Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Episode 140 - Mail Call Three

Season 6, Episode 140: Mail Call Three
Original Air Date: 2/6/78
Written by: Everett Greenbaum & Jim Fritzell

Directed by: Charles Dubin

It's Mail Call again, and everyone is dying to see if they got anything--none more than Klinger, who hasn't heard from his wife Laverne in months, and he's clearly worried about the state of his marriage.

Hawkeye gets a letter from a woman, except that its addressed to another Benjamin Pierce. And we learn that this isn't the first time its happened--apparently this other Benjamin Pierce is quite the lothario, judging by all the passionate letters "he" receives.

B.J. gets a letter from Peg, where she mentions a neighbor made a pass at her, which she laughed off. Hawkeye tries to assure B.J. that Peg can handle it, but B.J. is angered all over again that he's away from his family.

Radar gets a letter from his mother, mentioning that she is dating again. Radar is confused and stunned at the news, even after Col. Potter tries to tell him that it'll be good for her, since, as he notes, "The poor woman's been alone a long time."

At that night's movie, Klinger's bad mood spills over, and when everyone thinks he's pulling another fast one, he tears off his dress in anger and tells everyone that Laverne stole all his allotment checks, and now has run off with another guy. He storms out of the tent, leaving everyone stunned. Except for Winchester, who is only interested in seeing the rest of the movie.

Potter comforts Klinger in his office, willing to place a call to Laverne back in Ohio, but Klinger can't bring himself to do it. He wants a discharge, something Potter just can't do.

Later that night, Klinger decides to go AWOL, and asks Father Mulcahy for a loan. Mulcahy gives him the money, but demands Klinger not go AWOL, threatening to tell Potter if he does. Klinger says he won't go anywhere, and takes Mulcahy's advice to sleep on it.

Radar turns to Hawkeye for advice about his mother and her new boyfriend, and Hawkeye shares a story from his past about how his father dated a woman after Hawkeye's mother passed away. Hawkeye's father wanted his son to like this woman, but he refused.

Hawkeye observes that "He didn't marry her--and he's alone to this day. And loneliness is everything its cracked up to be." Radar calms down a bit, agreeing to give his mother some space, offering up the idea that maybe his mother could be introduced to Hawkeye's father.

B.J., in the middle of the night, is so scared that his wife no longer needs him asks Radar to place a call to Peg. Radar tries to say no, but he finally relents.

At the same time, Father Mulcahy tells Potter what has happened with Klinger, seeing that Klinger has in fact left camp. They head to Radar's office to try and track Klinger down, only to find B.J. tying up the phone lines!

B.J. gets some reassuring words from Peg, and then Potter and Radar try and track down Klinger, asking any MPs who find Klinger not to arrest him, just bring him back to the 4077th.

The next morning, the "other" Captain Pierce arrives to pick up his mail, carrying with him mail meant for Hawkeye. The other Pierce isn't happy to see Hawkeye opened all his mail, and insists that he's not even interested in all these women, but they won't leave him alone.

Hawkeye and B.J. demand to know how he "does it"--i.e., get the women to go crazy for him? He says its because he's very funny, a fact not in evidence from his humorless, awkward demeanor. He says he makes the women laugh, leaving Hawkeye and B.J. confused and in disbelief.

Klinger returns to the 4077th, admitting that, just before he was about to stow away on a plane headed out of Korea, he realized he was doing the wrong thing, and came home. Potter was mad, but now he's just happy to have Klinger back.

Fun Facts: The other Benjamin Pierce is played by Oliver Clark, who played Hawkeye's college friend Toby in Season Five's "38 Across."

Some neighbor of B.J.'s hits on Peg while her husband if off serving his country in Korea? What a dick!

Favorite Line: Hawkeye's scene with Radar where he asks for advice about his mother dating is touching. Hawkeye scales back his constant joking and really talks to Radar, trying to comfort him.

Except when Radar, at the height of his hysteria, protests the very idea of his mother engaging in sex. Hawkeye responds with, "Radar, she's a woman, a warm-blood human being! Where do you think you came from, the Monkey Ward Catalog?"


Russell said...

That scene with BJ on the phone with Peg always tears me up...."I just called to see if you still needed me, Peg...." Kinda gets ya, right here.

There is so much good in this episode, I don't even know where to start. Greenbaum & Fritzell do it again.

Winchester agreeing that Margaret doesn't belong in the DAR seems to be the beginning of the end for any possible "relationship" for these two, as Margaret is FURIOUS that he would agree with Donald's mother.

Winchester wanting to watch the movie is priceless. Who ARE those guys they're watching, anyway? I feel like I should know, but I've never seen them before or since.

After Klinger comes back, and Potter is relieved, Radar smiles to himself and says, "Family!" NIce, since the actor himself was evidently itching to get out of the role by this point.

And Father Mulcahy DOES loan Klinger the money, Rob!

Russell said...

The only clinker in this episode, IMO, is the other Ben Pierce. He simply is not funny, for way too long. When BJ jokes, "I'm sorry, I didn't catch your name," and he replies, I think: Ok, get this guy out of here. His not being funny is painfully not funny.

PA_Rob said...

The movie is "Kentucky Moonshine" (1938).

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