Ain't Love Grand was the 25th episode of Season 7 of the M*A*S*H TV series, also the 172nd overall series episode. The episode was written by Ken Levine and David Isaacs, and directed by Mike Farrell. The episode originally aired on CBS-TV on March 5, 1979.
Synopsis[edit | edit source]
While B.J. and Hawkeye snipe at each other, Klinger romances a nurse and Winchester romances a Korean prostitute.
Detailed episode summary[edit | edit source]
After a month straight of nothing but OR to Mess Tent to The Swamp, Hawkeye, B.J., and Winchester are sick to death of each other. Hawkeye suggests getting a drink at Rosie's, and Winchester agrees - but only if Hawkeye and B.J. stay behind.
At Rosie's, Winchester is sulking morosely on his own when he is approached by a pretty, gaudily-dressed girl named Sooni (Sylvia Chang), who brazenly sits down at his table, calls him "Joe" and solicits him to "buy her a burger". Winchester, instantly recognizing her as a prostitute giving a sales pitch, instead gives her a charity dollar and dismissively states he is "not in need" of what she's selling. Sooni, having gotten what she came for, departs indifferently, but suggests Charles reconsider her offer, as "the nights around here are very long; it helps to have some company". After a moment of contemplation on the sad reality of this statement, his loneliness wins out; he changes his mind and asks Sooni to dance.
Klinger also meets someone, a Lieutenant Debbie Clark (Kit McDonough), who is completely charmed by Klinger's outsize and unique personality.
Winchester ends up falling for Sooni despite her coarse profession and mercenary attitude, partially out of self-deluding loneliness and partially because he finds her genuinely attractive and thinks he can educate and refine her into a woman he can respect, a la Eliza Doolittle in Shaw's Pygmalion. He buys her a nice dress (part of the Klinger Collection), teaches her table manners, and tries to get her interested in classical music. Despite mockery from Hawkeye and Klinger, Winchester indignantly insists (against his better judgment) that she is actually a highborn lady of substance.
Unfortunately, despite Winchester's best efforts, Sooni is (and remains) a simple prostitute, and isn't interested in being "enriched". Happy with a full stomach and a steady supply of clients, she finds Winchester boring and constantly rebuffs his attempts to make her into "some high class broad."
Meanwhile, Klinger and Debbie are having a good time together, until Klinger reveals that he has fallen for her, hard, and he's been thinking that they'd be together after the war: a house with a white picket fence, kids...the works. "Just Debbie and me and baby makes three."
This unnerves Debbie, who was really only interested in whatever good times they can both squeeze out in this miserable place. Klinger is hurt, thinking what they had was much more than that. He reveals himself as a huge romantic, and if it's just a "good time" Debbie wants, then he's not really interested.
After another day, Sooni has finally had enough of Winchester and his meddling in her life. After hearing one too many poems, she bails on him, saying she's "just a working girl," and leaves him there in Rosie's, devastated and embarrassed.
Later, Hawkeye and B.J. have a drink at Rosie's with Winchester to try and cheer him up, noting that his craving for intimacy is only human. Klinger is there, drunk, singing torch songs. Winchester gets up and joins him.
Trivia[edit | edit source]
- Owing to prime-time TV standards at the time, the word "prostitute" is never actually used to describe Sooni's profession; she's instead euphemistically referred to as a "working girl," a "lady (of the night)," and a "camp follower."
- A fun side note: Winchester tries to change Sooni into a lady of culture, just like Doctor Henry Higgins did with Eliza Doolittle in the play Pygmalion, which was made into the 1964 movie My Fair Lady, starring Audrey Hepburn as Eliza Doolittle. In the Season 6 episode "Major Topper", Winchester claimed to have dated Audrey Hepburn - and had a photo to prove it.
Guest stars/Recurring cast[edit | edit source]
- Sylvia Chang as Sooni
- Kit McDonough as Lieutenant Debbie Clark
- Eileen Saki as Rosie
- Judy Farrell as Nurse (see Nurse Able)
- Michael Williams as Patient