off of her.... Her instincts for doing a scene — where the comedy was — and mine were always misfiring.”

Alexander said he voiced his concerns to his castmates, who said he was imagining things — until they had to play scenes with Swedberg themselves.

“Finally, they do an episode where Elaine and Jerry have a lot of material with her,” Alexander said. After the shoot, according to Alexander, Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Seinfeld himself reported: “It’s f—king impossible.” Julia actually said, ‘I know — don’t you just wanna kill her?'"
So... they killed her. 

48 comments:

Scott M said...

Killing her off is one of best things they ever did on that show. Not just the storyline, but George's reaction to it and the effects on the character's life afterward.

As much as I love JLD, Veep is hard to watch. Not in a bad way, but in a squirm in your seat/damn that's funny kind of way.

Michael K said...

Interesting how they admit it and seem cool about it. If a Republican made a comment like that, there would be outrage.

It's all fiction but interesting in terms of leftist thinking. I have never watched the show so cannot comment on the actual script.

Brando said...

I thought it was a bad move making her die and George openly happy about it--it changed him from being a selfish, funny loser to a pretty nasty person and added a darkness to the show that really spiraled downhill. It would have made more sense to just break off the wedding and have her go off and be a lesbian again or something.

Henry said...

The last paragraph is a terrific wrap. If Seinfeld had never existed, the whole article could be a Steve Martin story.

traditionalguy said...

Methinks this could be a metaphor for The professor's reaction to some of the commenters.

I do remember the plot line was a cute one about saving money on cheap envelopes. Who knew she would suddenly be dead after the commercial break.

My Elaine addiction is going strong as ever on Veep.

MadisonMan said...

Heidi Swedberg never got tenure because she couldn't interact easily with the rest of the Department.

Amy said...

As someone who sells envelopes as part of my career, I was highly offended by the plotline, and am equally offended by this article and this blog post.
Do I get something for that?

Bob Boyd said...

Life imitates art.

Rumpletweezer said...

I watched the show until I reached the point at which I didn't care about any of the characters anymore. There needs to be at least someone who's likeable for me to keep watching.

Wince said...

The Susan character was always supposed to be an outsider.

Remember, "Independent George" didn't like it when his "worlds collide".

So, in that sense, to the audience at least, myself included, maybe that real life negative dynamic actually worked in advancing that plot device.

Wince said...

ELAINE: Oh, well come on. You want to go grab a bite to eat?

JERRY: Yeah.

SUSAN: Ah, no. I don't think so.

ELAINE: Why not?

SUSAN: Well you know, all you guys ever do is sit around the coffee shop talking, sit around Jerry's apartment talking. Frankly, I don't know how you can stand it. I’ll see you.

etbass said...

As I recall, Susan's death was a complete accident with not the slightest intent on the part of George. But his angst at the prospect of marrying and total inability to extricate himself from the engagement, gave rise to his sense of relief when he learned that she offed herself.

Completely narcissistic but in keeping with the character and personalities of all four.

Lyssa said...

So, in that sense, to the audience at least, myself included, maybe that real life negative dynamic actually worked in advancing that plot device.

Yeah, I thought that her awkwardness with the group was by design. It sort of made you sympathetic to George for wanting to get out of it, while still acknowledging that he was pretty horrible about it, which was generally the point of the show (letting us make fun of ourselves for getting worked up over stupid and narcissistic nothings, while still sort of understanding that we do).

Summer of George!

TCR James said...

@etbass - yeah, about right. George's discomfiture with the impending marriage, that the relationship seemed like desparation on his part, his dread and social awkwardness over the whole thing... then she dies because he's yet again screwed up, and he is trying to surpress tears... of joy... that was absolutely note perfect Costanza cringe humor and yet again George screws up only to find himself better off.

Rick M said...

Alexander failed over and over since Seinfeld, but it's not his fault, it's all due to Swedberg's lack of acting skill...do I read that right?

LarryK said...

Poor Lilly.

I always wondered whether Postal employee Neumann played a role in her death...maybe sold her cut-rate, black market envelopes knowing how things would turn out. Now THAT would have been dark...

Bay Area Guy said...

Seinfeld was great - but none of the characters were marriable. George marrying Susan would have clipped his wings, and wrecked the chemistry among 4 frivolous, but funny, single friends.

Eric the Fruit Bat said...

I thought the problem was the writers finally clued-in that Susan was way too far out of George's league.

LarryK said...

BTW, Heidi Swedberg has pretty much given up acting to return to her first love - playing the ukelele.

http://www.sgvtribune.com/arts-and-entertainment/20131011/life-after-seinfeld-heidi-swedberg-takes-on-the-ukelele

Skyler said...

Funniest show ever. But I thought the character of Susan was perfect because she didn't fit in. She was like this real world character floating in and out of the stories about very anti-social characters.

But killing her off was even funnier. I'm sorry to learn the reason for killing her character off, but it resulted in some of the funniest scenes in television ever.

Scott M said...

I thought it was a bad move making her die and George openly happy about it--it changed him from being a selfish, funny loser to a pretty nasty person and added a darkness to the show that really spiraled downhill.

I disagree. I think he was always a pretty nasty person.

Left Bank of the Charles said...

I think Curb Your Enthusiasm answered the question, "What would have happened if Susan had lived?"

Laslo Spatula said...

So the actors playing the characters of a clique were actually a clique of actors.

Seems right.

I am Laslo.

Will Cate said...

Exactly. They were just as ruthless as the characters they played on the show.

Known Unknown said...

Alexander failed over and over since Seinfeld

Alexander was never going to be lead material. He's a character actor at best.

Will Cate said...

Brando said: "I thought it was a bad move making her die and George openly happy about it--it changed him from being a selfish, funny loser to a pretty nasty person and added a darkness to the show that really spiraled downhill"

They were all nasty people. The four most heartless, self-centered people you could possibly imagine in a hit network-TV sitcom, openly mocking everybody and everything around them. That was what made the show so wonderfully subversive. I don't think you could get away with that sort of thing today, certainly not on NBC.

buwaya said...

My wife has taken ukulele classes from her.
She is quite a celebrity in that world.

Will Cate said...

Rick S. said: "Alexander failed over and over since Seinfeld"

Failed? Your bar for success must be pretty high. A quick glance of his IMDB listing shows almost a hundred credits just since Seinfeld went off-the-air in 1998. And he's about to take Larry David's place starring in the hit Broadway comedy "Fish In The Dark"... I think he's doing alright.

J. Farmer said...

My favorite moments from that particular episode were George's desperate, last-minute attempts at sabotaging the wedding by first asking Susan for a prenuptial agreement and then by pretending to be a chronic smoker. Of course, both attempts blow up spectacularly in George's face and are hilarious.

PuertoRicoSpaceport.com said...

I rather liked Susan but found the story interesting.

As for Jason, my daughter saw him in a musical in LA 8-10 years ago and was very impressed. She went expecting to see George and saw someone very different.

It is hard to believe that "George Costanza" could sing and dance as well as he does. He is really good!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bux2wzhVPUw

As for failing, several here have noted that he has done pretty well. I think the problem is that after Seinfeld, how do you top that? Anything else looks like a demotion.

Nobody else, Kramer, Elaine, Seinfeld, LD, has topped Seinfeld either.

Tony for best actor in a musical? Yeah, that's a mark of failure.

John Henry

MacMacConnell said...

Rumpletweezer said...
"I watched the show until I reached the point at which I didn't care about any of the characters anymore. There needs to be at least someone who's likeable for me to keep watching."


That was the whole point of the show, none of the main characters were likeable.

Shawn Levasseur said...

Brando said: "it changed him from being a selfish, funny loser to a pretty nasty person and added a darkness to the show that really spiraled downhill"

It wasn't a spiral for me it was a sudden "Jump the Shark" moment, and it wasn't just the character of George.

The utter casualness that all the main characters brushed off her death, moving on immediately as if it was nothing, was not funny, not plausible, and changed all four of them from flawed people that I enjoyed seeing, to complete assholes I wanted nothing more to do with the show.

I didn't mind the character dying. They killed off another character, the NBC Exec who dated Elaine, in a much less callous manner (though to be fair, it wasn't an escape for Elaine, they had broken up long prior to his death, although he was pining for her).

I'm sure the fact it was at a time I was dropping all sorts of sitcoms didn't help. (I was getting bored of the genre in general)

traditionalguy said...

Seinfeld has material that would requirea trigger warning a minute to the Precious Ones today. Sincere Apologies and viewer warnings would take up half the airtime today.

William said...

Julia Louis-Dreyfus is the daughter of a billionaire and extremely good looking. How does someone with that kind of background develop a sense of humor, a sense that life is absurd and things are not as they should be.......I like the concept of killing off secondary characters in sit coms. Very amusing.

Robert Cook said...

The lack of empathy displayed by these four characters--their self-centeredness and neurotic focus on tiny flaws in others--was high-lighted by the two-part finale, a clip-show that said: Look, these are terrible people! They're so terrible they deserve to be in prison for their selfishness!

What made it so funny is that we're all like that, (deny it though some may).

I'm sure Seinfeld and David are still laughing about this to this day.

Eric the Fruit Bat said...

There was an episode where Elaine met three guys who were just like Jerry-George-Kramer, except they were nice, and she tried to hang with them but she couldn't hack it.

JPS said...

Amy, 8:12:

"I was highly offended by the plotline, and am equally offended by this article and this blog post.
Do I get something for that?"

Yes. You get these words of wisdom from Stephen Fry:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zqPcjm-X5GQ

LarryK said...

Yeah, the four main Seinfeld characters were all overly critical jerks, but they also always had each others' backs. In between the complaining, they would go through Hell for each other. That sense of friendship held the series together, and the tension between each individual's selfishness and the (slightly sour) sense of group camaraderie made it interesting. Seinfeld would have never lasted as long as it did if it was just nasty.

Brando said...

"I didn't mind the character dying. They killed off another character, the NBC Exec who dated Elaine, in a much less callous manner (though to be fair, it wasn't an escape for Elaine, they had broken up long prior to his death, although he was pining for her)."

Yeah, I get that they were all "jerks" but there seemed to be a limit--and while George was always selfish and petty, the idea that he was psychotic enough to brush off her death in that way seemed out of character. The NBC guy's death was different, as you mentioned Elaine was never with him, and the characters weren't aware of his death--he'd just "disappeared" which sort of fit in show's universe.

Susan marrying George definitely was a dead end for the show, and I get they needed out--but how they did it just threw the show off its kilter. It almost seemed unreal.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Airing criticism of minor actress Heidi Swedberg (even after professions of love) by 3 superstars--is that considered punching down?

Birches said...

The lack of empathy displayed by these four characters--their self-centeredness and neurotic focus on tiny flaws in others--was high-lighted by the two-part finale, a clip-show that said: Look, these are terrible people! They're so terrible they deserve to be in prison for their selfishness!

What made it so funny is that we're all like that, (deny it though some may).

I'm sure Seinfeld and David are still laughing about this to this day.


I agree with Cooke (!?!?!). I'm always amused when people say they hate the finale. I think it's because they didn't realize just how despicable Jerry, Elaine, Kramer and George were. I loved it. Not even jail could change them.

Skyler said...

Punching down? Yes, it does seem pretty tasteless. I wonder how she feels being described this way. It was not necessary and only demeans the others, if you ask me.

Lydia said...

Alexander has now issued a very lengthy apology.

Char Char Binks, Esq. said...

It's a horrible show. I liked Jerry as a standup, but he's such a bad actor he couldn't even convincingly play himself. The humor of the show was almost nonexistent, at turns dry as dust, and "edgy", "over the top", in a self-consciously "outrageous" way. I really hated that one-note Michael Richards, whose "talent" seemed to be mostly in his odd hairstyle. It seems as soon as they got a real actor on the show, they offed her. I felt much the same way about "Curb Your Enthusiasm" when a friend tried to convince me of its supposed hilarity.

Todd Roberson said...

Jason Alexander is a textbook example of Larry Linville disease.

jr565 said...

"ELAINE: Oh, well come on. You want to go grab a bite to eat?

JERRY: Yeah.

SUSAN: Ah, no. I don't think so.

ELAINE: Why not?

SUSAN: Well you know, all you guys ever do is sit around the coffee shop talking, sit around Jerry's apartment talking. Frankly, I don't know how you can stand it. I’ll see you."

It sounds like they created a character that was deliberately not part of the group, and then the actors are commenting on how they can't act with her. could it be because her character was deliberately written that way?

Zach said...

Killing off Susan was absolutely the right move for the show, but blaming it on Swedberg is weak. She and George were never a good pair; the humor was in George's desperation to get out of the engagement.

Susan is levelheaded, sensible, and doesn't buy into the group's obsessions. She could never participate in a full episode based around a girl with "man hands," or a soup Nazi, or a masturbation contest. She was never going to be a permanent member of the cast, and blaming that on Swedberg isn't fair.

The only love interest in the show who could play against all four of the main actors was David Putty. He was a welcome addition when the show was getting a little too formulaic.

Unknown said...

Notice jld has never commented on what she said about swedberg, because she thought she was being clever without actually understandungjust how good swedberg was or the ramifications of her thoughtless remark. Typical. I'm betting that unlike swedberg, who took the hi road