Season 11, Episode 246: Strange Bedfellows
Original Air Date: 1/10/83
Written by: Karen Hall
Directed by: Mike Farrell
Col. Potter is excited over the upcoming visit of his son-in-law Bobby, who is on a working tour for the novelty company he works for.
While Hawkeye and B.J. deal with Winchester's allergy-induced bout of snoring, Potter is thrilled with Bobby (Dennis Dugan) arrives on schedule. They talk about how, initially, they didn't get along, but now they're fast friends. Bobby even calls Potter "Pop."
Bobby complains of being tired, and they meet up again in the O Club. But only after a few drinks, Bobby again talks of being tired, and heads off to bed.
Back in his office, Col. Potter takes a call from a hotel in Tokyo, looking for a Mr. Bob Wilson. When Potter says he's in the camp, the hotel mentions that Mrs. Wilson left her nightgown in the hotel room. Potter, stunned, hangs up the phone.
The next day, Potter is curt and stiff around Bob, who tries to make small talk. He senses something is wrong, but Potter won't let on. Later, Potter goes to visit Father Mulcahy, and vents, telling him he plans to call his daughter back home and tell him what's happened.
Father Mulcahy tries to counsel patience, advising Col. Potter that he talk to Bob first, before he does something rash that might end their marriage. Potter is shocked, and flashes some anger at Mulcahy, thinking he's been too lenient on his son-in-law. Furious, he storms out.
Later that night, Col. Potter calls his daughter, prepared to tell her the truth. But something stops him from doing so, and he pretends the call was just to say hello.
The next morning, Bob prepares to leave, with things still awkward between him and Col. Potter. But before he goes, Potter reveals he knows the truth, but in a surprising way--he tells him about one time when he "slipped up" and was unfaithful to Mildred, admitting that for a week afterward, he felt so bad he couldn't look her in the eye, and could never live with that kind of guilt again.
Bob comes clean, at first offering excuses, but then admitting that he knew what he was doing, even though he knew it was wrong. He promises it'll never happen again, and says that he truly loves his wife and son, and would never want to do anything to hurt them.
Col. Potter accepts this, and he hopes that Bob will always be a part of his family.
Fun Facts: Dennis Dugan previously appeared in Season Three's "Love and Marriage", where he also played a duplicitous creep. What was it about Dugan that M*A*S*H casting director's saw in him?
The scene where Col. Potter admits he once cheated on Mildred is a great scene--well-written and well-acted. But it troubles me a bit, because it means that every married male character on the show--Trapper, Henry, Frank, B.J., and Col. Potter--all cheated on their wives at least once.
I'm sure that servicemen cheating on their wives while they were stuck overseas was quite common, but it might have been nice if just one of M*A*S*H's regulars hadn't been revealed to have fallen off the fidelity wagon.
Favorite Line: Winchester tries to share his innermost feelings to Father Mulcahy--regarding his snoring. Acting as though this is greatest suffering any human has ever endured, Mulcahy just can't take it anymore, and admits, "Major, your attitude gives me the willies!"