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"The Checks" is the 141st episode of the sitcom Seinfeld. This was the seventh episode for the eighth season. It aired on NBC on November 7, 1996.

"The Checks"
Seinfeld episode
Episode no.Season 8
Episode 7
Directed byAndy Ackerman
Written bySteve O'Donnell & Tom Gammill & Max Pross
Production code807
Original air dateNovember 7, 1996
Guest appearance(s)
Episode chronology
← Previous
"The Fatigues"
Next →
"The Chicken Roaster"
List of Seinfeld episodes


Elaine's new boyfriend, Brett (James Patrick Stuart), is obsessed with furniture designed by (the fictional) Karl Farbman, and the song "Desperado" by the Eagles; he is so obsessed with the latter that he insists Elaine be silent whenever it plays. Jerry spots an umbrella salesman using the sales technique he invented, "The Twirl", but the salesman explains that it was in fact invented by Teddy Padillac, a longtime umbrella salesman Jerry once worked with.

Meanwhile, hundreds of twelve-cent royalty checks keep arriving from Jerry's brief appearance on a Japanese television show, the "Super Terrific Happy Hour". Kramer warns George that the carpet cleaners he hired are actually a front for a religious cult. Intrigued, George waits for them to give their religious pitch, but they're not interested in him.

Kramer meets some Japanese businessmen on vacation and takes them on a tour of the city. Confused about the value of ¥30,000 (about $250), Kramer spends all their money on expensive clothing and souvenirs. Brett delivers an oversized chest of drawers to Kramer and thinks Jerry might be jealous. Kramer thinks Jerry and George's TV pilot would be perfect for Japanese television. They pitch it to a couple of Japanese TV executives who are uninterested and tell Jerry and George to leave. Suffering from writer's cramp after endorsing all the royalty checks, Jerry spills his coffee and leaves a stain on the carpet.

Elaine suggests various songs she and Brett could share, including "Witchy Woman", also by the Eagles, but he rejects them out of hand; Elaine then suggests they share "Desperado", but Brett says it's "his". 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), and has fun drinking with them in his hot tub. Jerry, caught in the rain and needing an umbrella, runs into his former co-worker, the umbrella salesman Teddy Padillac. Padillac, incensed that Jerry is trying to take credit for "The Twirl", demands $200 for an umbrella. Unable to come up with the money, Jerry is left standing in the pouring rain. Brett happens to drive by and converses with Jerry for a moment. He is convinced that Jerry is down on his luck since he is unable to afford an umbrella and says that he would offer him a ride, but he's with Karl Farbman in a two-seated car.

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 Tania (the name Patty Hearst took after she was kidnapped by the Symbionese Liberation Army). Upset, George asks the head cult cleaner, "Him you brainwashed?? What's he got that I don't have?!" The cleaner simply shrugs. Because of the humidity from the hot tub, the wooden chest warps and Kramer's guests, who, just before the meeting, along with Kramer, convince George to come in the tub, get stuck in the drawers, because of the sake they had. Still having writer's cramp, Jerry uses a fire ax from the hallway to smash open the chest, which scares the Japanese guests and injures Brett, who is knocked unconscious when he attempts to stop Jerry from damaging the chest. The scared Japanese tourists tell the Japanese TV executives about the incident, ruining any chance of selling the "Jerry" pilot to Japanese television. During the coda, it is strongly implied by the sound of a heart rate monitor flatlining and the nurse saying "we're losing him" that Brett dies from his earlier injury when the surgeon operating on him becomes distracted by the song "Witchy Woman" playing in the background in much the same way Brett was distracted by "Desperado".


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 a man named Mark Farbman. 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 eight premiere episode "The Foundation". It was an item placed on the cover of the J. Peterman Catalog by Elaine after she is left in charge following the disappearance of Peterman to Burma after an apparent nervous breakdown.

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