Seinfeld, Season Six, Episode Ten, “The Race”
Original airdate December 15, 1994
Seinfeld’s “The Race” may not be one of those classic episodes that everyone thinks of when mentioning the classic sitcom, but it’s still a great episode (though, in truth, there really weren’t many bad episodes in the series 9 year run). It functions as close as the series ever got to a Christmas episode, though really maybe only because Elaine (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) has a Christmas tree in her apartment and Kramer (Michael Richards) gets a job with Mickey (Danny Woodburn) as Santa and Elf.
The primary story revolves around Jerry (Jerry Seinfeld) finally fulfilling his lifelong Superman fantasy of dating a woman named Lois (Renee Props), who happens to work for a childhood nemesis, Duncan Meyer (Don McManus). Duncan insists Jerry cheated in a race in the 9th grade, but Jerry would neither admit it or race again to prove he was fastest.
Jerry only discloses the fact that he got excited and started to Elaine, stating that only George (Jason Alexander) also knew the truth. Duncan threatens to fire Lois if they don’t race again, and so the rematch is set. In the side stories, Elaine is dating a communist who ends up converting Kramer and George is trying to date a communist woman because he read a personal ad in The Daily Worker that said ‘looks not important’, which is perfect for George.
The episode has some classic moments, like when George pretends to not know Jerry when he’s having lunch with Duncan and Lois, the exchange between the two is fantastic, taking jabs that they don’t often get to and Jerry’s endless love of saying Lois’ name and inserting lines from Superman movies and shows.
This episode is perfect for those that want to keep a holiday theme going in their viewing but want a break from the relentless Christmas Spirit that is imbued in many Christmas-themed episodes. You won’t get any schmaltz here, nor any flat stories of people who forgot a present for someone and has to brave the mall on Christmas Eve. Seinfeld is always good for eschewing what you expect and rewarding the viewer nearly every time (except for the often derided series finale) and ‘The Race’ is no different. With Kramer telling a kid he doesn’t want a racing car set because it’s assembled in Taiwan and the mark-up means less presents and the kid yelling that Santa is spreading communist propaganda, ‘The Race’ lives up to the standard the show sets and still lets you claim you’re watching something with a Christmas theme.