It seemed pretty random when Seinfeld decided to kill Susan Biddle Ross, George Costanza’s on-and-off girlfriend and eventual fiancee. Heidi Swedberg’s character wasn’t particularly unlikeable, she was a major part of the series and seriously, who else would marry George?
Anyone who’s a fan of the series knows Susan kicked the bucket because she was poisoned by the glue on her cheap wedding envelopes. It was kind of dark and exactly the type of comedy we’d expect from Seinfeld, but it turns out Susan’s death was a whole lot more than a punchline. The producers booted her from the show because the cast didn’t like acting with her (workplace bullying at its finest!).
Earlier this morning, Jason Alexander (who play’s the selfish, often-clueless George) admitted to Howard Stern that Susan was killed off because the cast hated working with Swedberg. In the most Seinfeld way possible, there was nothing particularly wrong with Swedberg (she was described as perfectly lovely), but the cast just didn’t like acting with her. Issues arose when they had to “play off of her” in certain scenes, which allegedly made filming difficult.
When Larry David let Alexander know that George would be getting engaged to Susan in the seventh season, no one was really thrilled. Apparently, it all happened after filming a pretty trying episode where Jerry Seinfeld and Julia Louis-Dreyfus had a lot of bits with Swedberg. At a cast lunch, Louis-Dreyfus blurted out “Don’t you just wanna kill her?” and apparently, everyone agreed. Susan was later given the toxic envelopes that would lead to her demise.
Alexander has since apologized for his comments in rather large statement on TwitLonger, restating that it was nothing personal about Heidi — they just didn’t mesh on set. In a post titled “Oh Dear God, Leave Heidi Alone,” Alexander admitted that killing off her character was what was best for the series. He said:
“…And again I say, I and the cast really liked and like Heidi. She is a kind, lovely person who undoubtedly worked really hard to create Susan and that character was clearly what Larry and Jerry wanted her to be for George. I just felt I was on uncertain ground in how to play off that character and I was always concerned that it wasn’t working. And that’s what I would voice concern about. But because the scenes were playing the way they were, the relationship with George and Susan sustained a whole season. People clearly liked the interplay even though I believed I was “off”.
Larry and Jerry were not sure how that relationship would end. They didn’t really want George married but all the alternatives seemed predictable. They were always looking for an inventive end to the engagement. So when the comment was made about “killing”, no one was talking about the actress – they were talking about the character. And that made a creative lightbulb go off apparently.”
Clearly, Alexander is being a bit hard on himself. Not everyone is going to make magic together on set, and sometimes, someone just isn’t the right fit even if they do everything right. It could be the fault of the writers, the fault of the actors or just the different personalities of everyone involved. It doesn’t mean anyone is bad at their job or a bad person. We get what you were trying to say Alexander, you just said it in the most George way possible. Honestly, we expect nothing less.
Checkout a clip from Alexander’s interview with Howard Stern below.