‘Seinfeld’: Jason Alexander Explains How ‘TV Jerry Seinfeld’ Is Different From ‘Regular Jerry’
When you have someone fronting a show, as comedian Jerry Seinfeld did on his now-legendary comedy series Seinfeld, the question persists, “Is TV Jerry anything like real Jerry, and vice versa?”
His cast mate, Jason Alexander, who played second banana to Seinfeld throughout the series’ nine seasons, offered his opinion on the topic.
How the idea of ‘Seinfeld’ came about – and Elaine Benes almost didn’t
Rolling Stone reported Larry David’s explanation for how the idea for a show “about nothing” was born to himself and the show’s star.
Speaking to the outlet in 2014, David said, “We were in a grocery store and talking about the different products on the shelves. And we were making each other laugh. Then we both realized that this is the kind of dialogue we never really heard on television, or even movies, for that matter.”
The Curb Your Enthusiasm star revealed as well that the character of Elaine Benes wasn’t a given at the beginning of the series.
“There was going to be a cast of four and the woman was going to be a waitress,” he said. “And when the series got picked up, we changed the waitress to Elaine.”
The great chemistry of the characters on ‘Seinfeld’
The ensemble cast of Seinfeld worked well together except for a few hiccups at the start of the series. Observant fans will notice each character develop and grow in every successive season of the show. The cast also grew collectively, intertwining with one another’s characters effortlessly, as though they’d known one another all their lives.
Speaking with Insider in 2017, show writer Alec Berg said, “If you know who your characters are, and you know who’s in a scene, and what they want, and what happens next…I don’t want to say the scenes write themselves, but it’s much, much easier.”
Peter Mehlman, another of Seinfeld‘s producers and writers, described the cast’s chemistry more colorfully in speaking with Rotten Tomatoes in 2019. “Characters on shows now are basically so good to each other and if they are not, they apologize,” he said. “On Seinfeld, they screwed each other over every single week and remained best of friends the next week.”
TV Jerry vs. real Jerry
In a 2013 interview with Television Academy Foundation, Jason Alexander offered his take on whether TV Jerry Seinfeld is very different from ‘real’ Jerry Seinfeld.”
“I mean Jerry himself used to say ‘I come in a pair of jeans, I take them off, and I put on a pair of jeans.’ Not terribly [different],” he said. “I mean, [the role] was based on his sensibilities. There really isn’t any kind of a glaring difference I could point to.”
Alexander soon got to the bottom line concerning Jerry Seinfeld.
“I mean, ‘Jerry Jerry’ is smarter and a little more sophisticated in his ranges of experiences,” he explained. “And he is more willing to talk about things in a serious manner. I don’t think you ever see the real, serious side of Jerry in our show. But, the day-to-day attitude and demeanor of him? Same thing.”