|Index||4 reviews in total|
"Catawomper" might not be //the worst// "Gunsmoke" episode, but it's
down there at the bottom of the barrel. (There's at least one "worst
of" list, but "Catawomper" doesn't appear on it.)
I assume most viewers know enough about literature to be aware that the principal characters -- Kate Tassel and Bud Bones -- are named after the principals of "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" -- Katrina van Tassel and Brom Bones. (Chester apparently represents Ichabod Crane.) Their relationship is reversed, however, with Bud trying to capture the heart of Kate, and her refusing to warm up to him. ("Taming of the Shrew" comes to mind when he spanks her in public.)
The script is absolutely wretched, the sort Robert McKee could use as a prime example of //how not// to tell a story. Indeed, there's very little story. Kate's motivations aren't at all clear, so we have no idea why she does what she does. Things simply "happen", mechanically and meaninglessly, without growing out of a plausible central conflict. The "deus ex cavalry" ending is particularly strange, with Kate suddenly deciding she likes Bud after all, and will "do anything he asks".
If this is supposed to be a "Women -- ya can't live with 'em and ya can't live without 'em" tale, it works. But as engaging entertainment -- fergit it.
"The other reviewer" and I don't often agree, but here we're in concurrence. I've given three stars to his two, for the one agreeable moment, Dennis Weaver singing an amusing song.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This episode expects viewers to feel sympathy or maybe amusement for
the relationship between a manipulative brat and a violent, possessive
bully. Someone might invoke "60s TV" or "the Wild West" and say that
was acceptable behavior for the one or the other, but neither Miss
Kitty nor Marshal Dillon seemed to think so.
The script meanders about and seems padded. Kate was petulant over and over, and Bud was bone-headed and obnoxious over and over, without furthering the story.
The Army bit toward the end was almost a deus ex machina to force the ending. I suppose the ending was intended to be happy or amusing, yet it looked like the prelude to an abusive, unhappy marriage.
But Dennis Weaver goes all Andy/Mayberry and offers a song halfway through, so it's not all bad. (The Andy Griffith Show was in its second season at the time.)
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Despite the 2 bad reviews given this episode I felt compelled to give
it a 6 star rating. I saw the story more about Bud Bones than Kate. It
was his inability to express his love in words, which men do struggle
with, and her frustration with just that. His weak attempts at
describing his love, in the only way he knows, "I like your hide",
we're just that and so the frustration leads her to think that making
him jealous would force him to say the three magic words "I Love You".
Unfortunately her plan didn't work and confused him even more about what she wanted to the point where horse whipping was his only suggestion on what to do. Having been married 3 times I can definitely sympathize on what it's like to look into your woman's eyes and have absolutely no idea on what they want. Their frustration, with each other, manifests itself by him running away to the army and her wanting to go to San Francisco, translation: it's easier to walk away from a problem than be honest with each other and face it head on.
After a life-changing situation in which he saved his fellow soldiers from sure death, contrite as it was, he had a chance to reexamine himself, his life and the things that are important to him, Kate included. It is only after that event that he was able to express his love in words. Being in a military family, father disabled WWII and mother Korean War vets, they always said they came out different people than they went in.
I have watched 2 Gunsmokes a day for the past 6 years so I have seen practically all of them over and over and there are episodes that are worse than this but they are usually entertaining, if the script is bad they usually have some comedy in them so it's not all a wash. I never look at Gunsmoke for writing perfection just a decent story and, to me, this was decent with some comedy and a heck of a catchy song from Chester.
With many great scripts in this 7th season I knew it was about time for
a clunker. And in this offering we hit the bottom of the barrel with
In order to sum up this episode little has to be told since there was little material that even sparked an interest in watching. A spoiled brat of a young woman named Kate is upset at her boyfriend, Bud Bones, for what she feels is not being treated correctly. So with intentions of making him jealous, she starts asking other boys to come courting.
Bud don't take kindly to having his woman courted by other men so he tend to harass them. In an almost childish way, he either dumps them in the horse trough or ties them up to an old cow and parades them down main street. None of which is humorous or of any interest to the viewer.
Bud then gets so mad that he joins the army. And like a fairy tale being written, Private Bud saves his men from a near slaughter by the Indians.
What is left of the cavalry rides back to Fort Dodge. During the trip they happen up on Kate Tassel while going through Dodge City. And without giving the endings away- just think of the most silliest way for this show to end and you will be correct.
A poor script with poor results.
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