Thursday, August 6, 2009

Episode 128 - Change Day

Season 6, Episode 128: Change Day
Original Air Date: 11/8/77
Written by: Laurence Marks

Directed by: Don Weis

Col. Potter gets word that I-Corps is changing the official Army scrip (what they use for money instead of actual U.S. currency), and makes the announcement that everyone should get their money ready for the big exchange the following day.

Winchester sees this an opportunity to make a buck or two--he hatches a plan to buy up all the old, soon-to-be-useless scrip from all the Korean villagers (which, technically, they shouldn't have in the first place) and exchange it for new scrip.

The problem is, his plan is close to highway robbery--he's only offering 10 cents on the dollar, keeping the other 90 cents for himself. When Hawkeye and B.J. get word of the plot (from Winchester's Korean tailor, who he drafts in for help), they hatch a plan to thwart who they call "A robber baron who makes house calls."

While Winchester is out fleecing the masses, Hawkeye and B.J. have a friendly Sergeant force Winchester out of his jeep, saying the main road is closed. This makes Winchester have to grab all his money and walk to the 4077th.

After an hour, he arrives at camp, only to be stopped by Klinger--who is currently trying a scam acting as by-the-book Navy mid-shipman--keeping anyone from entering the camp while the scrip exchange is taking place, which is SOP.

Winchester, stuck outside with piles of soon-to-be-useless scrip, begs Hawkeye and B.J. to do the money exchange for him. They agree to, but only offering him the original 10 cents on the dollar rate he offered the Korean villagers.

Winchester, enraged and frustrated, storms off, his plan to make a killing having gone up in smoke.

Fun Facts: Animal House's Peter Reigert makes a second (and last) appearance as Igor, when he gets in a fight with Sgt. Zale.

Coincidentally, in a B plot about a patient of Hawkeye's who trusts him to change his scrip for him, the patient's name is Boone, which was the name of the character Peter Reigert played in Animal House!

Favorite Line: Hawkeye and B.J. break up the fight between Zale and Igor, with Hawkeye instructing B.J.: "You take Zsa Zsa, I'll get Eva."


What the Parrot Saw said...

Not a word about the other plot
(C plot?) here? Klinger attempting entry into West Point ranks alongside the episode in which he insists that the unit is based in Toledo as his all-time greatest Sec8 ploys.

Every single scene here is hilarious: Potter’s initial bemusement extends to an admiration of his corporal’s ingenuity, if not quite a willingness to help him on his quest to (eventually) flunk out.

The scenes where BJ and Potter administer the exam rank alongside the series’ all-time funniest, to me. Klinger struggles with the exam as only he could: when addressing the question on physical similarities between Eskimos and Mayan Indians, his answer (“traveling salesmen?!”) kills me every time. I’m not sure why- but it does. Could be the delivery, could be the ridiculousness of the answer.

Winchester’s willingness (at this point) to take advantage of the Korean locals is believable, but is more akin to the sort of greed we’d associate with Frank. Gosh, Charles, couldn’t you get your family to wire some money?

What the Parrot Saw said...

One more comment: beyond the many funny lines here (Winchester: "this is the most inconvenient war in history!"), part of what gives Kilnger's plebian answers to the exam such humor is that I suspect we sympathize with him- the questions are silly hypotheticals to a corporal seemingly without much formal schooling, but who is nonetheless canny enough to come up with a perfect plot to get himself out of a war he sees no value in.

Russell said...

I'm with "Parrot": Klinger is the story to watch here. I love it when the cast realize what Klinger is up to; I think it's BJ who cries, "Genius! He's getting out of the Army by joining the Army!" When he switches to Navy at the end, it's hilarious.

I also like how Father Mulcahy gets played up by making some sermon about the MP's stolen money. William Christopher was always good when he actually had something to do.

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