Friday, March 12, 2010

AfterM*A*S*H Episode 13 - Chief of Staff

Season 1, Episode 13: Chief of Staff
Original Air Date: 1/2/84
Written by: Gordon M
Directed by: Burt Brinckerhoff

Klinger gets a secret call from Mildred Potter, and its clear they are planning a surprise for Col. Potter.

Meanwhile, Col. Potter is busy examining Mike D'Angelo, who is having a problem with his prostate, and requires surgery. D'Angelo is embarrassed and afraid, but Potter tries to convince him its a completely safe procedure--not to mention necessary, or it'll just get worse until D'Angelo is in agony.

We learn that Father Mulcahy is in on the big surprise for Col. Potter, as well, and the constant phone calls are starting to get noticed. Klinger has to keep Potter distracted and busy.

Mike D'Angelo, ashamed of the procedure he's about to undergo, has Alma Cox tell all his family and friends he's out of town so no one will know. He's convinced he might die on the table, and gives Alma a letter that supposedly contains his most private thoughts.

Col. Potter notices Father Mulchay carrying a box of...something through the hospital halls, but Mulcahy won't tell Potter what's inside. He hastily departs before he has to answer any further questions.

After a run-in with a nurse who freezes up when a patient has a seizure, Potter heads back to his office. When Klinger tries to keep him out of it, Potter begins to figure out that, since his birthday is the following day, its all part of some surprise party. Klinger protests his innocence, and Potter plays along.

Alma Cox is waiting patiently outside the OR as Mike D'Angelo is going under the knife. She can't bear not knowing what's in the letter, so she opens it, thinking its a romantic declaration. It is, but not the kind she wants: D'Angelo reveals he still loves his ex-wife, and its up to Alma to find her and deliver his ashes to her. Alma is crushed, barely caring when Potter tells her the procedure went perfectly, and D'Angelo will be fine.

Cox, in a fit of pique, gets so mad she announces D'Angelo's operation over the hospital P.A., inviting everyone within earshot to go visit D'Angelo while he recuperates in his room.

Potter goes back to his office to find Klinger, Father Mulcahy, Soon-Lee, and Mildred waiting for him. He's sure waiting for him in his office is a birthday party, and heads inside. But he's shocked at what he sees: they have filled his office with all his stuff from his office back at the 4077th--nameplate, saddle, paintings and all.

Late into the night, Mildred and Soon-Lee are asleep as Col. Potter, Klinger, and Mulcahy tell old stories about their days back in Korea. Potter reminisces, "The 4077th: it was cold, it was was one of the best times of my life."

Fun Facts: There's a line in this episode that is a direct quote from M*A*S*H, when Col. Potter reminds Klinger that every time he lies, his nose gets shorter.

This episode, overall, is the one that makes the most direct connection to the original series, with its use of many of the show's props, a mention of Frank Burns, and a reprise of "Suicide is Painless" (played over the scene of Potter looking over all his old things).

Ironic, then, that this episode was neither written or directed by any of AfterM*A*S*H regulars who also worked on M*A*S*H--Ken Levine & David Isaacs, Dennis Koenig, Larry Gelbart, or Burt Metcalfe.

Favorite Line: Grizzled veteran Bob Scanell gets into an argument with another elderly patient, and it develops into a fight. Scanell asks, "How'd you like to limp outside?"


What the Parrot Saw said...

A tad mawkish? Sure.

Over-reaching to its parent series? You bet.

Recycles (partially) the plot of "Settling Debts"? Probably.

That said- love it. Might have made a nice bonus on the M*A*S*H GFA DVD set. :-)

Donald said...

In this episode Potter claims he's about to 60. But in one episode he tells Sidney he's 62.

Blake2903 said...

"The 4077th: it was dirty, it was a nightmare. It was one of the best times of my life..."

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