Monday, May 28, 2007

Hall of Fame

Last night, I was watching an episode of M*A*S*H, something I haven't done in quite a long time, an episode that I would place around 1980, given that Winchester was already on but B.J. had not yet grown that loathesome, anachronistic mustache. B.J. was to the cast of M*A*S*H what LaTroy Hawkins and his 7.27 ERA have been to the Rockies bullpen.

The episode was the customary late-period M*A*S*H combo of sanctimony and bad puns, although it was thankfully free of the de rigueur "war is bad" subplot; this one had a "Winchester is bad" subplot. The most interesting thing about the show was a very brief appearance by the wonderful actor Philip Baker Hall. Hall is possibly best known at this time for his appearance as Bookman the library cop in a terrific episode of Seinfeld, but he's also been a go-to guy for director Paul Thomas Anderson and starred in Robert Altman's amazing one-man Nixon movie, Secret Honor. I'm sure at the time he was glad to have the work, but really, an actor this good should get to do more than ask for Hawkeye's signature on a clipboard. He would have been a way better Colonel Potter than Harry Morgan was.

I'm sure you've all seen this before, but Jesus Cristo, the man is funny: Here's Philip Baker Hall accusing "joy boy" Jerry Seinfeld of "makin' the scene."


MJN said...

Generally, Jerry Seinfeld did a pretty good job of acting throughout his series, especially for a standup comedian, but his poor acting damages this scene. Jerry's smirking makes him come off as no better an actor than Larry Matthews as Ritchie Petrie. Philip Baker Hall adroitly covers for the smirking with an ad lib in the middle of his soliloquy, which makes his performance all the more amazing.

T. Nawrocki said...

I saw at as not so much smirking as trying to stifle a smile. PBH is really, really, funny.