‘Seinfeld’: Who Is Jerry Seinfeld’s Favorite Villain on the Show?
Ironically, villains are the real heroes of some of TV’s best shows. Seinfeld, for example, had some of the best everyday villains written. Here’s who’s considered Jerry Seinfeld‘s favorite, and why the character got so much backlash.
Some of ‘Seinfeld’s’ greatest villains
It’s hard to whittle down the list of “villains in the Seinfeld world. Jerry and friends felt almost anybody could be an annoyance or threat. Kenny Bania (Steve Hytner), for example, loved Jerry so much, he gave him that infamous Armani suit. Of course, then Jerry owed him dinner.
Others worth remembering include dentist Tim Whatley (Bryan Cranston) and his anti-semitism. There’s Mabel and that last Rye bread (that Jerry steals). There was also violent Joe Davola, and the infamous “Soup Nazi.”
Of all the so-called villains of the show, the most appreciated is Newman the mail carrier (Wayne Knight). He is truly the antagonist Jerry needs and the “diabolical” character we, the fans, deserve.
Seinfeld’s favorite villain and the inspiration behind it
In three different episodes, a character named Bob entered the Seinfeld world to Jerry’s chagrin. The actor who played Bob, Yul Vazquez, said his mother inspired the way he portrayed the role.
“My mother was a very intense lady, very intense Cuban lady. A little Cuban lady who I was terrified of my whole life and most people who dared cross her realized they had made a catastrophic mistake,” Vazquez told AV Club.
“It was interesting, I went to read for Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld at CBS Radford, which is where most of that was shot. And the part is written as ‘Bob, the intimidating gay guy’. That was the name of the character, the way it was written, and it didn’t say anything in there about being Latin,” he said.
Vazquez continued: “I literally went in there and thought, ‘What am I going to do with this?’ And I realized, well, my mother’s a very intimidating person and I think that could be an interesting thing to do. So I basically did that.”
He added that they were confused at first but asked him to do it again. He got the job (obviously).
“And then it became a very famous Seinfeld villain. In fact, I have a script signed by Jerry [Seinfeld] and Michael Richards that says “To our favorite Seinfeld villain ever.”
The actor said that, regardless of how long his IMDb list is, everyone wants to talk about Seinfeld.
“That’s the power of that show. The power of television, the reach of television. The reach of that show, what that show did, it’s crazy. Not that long ago, Rolling Stone published the top 100 Seinfeld characters. I think [Bob] was number 21,” he said.
The role didn’t come without its fair share of backlash.
The ‘Seinfeld’ episode garnered a lot of backlash
In the episode, Jerry, Elaine, George, and Kramer are on their way back from a Mets game when they’re stuck in the Puerto Rican Day parade. Kramer throws a sparkler and accidentally lights the flag on fire. A few racial slur insinuations happen that wouldn’t fly today (and shouldn’t).
In response, The New York Times reported that the episode was an “unconscionable insult,” as stated by the president of the National Puerto Rican Coalition, Manuel Mirabel.
“It is unacceptable that the Puerto Rican flag be used by Seinfeld as a stage prop under any circumstances,” he said.
The Bronx Borough President, Fernando Ferrer, said added that the episode ”crossed the line between humor and bigotry.”
NBC issued an apology saying: ”We do not feel that the show lends itself to damaging ethnic stereotypes because the audience for ‘Seinfeld’ knows the humor is derived from watching the core group of characters get themselves into difficult situations,” the network said in a statement.
NBC’s president, Robert Wright, added, ”Our appreciation of the broad comedy of ‘Seinfeld’ does not in any way take away from the respect we have for the Puerto Rican flag.”
Mirabel wrote in a letter to NBC President at the time, Robert Wright suggesting the use of Latin consultants to review content to avoid similar offensive mishaps.