Saturday, November 14, 2009

Episode 210 - The Red/White Blues

Season 9, Episode 210: The Red/White Blues
Original Air Date: 3/9/81
Written by: Elias Davis & David Pollock

Directed by: Gabrielle Beaumont

Col. Potter undergoes a routine physical--the last one he'll have to undergo while on active duty--and the results aren't good. His blood pressure is way above the norm, and he runs the risk of being pulled from command and stuck behind a desk.

Potter begs Hawkeye to fudge the numbers, but he refuses. Potter is adamant, and asks Hawkeye for two weeks to get his numbers down before the report has to be sent in to HQ. Hawkeye agrees, but reminds him he's going to have to cut down on his drinking, his salt, his cigars, and his penchant for getting angry due to the pressures of being in command.

Hawkeye promises to keep Potter's condition a secret, but almost immediately he spills the news to everyone, who start treating Potter with kid gloves, which of course drives him nuts.

Back in his office, Potter flies off the handle when he thinks Klinger ordered the wrong medicine needed to preemptively deal with the Malaria problem--they're stuck with Chloroquine instead of Primaquine. After blowing his stack, Hawkeye finds a letter enclosed that HQ was out of Primaquine, so they sent the other, less effective drug, instead.

Chloroquine is just a supressant, not the cure that Primaquine, it also has negative side effects for negroes. But it will have to do. Potter, chastened, apologizes to Klinger.

Later, Hawkeye is back in Klinger's office, and he's shocked to see the mountain of paperwork that covers the office. He can't understand why Klinger isn't getting the work done, but Klinger insists its not out of laziness, its because he feels so worn out and tired. Hawkeye isn't hearing any of it, and issues a direct order to Klinger to get all the work done before Potter comes back and sees the mess.

While the doctors try and stall Potter in the O Club (all of them drinking lemonade), Margaret checks up on Klinger. The office is in even worse shape, and Klinger complains about feeling awful. Margaret is furious, and when choppers arrive, she orders him to get up and help out, and stop goldbricking.

While in Pre-Op, Margaret sees that Pvt. Goldman (Roy Goldman) is resting on a bench. He complains of feeling tired with a bad back, and Margaret promises to have one of the doctors check him out.

Klinger, seeing this, gets mad, accusing Margaret of believing Goldman but not him, even though they have the same symptoms. Margaret apologizes and tells him to rest, too.

After OR, Hawkeye and B.J. run blood tests, and whatever's dogging Klinger and Goldman, they know its the same thing--they just don't know what it is.

While finishing up Klinger's paperwork, they come up with a plan to take Klinger and Goldman off the pills entirely. Potter, tired of being prevented from going to his office, sees the damage and explodes--but, after the outburst, he feels better.

A few days later, the gets another examination, and this time he passes with a few points to spare. Overjoyed, he takes a drink and lights a cigar in celebration.

Fun Facts: Another installment of The Young Sherman Potter Chronicles: he mentions getting a physical from a "young mademoiselle" in a farmhouse. Hotcha!

This episode ends with a text coda, the only time the show would do this, explaining that later research revealed that Chloroquine had negative side effects not only with blacks, but also Caucasians of Mediterranean descent.

Favorite Line: Hawkeye and Potter discuss the Chloroquine pills, and they're relative effectiveness. Potter asks: "And what about the negroes?"

Klinger, utterly confused: "What did I do to them?!"


Russell said...

I remember seeing this episode and thinking it was 1. a history lesson about the effects of Chloroquine and 2. a rehash of some earlier episode where people tried to get Potter from getting too upset about something. Am I mis-remembering this? Anyway, I thought by now everyone knew Klinger wasn't a "gold brick." He was only crazy, not lazy. :-)

Neal said...

I always thought that was the funniest irony of the show: despite all his Section 8 scams, Klinger was one of the most G.I. people in the unit. He always did his best even when wearing the latest fall fashions.

What the Parrot Saw said...

Klinger has a terrific line here when Margaret accuses him of malingering; he states (with a slight amount of wounded pride): "I've pulled anything on the job and I'd never pull anything on the Col."

And with just one exception (a fainting episode in OR that Potter quickly sets him straight on)- its absolutely true. One of my favorite aspects of Klinger....

Unknown said...

I love Col Potter's line to Klinger "I'm surprised you didn't order Anthony Quinn! On seconds thoughts he would have been better at least he could ACT like a clerk"

Iliana said...

One quick thing: You're mixing up your malaria medications. Chloroquine is the one they wanted, and Primaquine is what they end up with.

Robert Gross said...

It bugs me that *as a doctor*, Potter never considers the idea that if he can get by for this long without booze and cigars, maybe he can cut back and/or give up these for good--- particularly the cigars.

My favorite line: "For once, I agree with the army." Not a funny line, but it shows Hawkeye's genuine concern for Potter's health.

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