The Strike (Seinfeld)
|Episode no.||Season 9
|Directed by||Andy Ackerman|
|Written by||Alec Berg & Jeff Schaffer & Dan O'Keefe|
|Original air date||December 18, 1997|
"The Strike" is the 166th episode of the NBC sitcom Seinfeld. This was the tenth episode of the ninth and final season. It aired on December 18, 1997. This episode featured and popularized the holiday of Festivus. This episode also popularized the concept of a "two-face": someone who looks attractive sometimes and looks bad at other times, depending on exterior conditions, such as lighting. It also explained why Kramer never held a job throughout the show. The episode is also notable for featuring an appearance by actor/playwright Tracy Letts, who won the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, for his play August: Osage County. TV Guide ranked this number 3 on its 'Top 10 Holiday Episodes' list.
George, Elaine, and Jerry attend Dr. Tim Whatley's Hanukkah party where each receive a card notifying him or her that a donation has been made by Whatley to the "Children's Alliance" in the guest's name. (Elaine is surprised Tim is still Jewish, but Jerry points out it's a breeze to keep the faith when you don't have Jewish parents.) Jerry meets an attractive woman with whom he plans a date. Elaine meets a man in a bad denim vest (Kevin McDonald) and gives him her fake number. George is offended by Whatley's gift to him, a donation in his name to a charity. George is also reminded of the Festivus holiday his father created decades before. Elaine's quest to become a "Submarine Captain" at a local sandwich shop in order to get a free submarine sandwich and (possibly) a captain's hat is crushed when she realizes she used her punch card at the party to give her fake number to the denim vested guy. Kramer gets word he can return to his former job at H&H Bagels; it seems he has been on strike for the past 12 years but, because the new minimum wage is the amount the workers initially demanded, the strike is over. Elaine goes to the place that her fake number reaches, an off-track betting parlor. She wanted to give them her real number, so when the denim vest guy calls, she can connect with him. But, the creepy men at the parlor are interested in connecting with her, so she gives the number for H&H where Kramer is working. Jerry meets his date, Gwen (Karen Fineman), at a party, but it turns out she is "a two face", sometimes she looks great but other times she appears unattractive, depending on the viewer's angle and the lighting. George decides to use the Whatley approach when giving out Christmas gifts at Kruger Industrial Smoothing; however, he makes up his own charity called "The Human Fund", an action that Jerry admits has "a certain understated stupidity to it." Kramer is intrigued by the concept of the Festivus holiday and contacts Frank, who becomes excited at the prospect of rekindling "a Festivus for the rest of us." Kramer asks to get the 23rd of December off work; when he can not get it, he resumes the strike. Meanwhile Elaine waits at H&H for a phone call from denim-vest guy.
The look of Jerry's girlfriend keeps changing with different environments, Jerry eventually figures out that Gwen looks best in the back booth at Monk's, a place she soon grows to dislike. George passes out his made-up gifts at Kruger and receives expensive gifts in return from his coworkers. Kramer warns Elaine about the sabotage he committed, causing a steam pipe to burst, the bagel shop then fills with steam, making Elaine's make-up and eyeliner run and her hair wet. George's boss, Mr. Kruger, gives George a check for $20,000 to "The Human Fund" because for tax purposes the company needs to donate money to a charity, but later the accounting department informs him the charity doesn't actually exist. Gwen mistakenly learns from Kramer that Jerry is seeing another woman; Kramer saw her on the street and she looked so different that Kramer thought she was someone else. Gwen thinks Jerry is two-timing her with an "ugly woman". Elaine meets the Denim Vest guy who has her punch card, but left it back at his home. He gives Elaine a phone number, but she quickly realizes that it's a fake number. George gives the large check back and attempts to convince Kruger that he passed out the fake gift cards because he didn't want to be ridiculed for the holiday his family traditionally celebrates, Festivus. To prove it, George is forced to bring Kruger to his father's Festivus dinner later that night, where everyone comes together, including Gwen and the two creeps from the off-track betting parlor, who got Frank's address from Kramer at the bagel shop, who caved in and was rehired needing to use their restroom desperately. The episode ends with Frank announcing the "feats of strength" tradition, saying that Festivus will end only if George can pin him to the floor and George is heard screaming from outside the house. Kramer is later seen kneading dough at the bagel shop and dropping his chewing gum into it; the manager, exasperated at his antics, fires him and Kramer thanks him profusely and leaves.
- At the Festivus dinner, Kruger refers to Kramer as "Dr. Van Nostrand", a callback to "The Slicer". In that episode, Kramer pretends to be a dermatologist and screens Kruger for cancer. Kramer also used the name Dr. Van Nostrand in the episode "The Package" while pretending to be Elaine's doctor "from the Clinic". Kramer used the stage name "Martin Van Nostrand" when attempting unsuccessfully to audition for the part of 'Kramer' in part I of the two-part episode "The Pilot" and pretended to be Peter Van Nostrand, a professor of English literature who contended that Shakespeare was an impostor, in "The Nose Job".
The Human Fund
Due to his unconscionable cheapness, George Costanza found yet another way to save money after receiving a gift donation certificate from Tim Whatley. Instead of exchanging Christmas gifts (per normal custom) with his co-workers, when George was given a gift he in turn gave his co-worker a card stating that a donation had been made in their name to a charity called "The Human Fund" (with the slogan "Money For People"), when in fact this organization didn't exist.
In the Lost episode "Everybody Loves Hugo," after being presented with an award for his support of the Golden State Natural History Museum, Hugo Reyes (AKA Hurley) says to his mother that they have an event with the Human Fund next Saturday night.