Isomers Have Distinct Characteristics was the 12th episode in Season 1 of The Drew Carey Show. Originally aired on December 20, 1995 on ABC-TV. This episode was directed by Gary Halvorson and co-written by Jeff Lowell and Clay Graham.
Winfred-Louder employees decide to go on strike a few weeks before Christmas. Drew sympathizes with their plight, but must hire temporary replacements to keep the store going, including Oswald as a replacement for Kate.
Drew, Lisa, Kate, Oswald and Lewis are sitting around the table in Drew’s kitchen playing poker. To liven things up, Kate suggests that the highest card has to tell the weirdest place they ever had sex. Lewis goes first and says it was Mr Toad’s Wild Ride (not Disneyland, that’s just what she called it). Lisa tries to get Drew to reveal his by asking him if it was in his car, in his bed or on the pool table tomorrow night. Drew declares that he wins the game and asks everyone to leave so he can call his mom and tell her the good news.
At the Warsaw, Drew, Oswald and Lewis are talking about Oswald’s job interview where he asked the woman if she was pregnant and rubbed her tummy. Kate and the staff from Winfred-Louder come in for a break from their union meeting and she informs Drew that they may be going on strike. Drew points out that they can’t go on strike a few weeks before Christmas. They get into an argument and then Kate suggests that if this thing ever makes them forget that they are friends, they will take a time-out and give each other a big hug. Drew agrees and also points out that he knows what it’s like as he used to be a salesperson. He also makes a point of telling everyone that he hired most of them, although he cannot remember all the names (even though they are “like family”). Larry suggests that he can avoid a strike if he can give them the scoop on how much management is willing to bend. After Drew replies “I don’t know” to all of Larry’s questions, Larry incites the crowd to chant “Strike! Strike! Strike!”.
Drew arrives at work the next day covered in a large trench coat, hat and scarf across his face to try and sneak through the picket line. He would have made it if Mimi hadn’t pointed him out to the crowd. She informs him that the temps have arrived for interviews. When Drew calls Lashondra to ask her to send them in, Mimi informs him that Lashondra is on strike. Then Oswald starts talking on the phone, asking where the voice is coming from and then proceeds to play “Swanee River” on the phone buttons. Mimi goes to get them and Oswald comes in with the others for an interview as he needs a job. Drew suggests he start out in Cosmetics and when Mimi hears, she begs for a chance to work there. He agrees only because they are short-staffed.
At Drew’s house that night, Lewis and Oswald are at the kitchen table while Oswald practices his makeup sales pitch. Drew comes in and explains to him how bad it is at work as everyone thinks he is the bad guy because he had to hire all the replacements. Kate drops in to deliver her crappy Christmas presents to everyone because she figures she will be broke before Christmas. Oswald gets his own shoes (that Kate took and polished), Lewis gets a rock (“you can never have too many rocks – unless they’re on top of you”) and Drew got a painted egg. Kate insists on opening the presents Drew got for them. She gets a really nice sweater, which makes her feel back because of what she gave him. They start to talk about how they are dealing with the strike. Kate brings up the Cosmetics counter, saying that it’s pretty specialised as you really have to know your stuff. Oswald says “Oh I don’t know”, giving away the fact that he is working at the Cosmetics counter. He also mentions that Mimi is also working with him, which infuriates Kate more. She and Drew finally hug and she tells them she understands that they are just doing their jobs in order the bust up the strike so the workers won’t have any money. She gets more and more angry and her hugs start to get violent. She sarcastically wishes them Happy Holidays and leaves.
In the store, Drew is in the Cosmetics department with Mimi. He tells her that, since there have been some no-shows, he will be working in Lingerie with Nora and gives Mimi a phone to call him if she has any questions. Nora struggles to overcome her embarrassment working in Lingerie and Drew has to demonstrate a bra over his suit for a customer.
At the Warsaw Oswald makes Lewis guess what is different about him before revealing that he is wearing makeup (concealer). Drew comes in and they discuss the strike which has now been going on for 3 weeks. When ordering beers, it is revealed that Kate is working there as a bus girl. Drew feels guilty about killing himself trying to keep the store open with a skeleton crew just so the company can make a few bucks. He says that he is also going on strike and will be on the picket line with Kate the next morning. Just then Larry runs in declaring that the strike is over and that they won.
At Drew’s place, Oswald comes in wearing his Global Parcel uniform for the first time, carrying a pile of packages. He said they hired him for the Christmas rush and proceeds to hand out “undeliverable” packages to everyone. Drew asks everyone to leave so he can catch up with paperwork. Once they have gone, he grabs his jacket and some music and goes out the back. The pool table is made up like a bed. He lights the candles attached to the corners of the pool table and turns on a heat lamp attached to the tree. Lisa turns up and asks him what he is doing. When he reminds her of the comment about doing it on the pool table, she informs him that she was just joking. Drew gets all embarrassed and then Lisa reveals that she is wearing sexy lingerie over her clothes under her overcoat. Just as they start kissing, children singing Christmas carols enter the yard and they quickly cover up. Drew cuts them off and asks if they know any Barry White. The kids start singing “I’m Gonna Love You Just a Little Bit More Baby” by Barry White.