One of the most impressive feats of Seinfeld was that for a show about a group of entirely despicable people, the most hated and hateable characters were always the ones outside of the core group of friends. Take, for instance, George’s on-again-off-again girlfriend Susan. Susan was fine. She wasn’t terrible. She was, at worst, the boring Mark Brendanawicz of the Seinfeld world. But people (both audiences and characters) hated her. Jason Alexander talked to Howard Stern recently and said,
What Heidi brought to the character is we could do the most horrible things to her, and the audience was still n my side. …She wasn’t playing a bitchy character or anything, but they knew it wasn’t a good fit.He stressed that Heidi Swedberg, the actress who played Susan, was a great person, she was a FINE person. Perfectly fine. She was just kind of terrible at comedy.
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. And she would do something and I would go, okay, I see what she’s gonna do, I’m gonna adjust to her. And then I would adjust. And then it would change!
So when Jason found out George and Susan were slated to get married, he may have lost a bit of his shit.
I kept saying, ‘I’m going out of my mind you guys, you’re killing me. I can’t understand how to play off of this girl. I’m sure that the stuff is not working, it can’t be!’…I was the only actor doing scenes with her! And then finally — they didn’t know how the season was gonna end, was George gonna marry her? Was she gonna leave him? What was gonna happen? So finally they do an episode where Elaine and Jerry have a lot of material with her. They do the week…and they go, you know what? It’s fucking impossible. It’s impossible.’ And Julia actually said, ‘I know, it’s just, don’t you wanna just kill her?’ And Larry went, ‘kebang!’
So okay, maybe you can’t JUST blame Julia-Louis Dreyfuss. It was only her idea. Blame everyone else for thinking it was such a great one. (Which, honestly, it really was.)