Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Episode 46 - George

Season 1, Episode 46: George
Original Air Date: 2/16/74
Written by:
John Regier and Gary Markowitz
Directed by: Gene Reynolds

Amid the wounded that have just arrived, one of them is covered in bruises. Hawkeye worries, realizing those aren't the kind of bruises one gets in combat.

While Henry and Frank argue over whether a patient should get a week's R&R in Tokyo (Henry pro, Frank con, of course), Hawkeye's patient--a quiet guy named George--asks if he can talk to Hawkeye privately.

George wants to discharged as soon as possible and get back to his unit. Hawkeye tries to dissuade him, but George insists he wants to go back to combat. When pressed, George admits why: he says that two guys got beat up in his unit--"One colored, and one homosexual."

George insists that its important to him--now more than ever--that he return to his unit and finish his tour of duty. Hawkeye reluctantly agrees.

Later, Frank comes back to The Swamp, acting coy about something "Very interesting" that he's learned about a certain person. He tells that them Pvt. Weston is "One of those in camp", which gives Frank the willies.

Frank insists Weston is a pervert and a creampuff, even though Weston asked--demanded--to return to combat, and has been wounded in the line of duty four times.

He then has Weston moved off of his surgical schedule, and tells Hot Lips why. They both prepare to bring Weston up on charges, so Hawkeye and Trapper prepare a plan to thwart Frank.

They pretend to have an argument in The Swamp, with Trapper now saying he agrees with Frank about Weston. Frank is happy to have support, and they confide in one another, with Trapper--after Hawkeye's prodding--telling him that he cheated on his medical exams.

Frank, forgetting himself, admits he did, too. This enrages Hawkeye, who basically trade blackmail for blackmail, saying if Frank goes ahead with the paperwork on Weston, Hawkeye will report that Frank cheated on his exams.

When Frank looks for comfort from Trapper, Trapper says he was just kidding. Frank, feeling trapped, tears up the paperwork, defeated.

Fun Facts: Had the phrase been around at the time, this episode could've been called "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."

An amazingly progressive episode, especially when you think of when it aired, "George" manages to presage almost all the arguments about homosexuality--both in and out of the military--that are currently debated nowadays. Frank insists George, because he's gay, is a "creampuff", yet he's a brave combat soldier, something of course Frank could never be.

In the scene with Hot Lips, Hawkeye explains that Frank's pulse "Does the cha-cha" every time he's around Weston. Frank snaps, "What's that supposed to mean?!", hinting at the idea that anyone so rabidly anti-gay must have some deep-seated issue about homosexuality, independent of political ideology.

After Frank storms out of The Swamp, saying he's going to report Weston, Hawkeye talks to the picture of Frank's mother, saying that he's sorry to report that her son "Suffers from terminal righteousness." He bites off the olive on the toothpick in his martini with a snap, and his face contorts into a look of utter disgust. In this moment, at least, he absolutely hates Frank Burns.

Favorite Line: When Frank walks into The Swamp and acts all coy about "Knowing something about a certain person", Hawkeye asks "Is this person a well-stacked US Army Major nurse, who's bigger than a breadbox and you're seeing on the side?"

Frank, forgetting himself for a moment, answers just as coyly, "No...", then he catches himself, offended: "No!"

Again, not a line that reads funny, but Larry Linville's reading of it is priceless.

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