‘Seinfeld’: Elaine’s Most Iconic Moments, Ranked

Seinfeld is easily one of the most recognized sitcoms in American television history. It is about a group of friends living their ordinary yet comical lives in New York City. The 1989 sitcom’s leading characters became pop culture phenomenons. Elaine Benes, played by Emmy award-winning Julia Louis-Dreyfus, became an icon with her go-getter attitude, unique outlook on love, and somewhat clinical persona.

There is no denying that Elaine had some memorable moments that defined her in the sitcom’s nine seasons on the air. Fans can not forget her bizarre dance style and her hatred for misuse of exclamation points. Out of Elaine’s iconic scenes, one takes the cake as they are ranked from best to greatest of all time.

Elaine Benes in 'The Pen' for 'Seinfeld' bending over laughing in red blazer
Elaine Benes in ‘The Pen’ for ‘Seinfeld’ | Gino Mifsud/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images

The ‘Gold Medal Run’ monologue in ‘The Busboy’ (Season 2, Episode 12)

In “The Busboy,” Elaine’s boyfriend is visiting from out of town. Elaine is at first thrilled to have her new guest but quickly comes to despise him. She can not wait to get rid of him. On the day of her boyfriend’s departure, they oversleep and rush to the airport. Her boyfriend tries to persuade her to catch a flight the next day, but Elaine rejects the idea.

The episode became well known for Elaine’s ending monologue. Still dressed in her nightgown and sporting unruly hair, Elaine has a fervent and glazed expression. While standing in the middle of Jerry’s (Jerry Seinfeld) apartment, she explains she has never driven so fast in her life, but it all seemed to go in slow motion. She was weaving through traffic until she hit the Van Wyck expressway. No one has beaten it, but Elaine claims she was close.

Elaine screams ‘Stella!’ in ‘Seinfeld’ (Season 3, Episode 3)

One of Elain’s iconic moments in Seinfeld was turned into a popular meme. Elaine accompanies Jerry as he visits his parents in Florida. The only problem is that Jerry’s parents do not have a spare bedroom for Elaine. She is left sleeping on a foldout couch. By the end of the episode, Elaine strains her back and takes muscle relaxers before going to an award ceremony for Jerry’s father.

The scene developed into a meme is when Elaine screams, “Stella!” Elaine’s scene is comical to witness without knowing why she is screaming the particular name. The circumstances around the scene are what make it memorable. For those who may not know, Elaine’s “Stella!” is about A Streetcar Named Desire, starring Marlon Brando. Brando’s character yells at his wife, whose name is Stella.

‘The Sponge’ checklist in ‘Seinfeld’ (Season 7, Episode 9)

Nothing comes between a woman and her preferred method of birth control. In season 7 of Seinfeld, Elaine goes hunting for a birth control apparatus called, The Sponge. The Hollywood Reporter calls the episode a must-watch and Elaine’s time to shine.

The episode gave rise to the phrase “spongeworthy.” Fans would use the phrase for common dating circumstances on whether or not someone is worth being a sexual partner. In the episode, Elaine travels the city looking for any remaining stock of the Sponge. The most iconic scene comes when she tries to decide if her latest boyfriend is “spongeworthy.”

Her boyfriend is laying out his case as to why he is worthy. His physical checkups are immaculate. He eats healthy and works out. Elaine listens to his argument and agrees he is “sponge worthy” when he explains he will fix his sideburns. But, his worthiness only lasts for one night when she rejects his advances, not wanting to waste another Sponge the following morning.

Elaine’s stance on abortion in ‘The Couch’ (Season 6, Episode 5)

Throughout Seinfeld, Elaine has often been a voice of moral reason and became a feminine icon. There is no better example than “The Couch” episode. The underlying storyline has a comment about pro-life that becomes a serious discussion at Poppy’s (Reni Santoni) restaurant. Jerry and Elaine visit Poppy’s new restaurant venture with Kramer and get into a rousing discussion on the subject matter.

The scene has become one of Elaine’s most iconic as she stands up for her beliefs. Poppy announces he is pro-life, much to Elaine’s disagreement. She explains that the Supreme Court gave her the right to choose over her own body. The loud argument catches the attention of other patrons creating a scene of chaos as many leave in protest over Poppy’s stance.

The dance fiasco in ‘The Little Kicks’ (Season 8, Episode 4)

While Elaine may be good at many things, fans of Seinfeld would have never expected her to be a horrible dancer. In “The Little Kicks,” Elaine shows off her dance moves at a company party with George. She goes into a weird display of kicks, jives, and stiff moves on the dance floor. Fans were not the only ones shocked, as Elaine’s co-workers are left gobsmacked.

Elaine has no idea her co-workers lost respect for her because of it. She attributes the change in atmosphere to George’s (Jason Alexander) presence at the party. Fans often remember the scene because of how dramatic, and awkward Elaine’s dance really was. It was so shocking to the point Jerry makes it his mission she never finds out. Even Louis-Dreyfus is embarrassed by Elaine’s dance fiasco.

Elaine’s break up over misuse of exclamation points in ‘The Sniffing Accountant’ (Season 5, Episode 4)

Much like the rest of Seinfeld’s main characters, Elaine has had her fair share of boyfriends and breakups. None top the exaggerated reason she broke up with Jake Jarmel (Marty Rackham). The relationship seemed perfectly fine, and Jake was a good guy. When Elaine returns to her apartment, Jake gives her the messages she missed.

In the messages, Elaine learns a close friend had her baby. Nothing gets past Elaine when she questions why Jake did not use an exclamation point. To her, it was important news that required an exclamation point. But, Elaine takes it too far and gets into a heated argument with Jake, leading to a breakup.

In a later episode, Elaine gets back together with Jake but messes up once again when she buys JuJuBee’s before rushing to see Jake, who got in an accident.

She shuts down ‘The Soup Nazi’ in ‘Seinfeld’ (Season 7, Episode 6)

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There is no more iconic Elaine moment than her interaction with the Soup Nazi, Yev Kassem, played by Larry Thomas. The main characters become obsessed with the soup made by Yev. Jerry and everyone else calls him “The Soup Nazi” for his strict way of conducting business in his establishment.

Jerry and George are very aware of the rules for how to order, but Elaine does not. When she goes to buy soup, she enrages Yev and gets banned. This only angers Elaine, who vows to bring him down, and so she does. She finds his recipes in an old armoire she got from Kramer (Michale Richards).

Elaine visits his restaurant and says, “I can make my own soup … You’re through, Soup Nazi. Next!” The scene became popular over Elaine’s lack of disregard toward Yev. Her pettiness cost Yev his business and livelihood and forced him to relocate to Argentina. Collider calls Elaine’s scene of confronting Yev the ultimate example of determining she is more than capable of surviving a deathmatch.

Seinfeld is available to stream on Netflix