"The Checks" is the seventh episode of Season Eight of Seinfeld. It aired on November 7, 1996. It was written by Steve O'Donnell, Tom Gammill & Max Pross and was directed by Andy Ackerman.


Elaine's new boyfriend, Brett (James Patrick Stuart), is obsessed with designer furniture and the song "Desperado" by The Eagles. Jerry spots an umbrella salesman using the sales technique he invented which was named 'The Twirl'. However, the salesman explains that it was Teddy Padilac.

Hundreds of twelve-cent royalty checks keep arriving from Jerry's brief appearance on a Japanese television show. Kramer warns George that the carpet cleaners he hired are actually a front for a religious cult. Intrigued, George tries to be converted, but they're not interested in him.

Kramer meets some Japanese businessmen and he takes them on the town and to the cleaners. He is a little confused about the exchange rate and spends all their money. Brett delivers a large chest of drawers to Kramer and thinks that Jerry might be jealous. Kramer thinks the TV pilot that Jerry and George did would be perfect for Japanese television. They pitch it to a couple of Japanese TV executives.

Elaine tries to find a song that she and Brett can share, including "Witchy Woman", also by The Eagles, although this is rejected. Having run out of money, Kramer puts his Japanese friends up at his place, sleeping in the chest of drawers (much like a capsule hotel). Jerry, caught in the rain, meets Teddy Padilac in the street that claims credit for the twirl. He also meets Brett, who is convinced Jerry is down on his luck.

George gets the cleaners to do the offices at Yankee Stadium where they find a new recruit—George's boss, Mr. Wilhelm. He joins under the name of Tania, the name Patty Hearst took after she was kidnapped by the Symbionese Liberation Army. Because of the humidity from the hot tub, Kramer's guests get stuck in the chest. Jerry, with writer's cramp from check signing, uses a fire ax to open the chest, which scares the Japanese guests and injures Brett who is knocked unconscious when he attempts to stop Jerry from harming the chest. During the coda it is strongly implied that Brett dies from his injury when the surgeon becomes distracted by "Witchy Woman" in much the same way Brett would become distracted by "Desperado".

Notes About Nothing

  • The opening scene of the episode was filmed on September 29, 1996. The scene was also originally intended for the episode "The Fatigues". The second scene was filmed on October 7, 1996, while the third scene was filmed on October 8, 1996.
  • The last line before the credits had two versions made—one for if the New York Yankees won the World Series and one for if they lost the World Series.
  • Two of the episode's guest stars (Richard Herd and Sab Shimono) had both previously appeared in the 1980 M*A*S*H episode "Back Pay".
  • Brett drives around with furniture designer Karl Farbman. In the episode "The Hamptons," the doctor on whom Elaine has a crush notes that the homes in the area were designed by Mark Farbman. Perhaps there is a Farbman design dynasty.
  • In the scene where Jerry is denied the purchase of an umbrella on the street by former colleagues a man walks by wearing an 'urban sombrero'. The 'urban sombrero' was featured in the season premiere episode 135 "The Foundation". It was an item placed on the cover of the Peterman Catalog by Elaine after she is left in charge following the disappearance of Peterman to Burma after an apparent nervous breakdown.
Season Eight Episodes
The Foundation | The Soul Mate | The Bizarro Jerry | The Little Kicks | The Package | The Fatigues | The Checks | The Chicken Roaster | The Abstinence | The Andrea Doria | The Little Jerry | The Money | The Comeback | The Van Buren Boys | The Susie | The Pothole | The English Patient | The Nap | The Yada Yada | The Millennium | The Muffin Tops | The Summer of George