Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Episode 170 - Too Many Cooks

Season 8, Episode 170: Too Many Cooks
Original Air Date: 9/17/79
Written by: Dennis Koenig

Directed by: Charles S. Dubin

During OR, and even though Col. Potter seems to be in a sour mood, everyone's spirits are lifted when they meet Pvt. Conway (Ed Begley, Jr.) gets wheeled in with a simple fractured ankle. Since its not the result of a war injury--Conway's just a klutz--it makes Hawkeye's day to treat such a non-violent injury.

Col. Potter doesn't enjoy all the levity, but the rest of them don't care--they find it even funnier when another solider gets wheeled in, injured when Conway fell on him.

Turns out that Conway is a hapless soldier, completely inept with weapons. But he is a superb cook, and he starts preparing meals for the 4077th, which thrills everyone--for the first time, the Mess Tent is SRO.

Col. Potter isn't pleased that Conway is being kept off the line just to prepare food for the 4077th, and lets everyone know what's making him so surly: his wife Mildred has grown tired of never having Sherman around, and is demanding he give up his command and return home. He orders the doctors to send Conway home, pronto.

Hawkeye tries to get Potter to talk about his problems, but he won't open up. He gets even madder when he discovers the rest of them trying to get Conway a transfer off the line. He takes the phone from the general in charge, General Haggerty, and says that if there's anyone who's going anywhere, it might be him: right now, the way he's feeling, Potter just wants to quit and go home.

Everyone is stunned at this, and Margaret goes to Potter and manages to get him to open up and soften a little bit. He's been trying to call Mildred to talk to her, but the lousy phone lines are keeping the call from going through.

Later, Gen. Haggerty (John Randolph) shows at the 4077th to talk to his old friend Potter directly, to find out what's on Potter's mind after that strange phone call.

They start to talk, but Haggerty is distracted by the amazingly tasty food served to him. Hawkeye and B.J., eager to see if they can talk Haggerty into transferring Conway off the front lines and to the 4077th permanently, butter him up.

But they are crestfallen when Haggerty says he's going to take Conway with him as his personal chef--"I'll be the envy of all the generals in the Far East." Klinger is thrilled, assuming he'll be able to tag along.

But Conway has other plans: he wants to go back to his unit, and cook for them, as a way to make up for all his klutziness. Haggerty is disappointed, but admires Conway's loyalty, and agrees. Klinger quickly dissolves their partnership, not wanting to go the front.

A few days later, Col. Potter gets a letter from Mildred, who is no longer angry. After speaking to a young soldier who was wounded and cared for at a MASH, Mildred realizes how important what her husband is doing, and apologizes for being so tough on him. Everything at the Potter house is back to normal.

Fun Facts: This is the eighth season's "Angry Potter" episode.

The credits have been changed, with "Also starring Gary Burghoff as Radar" added to the end. This is the first--and only--time this sort of character credit was used on the show.

There's a moment where Klinger imitates Col. Potter's nasally bray: "Did you reach my wife yet?!?" For some reason, Farr's imitation of Harry Morgan makes me laugh every single time.

This episode features the first of several awkward scenes of Radar, on R&R in Tokyo, talking to Klinger, but otherwise not being in the episode at all.

Favorite Line: Klinger says he and Conway are going to open a restaurant together back home, and mentions how Toledo desperately needs another four-star restaurant.

B.J.: "Yeah, the other one closed when all the pin-boys quit."


What the Parrot Saw said...

Klinger indeed did a funny Sherm impression! In an earlier episode, Potter catches him at it--unaware Klinger is imitating him--and Klinger tells him its "post-nasal drip"(!!).

I've always liked this episode; it gets s8 started off on a nicely comedic footing. The A-plot with Conway is genuinely funny. Good food (even the fresh eggs in S11) always seems a cause for celebration even for "powdered Eggs Benedict"!

Anonymous said...

This episode was one of the few gems left in the bag. I love Potter on the phone with the operator. "My wifes calling me selfish!...WHO ASKED YOU!".. id give a nickel to find out what the operator said exactly...

WestVirginiaRebel said...

For one brief moment, the 4077th got real food...Conway is endearing as a character and I sometimes regret his not becoming a regular. Klinger's attempts to ingratiate himself and his Potter impression were both funny.

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