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The Strike (Seinfeld)

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"The Strike" is the 166th episode of the sitcom Seinfeld. It was the tenth episode of the show's ninth and final season, and originally aired aired on December 18, 1997, on NBC. This episode popularized the holiday of Festivus.


SPOILER: Plot details or story follow.

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 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, at a party, but it turns out she is two-faced: Sometimes she looks great but other times she's plain; it all depends 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 "The Human Fund." Kramer is intrigued by the concept of the Festivus holiday and contacts Frank, who becomes excited at the prospect of rekindling "Festivus for the rest-of-us." Kramer asks to get the 23rd of December off work; when he can't get it, he resumes the strike. Meanwhile Elaine waits at H&H for a phone call from the denim-vest guy. The look of Jerry's girlfriend keeps changing.

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: The bagel place becomes very steamy and makes Elaine look ugly. 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.

Spoilers end here.


The Dinner

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 episode The Package only this time, he was a doctor (most likely a physician) for Elaine. And Kramer also 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.

The Human Fund

Due to his unconscionable cheapness, George Constanza 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. George had fabricated The Human Fund to get out of having to spend money on gifts. Kruger (played by Daniel von Bargen), is told by his accounting department that his company needed to donate some money (for tax purposes). Kruger subsequently gives George a company check for $20,000 and tells him to give it to The Human Fund. The accounting department, after doing some research, later learns that The Human Fund indeed does not exist. Kruger—who is more angry at the fact that George gave him a fake Christmas present and less concerned with the possibility that George could have been embezzling money from the company—calls George on this. When he does so, George becomes flustered and begins to babble on about how he made it up because he didn't celebrate Christmas and was embarrassed to tell anyone. He insists that his family instead celebrates 'Festivus' ("They drove my family out of Bayside!"). Unconvinced, Kruger accepts George's invitation to the Festivus celebration at George's house to see if his story adds up.

This is not to be confused with The Human Fund, a legitimate organization based in Cleveland, Ohio, but not established until 2005, well after the script for "The Strike" was completed.

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