Turns Out There Was Never A Real Reason For Jerry Seinfeld To Hate Newman

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One of the many great mysteries of “Seinfeld” has always been Jerry’s deep-seated hatred of his neighbor, Newman. Sure, he isn’t the most charismatic guy, but all of Jerry’s friends have their own abhorrent qualities that don’t seem to bother the protagonist. As it turns out, even the co-creator and star himself doesn’t know exactly why his self-insert character hates Newman — he just does. And sometimes, especially in a sitcom, that’s the only reason necessary.

Newman’s first lines of the series were in the season 2 episode “The Revenge.” The character does not appear on screen, but rather yells from the roof, threatening his friend Kramer that he’s going to jump. “The following season, we did a show where I guess we needed a friend for Kramer, somebody in the building,” the series co-creator Larry David explained in a behind-the-scenes interview. “We’ve already heard this name ‘Newman’ before so, let’s use this guy. We’ve already introduced him.” 

The other series creator was hesitant to introduce the people in Kramer’s world. “I thought it might stir Kramer’s mystique if you actually saw any friends of his,” Jerry Seinfeld recalled. “We wanted him to be kind of an island unto himself.”

When Wayne Knight read for the role, Larry David knew “in about five seconds” that he was the one for the part. “There was no expectation of Newman being a recurring character,” Knight said. “This was strictly a one-off shot as far as I knew.” It seems that Knight’s performance ultimately convinced Seinfeld to keep him on the show. “Obviously, Wayne [Knight] was such a perfect compadre and counterpoint to him,” he conceded. Seinfeld may have warmed up to Newman’s presence in real life, but his character certainly did not.

‘It Just Seemed Funny To Hate Newman’

There are a few reasons why Jerry Seinfeld hates Newman, but none of them are because he deserved it. “People ask all the time, why did Jerry not like Newman?” Wayne Knight said in the interview. “Frankly, he was the only one who expressed it. Nobody really liked Newman.” 

As for Seinfeld, he believes that Newman was a natural antagonist for him on the show. “It was an instinctive dislike of the character,” he explained. “He was the first person who was coming onto my own show to sabotage me in some way, and so why would I not hate him forever for that?”

As for why his character truly despises Newman, even Seinfeld himself isn’t totally sure. “The real answer, why I hated Newman, is because it just seemed funny to hate Newman,” he admitted to CBS News. “Everybody has one eccentric friend that’s sort of out there,” he explained, referring to Kramer. “And their outer orbit friend is someone you cannot deal with. So that was the reasoning.” More than anything, though, Jerry’s animosity towards Newman was purely comedic. “There was no real reason for me to hate Newman. He never did anything bad to me, it was just fun. It was fun to hate him.”

Newman is pretty unlikeable, but does he really deserve so much of Jerry’s ire? When he eventually retaliates in revenge, is he truly in the wrong? Some people think that the real villain in “Seinfeld” isn’t Newman at all — it’s actually Jerry. As it turns out, the real-life Jerry Seinfeld might not disagree. He admits that he doesn’t hate Newman for any good reason. It’s not a very intricate answer, but it works — the fact that their conflict is based solely on clashing vibes makes it all the more hilarious.

Read this next: The 15 Best Comedy Duos Of All Time

The post Turns Out There Was Never A Real Reason For Jerry Seinfeld To Hate Newman appeared first on /Film.

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