Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Episode 18 - Dear Dad...Again

Season 1, Episode 18: Dear Dad...Again
Original Air Date: 2/4/73
Written by: Sheldon Keller & Larry Gelbart
Directed by: Jackie Cooper

Hawkeye writes another letter home, chronicling the experiences at the 4077th.

The most notable development is the addition of another doctor, Adam Casey (Alex Henteloff), who is a top-flight surgeon. The only problem is, he's not a real doctor--something he confesses to Father Mulcahy.

During downtime, Hawkeye and Trapper make a bet that Hawkeye can walk the camp naked and no one will notice. He makes it all the way into the Mess Tent until one of the Corpsman (Roy Goldman, making what I believe is his very first appearance on the show, who would go on to stay on the series until its final episode) drops his tray in shock. Trapper wins the bet.

Hawkeye eventually learns of Casey's lack of credentials, and takes over for him mid-surgery. Later, he makes a deal with Casey--he won't turn him in, on the condition he never touch another patient again. Casey agrees, and admits to faking a number of professions--he has the skill, he just doesn't have the patience to do it by the book.

Later, as Casey prepares to ship out, he's decided to try on a new role--one of a chaplain.

Fun Facts: There were battles between the network and the show about the use of the laugh track. The producers didn't want it used at all (since of course the show was not shot in front of a live audience), but CBS insisted.

So they struck a deal, where the laugh track would be used, except in surgery--which seemed too serious to have people giggling all over it. This episode violates that rule, where you hear the laughs kick in when Hawkeye tells a joke to Nurse Bayliss.

Take a look at the moment where Pvt. Goldman drops his tray in reaction to Hawkeye being naked--its one of the few moments of really bad acting on the show. Goldman sees Hawkeye, pauses for a full second, then lifts his hands slightly and drops his tray, in mock surprise. Its so horribly fake its funny all in its own way.

Favorite Line: As Hawkeye prepares for his streaking jaunt, he asks Trapper for a shot of liquid courage.

Trapper responds: "We don't normally serve people without neckties."


Anonymous said...

I never knew about the laugh track/surgery rule, but now that you point it out, I realize that surgery always did seem laugh-less.

I remember watching this episode with my dad, and him saying, "There was a real guy like that, who pretended to be all these different jobs, and he could do them all really well..." - he couldn't remember that guy's name, but of course it was Frank Abagnale, Jr. - recently discussed (in a roundbout way) in another of your blogs.

Rob As Well said...

I am so glad they gives us the option of turning off the laugh track on (almost) every episode. I was aware of the no-laugh-track-during-surgey thing, but I've always thought the show is so much better without it in every scene.

I have another gripe about the actual DVD setups across the seasons, but I'll save that for another post. ;)

Anonymous said...

Actually i believe in the episode when Henry get's a needle in the hand has laughing in the O.R. ,,after Henry passes out.

Anonymous said...

I just watched this on MeTV -- they were certainly still getting the feel of the show down. That scene with Henry and Radar drags on for far too long.

Chris said...

I just watched this on MeTV and saw, for the first time, the extended scene of Frank drinking the night away. Hilarious, and I'm so glad that MeTv is including some of these rare scenes that have been consistently cut from syndication.

I am also amazed at how, after watching this show for 35 years, I'm still seeing new stuff. Thanks for your blog. I check it when MASH is on and see if I agree with your favorite lines.

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