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A Brief History of Seinfeld’s Girlfriends, Told by the Women Themselves

Throughout its almost-decade-long, 169-episode run, Seinfeld gave us myriad moments of pure joy and utter hilarity, many of which were at the expense of Jerry Seinfeld’s dignity. (Seinfeld the character, that is.) Now that the entire series is available on Hulu, Seinfeld (the human) has been reflecting on the legacy and history of the show, including a memorable appearance at this year’s Vulture Fest. But what about the women? Seinfeld’s failed flings and romances, particularly the inimitable Elaine, were among the show’s finest qualities.

Now the folks at GQ have compiled an abridged oral history of (character) Seinfeld’s girlfriends. The actresses, including Jennifer Coolidge, Anna Gunn, Janeane Garofalo, Lauren Graham, and Teri Hatcher (though not Julia Louis-Dreyfus), share their memories: how they came to be on the show, their wardrobe dilemmas, the intimidation of lifelong curmudgeon Larry David, and the magnanimity of appearing on the best show about nothing ever.

Here’s what Janeane Garofalo had to say:

Larry David was no-nonsense. He was an intimidating figure. And so were all the actors in that here are these hugely famous, very talented people that I feel like a hack in front of. I think I was horrible! I’m the only comic who can’t do a Seinfeld impression! Every other comic in the world can do a Seinfeld impression. And Jeannie, my character, was supposed to be so much like Jerry that he hated her. I think they wanted me to do—and I’m not even going to do it for you now, because it’s too horrible, like when I sing along with the radio and people tell me to shut up—the same cadence as Jerry. I was supposed to sound like him. But I dialed it down. I felt like that would have been a little bit too much. And also, I was embarrassed because I felt I couldn’t do it. In no way do I mean to criticize Jerry and Larry’s idea! But I think they wanted me to do a much better impression than I could. So while I was thrilled to be there, I felt I was failing miserably the whole time. And I also think Larry did think I was failing. [laughs] But I don’t know this—this is me speculating. I’ve interacted with him since, and he’s been very nice to me!

And Kristin Bauer van Straten:

Every few years, I would run into Jerry randomly someplace, at like the hardware store or who knows. And every time I’d see him, I’d think, Well, he had a million guest stars. Should I say hello? He probably wouldn’t remember my name. So I guess I’ll have to go up to him and say, “Hi, I’m Man Hands.” So that’s what I do! It’s my only choice! And he’s so sweet about it. So another five years will roll around and I’ll see him at a Starbucks, and I’ll think, I guess I’ll do it again! And I do! I’ll be 70 one day, going up to Jerry, saying, “Jerry, it’s me, Man Hands!”

A Brief History of Seinfeld’s Girlfriends