Jennifer Coolidge captured Emmy gold last year, winning supporting actress in a limited series for portraying troubled heiress Tanya McQuoid on season one of The White Lotus, which earned 10 trophies total, including best limited series, directing and writing. But it’s not her first time appearing on an awards behemoth — in fact, 30 years ago, she made her television debut on Seinfeld.
The actress had been performing regularly with The Groundlings in L.A. when she was cast on the fifth season of Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David’s sitcom about “nothing.” In the ninth episode, “The Masseuse,” Coolidge plays Jodi, a massage therapist who’s dating Jerry but is reluctant to give him a personal session.
“How many times do I have to go out with her before I get a massage?” Jerry complains to Elaine (Julia Louis-Dreyfus). “Jerry, she gives massages all day,” Elaine says. “She doesn’t want to give them on dates.” Tension builds when Kramer (Michael Richards) schedules a massage with Jodi before Jerry gets one.
THR‘s review of the season said “Seinfeld remains the funniest, most original and deceivingly adult comedy on TV” — a testament to the incredible cast as well as to the approach of Seinfeld and David, the latter of whom told THR: “I think [the show is] fresh because neither of us ever really worked on a half-hour show. … We didn’t know how you were supposed to do it, so we did it our way.”
Hollywood Flashback: Jennifer Coolidge’s First TV Job Was as Seinfeld’s Masseuse