Saturday, August 1, 2009

Episode 123 - Last Laugh

Season 6, Episode 123: Last Laugh
Original Air Date: 10/4/77
Written by: Everett Greenbaum & Jim Fritzell

Directed by: Don Weis

Col. Potter gets a call from the Provost Marshall saying that there's a formal investigation centering around B.J., saying he's not really a doctor. Potter, of course thinking this is ridiculous, tries to talk them out of it, but they insist.

Potter finds B.J. in the Mess Tent, and tells him about the call. He says it came from a "Colonel Bardenaro", which tips B.J. off that this is all a practical joke--Bardenaro is the name of an old friend of his who loves pulling pranks like this.

A few hours later, Leo Bardenaro (James Cromwell) arrives at the 4077th, full of jokes, exploding cigars, and even joy buzzers. He's bearing good news--he got his orders to head home. B.J. is, of course, jealous.

After Bardenaro leaves, Hawkeye and B.J. are in Post Op, tending to patients, when some MPs arrive to arrest B.J.--they even have an arrest warrant, issued by a General Fox. B.J. says its all just a joke, but the MPs are not laughing.

Col. Potter talks to Fox, and says that B.J. threw a raucous party in Seoul, complete with music and girls, setting off the hotel's fire alarm and sending Fox running into the hall with his secretary...naked.

The MPs cart off B.J., followed by Hawkeye and Col. Potter, dressed in their Class A uniforms and carrying mounds of paperwork proving B.J. wasn't in Seoul when Fox says he was.

Back at the 4077th, Margaret is desperate to talk to her husband Donald, who wrote a letter suggesting he misses his the biblical sense. She's tried to get a pass from Col. Potter, who keeps saying no. Finally, when she can't even get a call through to him, she explodes, wrecking Radar's office in rage.

In General Fox's office, he ignores all the evidence Potter and Hawkeye brought with them, and is determined to go through the court martial. He thinks what he has is the coup de grace--B.J.'s hat, which he left behind in the hotel room.

B.J. puts on the hat, which droops down all the way to his nose. Hawkeye adds, "That's his hat, all right." Case dismissed!

The three of them make their way back to the 4077th, getting sauced during the trip. Potter, drunk and in a good mood, gives Margaret the green light to go to Seoul before she can get a word out, while Hawkeye and B.J. stagger into the Swamp.

Waiting for them is Leo, whose travel orders were swiped by B.J. when he first came by. He begs for them back, and B.J. strikes a deal where there won't be any more practical jokes from now on, in exchange for the papers.

Leo agrees, grabs his travel orders, and takes off in the jeep the doctors came home in. Some mail arrives, and in it is a letter for B.J.--a bill from the hotel Leo stayed at, claiming damages to the room of several hundred dollars. Hawkeye is mad that Leo got the last word in, but B.J. says that they'll settle up when Leo comes walking back--"the only thing gassed up in that jeep was us."

Fun Facts: Winchester does not appear in this episode at all--an odd absence, considering he was the new character on the show!

Favorite Line: Father Mulcahy offers B.J. a string of rosary beards before he's carted off by the MPs, which B.J. rejects politely saying, "Thank you, Father, but I'm not Catholic."

Father Mulcahy: "It can't hurt."

Hawkeye then unhelpfully offers: "If it doesn't work, you can use them to strangle the guards."


What The Parrot Saw said...

Practical jokes were one of the series’ key mainstays. Who can forget the ‘necessary’ sedation administered to Burns all the way back in the pilot, or Sidney’s amazement at 'mad bomber' BJ in “Dear Sigmund”?

Oddly enough, the later seasons had some of the best takes on this (“April Fools," "The Joker is Wild" anyone?), but while Hawkeye and BJ get the perfect last laugh here, note Hawkeye’s genuine irritation at the grief he’s put his bunkmate through. He seems less annoyed at the time Bardonaro has wasted than the hassle he's put his friend through. To me, it was an indication that Hawk had grown as tight with BJ as he had with Trapper.

Russell said...

I always liked this one because it was basically all about BJ. We kept meeting Hawkeye's friends, but I think this was the only time we met one of BJ's.

And I always figured this episode was written before/during the time the producers hadn't decided on who would follow Frank, so that character (who ended up being Charles, of course) was not written in. Perhaps this episode was filmed first in the season?

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