Claudine Longet's Debut in "One of a Continuing Series"
This episode marked the first of two appearances that Claudine Longet put in on this series (also marking her acting debut) as "Yvette Gerard," a lovely young Frenchwoman (only 20 at the time) who, for some reason, has the hots for Lt. Parker! (Longet would reprise the role in "One Enchanted Weekend" later in this season, and would also appear in essentially the same role in the movie version of McHale's Navy in 1964, although there her character was "Andrea Bouchard.") This was one of the first of the continuing story lines that the show followed; Christy and Gloria were married in the show in episode no. 6 ("Operation Wedding Party") and although not seen, she's referred to here as expecting their first baby. The storyline would be extended in the late Season 2 episode "A Da-Da for Christy," which would also pick up on this episode's convention of the child being named for all the members of the crew (even though Gavin McLeod was gone by the time of that episode), and would feature the other appearance of Cindy Robbins as Gloria.
These continuing story lines (both of Christy's family and of Yvette's presence -- not to mention the third appearance of Adm. Reynolds, this time with a first name, "Roscoe") helped gave the series a sense that these were real people and not just characters who otherwise existed in a kind of "eternal present," where every episode's events were completely disassociated from every other episode in the series. This was also at least the second episode where Ernest Borgnine's participation was limited to a few minutes at the beginning and end of the episode (see, e.g., episode no. 13, "The Captain's Mission"), suggesting that Borgnine may have had some commitment elsewhere that the writers and producers accommodated by writing a "McHale-less" episode that could be "framed" with a prologue and epilogue written around a flashback -- as here. This did give Ensign Parker more screen time, and it was nice to see the young lady show an interest in her "cap-i-tain" even though her attraction to Parker seems a little unlikely. Tim Conway and Claudine Longet had a pleasant chemistry, and their scenes together are amusing.
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