Somewhere In The South Pacific – 1943 –
McHale, Parker, and The Boys are lined up, in an exam room, at the base hospital, waiting for some booster shots. A pretty Nurse calls "Next", and Parker, not realizing that he's next in line, tries to urge the guys to come up and take their medicine.
The Nurse tells Parker that he's next, so Parker steps in, with his sleeve rolled up. After some confusion over Parker's name, the Nurse swabs his arm with alcohol, and Parker thinks he's already gotten the shot. But he grits his teeth, in pain, when the Nurse needles him, and he thanks the Nurse, as he walks away.
Parker then steps out into the hallway, as McHale steps up for his shot. Shortly later, out in the hallway, as McHale comes out, he finds Parker checking his painful arm. But he tries to hide the pain, as he comments, to the Skipper, on how pretty the Nurse is. McHale agrees, in his own way, then Parker asks McHale's permission to invite the Nurse to their island, for dinner. McHale tells Parker that he thinks the Nurse is too tall for him, and Parker takes offense, adding that he's 5-7.
McHale tells Parker to go ahead, and invite her, but Parker quickly loses his nerve, admitting that, maybe, she is too tall for him. But McHale urges him to go through with it, and even makes it an order.
Parker gathers his nerve, and steps back into the exam room, where Willy is about to get his shot. The Nurse is turned away, preparing a syringe, when Willy, Tinker, and another Sailor see Parker, step back, and urge him to the front of the line. Parker steps up, just as the Nurse turns with the syringe, grabs Parker's arm, and gives him a 2nd shot. The Nurse is a bit confused, when she sees it's Parker, and Parker, temporarily stunned by the pain, and unable to speak clearly, tries to mutter out his invitation.
Then, McHale steps in, sees what's going on, and, after stifling a laugh, translates.
"Lieutenant," he says. "Ensign Parker would like to know if you'd care to have dinner with us, tonight, at our base."
"Oh, I'd be delighted, Commander!" answers the Nurse.
"Good!" says McHale.
"Good!" repeats Parker, in a rather high-pitched voice, through clenched teeth.
Parker steps over to McHale, stops, and, with a smile, says:
"Boy, she was even better the second time!"
That night, on McHale's island, Gruber and Tinker, in their dress whites, help set a fancy table, for the special dinner. McHale steps in, also in his whites, and, as Tinker helps The Skipper with his collar button, Gruber asks McHale why Parker didn't pick someone more his own size.
This gives McHale and idea, and he steps away, and returns with a chair. He then takes a saw, and cuts a few inches off the legs of the chair. The plan is to have the Nurse – A , Lieutenant Casey Brown – Sit in the chair, at dinner, to create the illusion that Parker is taller than she.
As McHale works on the chair, Fuji rushes in, to complain that he has no shrimp to make teriyaki with. Gruber happily offers a jar of gefiltefish that his Mom sent him, and Fuji accepts. As Gruber leaves to fetch the fish, McHale finishes the chair. He tries it out, at the table, as Tinker takes a normal chair, and, when seated, is quite pleased that he looks shorter than even Tinker.
Just then, Willy steps in, and offers a jar of his homemade 100-proof brandied peaches, for dessert. McHale happily accepts, and takes a whiff of the powerful peaches.
"I got a hunch," says McHale, with a laugh, "That, right after dessert, Charlie's gonna look ten feet tall, to the lady!"
Just then, the bell of the motor launch is heard, signaling it's arrival. McHale quickly calls all The Boys over, and reminds them that they must do everything they can to help out Mr. Parker with his situation. When Willy asks what else they can do, McHale tells them not to look so tall, and has them slump over, a bit.
Parker soon steps in, with Lieutenant Brown. After McHale asks how the trip from mainside was, Casey replies that it was very exciting, especially when Parker thought he spotted an enemy submarine.
Parker's evening begins to go wrong, almost immediately, when he has all the guys straighten up, making him look pretty short. So, he dismisses the guys, and they all leave.
McHale then invites Casey to have a seat at the table, and pulls out the special chair, he'd prepared, earlier. But Parker insists that Casey take the chair on the opposite side of the table, to keep the moon from shining in her eyes. So, Casey steps over, and Parker seats her. McHale then tries to take the short chair, but Parker directs McHale to the head of the table, where the Commanding Officer should sit.
Parker then takes a seat in the short chair, and knows, right away, that something isn't right, for he's now head and shoulders shorter than Casey. But, McHale explains that the ground is soft, due to the recent monsoons.
As Tinker brings in the main dish, McHale starts the dinner conversation, by asking Casey if she's had any interesting patients, lately. As McHale serves up the teriyaki, Casey tells him that she hasn't, and that her previous assignment had offered more of a challenge. It seems that, there, she'd seen many victims of battle fatigue – A condition with which she's highly fascinated. But, the Navy had interrupted her service, there, and sent her to Taratupa. Parker then comments on how he'd had a tough time getting transferred to a front-line unit.
"Yes," returns Casey, as she looks downward, at Parker, noting his shortness. "I imagine you did."
"Yeah, well…" says McHale, in Parker's defense, "Don't let that size fool you. He's a giant, in action!"
Casey then takes a taste the teriyaki, and is quite impressed, even with the unusual taste of gefiltefish. As Parker tries to comment, on the subject of fish, Casey interrupts, when she sees the peaches, picking up the jar, to look at them. McHale takes the jar from her, and tries to open it, but pretends that he can't. He hands the jar to Parker, telling him that he's much stronger, but, when Parker tries to open the jar, he can't. Casey then asks to try to open it. Parker gives it to her, and she opens it right away.
Dinner continues, right through dessert. McHale and Casey have had small portions of the high-powered peaches, but Parker eats quite a few, and is soon pretty drunk. Soon, Casey tells them that she's due on duty, soon, and must get back to the main base. Parker offers Casey "One more for the road", but she politely declines.
"They were great!" she says, "But I couldn't."
"You know… Speaking of 'great' " slurs Parker, "Reminds me of Alexander The Great. Did you know that he was only five-foot-two?"
McHale winces, as Parker goes on for a while, about all the many famous short people, like Napoleon, Toulouse Lautrec, and Mickey Rooney.
Casey excuses herself, and thanks McHale having her As she leaves, Parker comes out of the chair on his knees, and tries to follow her, as she heads out toward the dock.
The next morning, McHale walks up on a poker game, between The Boys. Gruber asks how Parker is doing, and McHale relates that Parker is pretty down in the dumps. McHale compares Parker's mental state to a physical sickness, and The Boys agree with McHale, that it's up to them to take care of their XO. So, after some thought, McHale comes to the conclusion that, if Parker were sick, or injured, he'd get some special attention from the tall, lovely Nurse he's smitten with. Happy suggests shooting Parker in the leg, but McHale quickly nixes that idea. Then, Tinker suggests amnesia, which reminds McHale of what Lieutenant Brown had mentioned, the previous evening, about being very interested in cases of 'battle fatigue'. After a brief discussion on it's symptoms, McHale lays out a plan to give Mr. Parker serious case of 'The Jungle Jollies'.
Later, The Boys are busy putting that plan into action. First, Fuji greases the handle of Parker's coffee cup with butter, and, when Virgil hands the cup to Parker, it slips, and he spills part of it. Soon, along comes Gruber with a large duffel bag of 32 dozen ping pong balls, which he claims that Parker had ordered, earlier, then, Tinker steps in, with a supply order for Parker to sign, for 8 propeller shafts. Parker, of course, doesn't remember placing those orders, but McHale tells him that "A little temporary loss of memory can happen to any sensitive man, under pressure."
"It's when your nerves start going…" adds McHale, "That you got trouble, boy."
Meanwhile, out in the jungle, Christy and Happy are preparing a little 'nerve jolt' for Parker, in the form of a bundle of dynamite, which they light, then toss away, and quickly take cover.
When the dynamite goes off, Parker jumps, scattering ping pong balls everywhere, then starts looking for cover, thinking that an air raid is going on. But, McHale and The Boys show no reaction, and all pretend that they didn't hear anything.
When Parker has calmed, a bit, McHale takes him aside, and accuses him of feigning battle fatigue. Parker denies the accusation, just as Happy and Christy set off another dynamite charge, out in the jungle. Parker jumps again, but, though quite shaken, tries to act like it didn't bother him. He steps back to the other guys, still trying to act calm and collected, and picks up his coffee cup. Despite taking care with it, the cup slips again, and Parker quickly decides that he needs to be in the hospital.
Later, Parker lies in a bed, in the base hospital, so nervous that, when Lieutenant Brown fluffs his pillow, it sounds like distant gunfire, to Parker. McHale is there, also, and Parker asks him to tell him the story, for the third time, of his bravery in battle on the island of Maracura – An experience that Parker, of course, has no memory of. As Casey steps away, McHale goes on about how Parker had volunteered for a special recon mission, armed only with a pistol, and had taken on, and beaten a 3-man Japanese patrol. Still unable to remember, he asks to hear the story again, but Casey tells him that 4 times is enough, and that he should get some sleep.
Later, on McHale's island, the guys are all working on love letters, to be from his many different female admirers. Willy is trying to write a letter in French, but only knows 3 French words: 'Cherie', 'Bon Voyage', and 'Lingerie', and can't figure out how to use them all in a sentence. Even Fuji is helping out, writing a love letter in Japanese, but Tinker has written the best love letter of all.
"My own darling beloved…" reads McHale. "No more shall my eyes drink the sight of you like wine. Nor will the look that is a kiss follow the sweet grace of you. Farewell, my treasure, my love. I am never away from you. In another world, I shall still be the one who loves you beyond measure. Signed… Your Pen Pal… Roxanne."
"Boy, that's pretty good, Tink." Says Gruber, who sits nearby.
"Pretty good, nothin'!" returns Tinker. "That's perfect!"
Tinker then picks up a small book, and shows Gruber the source of his material.
"Cyrano De Bergerac," points out Tinker. "Act five, scene three!"
Later, at the hospital, while Casey checks Parker's pulse, McHale comments on how another couple of weeks in Casey's care, and he'll be his old self again. He then calls Parker's attention to the many letters he's received, but Casey tells McHale that Parker feels that there's been some kind of mistake, for he doesn't know any of the people he's received letters from.
McHale shows Chuck some of the special letters from various people, including Rita Hayworth, and 'The girl next door' in Troy, New York. After Parker reminds him that he's from Schenectady, McHale offers to read him the letter, but quickly realizes that it's much too personal for him to read, so he gives the letter to Casey, for her to read to him.
"I know she knows how much it'll do for your morale, buddy." Says McHale, as he leaves the room.
Casey approaches Parker's bed, and opens the letter.
"Before you start," says Parker, "I wanna tell you one thing. There's nothing between me and this girl."
"But, you don't even know who it's from, yet!" says Casey.
"It doesn't make any difference." Returns Parker. "There was never anything between me and any girl!"
After Casey reads the beautifully poetic letter, the one that was actually written by Tinker…
"I only wish I could remember her." Says Parker.
"Him." Says Casey, as she hands the letter back to Parker.
"Him?!!" returns Parker. "You mean Roxanne's a 'him'?!!"
"Mmm hmm." Says Casey. "Edmund Rostand. 'Cyrano De Bergerac', act five, scene three."
After some thought, Parker remembers how, in 'Cyrano', two men were in love with the same woman. Parker puts '2 and 2 together', throws the covers back, gets up, steps to Casey, and informs her that McHale is in love with her. Now pretty mad, as he gets his clothing out of the locker, he grumbles about how the whole thing was a setup, so that McHale could have Casey. But Casey quickly informs him that McHale couldn't be in love with her, because she's already married.
"Well then," Parker angrily shouts, "What's the big idea leadin' McHale on?!!"
Fed up, Parker grabs his uniform, and steps out into the hall, just as McHale passes by. McHale wants to know why he's out of bed, and Parker answers that he wouldn't spend another minute "With that two-timing Jezebel".
Parker then confuses McHale further, by telling The Skipper that he's in love with a married woman.
"Don't worry Skip." Adds Parker. "There are plenty of other fish in the ocean. And somewhere, out there, there's a woman who'll love you for what you are… In spite of your nose."
Parker then leaves McHale with quite a confused look on his face. But, as he gives the matter some thought, he gets a good laugh out of it.
The next day, back on McHale's island, Parker packs for a 2-week R&R in Sidney, Australia. It seems that he's been ordered by the Medical Staff, to take the vacation, and Parker admits he's feeling kind of guilty for abandoning his Crew. But McHale tells him that he can't argue with the Medics, and orders Parker to "Have a ball".
"But look," adds McHale, "Whatever you do, pick on a girl your own size, will ya?"
Soon, Gruber enters, with a story about how Parker had ordered him to carry his luggage to the boat. When Parker insists that he never issued any such order, Gruber slaps himself in the head, and says:
"I must be losing my memory."
Then, Tinker enters, steps up to Parker, and says:
"Your gig is ready, Mister Karpmeyer."
By now, McHale knows that something fishy is going on, and, as he begins to shout at Tinker, an explosion is heard, nearby. Parker is startled, and McHale hurries to the door, to look out, but neither Gruber nor Tinker react.
"Hey!" says Parker. "What was that?!"
"What was what?" says Gruber.
"I didn't hear anything." Adds Tinker.
Now, McHale has figured out Gruber's and Tinker's game, and he steps to them, grabs them both by their shoulders, leads them to the door, and angrily orders them out.