For a mom of two with nearly 16 years of marriage under her belt, Julia Louis-Dreyfus sure is convincing as a desperately single, struggling jazz singer on Watching Ellie (returning to NBC tonight at 9:30 pm/ET). What makes the Seinfeld alumna revel in her role so?
"I guess it allows me to tap into my fantasy life," says Louis-Dreyfus, whose husband Brad Hall is exec producer of Ellie. "It's been quite some time since I've been single. It's a god-blessed gas!
"From a comedic point of view, it's great to be a needy, insecure, maybe slightly angry person," she adds. "It lends itself to a lot of humor."
Having worked through nine 24-episode seasons of Seinfeld, Louis-Dreyfus knew starring in a series could easily detract from her decidedly un-single life, so she made some conditions. "The first device that I put into place was that I wasn't going to make more than 15 episodes a season," she says, "because I was concerned about the amount of time that would take away from my family life. My husband and I make a concerted effort not to take work home with us."
Such restrictions hardly seem necessary, since the show's very survival has been in question from the start. Having made some major format changes, producers hope viewers will take to Ellie more the second time around. But does Louis-Dreyfus believe in the so-called Seinfeld curse, that fans refuse to accept Elaine and co. as other sitcom characters?
"What there is, is the curse of show business," she scoffs. "You're always going uphill. It might in fact be a help to have Seinfeld on [TV in syndication] because my face is recognizable."