“The Strike” is the tenth episode of the ninth and final season of Seinfeld, and the 166th episode overall. This episode first aired on December 18, 1997. It was written by Alec Berg, Jeff Schaffer, and Dan O'Keefe, and was directed by Andy Ackerman.
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 many years ago. Elaine's quest to become a "Submarine Captain" at a local shop in order to get a free submarine sandwich and 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 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 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 that when the denim vest guy calls, she can connect with him; however, the creepy men at the parlor are interested in connecting with her, and so she gives the number for H&H where Kramer is working. Jerry meets his date, Gwen, at a restaurant, but it turns out she is two-faced: sometimes she looks great but other times she's plain, 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". 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, so Jerry decides that Gwen looks best in the back booth at Monk's, something she grows to dislike. George passes out his gifts at Kruger's and reaps great rewards. 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" but later the accounting department informs him the charity doesn't exist. Gwen 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". George tries 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 brings Kruger to his father's Festivus dinner, where everyone comes together, including Gwen and the two guys at the off-track betting parlor. The episode ends with Frank announcing the "feats of strength" tradition, demanding that George must finish Festivus by pinning him to the floor.
During the credits, Kramer is making a fresh batch of bagels, but he gets his chewing gum stuck in the dough. The manager sees this and, finally deciding he's had enough, fires Kramer, who cannot be happier.
A blog dedicated to the legality of the issues that arise in Seinfeld episodes, Seinfeld Law, analyzed whether Kramer could have been fired for going on strike to demand vacation for the holiday of Festivus.
Seinfeld Law also analyzed how George could spend the money he received as a donation to the Human Fund.
Seinfeld Law also analyzed whether Kramer was legally entitled, under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, to take time off for Festivus.
Notes About Nothing
- This episode is notable as it first introduced Festivus.
- The holiday of "Festivus" was created by Daniel O'Keefe, the father of Dan O'Keefe, one of the show's writers, in 1966, inventing many of the traditions included in this episode, including the airing of grievances.
- 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 faked being Dr. Van Nostrand in "The Package"; that time, he was a doctor (most likely a physician) for Elaine. Kramer also used the stage name "Martin Van Nostrand" when attempting unsuccessfully to audition for the part of “Kramer” in part 1 of "The Pilot".
- Kramer's 12-year-old business card features the name "Cosmo Kramer", but Kramer had abandoned his first name until the season 6 episode "The Switch", set 3 years earlier.
|Season Nine Episodes|
|The Butter Shave | The Voice | The Serenity Now | The Blood | The Junk Mail | The Merv Griffin Show | The Slicer | The Betrayal | The Apology | The Strike | The Dealership | The Reverse Peephole | The Cartoon | The Strong Box | The Wizard | The Burning | The Bookstore | The Frogger | The Maid | The Puerto Rican Day | The Chronicle | The Finale, Part 1 | The Finale, Part 2|