Friday, March 6, 2009

Episode 6 - Yankee Doodle Doctor

Season 1, Episode 6: Yankee Doodle Doctor
Original Air Date: 10/22/72
Written by: Laurence Marks
Directed by: Lee Philips

An oily, fast-talking Lieutenant named Bricker arrives (Ed Flanders, Dr. Westphall on St. Elsewhere) looking to make a movie about the 4077th.

He asks Hawkeye and Trapper to contribute, but they refuse when they see its just a glorified propaganda piece. They are particularly disgusted by Frank's phrase, "Yankee Doodle Doctor", to be used as narration.

Bricker suggests doing the film without Hawkeye and Trapper, but Henry says they are sort of the heart of the unit, and the film really wouldn't work without them.

Despite pressure from Henry, Hawkeye and Trapper break in to Henry's file cabinet and expose the film already shot, ruining it. Lt. Bricker is enraged, and leaves the camp.

Hawkeye then decides they can shoot their own film, using the camera equipment Bricker left behind (along with his cameraman). After a few days of shooting, they debut it in the Mess Tent, in front of the whole camp and the visiting General Clayton (Herb Voland).

The film is basically a Marx Bros. movie featuring Hawkeye as Groucho, Trapper as Harpo, Radar, Nurse Cutler, and the rest of the gang. It makes Henry laugh, Clayton mad. It features scenes of Hawkeye, Trapper, and Radar dropping their pants, Radar getting operated on by Groucho Pierce, and all the gang throwing a massive party.

It ends with a single shot of Hawkeye talking to the camera, dead serious, denouncing the propaganda of a "Yankee Doodle Doctor" and how, despite all their efforts, the war kills more people than doctors can save.

Clayton isn't thrilled, but admits parts of it were funny. He asks for all the goofy stuff in the movie be removed, and just keep his intro and Hawkeye talking at the end. But he quietly suggests Henry keep a print of the whole they have "Something to laugh at when all this is over."

Fun Facts: The debut of third general, General Clayton, who would appear on the show for the first two seasons.

Hawkeye's film is actually pretty funny, and it seems like it was a little ad-libbed, since some of the actors seem to flub their lines and have little asides.

Favorite Line: Hawkeye at the end of Yankee Doodle Doctor, talking to the audience, both real and fake: "...not a great end to a movie. But then no war is a movie."


Dr. Eric said...

There could be no better tribute to the great Groucho Marx than this episode!

Dominic said...

In a way the scene where Hawkeye directs a movie with the rest of the staff makes kind of foreshadows Alan Alda's directing efforts on future episodes.

domino said...

This is the first episode that neither Russell nor The Parrot critiqued. I'll do it then. A funny episode especially considering the fact that the Marx Brothers are funny. Alda is hilarious and gets the best lines. My favorite line was when they made fun of the Yankee Doodle song.

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