Wednesday, March 3, 2010

AfterM*A*S*H Episode 4 - Staph Inspection

Season 1, Episode 4: Staph Inspection
Original Air Date: 10/17/83
Written by: Ken Levine & David Isaacs

Directed by: Burt Metcalfe

Things are happening all at once at General General: an old Cavalry friend of Col. Potter's named Rivers (Charles Tyner) shows up, a staph infection breaks out, and news comes that a staff inspection is taking place in just three days!

Mike D'Angelo puts the word out about the inspection, and puts Alma Cox in charge of getting the hospital in shape. She takes this as an opportunity to threaten Klinger's job once again.

Dr. Pfeiffer examines Rivers, and he believes its cancer. He tells this to Col. Potter, who flatly refuses to believe that the tough old man that he served with back in WWI is dying.

Meanwhile, news of the inspection spreads through the hospital, and rumors begin to fly: at first, layoffs are possible, then certain, then the whole hospital is being closed!

Col. Potter examines Rivers himself, and Pfeiffer is, sadly, right: its cancer. Col. Potter takes it upon himself to deliver the news to Rivers personally, but when the time comes he can't quite bring himself to tell Rivers the truth. Instead, they talk about the old days.

D'Angelo puts pressure on Col. Potter to get to the bottom of the staph infection, but Potter is in no mood, and barks at D'Angelo to get off his back.

Potter is sitting quietly in his office when he's told Rivers is getting worse, and late at night they share a bottle of Cognac, swapping old stories. They stay up all night, drinking and laughing.

The next morning, Klinger tries to confiscate the one last bottle of booze he finds--the one in Col. Potter's hand as he walks down the hall. having just left his friend's room. He tries to take it from Potter, who angrily jerks it out of Klinger's hand. Bemoaning that "life is too short" for everyone to be working so hard just for the inspection, he orders everyone to go home and get some rest.

The morning of the inspection, Dr. Pfeiffer determines who's spreading the staph infection: Mike D'Angelo! All his glad-handing has been the culprit, so he's put in isolation, unable to greet the government inspectors (who are instead met by a patient who runs around the hospital flashing people).

A few days later, from a quarantined room, D'Angelo announces that General General passed the inspection with flying colors. As he drones on and on, each member of the staff stops listening and wanders off, leaving D'Angelo talking to an empty hall.

Fun Facts: The final scene with Potter and Rivers is exceptional: the room is dark, with only one small light over River's bed. As they talk, the camera pans back slowly, and Potter and Rivers get smaller and smaller.

Mrs. Potter does not appear in this episode.

Favorite Line: There's a nice sequence, done without any words, where Klinger, upon orders from Alma Cox, has to confiscate all the hooch the various veterans have smuggled in the hospital. He finds hidden bottles all over the place, and one patient even has an old football filled with the stuff!


Shawn kryptonkylie said...

Rob - I love what you are doing with your AfterM*A*S*H write-ups since I have never seen any episode of AfterM*A*S*H and probably won't unless they are officially released, but I have a favor (?) to ask of you. Would it be possible to have some kind of 'head shot' of each of the main characters so when I read the description of each episode I can picture them in my head?

While reading your M*A*S*H summaries I could always picture the scene because I was so familar with each episode, but since I don't have that frame of reference maybe knowing what each of the main characters look like will help a bit more?

Either way - keep on with your excellent blog!

Shawn / kryptonkylie

rob! said...


Not a bad idea!

Alma Cox is pictured with Klinger in yesterday's write-up for Episode 3, but I'll work on getting pics of the other characters I haven't shown yet.

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