Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Episode 200 - War For All Seasons

Season 9, Episode 200: A War For All Seasons
Original Air Date: 12/29/80
Written by: Dan Wilcox and Thad Mumford

Directed by: Burt Metcalfe

This episode opens with the 4077th closing out 1950 and welcoming in 1951. Col. Potter, as Father Time, offers a toast to the new year, and hoping that everyone will be home before its over.

We see a series of related events that took place over the course of 1951: everyone wants a shot at the Sears catalog: Margaret wants to order a winter jacket (something the Army unhelpfully didn't provide her with), Father Mulcahy orders some gardening supplies, Klinger orders a baseball glove, and Hawkeye and B.J. order parts to build their very own kidney dialysis machine.

Klinger and Potter enter in a bet about who's going to win the World Series. Klinger predicts the entire league against the Dodgers, 2-1 odds! When Potter says he's willing to offer up $50, Winchester, sensing the chance to make a lot of money, covers Klinger's side of the bet.

As the year progresses, Winchester is now suddenly interested in baseball, and keeps trying to rope more people into the bet, going so far as to offer 6-1 odds, which Potter can't resist, betting $100!

Come October, its the Dodgers versus the Giants in the National League playoffs. With everyone having so much money at stake, the final game of the series is broadcast across the P.A. It seems all but certain that the Dodgers are going to win, except--this is the famous game where Bobby Thompson hit the winning home run for the Giants: "The Shot Heard 'Round the World."

As the announcer yells the iconic cry, "The Giants win the pennant! The Giants win the pennant!", Winchester is left laying on the ground, devastated, his Dodger hat laid across his chest.

The episode ends with the 4077th having yet another New Year's party, this time welcoming in 1952. Col. Potter makes another toast, and wishing, once again, that they all be home before its over.

Fun Facts: This is another format-busting episode: covering the events of an entire year in just one show.

The only problem is, the timeline on display makes my head explode: we see Potter, Winchester, and the rest welcoming in 1951--which means that the previous eight seasons of the show took place in just twelve months (less, actually, since the war didn't start until June)! How long were Trapper and Henry at the 4077th, two months?

When everyone is celebrating the Dodgers win, Father Mulcahy is so excited he plants a kiss on Margaret. The next time you watch the show, look how surprised she looks--part of me thinks it was an ad-lib on William Christopher's part!

Favorite Line: Margaret complains that the valuable Sears catalog is covered in chocolate smudges, and blames Klinger, who, in between shoving Valentine's Day chocolates into his mouth, exclaims, "Why am I the one always singled out for blame?!?"


Neal said...

This one drove me absolutely crazy because of the timeline issues that you mentioned. I don't know why they didn't choose to do the year 1952 instead. At least that way you could account for all the events that occurred before Winchester showed up. You could then argue that other episodes (aired before and after this one) may have occurred in 1952 as well, in between the events of this episode. Of course, that doesn't explain why they had previously said Trapper left in September of 1952. The show had really gotten tangled up in its own continuity traps by this time.

Russell said...

Another episode that I simply can't stand, partly because of the time-line issues mentioned here and partly because the show itself is simply not funny!!!

What the Parrot Saw said...

There is truly no way to explain the lack of continuity here- seems that even the creators had given up at this point! Ergo, 1951 instead of '52 which would have made some sense.

By this season, the humor was becoming rather forced. Instead of the genuinely sidesplitting or simply funny, the tone seems merely light and situations increasingly strain credulity (Charles discovers baseball? Even with the betting angle...) or familiar (the Sears dialysis machine)

This is a fun episode, but the series' era of truly memorable, consistent comedy was drawing to an ebb...

Mike said...

As a baseball geek, that obviously fake "broadcast" of the Thompson homer drives me nuts. Would it have been so hard for them to get clearance to use Russ Hodges' actual call?

Anonymous said...

true Potter came September 19, 1952
{This epsiode was broadcast Sept 19, 1975}....Never did like about how they went back in time....Potter comes in 1951...not 1952.....

Anonymous said...

1951 was used because of the famous pennant race. 1952 didn't have one.

Dominic said...

As a baseball geek myself, it think they have good reason for choosing 1951. Also I like the fact Colonel Potter is a St. Louis Cardinals fan like me. The Cardinals would finish in third place that year. said...

This is one of the episodes that could only be explained by having it take place in an alternate universe..'Crisis In Infinite Koreas'?

WestVirginiaRebel said...

I found it hard to believe that it would have taken Hawkeye and BJ a year to make their contraption for one patient (which is what it seemed like to me when I first saw this at the time), or to knit something for that long :) And how did they have fireworks so close to the front lines without attracting enemy artillery (the Chinese and North Koreans didn't exactly celebrate the Fourth)?
I do like the ending, where you can hear the disappointment in Potter's voice as they end another year in Korea.

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