Thursday, November 12, 2009

Episode 208 - Oh, How We Danced

Season 9, Episode 208: Oh, How We Danced
Original Air Date: 2/23/81
Written by: John Rappaport

Directed by: Burt Metcalfe

B.J. is especially depressed, since its his wedding anniversary. What he doesn't know is the others are trying to come up with some special way of celebrating it to help lift his spirits.

When Winchester gets assigned to inspect a frontline unit and make sure their following Army regulations regarding sanitary conditions, he turns it into a big deal, acting as though he's risking his life just making the trip.

He records a pseudo will on his tape recorder, bidding farewell to Cape Cod, Harcard Yard, and Baked Scrod. Hawkeye and B.J., overhearing this, mock his dramatics, causing Winchester to storm off. Hawkeye, holding Winchester's microphone, gets an idea.

He starts secretly recording his conversations with B.J., peppering him with questions about his life with Peg in San Francisco.

Meanwhile, Winchester has a run in with the commander of the frontline unit he visited. Giving the unit a bad review, Finch (Arlen Dean Snyder) shows up drunk and tries to get Winchester to reconsider. When he won't, he gets angry and punches Winchester in the mouth, knocking one of his teeth out.

Winchester, ashamed of not being able to defend himself, decides to take up karate under the instructions of an older Korean man, there to visit his wounded grandson.

He later has the chance to show off his newfound skills when Finch returns to deliver a harmonica as a bribe arranged by Hawkeye, B.J,. and Klinger. Winchester, not knowing anything about the plan, freaks Finch out by being aggressive and looking for a second round.

Weeks later, on the day of his anniversary, they all trick B.J. into Col. Potter's office, where they have a surprise party waiting. B.J. art first isn't in the mood, but they all have a special gift waiting for him: a home made, made by and starring Peg (Catherine Bergstrom), partly narrated by her and the audio recordings Hawkeye made.

They watch shots of Peg doing the things B.J. mentions, like giving Erin a bath. B.J. is moved to tears, and Margaret offers to dance with him, as the young Korean boy, now out of Post Op, plays a sweet tune on a harmonica.

Fun Facts: Hawkeye fakes being Winchester when talking to Major Finch, so we have a chance to hear both Alan Alda and Mike Farrell's goofy impersonations of a Boston accent.

Yet another episode where we get to see home movies of one of the characters--in previous episodes we saw the home lives of Henry, Frank, and Radar.

Favorite Line: B.J.'s mocking of Winchester's accent and his beloved Boston: "What a touching tribute to cod, yahd, and scrod!"


What the Parrot Saw said...

Hawk and BJ's send-up of Winchester's taped farewell is priceless.

Charles' utter disdain for Finch and the conditions of the unit is also hilarious, but (and I hate to be slamming some of these later episodes!) it seems that this plot had to take a cartoonish turn with Winchester's instant conversion to karate. A pity, as the Charles' mortification at being hit is fairly effective and true to the character. I wish another means had been present for him to get his 'revenge' on Finch.

His overamped karate moves are trite and plain bad physical comedy a la sitcom. It's not really Stiers' forte at all. When he is worked up over something, he excels in subtlety (matched by a keening put down. Here, he's screaming and doing Indian war cries. Ugh, so to speak.

Dick Van Dyke or John Ritter could pull this off because they were engagingly goofy and had perfect timing. (Ritter's antics often carried Three's Company while the Dick van Dyke show remains one of the best sitcoms of all time. The only cast member by now this is suited for is Kilinger, who didn't do much physical comedy if memory serves...
I digress...)

BJ's longing for home gets overplayed at times- but then there's episodes like this, which hit all the right notes. Hunnicut's wiping away a tear seems utterly genuine and the movie itself is charming.

Russell said...

I don't think I've ever seen this episode! It sounds like a good one.... although it reminds me of the episode I have seen where they pick some Korean orphan to have the same birthday as Erin Hunnicutt. This one sounds better than that one was...!

What the Parrot Saw said...

Not a bad episode, Russell!

Patrick said...

Thanks to closed captioning, we learn that the sweet tune the Korean plays on his harmonica as BJ and Margaret dance is "The Anniversary Waltz." Makes the moment that much sweeter.

Dominic said...

I didn't notice until today, but when Hawkeye says the Winchester version of yellow fever. He breaks the fourth wall.

mark said...

Further to what Patrick said: Margaret's dance with BJ is another sign of her more human nature from Season 5 or 6 on. Her admission that she's not Peg is ironic, since Peg is a diminutive of - what else - Margaret!

Unknown said...

One of my favorite episodes.

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