Seinfeld: The Pledge Drive | Episode 89 Recap Podcast


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Rob Cesternino and Akiva Wienerkur continue their journey to watch every Seinfeld episode as they discuss Season 6, Episode 3, “The Pledge Drive.”

Rob Cesternino and Akiva Wienerkur are never mistaken for their wives with their rich, radio voices, which they used to bring you the latest Seinfeld episode recap. This week, they talked about “The Pledge Drive”, which first aired October 6, 1994 as part of season six. The episode was written by Tom Gammill and Max Pross.

There was only a bit of Seinfeld news this week. Akiva researched any connection to Seinfeld with the recent celebrities that have passed. He learned that David Bowie was the musical guest in 1999 when Jerry hosted Saturday Night Live.

Jerry has been asked to host a charity drive for PBS. He receives a thank you card from the woman Kristin who is running it, but throws it away after reading it. When Kristin sees the card in the trash, Jerry tries to prove he’s sentimental by showing her all his cards from his nana. When Kramer notices checks in all the cards from Jerry’s Nana, he convinces Jerry to cash them.

Nana gets a call from her bank since the cashed checks overdrew her account. Nana tries to go down to the bank after not leaving the house alone for 25 years, but the bank wasn’t at the same location as the last time she was there. Uncle Leo calls Jerry to tell him Nana was missing. Nana, who found the new location of the bank, calls Jerry from there, but Elaine answers and thinks it’s Dan, so she yells then hangs up.

George is tasked with finding a Yankee to appear on the pledge drive, trying to appeal to the Yankee brass by pushing the network’s high culture. He wins over his boss Morgan on the idea when Morgan sees him eloquently eating his candy bar with a knife and fork, after being impressed when hearing Elaine talk about Mr. Pitt doing the same thing.

George’s second plot line has him reeling from the waitress at Monk’s secretly giving him the middle finger at every opportunity. This comes to a head when George is driving Danny Tartabull to the pledge drive and sees another driver flip him off. He chases the driver for an hour only to learn the man had his hand in a cast projecting his middle finger up, leading to Danny Tartabull missing the pledge drive appearance.

Elaine’s story starts with her hearing from Jerry that her friend Noreen hit on him. When she calls to confront Noreen, she mistakes her boyfriend Dan for Noreen, since his voice sounds exactly like hers. She mentions how Jerry thought Noreen was hitting on him, causing Dan to get upset. She would later hear Jerry’s reason why he thought she was flirting, and her and George disproved it.

When Noreen learns this and asks Elaine about it, Elaine inadvertently turns Noreen off from Dan, pointing out his high talking, leading to her actually being attracted to Jerry now. Dan shows up at PBS to confront Jerry, but Jerry thinks it’s Noreen’s voice, so when he sends Kramer out to handle it, Kramer confuses Dan by assuming it’s him who’s attracted to Jerry.

Kramer had small parts that wove through Jerry’s storyline. First, he decides to work the phones at the pledge drive Jerry is hosting, though he wants a cut of the proceeds. He also notices Jerry’s cards from his nana’s and convinces him to cash them.

All the stories piece together in the ending segment. Uncle Leo comes by the pledge drive to assure Jerry that Nana’s okay, and tries to give him money. Nana calls in to the pledge drive, but Kramer answers and thinks it Dan at first, reassuring him that Jerry is not interested. Nana tells him she is Jerry’s grandmother, and she wants to give her money to Jerry, not PBS. The scene cuts to Monk’s, where Jerry shows a card from Kristin that has Bugs Bunny giving him the middle finger on it. Lastly, Jerry sees everyone in the surrounding tables at the diner eating candy bars and deserts with a knife and fork.

There were a few great tangents by Akiva and Rob this week. The guys discussed whether rich people worry about what is for dinner. Akiva tried to argue that him eating non chocolate candy is an extra bonus to avoid getting his hands dirty, though Rob took great exception, arguing that it’s fine if you just freeze the chocolate. They also discussed how hard it must be for athletes to deal with thousands of pleas to do charity events.

Next, they talked about a plan to get the modern day Danny Tartabull out of child support trouble by pooling all his money toward Powerball tickets. Rob told a story about how his son opened up a the wrapper of a candy bar at the check out counter when he took his eye off him, forcing him to have to buy it. Later on, Nicole was disappointed because the 100 grand bar wasn’t one she liked.

Rob and Akiva agreed that this episode doesn’t have anything that wouldn’t work in 2016. Akiva really enjoyed the episode, finding himself laughing out loud at several points, so he ranked the episode at 53, to which Rob thought it was a little low. They led off grading the core four with George, both agreeing that he deserved an A. They thought Jerry deserved an A, Kramer deserved an A-, and Elaine deserved an A-.

For emails this week, they led off with Colin, the delivery guy expert, who mentioned how common it is for those in customer service to use derision. He also wondered if either of them have sought revenge on customers in their time in customer service. Rob had an annoying customer or two during his time as a waiter, but Akiva had never worked in the field. Johnny De Silveira wondered where Danny Tartabull got a knife and fork in George’s car. Craig wondered why eating a candy bar with utensils hadn’t taken off like many things from Seinfeld.

Amir thought it was a great episode, noting he loved how Kramer subscribes to Fortune Magazine. He also asked how they would rank the high talker, the low talker and the close talker. Akiva ranked the high talker the most annoying, while Rob thought the close talker would be the worst. Lastly, Chester wondered why we haven’t heard of Jerry’s Nana before this. He also wondered why so many people would be eating candy bars at the diner. Akiva thought people just brought them in and did it to make a statement.

Tune in next week as the guys will recap “The Chinese Woman”. Send in your questions by emailing [email protected] Don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast by going to seinfeldITunes where you can rate and review the podcast. You can get a discussion going about the podcast by leaving a comment on the show page, and as always, you can follow them on Twitter @robcesternino and @keev26.

Special thanks to Mike Moore for writing this week’s episode summary

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  • Johnny De Silveira

    Craig, always remember you’re right up there with Chester, Amir & myself. 😉 #LoveYouBae

    • Craig

      Thanks Johnny. I will say though that I was joking. My jokes don’t come off too well on the computer. Can’t really nail the light tone that I am imagining for my comments online.

  • Craig

    Thanks for the kind words guys. I was really just trying to be funny.

    Giving cards is always so tough for me because of some experiences from my childhood. When I was a kid, my dad would usually take me with him when he went out to do things. About a dozen times he would take me to go card shopping, and it was one of the most brutal experiences of my kid years. My dad would peruse the card isles looking for the right card, but if the card was too expensive (all cards in Canada are labeled on the back as a higher price then they are in the US), he would just keep looking. My dad would spend about an hour looking for the right card at the right price. It was so boring, that I hate card shopping to this day.

    The stuff about Yoenis Céspedes was so funny considering what happened. Good for you two Mets fans. Anything that knocks a peg out of those Expo stealing Washington franchise is fine by me.

    Good episode this week. Hope the blizzard wasn’t to ridicerus for you Akiva.

  • Shane

    I have to agree with Rob that a close talker is definitely worse than a high/low talker. Having someone in my face, talking so close that I can smell their breath, is a much bigger issue than their pitch of voice. Even if it only happens once every so often, it’s enough. I once worked with a guy at my job who was a close talker, loud talker, and a long talker all in one. Not to mention, his frequent distribution of unwanted fist-bumps, very similar to all of Puddy’s high-fives

    • Cutlass12

      I’m fine so long as the pitch is consistent. I absolutely cannot tolerate people who raise their pitch at the end of every sentence. If Seinfeld were on today they’d have to deal with Question Talkers.

  • Cutlass12

    Hey guys, great show as always. This has always been one of my favoirite underrated Seinfeld episodes.

    This would have been a *slightly* different episode with Jim Abbott in the Tarabull role – knife and fork? Bandaged appendage? #andyouregonnaneedit

    Sorry, couldn’t resist (of course, Larry did have Michel J. Fox make fun of his Parkinson’s on Curb, which is arguably more tasteless).

    Also, I waited tables for a while and this episode definitely inspired me to occasionally do the middle finger point or scratch to an a-hole customer. It’s perfect because there’s no way anyone can prove that you intentionally gave them the finger. If someone were to accuse you of anything they’d just come across as an unhinged idiot like George while you could calmly deny their insane assumptions. Of course, no one ever reacted to my subtle fingers. My experience is that such people are generally too self centered to notice something like that.

    The only time I can recall losing my cool as a waiter was when when a customer started yelling that I was a racist because another table’s meal came out before his. It was such a ridiculous and ugly accusation that I couldn’t just shrug it off like the typical daily nonsense I had learned to put up with.

  • Craig

    On the Josh Wigler candy bar thing, I remember him saying that he likes Take 5 bars. He’s right too because it is seriously ridiculous how good that candy bar is. It blows every other candy bar out of the water. I buy as many of them as I can when I go down to the states because they are not available up here :(.

  • Lol old people think (and give) in smaller amounts of money because they are on a fixed income… as far as I know it has nothing to do with the mind reverting back to when they were younger.

    Also wanted to mention from last week the reason they used letters with phone numbers was because back in the old days when phones were new that’s how they told people their phone numbers. It was easy to remember and you rarely (if ever) had to get an area code. If you were really lucky, the first two numbers matched your initials. 😀

    Oh and lastly, Akiva you mentioned “The Killing” last week too.. well I found that after watching the Jinx at your suggestion on the podcast you did for MAM… and it is sooooo good. I definitely think that’s one you should check out someday.. its the most intense murder/mystery show I’ve ever watched.

    K, that’s all!! Thanks for all these great podcasts guys I love em!!!

  • Suzi!

    Just a guess from a mom: You’re not allowed to ask what’s for dinner because the cook doesn’t want to hear about it if it’s not what you hoped for.

  • Hornacek

    I always thought that when Jerry was caught with the greeting card in the garbage he should have said that he put the card on top of his fridge and it must have fell in the trash (since the trash can was right next to the fridge).

    After this episode originally aired I thought eating deserts/candy bars with utensils would sweep the nation. I guess the show hoped so too.