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DVD Review: F Troop – The Complete First Season

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I had never heard of F Troop until I watched this set. I’m not sure exactly why this was considered funny, or why it was even a classic. One thing I am sure of is that this isn’t a classic and really isn’t that funny.

The basic plot surrounds Captain Wilton Parmenter (Ken Berry) who comes from a family of military leaders. During battle, a call for “Retreat” gets misunderstood for “Charge!” which leads him into history as the man who started the final battle of the Civil War. Although he helped lead the war to its end, he was still a terrible soldier. To keep him away from combat, they assign him the command of Fort Courage, aka F Troop, a dumping ground for the useless soldiers.

Although the command is theoretically run by Captain Parmenter, it’s actually run by Sgt. Morgan O’Rourke (Forrest Tucker) and Corporal Randolph Agarn (Larry Storch). The two men try to keep in good standing with the Captain in order to continue running an illegal business headquartered in one of the shacks at Fort Courage. O’Rourke Enterprises (run by O’Rourke himself) owns both a saloon and a gift shop that sells Indian souvenirs (thanks to a treaty with the Hekawi tribe).

Despite the fact that the Captain has a bumbling aura about him, he still manages to attract the heart of Wrangler Jane (Melody Patterson). Running the local general store in town, she sometimes throws herself into danger to save Captain Parmenter in a continuous effort to win his love. Alas, her efforts never seem to get them down the aisle or into bed, for that matter.

Although the real chemistry of the show is between Storch and Tucker, I didn’t feel they fit. Storch’s Agarn seemed way too dramatic and over-the-top (a good case of this is an episode in which he believes he is dying). Tucker’s O’Rourke seemed too smart an individual to ever team up with such a drama king like Agarn. Then again, they aren’t supposed to be the best of the best.

Although Melody Patterson herself was reportedly 16 at the time she came onto the show, she plays a fully grown woman literally and figuratively. The problem for me is that the producers could have done without the romance between her and Parmenter. It’s not that it’s wrong that her character and Berry’s have a relationship, but that it feels more like a brother/sister relationship.

The stereotypical Indians of the Golden Age of Television are in full effect here. The makeup jobs can’t disguise the fact that white actors are playing an ethnic group that wouldn’t speak such stupid dialogue, or wear such loud costumes. Don Rickles even has the nerve to make a guest appearance as the supposedly evil Bald Eagle, who is a son to the Hekawi tribe’s chief.

Perhaps I am missing the genius of F Troop, because I just don’t see it here. It’s rather simple television, but it feels like the worst kind in which there’s nothing really to see and no one to really care about. If anyone out there is a fan of F Troop, let me in on the secret – I’m still looking for it.

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About Matthew Milam

  • Ruvy in Jerusalem

    You dug in a pile of trash and came up with – shit. No wonder your hands stink… F Troop was juvenile comedy at best. I’d rather not think of “at worst.”