China Beach (1989): S03E02 – Skin Deep


Introduction

China Beach is an American dramatic television series set at an evacuation hospital during the Vietnam War.

The title refers to My Khe beach in the city of Đà Nẵng, Vietnam, nicknamed “China Beach” in English by American and Australian soldiers during the Vietnam War. The ABC TV drama aired for four seasons, from 1988 to 1991.

Outline

When a visit by Miss America falls through, new Red Cross volunteer Holly Pelegrino coaxes the women of China Beach to participate in a beauty pageant. Frankie is reassigned to the motor pool, where she clashes with bigoted Sarge Pepper. In the ward, McMurphy and the hospital staff struggle to calm a suicidal soldier (guest star Carlos Gómez) who suffered severe facial wounds from a Bouncing Betty. When she finds out Gaspar is from Kansas City, she pays K.C. to visit him and help him adjust to his injuries. Through their conversations, K.C. learns that Gaspar is enraged to have left behind a promising baseball career stateside to enlist in the military. With little guidance from Sarge Pepper, Frankie washes the vehicles in the motor pool (to a rendition of “Don’t Make Me Over”), drawing his ire as the freshly cleaned trucks make easy targets. She misses the pageant fixing her mistake and repairing a Jeep without help, but slams Sarge Pepper in a raucous stand-up set and performance of “My Guy” to signal she has no intentions of leaving her assignment. Gaspar approaches K.C. at her salon, smashing a mirror and threatening her with a shard of glass. She goads him into following through, disarming him, and the two share a moment of catharsis that ends with K.C. removing his bandages so she and Gaspar can see the full extent of his facial disfigurement.

China Beach Series

You can find a full index and overview of China Beach here.

Production & Filming Details

  • Release Date: 27 September 1989.
  • Running Time: 46-47 minutes.
  • Rating: Unknown.
  • Country: US.
  • Language: English.

Video Link

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