Saturday, July 4, 2009

Episode 101 - The Nurses

Season 5, Episode 101: The Nurses
Original Air Date: 10/19/76
Written by: Linda Bloodworth

Directed by: Joan Darling

With temperatures rising outside and inside, an argument breaks out between the nurses and Hot Lips. It gets so ugly that it spills over into violence, with Hot Lips confining Nurse Baker (Linda Kelsey) to quarters for the duration.

Unfortunately, right after that, Baker's new husband, a G.I. named Tony, arrives in camp to visit his new wife--they haven't even had the chance to have a honeymoon yet.

Hawkeye and B.J. have them meet in the Swamp, and they take it upon themselves to give the two a night together, Hot Lips be damned. They contrive a story about Tony having the plague, and needing to be quarantined for 24 hours--in Hot Lips' tent.

Col. Potter is suspicious, but Hawkeye and B.J. bluff their way through it successfully enough for Potter to agree to the quarantining...for now. Hot Lips is mad, and gets madder still when Potter tells Hot Lips she can spend the night in the Nurses' Tent.

Unfortunately, the next part of their plan was to have Frank try and romance Hot Lips in the Swamp, giving Baker the chance to sneak out. But when Frank refuses--out of some sense of misplaced pride--Hawkeye and B.J. realize they've "crapped out."

Hot Lips bunks down with the nurses, but Baker tries to slip out anyway. She manages to get out and spend the night with her husband, as planned. But just as she crawls back into her own bed, Hot Lips is there, awake, waiting for her.

The next morning, this leads to a confrontation, and Baker reveals what she was doing, and how the whole thing was a sham. Hot Lips is enraged, but breaks down when she reveals that part of the reason she's so hard on them is because she's always felt ostracized by them--they never invited her to talk, or even offered her "a lousy cup of coffee."

The nurses are stunned into silence. Hot Lips storms out, headed to the O.R. to take care of incoming wounded.

Col. Potter demands to know what happened to the solider who supposedly had typhoid, and when Hawkeye and B.J. give a hastily-thought out, clearly B.S. answer, he calls their bluff.

He tells Hot Lips that they've been the victim of some trickery, and if she wants to press charges, he'd understand. Hot Lips takes a long look at her nurses, and refuses, saying its a matter between her and them. Potter accepts this, and they all go to work.

Later, the nurses are back in their tent, winding down. Hot Lips comes in with the next day's assignments, but instead of it being another confrontation, they offer her a "lousy cup of coffee", which Hot Lips gently accepts.

Fun Facts: This episode used to--heck, still does--frustrate me, because the plot hinges on Nurse Baker and her husband needing a place to spend the night together. Since only three people in camp have their own tent--Col. Potter, Father Mulcahy, and Hot Lips--Hawkeye and B.J. use Hot Lips' and then have to construct this elaborate series of lies to explain why she can't go in her own tent.

But...why didn't they just use the V.I.P. tent? That tent is permanently empty, so why go through all the trouble of using Hot Lips'? A single line of dialog explaining that the V.I.P. tent was filled (for whatever reason) would've have done the trick.

Nurse Baker's husband is played by Gregory Harrison, who would go on to co-star on...Trapper John, M.D.

The scene where Hawkeye and B.J. try and B.S. their way past Col. Potter is a marvel of comedic timing, with the two captains trying to bamboozle their commander. Hawkeye says the G.I.'s been quarantined, and Potter demands to know: "For what?"

B.J. answers: "For 24 hours", to which Potter angrily replies, "The disease!" Its a sequence that reminds one of "Who's On First?" for the sheer split-second timing.

Favorite Line: When one of the nurses is snippy to Frank, Hot Lips barks at her: "Don't contradict the doctor!"

Hawkeye: "...or Frank."


Russell said...

I have the same sort of love/hate with this episode, Rob. I admit that Hot Lips comes off pretty well in this (I believe it was Loretta Swit's favorite) but I always wondered where the other nurses were! There are always atleast half a dozen nurses...couldn't Hot Lips have bunked in the tent without Baker, like the tent with Kellye? (shakes head in confusion)

What the Parrot Saw said...

Moreover, didn't Klinger seemingly have his own tent? Never understood that...

Robert Gross said...

I know they had the "soften Margaret" agenda in full swing, but this episode just never rang true to me. There has never been an iota of evidence that Margaret was interested in the friendship of the nurses underneath her. Then suddenly she's blubbering about not being invited for a lousy cup of coffee. I would have needed some setup for this in previous episodes to buy it completely.

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