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The Neighbors

Julia Louis-Dreyfus talks about ''Seinfeld''

She gives us the scoop on the show, her other projects, and her hair

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Here’s how Julia Louis-Dreyfus would like to see NBC’s No. 1 sitcom end: Jerry and Elaine fall deeply, madly in love. George wins the lottery. Kramer finds his calling as a minister. In other words, after years of being TV’s most pathetic losers, the four New Yorkers find that things are finally working out. So they pile into a car for a celebratory ride into the sunset — and smash headfirst into a propane truck. Kaboom! Roll credits.

Louis-Dreyfus smiles sweetly: ”I think it would be awfully funny…. I’m a big fan of very, very dark humor.”

Good thing she’s on Seinfeld, then. The show’s increasingly nihilistic tone — most acutely displayed in last May’s season ender (in which George’s fiancee dies from licking poisoned envelopes and no one seems to care) — may have alienated a few fans. Louis-Dreyfus, however, revels in the new nastiness, calling the final episode ”hilarious” and perfectly in keeping with Elaine’s evolution from adorable eccentric to, as she puts it, ”cuckoo.” ”She should have her tubes tied,” laughs Louis-Dreyfus. ”She’s a miserable, decrepit old wretch.”

The 35-year-old actress is currently flopped on a cushy sofa, more exhausted than wretched. After a late-night taping of Seinfeld, Louis-Dreyfus has taken an early-morning flight from L.A. to Reno to resume shooting Father’s Day, a broad comedy costarring Billy Crystal and Robin Williams and her first movie since 1994’s disappointing North. In her sparse Reno trailer, she’s downing some ”pretzelly munchy things” and musing on her burgeoning career, in high gear now that her son, Henry, has turned 4. ”I’m much busier this year than I ever cared to be before,” she says. In addition to Father’s Day, there is Woody Allen’s fall project, tentatively titled Woody Allen’s Fall Project (”He won’t even tell me what the title is”), and Neil Simon’s NBC movie London Suite (to air Sept. 15), in which she appears opposite The Single Guy‘s Jonathan Silverman as, get this, a neurotic newlywed.

Speaking of neurosis, in the eighth season of Seinfeld, look for more financial disappointment for George (he’ll find out his dead fiancee was worth millions), more falls for Kramer (he’ll take up karate and swoon over one of Jerry’s pals), and more commitment phobia for Jerry (he’ll slither out of his engagement to guest star Janeane Garofalo). Meanwhile, Elaine becomes even more unhinged (dare we say unlikable?) when she takes charge of the J. Peterman catalog following the nervous breakdown of its lockjawed founder. In the season’s first episode, we will see her design an ill-fated sombrero and puff away on a cigar the size of a burrito — a detail inspired by Louis-Dreyfus’ real-life penchant for a good stogie. ”We own a humidor,” says Louis-Dreyfus’ husband of 10 years, Brad Hall, an executive producer for The Single Guy. ”But we found out it’s hip, so we’ll have to stop.”

Also on the series’ to-do list: an episode concerning Louis-Dreyfus’ coveted, curly mass of brown hair — which one could call America’s most wanted. ”I follow [the hair] pretty closely,” deadpans costar Jerry Seinfeld. ”But I haven’t gotten today’s newsletter.” Well, Jerry, here’s the update: Those locks recently got voted best hair on TV in a TV Guide reader poll; got straightened for her role on Father’s Day; and may get dyed blond for a future movie. ”It’s really ironic,” says Louis-Dreyfus. ”I always hated my hair, you know? When I was young, it was not cool to have curly hair. It’s been a source of anxiety, and now it’s causing this ruckus.”