Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Episode 62 - Private Charles Lamb

Season 3, Episode 61: Private Charles Lamb
Original Air Date: 12/31/74
Written by: Sid Dorfman

Directed by: Hy Averback

Frank confronts Radar in the Mess Tent, when he sees Radar's tray loaded down with a pile of vegetables. Radar talks his way out of it, and we follow him as we see who the vegetables are really for: a menagerie of animals, all kept in separate little hutches.

Wounded arrive, mostly consisting of soldiers from a Greek unit. After the doctors patch them up, their commander visits, and as a way to say thank you, he tells Henry they will put on a huge feast for everyone in the unit--the main course being lamb, which arrives in camp still in its original form--i.e., an adorable, snow-white little lamb.

Radar is horrified at this, and his love of animals overcomes his sense of duty. He doctors up an emergency medical leave form for "Private Charles Lamb", and has Henry sign it.

When the missing lamb is discovered, Henry starts to panic. He vents to Hawkeye and Trapper, and when he reveals that HQ has gotten involved, Radar tells him of his trickery, and that Pvt. Lamb is on his way to Radar's home in Iowa.

Henry is at first angry, but that quickly turns to confused frustration at having completely lost control of the situation. Hawkeye and Trapper, finding all of this very funny, offer to help out.

The party kicks off, and the booze is flowing so copiously that no one notices the lamb has been replaced by...a spam lamb!

The party rages all night, leaving most of the 4077th hung over in the Mess Tent. Trapper is playing the guitar, Radar is dancing aimlessly, and Henry is trying to desperately to stay conscious. He fails.

Fun Facts: While Radar doesn't officially become a vegetarian after this episode, this is one of the few times I can think of that a TV series (The Simpsons being the other, more obvious, example) addressed concerns someone might have about just how and where their meat comes from.

I became a vegetarian in 1998. I have to wonder if this episode wasn't in the back of my mind all that time, leading up to the moment I decided to stop eating animals.

Favorite Line: Henry, aghast at what's been going on, summarizes: "I've got command on my tail, a hospital full of Greeks waiting for a lamb who's sitting on a plane, on his way to Iowa to become Radar's little brother!"


What the Parrot Saw said...

There's a great moment in this episode where Henry unwittingly signs off on the paperwork to send "the Pvt." off to Iowa. Henry, suspicious, sneaks a peek into Radar's office after Radar leaves with the paperwork. Radar senses Henry's gaze, acts busy, then breathes a sigh of relief when Henry goes back to his business. Probably lasts five seconds, but subtle (and humorous) plot development

Ray Houser said...

The thing I don't get about this episode is that Radar is a farm boy. He knows where meat comes from. It is really out of character for a farm boy to do what he did. I know Radar at this point in the series is very tender hearted, but farm people in the 50's were not tender hearted toward animals intended for food.
Ray Houser

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