Synopsis: An Italian major is inspecting Stalag 13 and, needing troop numbers in Italy prior to an Allied invasion, Hogan (Bob Crane) decides to attempt to bribe the Italian officer with pizza. What Hogan doesn’t realize is his efforts aren’t necessarily needed because the major is already planning to defect to their side, something that complicates things when the major’s driver shows up and reveals his secret to Klink (Werner Klemperer).
Hogan’s Heroes Episode Review: “The Pizza Parlor”
A review of the season 1 episode that first aired in February of 1966.
Guest stars include Harry Lauter, Ernest Sarracino and Hans Conrie as Major Bonacelli.
Plenty of Stereotypes
One of the things I’ve realized about this series as I’ve continued to watch the reruns is it relied heavily on ethnic stereotypes. Usually, those are somewhat minor and really center on the Nazis and the regular characters, like Corporal LeBeau (Robert Clary). However, this episode took those stereotypes to a whole new level.
The episode pulled no punches with the Italian stereotypes, especially with the focus on pizza and music, to the point it was actually a little farfetched. That being said, it also turned out to be much funnier than I expected it to be.
I think the best part of this episode had to be the effort Hogan and his crew had to make just to get a pizza recipe. I had to laugh a bit at that considering pizza doesn’t seem like it would be overly difficult to make and, if anything, I would think their problem would have been more about finding the proper ingredients. But, this little twist was hilarious, primarily because it resulted in going through various channels in an effort to reach a pizza parlor in the states so they could get a recipe.
The twist at the end with Bonacelli being found out thanks to the ill-timed return of his driver (who he confessed to and believed was dead) was interesting because it did create some unexpected drama toward the end of the episode (though, admittedly, I probably should have predicted that happening). Plus, since it was Klink that captured him, it wasn’t as easy as just helping him escape; they needed to clear his name. That, I think, definitely made this episode even more entertaining than expected.
As I said before, there are a lot of ethnic stereotypes in this one and, because of that, I wasn’t sure if I would enjoy it. However, it turned out to be a very funny episode with some great twists. I do recommend taking the time to watch it if you get a chance.
My Grade: A
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