‘Seinfeld’: This Episode Made Jerry Seinfeld ‘Very Uncomfortable’

by Caitlin Berard

In 1989, the first episode of Seinfeld aired, starring Jerry Seinfeld, Jason Alexander, Julia-Louis Dreyfus, and Michael Richards. The quartet played a group of friends living in New York who led extraordinarily average lives in the Big Apple. Famously a “show about nothing,” Seinfeld was simply the story of these four people and the “excruciating minutiae” of their daily lives.

Together with the help of friends and colleagues, Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David brought the atypical TV show to life. Despite the seemingly boring premise, the show was a massive success, running for 9 seasons and becoming one of the most highly regarded sitcoms in television history.

That said, it’s virtually impossible to make every episode a hit, especially in a show as long-running as Seinfeld. And even Jerry Seinfeld himself, one of the show’s creators and main characters, can easily recall a dud or two.

In a 2012 episode of Watch What Happens Live, Jerry Seinfeld played a game of “Plead the Fifth,” during which Andy Cohen asked about his least favorite Seinfeld episode. It took a moment of thought, but Seinfeld quickly remembered the one he felt was most “uncomfortable.”

“There was one where a guy had a stroke and we were feeding him on the couch,” Seinfeld recalled. “It was an older guy. I felt very uncomfortable with that episode. Yeah, it was weird. The guy, he was in a wheelchair and… It was uncomfortable.”

The episode to which Seinfeld is referring is “The Alternate Side,” in which Elaine dates a (much) older man named Owen. As Elaine attempts to break up with him, Owen has a stroke, making her feel obligated to care for him. Though the episode is a little cringy, it’s also a Seinfeld classic, as it includes Elaine’s unforgettable rendition of “Yankee Bean.”

Jason Alexander Recalls Killing Off a ‘Seinfeld’ Character Due to Poor Chemistry

Part of what makes Seinfeld great is the easy chemistry between Jerry Seinfeld and the rest of the cast. Even though they weren’t as close as the cast of Friends, they enjoyed each other’s company enough to play a believable group of friends. When it came to Jason Alexander’s on-screen wife, Heidi Swedberg, however, the chemistry was so poor that she was eventually killed off the show.

In a 2015 interview on the Howard Stern Show, Jason Alexander explained the difficulties on set. “I love Heidi Swedberg,” he said. “But I could never figure out how to play off her. Her instincts and my instincts were diametrically opposed. If I thought something had to move, she’d go slow – if I went slow, she’d go fast. If I paused, she’d jump in too early. Love her. Hated Susan.”

Jerry Seinfeld, Larry David, and a few other Seinfeld writers then hatched a plan. What if they simply killed her off? George Costanza doesn’t need a wife, does he? And that’s just what they did.

“They go, ‘You know what? It’s f—ing impossible. It’s impossible,'” Alexander recalled. “And Julia actually said, ‘Don’t you want to just kill her?’ And Larry [David, series creator] went, ‘Ka-bang!'”