Thursday, December 31, 2009

Episode 245 - The U.N., The Night, and the Music

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Season 11, Episode 245: The U.N., The Night, and the Music
Original Air Date: 1/3/83
Written by: Elias Davis & David Pollock

Directed by: Harry Morgan

The 4077th is visited by three U.N. delegates--Capt. Ramurti Lal from the Indian Army (Kavi Raz), Dr. Randolph Kent from England(George Innes), and Per Johannsen from Sweden (Dennis Holahan). Upon meeting the three of them, Margaret takes an instant liking to the handsome stranger from Sweden.

With Johannsen and Lal staying in the VIP Tent, Dr. Kent stays in the Swamp, and Winchester takes an instant like to him, since he can sense that Kent is a man of class and refined taste.

Unfortunately for Winchester, Dr. Kent's tastes are a tad too refined: he thinks nothing of belittling Winchester's opinions, mocking his taste in wine, paintings, and vacation destinations. Instead of being insulted, Winchester keeps trying to curry Kent's approval.

Meanwhile, Johannsen has a private talk with Hawkeye, regarding Margaret's interest in him. He tells Hawkeye that normally he'd be thrilled at such attention, but he recently suffered a wound that left him impotent. Ashamed, he asks Hawkeye to run interference for him with Margaret. Hawkeye agrees, much to Margaret's sputtering fury, especially after he breaks up a party with just the two of them in the O Club.

Later, Margaret stops by Per's tent, on the pretense of apologizing for Hawkeye but really to try again with him. He nervously lets her in, but they quickly develop a rapport, making each other laugh and telling stories. The light mood is broken when Margaret makes a move on Per, which he awkwardly rejects.

Eventually, Per levels with her, and shares what's been troubling him. Margaret apologizes for putting Per in such a difficult position, and she immediately offers to stay and talk and get to know one another, an offer Per happily accepts.

Meanwhile, back at the Swamp, Winchester has had enough of Kent's derision, and finally lets him know that no matter how respected his family is, he's a snob.

This induces fits of laughter in Kent, who fesses up that his family isn't part of high society--rather, his parents are servants to an esteemed family, and Kent paid his way through medical school as the chauffeur. By their employment his family experienced all the finer things Winchester takes for granted.

Kent, immediately sensing Winchester's assumption, led him on, waiting for the right moment to point out to Winchester his ridiculous, arrogant notion that only people of breeding have any taste or class. He ends the discussion with "You've been outclassed by the son of a bloody butler!"

Winchester is insulted, and Hawkeye, overhearing all this from his cot, dissolves into hysterical laughter.

The next morning, all three of the U.N. reps depart, with Per and Margaret having spent a wonderful night together getting to know one another. They make plans to see each other again.

Meanwhile, Winchester suggests Kent drive the jeep, since, "After all, he's a professional."


Fun Facts: There's a B-plot about B.J. and his inability to level with a patient who has to have his leg removed. There's an amazing moment where the patient realizes what has happened, and even though he holds no grudge, it causes B.J. to shed a real tear, which we can see drip down Mike Farrell's cheek.


Favorite Line: Hawkeye, bored, has nothing to do but hang out in the Swamp, so he is stuck overhearing the Snob-Off between Winchester and Kent. When Winchester talks about the first time he drank a particularly good bottle of wine, he remarks, "It was at that point I no longer considered myself a virgin enophile."

Hawkeye, disgusted: "Good God."

I'm not doing the line justice--Alda delivers it with just the perfect amount of disgust and bewilderment, so much so I laugh every time I hear it.


9 comments:

Radar Hat said...

The first time I ever saw this episode, I could take it or leave it. Over time, it's sort of grown on me. I always preferred the B story for it's depth.

These days, I enjoy the Winchester\Kent story the most. In the end, neither one wins, though they both feel they have. Kent outing himself as a butler's son whom Winchester was trying to impress, and Winchester saying Kent should drive the jeep because of his upbringing.

Both are forced to show that they aren't always who they make themselves out to be. It's an interesting sort of humility lesson.

Dr. Eric said...

Another great Hawkeye line from this episode is "I can't believe it! I'm in Korea and I'm fighting the Boer War!"

What the Parrot Saw said...

A silly sitcom-esque premise that holds up well; Kent's character is so perfect that his revelation at the end is a clever stroke. George Innes plays this perfectly- a nice tweaking of Charles' pretensions that holds up over repeated viewings.

Much has been made in M*A*S*H and criticism regarding Margaret's acceptance of Johannsen's impotence. This scene is well played, but I think that it presupposes a certain sense of "Hot Lips" that had by now been long superseded by Swit's deft revision of the character.

dustinhoff said...

IMHO: I don't feel that Dr. Kent's derision of Winchester is justified. Winchester wasn't trying to best him at anything. He had finally found someone that he could relate to, and was enjoying it. True, MAYBE, Winchester assumed that Kent was on the same level as himself. He actually said, "How fortunate you were." In reference to Kent's admission of attending a music festival. He invites him to share something special with him, the fruitcake, when suddenly Kent turns into a total jerk. I guess, in the 30 or 40 times I have seen this episode; that Winchestor was being a gentleman, and Kent was an ass.

I also agree that the delivery of, "Good God!", was great. I also like, "My complaints have fallen on deaf feet!"

dustinhoff said...

IMHO: I don't feel that Dr. Kent's derision of Winchester is justified. Winchester wasn't trying to best him at anything. He had finally found someone that he could relate to, and was enjoying it. True, MAYBE, Winchester assumed that Kent was on the same level as himself. He actually said, "How fortunate you were." In reference to Kent's admission of attending a music festival. He invites him to share something special with him, the fruitcake, when suddenly Kent turns into a total jerk. I guess, in the 30 or 40 times I have seen this episode; that Winchestor was being a gentleman, and Kent was an ass.

I also agree that the delivery of, "Good God!", was great. I also like, "My complaints have fallen on deaf feet!"

Anonymous said...

Actually, Hawkeye was in the corner standing on his head trying out a yoga remedy the Indian Army surgeon showed him. When he overheard what the British surgeon said to Winchester he began laughing so hard he tumbled over.

Nic Mairead said...

I don't think I've ever seen it mentioned that Johannsen was played by Loretta Swit's husband (or husband-to-be, since I've read that they were married from 1983-85).

Anonymous said...

"Back at the swamp, the upper crust are toasting each other...." Love it! Alda is perfect in this episode, as always....that "good God" lines cracks me up hysterically every time! I don't feel Winchester was being a gentlemen, I believe he was trying to show off....he was seizing the opportunity because he finally came across someone who would be a worthy adversary. However, he keeps falling short until he gets frustrated and finally says screw it, "take your fathers villa and stuff it." I have Lways been a MASH fan and this is one of my favorite episodes!

Cyndee Wenzel said...

Loretta Swit did marry Per in real life and his real last name is Holahan. lol So she really did become a Holahan in real life. :) Also they were married from 1983-1995.

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