Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Episode 215 - That's Show Biz

Season 10, Episode 215: That's Show Biz
Original Air Date: 10/26/81
Written by: David Pollock
& Elias Davis
Directed by: Charles S. Dubin

A USO troop gets caught in the middle of an artillery barrage, and one of them, a young girl named Marina (Gail Edwards) has a ruptured appendix. She's taken by chopper to the 4077th, where Hawkeye literally sweeps her off her feet, carrying her to a jeep.

The rest of the troop arrives in camp to catch up with Marina--a comedian named Fast Freddie (Danny Dayton), two musicians named Sarah (Karen Miller) and Ellie (Amanda McBroom), and a stripper, Brandy Doyle (Gwen Verdon). They ask if they can stick around and do a show, but Freddie says they're on a tight schedule and have to move on. But, after some prodding, Freddie agrees. Freddie is an awful, hackneyed comedian, but for some reason Winchester finds him hysterical, much to Winchester's enduring embarrassment.

Meanwhile, Marina falls hard for Hawkeye. She is not subtle about showing Hawkeye how she feels, but he continually tries to keep her at arm's length.

Each member of the troop makes their own personal connection with someone from the 4077th--Fast Freddie and Klinger bond over their mutual love of horrible jokes, Brandy Doyle takes quite a shine to Col. Potter, who is flattered and then flustered at the level of attention.

Sarah is searching for a pair of ballet shoes carried by her brother, killed in combat. They were from his wife, a ballerina, and Sarah hopes to recover them for her.

Ellie makes friends with Winchester, who is impressed when she shows an ability at and appreciation for classical music. She explains that she plays the accordion ("An overgrown concertina" as Winchester calls it) because that's how she can make a living playing music.

After putting on a show, the troop packs up to leave, but heavy artillery in the nearby area closes off all the roads, forcing them to stay at the 4077th a little longer. Everyone is happy at the news, except for Hawkeye and B.J., who are driven out of the Swamp in the middle of the night, unable to sleep due to the hysterical cackling of Winchester and Klinger over Fast Freddie's jokes.

Over the next day or two, Father Mulcahy helps Sarah track down the ballet shoes, Winchester loosens up when Ellie plays some folk songs in the O Club (leading him to dance with Nurse Kellye), and Brandy makes friends with Margaret, bonding over their hard times with men.

The travel restrictions are finally lifted, and Hawkeye tells Marina that she's well enough to leave with them. She doesn't want to go, insisting she can stay behind so she can get closer to Hawkeye. Even after he runs himself down repeatedly, Marina still wants to stay.

But Hawkeye gently insists, saying they're simply too different to have a relationship. Marina unhappily accepts this, and tearfully promises to send him a postcard on New Year's Eve.

The next day, the troop packs up and departs, singing a song and waving goodbyes as their truck makes it way down the road.

Later that night, everyone is a little down, now that all the excitement is over. Klinger finds himself barred from the Swamp, on account of his bad Fast Freddie-inspired jokes. He promises to cut it out, and Hawkeye, B.J., and Winchester skeptically let him in.

Klinger bursts in, showing off his new passion: the accordion!

Fun Facts: This is the series' first hour-long season premiere since the sixth season.

Favorite Line: Hawkeye, gently breaking off any chance at a relationship with Marina: "...I've seen too much ever to be wide-eyed again."

The quiet sadness with which Alda delivers the line always gets me--even if Hawkeye went home the next day, he's seen so much ugliness that it will never truly leave him.


Russell said...

I remember this episode, and, sorry, but I didn't like it. Freddie's jokes were TERRIBLE and not at all funny. The "old" Hawkeye would have slept with the girl no matter how "wide eyed" she was; so that didn't ring true, either. The Brandy-Potter situation was better played back in that earlier episode (Belle? whatever it was). Charles and Ellie, and maybe Father Mulcahy and Sarah were the only thing "new" about this episode, and it seemed to go on forever when the camera was away from DOS and WC. Sorry, Parrot!

What the Parrot Saw said...

Heh. No apologies necessary, Russell. :-) I'm not a fan of this episode.

Opinions vary on the series. I do know folks who love the 'dramedy' tone of the last few seasons. I think that the series was running out of gas by now, but there is still plenty of good in the last two seasons, even if the drama is by now generally better than the comedy.

This is the closest the series ever got to a truly trite episode all the way through. First off, the traveling special services show was done way better at the end of the first season. I also (sad to say) care little about the backstory of any of the entertainers here, with the exception of Ellie. And the motif of matching each of the regulars with an entertainer- have I said trite yet?

One of the few episodes I always skip over. Its understandable that the series would recycle plots from earlier seasons- the show was set in a fixed time and place, after all. But there is a creeping sense from here on out, that the creators' hearts are simply not into light humor- it shows here.

Anonymous said...

Granted, the jokes were bad, even for the fifties, but I am trying to identify the accordion song played to Charles when she said it was for someone so full of himself. I know the tune but can't put a name to it.

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