Friday, August 7, 2009

Episode 129 - Images

Season 6, Episode 129: Images
Original Air Date: 11/15/77
Written by: Burt Prelutsky

Directed by: Burt Metcalfe

A patient in surgery is covered with tattoos, to the amazement of everyone in the O.R. Also during that same session, a newly-arrived Nurse named Cooper (Susan Blanchard) runs out on B.J. during an operation when she gets overwhelmed at what she sees.

Margaret reads Cooper the riot act, telling her that if she does that again she'll be transferred out. Some of the other nurses ask Hawkeye and B.J. to get Margaret to ease up on Cooper, but she's not having any of it.

Radar later asks the G.I. with all the tattoos about them, saying he wants to get one too. The G.I. (Larry Block) is very pro-tattoo, and when he one of the benefits of them is "the ladies won't leave you alone", that's all Radar needs to hear.

Meanwhile, Margaret has Cooper transferred out of O.R. duty, and recommends her transfer to Col. Potter.

When Potter gets Margaret's request, he has a talk with her in his office, where he turns the transfer down. Margaret is angry at being overruled, and says she'll only go along with it "if it's an order." Potter says it is, and Margaret storms out.

Radar turns to Hawkeye and B.J. for advice about a tattoo, but they are totally against it. Radar though is still determined to get one, so they accompany him to Rosie's Bar when he gets it to make sure everything is as antiseptic as possible.

While there, they meet a friendly Sergeant (John Durren) who is covered in tattoos, but gives Radar some horror stories about getting them, and tells him in no uncertain terms not to get one. Radar is swayed by this argument, until Klinger wanders in and spills the beans that this whole thing was a set-up. Radar, angry at being fooled, marches off to the back room to get his tattoo.

Meanwhile, Margaret overhears some nurses talking that the camp mutt (that Margaret had taken a shine to) was hit by a jeep and killed. She gets so upset she storms back to her tent, bumping into Hawkeye. He senses something is wrong, and after some pushing she starts to break down. In her tent, she insists she's not upset about the dog, but eventually the tears start to come.

Later in Post Op, Margaret talks to Nurse Cooper, and apologizes for being so tough. She leaves Cooper with the advice, "Just don't let it get to you."

In Radar's office, Hawkeye, B.J., and Col. Potter demand to see Radar's tattoo. Despite his protests, he is forced to drop his pants and show the tattoo he got on his rear end--a tiny teddy bear.

But its not a real tattoo--Radar was so afraid of the needle he had them draw it in with ink. Explaining it'll come off when he takes a bath, Hawkeye responds with, "My God, it is permanent."

Fun Facts: There's a scene in the Mess Tent between Margaret and Winchester, and after she leaves Winchester calls her "a spirited woman" with wide-eyed admiration. It seems like the writers were planting seeds of a possible romance between the two, but obviously nothing ever came of it.

There's also a scene in the Swamp where Winchester defends Gen. MacArthur after Hawkeye and B.J. make fun of him, in a speech similar to something you'd hear come out of Frank Burns' mouth. In later seasons, Winchester would make comments suggesting he follows politics only as how it relates to business, so this speech feels like a leftover from the show's previous dynamic.

Favorite Line: B.J. makes a crack about Winchester's dough, and he replies sarcastically, "Money, money, money." Hawkeye retorts: "Quiet, he's praying."


What the Parrot Saw said...

rob- I agree with both your observations in the "Fun Facts" here. It almost seems as if this episode was designed to create some links of continuity (beyond the recent additions to the cast, of course) to earlier seasons. There were hints of a bubbling attraction between Margaret and Charles this season.

Radar’s desire for a tattoo is amusing, but the idea feels like a leftover. Radar’s tattoo is in pen; should anyone be that surprised? (He seems like he was really looking for angles to score with the ladies this season. Thank heavens there wasn't a Very Special Episode in which Radar *ahem* loses it...)

On the other hand, Margaret’s attachment to the stray dog conveys far more effectively the soft heart beating beneath her tough exterior than her earlier confrontation with “The Nurses” in the previous season. Swit’s sudden emotion when she realizes how much she misses the dog remains one of her very best moments in the series. Her subplot is far more meaty than the silliness (albeit amusing silliness) of Radar wanting a tattoo; Swit’s performance is peerless in this scene. Some disagree.

Russell said...

I always enjoyed the subplot with Margaret and Cooper and the nurses more than the story about Radar's tattoo. Come on, you just know he isn't going to get one. But why Margaret is so tough, and how the other nurses (fine performances by all, Enid Kent and Judy Farrell as well as guest-nurse Susan Blanchard) react to/with her is always a pleasure to see. I'm a sucker for nurse stories, and I think it's a shame we didn't see more supporting characters more often. Anyway, we'll really get to see a changed Margaret later in the season when her friend visits from the 8063.

mark said...

The talk about MacArthur refers to his meeting with President Truman at Wake Island October 16, 1950, in the run-up to the midterm Congressional elections November 7 that year.

Nurse Cooper at first appears not to be cut out for a M*A*S*H unit, or even for nursing at all. After giving back to Margaret as good as she got, Margaret backed off a bit. The one nurse who really deserved Margaret's chewing her out was Gail Harris in "Nurse Doctor" (Season 8).

Unknown said...

I was wondering if the attitude that the cast displays towards getting a tattoo in this episode came from the 1950's, when this show was set, or from the 1970's, when the show was filmed. Does anyone know?

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