The Race (Seinfeld)
|Directed by||Andy Ackerman|
|Story by||Tom Gammill & Max Pross and Larry David & Sam Kass|
|Teleplay by||Tom Gammill & Max Pross & Larry David|
|Original air date||December 15, 1994|
"The Race" is the 96th episode of the American sitcom Seinfeld, the tenth episode of the sixth season. The episode first aired on December 15, 1994. The story follows Jerry as he meets an old rival, who suspects that he cheated in a high school race and wishes to re-run it. Elaine is put on a "blacklist" and finds out her boyfriend is a communist, which sees George respond to a personal ad in the Daily Worker and Kramer, who is working as a department store Santa Claus, is eventually convinced to become a communist by Elaine's boyfriend.
Jerry is excited to finally be dating a woman named Lois (Renee Props). However, Jerry is stunned when he finds out that Lois works for Duncan Meyer (Don McManus), his old rival from high school. Elaine's complaints about her Chinese food delivery cause her to be blacklisted from Hop Sing's. George notes to Elaine that Ned (Todd Kimsey), her new boyfriend, has a copy of the Daily Worker, which prompts suspicion of Ned being a communist. George is intrigued by one of the personal ads, which remarks, "Appearance not important." Jerry recounts his rivalry with Duncan: in a track race in ninth grade, Jerry had gotten an inadvertent head start that nobody noticed and won. Though he was praised for his seemingly amazing speed, only Duncan remained skeptical.
Lois quizzes Jerry about cheating in the race; Jerry defends his win, and Lois believes him. Ned admits to Elaine he is a communist. George announces he contacted a girl from The Daily Worker. Kramer gets ready for his new job as Santa Claus at Coleman's department store, with Mickey as his elf. Lois arranges lunch at Monk's with her, Jerry, and Duncan, and Jerry knows that the subject of the race will come up. George agrees to turn up at the coffee shop, pretend he has not seen Jerry since high school, and back up his winning story.
At Yankee Stadium, George receives a call from Natalie, his personal ad girl from the Daily Worker. George's secretary, Ada, overhears the conversation and suspects George of having communist sympathies. At Coleman's, Ned gets Kramer interested in communist practices. At Monk's, while Duncan is protesting the race, George turns up, pretending he has not seen Jerry in years, and backs Jerry's story (while also lying about the accomplishments of his own life). Duncan is still unconvinced, and Lois suggests that the two of them just race each other again, but Jerry refuses ("I choose not to run"). Nonetheless, Duncan starts to call up everyone from high school to come out for the race, and Jerry gets worried the legend will die.
Kramer is taken by Ned's communist literature, but Mickey thinks it's a bad idea. Elaine is reluctant to order dinner from Hop Sing's after her fight with the delivery man, but Ned insists, as his father spent much of his time at the restaurant after being blacklisted. At Coleman's, Kramer (as Santa) is accused by a kid of spreading communist propaganda; Kramer and Mickey are subsequently fired. Elaine places her Chinese food order under Ned's name, but the delivery man uncovers her ruse and blacklists Ned from the restaurant, too. Jerry refuses to participate in the race, until he learns that Duncan will fire Lois unless he agrees to run. The rumor that George is a communist spreads to Steinbrenner, who is delighted: with a communist working for the Yankees, they will be able to scout Cuban baseball players for the team.
On the street, Jerry and Duncan are lined up to race again. Duncan smugly asides to Lois that if he loses, he'll give her a two-week Hawaiian vacation. As the race is about to begin, Kramer's car backfires; Jerry (and the watching crowd) mistakes that for the starting pistol, while Duncan waits for the real gun, giving Jerry another head start. To the strains of the Superman theme, Jerry wins the race.
A week later in Cuba, George meets with Fidel Castro (who like Steinbrenner is seen from behind) who lets him recruit any players and invites him to a luxurious dinner due to his supposed communist leanings. However, Castro (very much like Steinbrenner) begins to ramble on about trivialities and George is forced to listen to him while quietly exiting.
A recurring theme throughout Seinfeld is the references to Superman; the theme features prominently in "The Race". When Jerry says to Lois, "Faster than a speeding bullet, Lois," it was a reference to the Superman series, Adventures of Superman starring George Reeves. He also at one time says, "Why, I'd have to be Superman to do that, Lois." At the end of the episode, Jerry breaks the fourth wall and winks to the camera after he says, "Maybe I will, Lois. Maybe I will." This was the first and only instance of breaking the fourth wall in the series, excluding the retrospective "The Highlights of 100". The wink towards the camera is a reference to the older Superman television series. When Jerry says "I choose not to run" in reference to the proposed (re-)race, it is possibly a reference to Calvin Coolidge saying "I do not choose to run for president in 1928," as his reason for not running, though it may instead be a reference to "Bartleby, the Scrivener". Jerry's stature and language is also reminiscent of Superman throughout the episode. In addition, Cold War paranoia is lampooned through a young boy making "commie" accusations against Kramer, calling him a traitor to "our country", while Mickey tries to keep him quiet.
The phone conversation between George and Natalie is shortened considerably in the final cut. In addition, there is a deleted scene which shows George explaining to Jerry about how he is being sent to Cuba; and they subsequently talk about him not having a visa. As Kramer walks back into his apartment, George asks him if he still knows people down at the Cuban Embassy. Kramer says he plays golf with them, and the pair hurry down there before it closes. However, by the time they arrive, the building is closed, but Kramer claims to know of a secret passage that was built during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Though he has not used it before, Kramer takes George there. The next scene shows Kramer crashing down the chimney to the surprise of the Cubans - as Kramer is still in his Santa Claus outfit.
- "Seinfeld: The Race". tv.com. Retrieved 1 July 2006.