Sunday, December 6, 2009

Episode 226 - Blood and Guts

Season 10, Episode 226: Blood and Guts
Original Air Date: 1/18/82
Written by: Lee H. Grant

Directed by: Charles S. Dubin

The 4077th gets a visit from a special guest--legendary adventure journalist Clayton Kibbee (Gene Evans) who charms everyone with his gregarious nature, easy laugh, and good scotch. He started a blood drive back home, and is writing a story as he follows the blood as it gets used on the front lines.

A wounded solider arrives, and turns out he will need a transfusion, making him Kibbee's first case. He talks to the young man afterwards, and is disappointed when he hears his story--its not an exciting tale of courage; rather, he fell off his motorcycle while on a highly secure road. Hawkeye remarks that the only place for the story "is in Popular Pratfalls."

Hawkeye is less than thrilled when he learns the nurse he had a date with dumps him to spend the evening with Kibbee, but he is really troubled when he hears Kibbee relay his story to the press train: its a tale of adventure and bravery, full of flying enemy bullets--all of it completely made up.

Hawkeye confronts Kibbee, who accuses him of making the war sound like a fun lark, an adventure that people would want to be part of. Kibbee dismisses him, saying that while the romance and glory may not exist, he makes it exist for the people back home.

Hawkeye tries to convey this to the others, but Kibbee's so charming that no one will listen. B.J. in particular is wrapped up in a banged-up motorcycle that the wounded soldier gave him.

Later that night, Kibbee has drinks with Margaret, and he lightly bemoans how relatively boring this war is. Col. Potter then announces that due to a shift in the fighting, there are no casualties expected for at least the next few days.

Everyone in the O Club breaks into cheering, but Kibbee is disappointed. He gets drunk, and steals B.J.'s motorcycle. Hawkeye and B.J. hop in a jeep, trying to find him.

They discover him a few miles away, hung over and wounded, having crashed the bike and fallen on a glass bottle of booze, leaving him with shards of glass in his butt and bleeding profusely.

Hawkeye tends to Kibbee, while B.J. dejectedly examines his ruined bike. Hawkeye asks Kibbee what kind of story he's going to dream up over this.

Weeks later, they read a story by Kibbee in Stars and Stripes where he cops to his drunken misadventure, owning up to his own misguided search for glory.

Hawkeye is pleasantly surprised, but then reads Kibbee's button of the piece, where he talks about next week's story. He promises adventure and excitement when he is reunited with his "valiant French comrades in the jungles of Indochina."

Fun Facts: Hawkeye's nurse du jour is played by Rita Wilson, who, despite a number of movie and TV credits, is still probably most famous for being Mrs. Tom Hanks. She would appear in one more episode after this.

Favorite Line: Hawkeye and B.J., examining the wounded Kibbee, offer him some morphine because the pain of removing all the glass is going to be intense.

Kibbee, macho to the end, says, "Naah!"

Hawkeye and B.J. look at each other and, in dual sarcastic macho tones, both go "Naah!"


What the Parrot Saw said...

Kibbee's character is fun as he has always seemed to me so clearly based on Hemingway- even down to the visuals.

Kibbee's eventual printed mea culpa is nicely written- but the last line is a killer!

Kudos to Lee H. Grant for writing a nicely round character in Kibbee- one can understand his reasons for looking at war as a romantic adventure and we can see him as he sees himself, I think. Kibbee could have been written very two-dimensionally here, and the episode would have suffered for it.

Robert Gross said...

I don't think Kibbee quite earns the full Hawkeye scorn that gets heaped on him. He's not as bad a villain as, say, the Grim Reaper guy.

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