Thursday, December 31, 2009

Episode 245 - The U.N., The Night, and the Music

Season 11, Episode 245: The U.N., The Night, and the Music
Original Air Date: 1/3/83
Written by: Elias Davis & David Pollock

Directed by: Harry Morgan

The 4077th is visited by three U.N. delegates--Capt. Ramurti Lal from the Indian Army (Kavi Raz), Dr. Randolph Kent from England(George Innes), and Per Johannsen from Sweden (Dennis Holahan). Upon meeting the three of them, Margaret takes an instant liking to the handsome stranger from Sweden.

With Johannsen and Lal staying in the VIP Tent, Dr. Kent stays in the Swamp, and Winchester takes an instant like to him, since he can sense that Kent is a man of class and refined taste.

Unfortunately for Winchester, Dr. Kent's tastes are a tad too refined: he thinks nothing of belittling Winchester's opinions, mocking his taste in wine, paintings, and vacation destinations. Instead of being insulted, Winchester keeps trying to curry Kent's approval.

Meanwhile, Johannsen has a private talk with Hawkeye, regarding Margaret's interest in him. He tells Hawkeye that normally he'd be thrilled at such attention, but he recently suffered a wound that left him impotent. Ashamed, he asks Hawkeye to run interference for him with Margaret. Hawkeye agrees, much to Margaret's sputtering fury, especially after he breaks up a party with just the two of them in the O Club.

Later, Margaret stops by Per's tent, on the pretense of apologizing for Hawkeye but really to try again with him. He nervously lets her in, but they quickly develop a rapport, making each other laugh and telling stories. The light mood is broken when Margaret makes a move on Per, which he awkwardly rejects.

Eventually, Per levels with her, and shares what's been troubling him. Margaret apologizes for putting Per in such a difficult position, and she immediately offers to stay and talk and get to know one another, an offer Per happily accepts.

Meanwhile, back at the Swamp, Winchester has had enough of Kent's derision, and finally lets him know that no matter how respected his family is, he's a snob.

This induces fits of laughter in Kent, who fesses up that his family isn't part of high society--rather, his parents are servants to an esteemed family, and Kent paid his way through medical school as the chauffeur. By their employment his family experienced all the finer things Winchester takes for granted.

Kent, immediately sensing Winchester's assumption, led him on, waiting for the right moment to point out to Winchester his ridiculous, arrogant notion that only people of breeding have any taste or class. He ends the discussion with "You've been outclassed by the son of a bloody butler!"

Winchester is insulted, and Hawkeye, overhearing all this from his cot, dissolves into hysterical laughter.

The next morning, all three of the U.N. reps depart, with Per and Margaret having spent a wonderful night together getting to know one another. They make plans to see each other again.

Meanwhile, Winchester suggests Kent drive the jeep, since, "After all, he's a professional."

Fun Facts: There's a B-plot about B.J. and his inability to level with a patient who has to have his leg removed. There's an amazing moment where the patient realizes what has happened, and even though he holds no grudge, it causes B.J. to shed a real tear, which we can see drip down Mike Farrell's cheek.

Favorite Line: Hawkeye, bored, has nothing to do but hang out in the Swamp, so he is stuck overhearing the Snob-Off between Winchester and Kent. When Winchester talks about the first time he drank a particularly good bottle of wine, he remarks, "It was at that point I no longer considered myself a virgin enophile."

Hawkeye, disgusted: "Good God."

I'm not doing the line justice--Alda delivers it with just the perfect amount of disgust and bewilderment, so much so I laugh every time I hear it.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Episode 244 - Run For The Money

Season 11, Episode 244: Run For The Money
Original Air Date: 12/20/82
Written by: Elias Davis & David Pollock and Mike Farrell

Directed by: Nell Cox

Klinger is excited over the prospect of yet another can't-fail, fool-proof scam: long-distance runner Jessie McFarland has been assigned to the 4077th, and will be arriving shortly.

His plan is to schedule a race against the 8063rd, who has a top-flight runner on camp. Klinger guesses that the 8063rd will think the 4077th is sure to lose, not knowing they've got McFarland on their staff.

Hawkeye and B.J. are initially not at all interested, tired of being caught up in another of Klinger's scams. But after Margaret goes along with the plan (to get revenge on the 8063rd's Head Nurse), they badger the doctors into going along with it.

After tending to some wounded engineers (including one who stutters, and is mocked by his comrades for it), McFarland arrives--except its Jessie McFarland Sr., an older, vastly overweight "tired old soldier." The runner in question is Jessie McFarland Jr.--a little detail Klinger missed.

During a mail delivery, Klinger tries to butter everyone up, but they remain furious at Klinger for roping them into this. The one person he doesn't have to schmooze is Winchester (who receives a tape-recorded letter from his sister Honoria in the mail), who tells Klinger not to worry because he didn't bet, and "I don't like you anyway."

Then Margaret hits on the idea to put up the one genuine runner they have in camp--Father Mulcahy. He turns them down at first, but after continued pressure he relents, and begins training.

While everyone is wrapped up with the race, Winchester is tending to the wounded engineers in Post Op. He catches wind of their commander, Captain Sweeney (Thomas Callaway), mocking the stuttering young man, Pvt. Palmer (Phil Brock) in front of everyone.

Winchester takes Capt. Sweeney outside, promising that if he hears one more unkind word towards Pvt. Palmer come from Sweeney's lips, he will personally writer a letter detailing Sweeney's inhumanity and have it placed in his personal file. Sweeney tries to protest, but Winchester cuts him off.

Later, the race between Mulcahy and the 8063rd's runner, Pvt. LeMasters (Mark Anderson) begins, and almost immediately Mulcahy falls behind.

In Post Op, Winchester takes Palmer to get some x-rays, but Palmer sees quickly that's a ruse. Winchester has a heart-to-heart talk with Palmer, trying to reassure him that just because he stutters, it doesn't mean Palmer isn't smart, something Palmer seems convinced of.

Winchester confides to the young man that he reads comics books like Palmer does, but says that Palmer is smart enough to tackle more complex literature--like Moby Dick, a leather-bound copy of which he gives to Palmer as a gift.

Palmer asks why Winchester is being so nice to him, but Winchester deflects the question and takes him back to Post Op. Later, we see Winchester sitting down in the Swamp, preparing to listen to the audio tape his sister sent him. We learn that Honoria stutters as well. As she goes on, we see a look of utter contentment on
Winchester's face.

Meanwhile, the race between Mulcahy and LeMasters heads into the final stretch. Somehow, Mulcahy has managed to almost catch up, and then he passes LeMasters!

But just before he crosses the finish line, Mulcahy issues a demand: all the winnings go to the orphanage, or he'll let LeMasters win. Everyone agrees, and Mulcahy wins the race.

Later, Mulcahy reveals that LeMasters threw the race--during moments when he let Mulcahy catch up, he would make "chit-chat" about the poor starving orphans, which browbeat LeMasters so much he agreed to let Mulcahy win.

Fun Facts: I wrote a piece for my Hey Kids, Comics! blog centered around this episode, which you can read here.

The scene with Winchester listening to Honoria's audio tape is so sweet, so perfect, that its one of my all-time favorite moments of the series.

Favorite Line: Klinger, trying to convince Hawkeye and B.J. to go along with his scam: "Guys, I've been adding up some numbers."

B.J.: "Well, you'd better sit down, your fingers must be exhausted."

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Episode 243 - The Moon Is Not Blue

Season 11, Episode 243: The Moon Is Not Blue
Original Air Date: 12/13/82
Written by: Larry Balmagia

Directed by: Charles S. Dubin

The 4077th is undergoing a heat wave, and that makes the camp movie--Sahara--all the more unendurable, especially since its been shown every night for the past month.

Hawkeye and B.J. get so disgusted they confront the guy who delivers the movies--a nervous Corporal named Bannister (Sandy Helberg), but he says he has no pull over what movie is sent. That's the job of Major Frankenheimer, who Hawkeye and B.J. plan to visit personally.

To make matters worse, a General named Rothaker (Larry Ward), in Post Op recovering from a minor wound, bans all alcohol on in camp after he smelled beer on the breath of a corpsman. Potter tries to protest, but Rothaker is adamant.

Hawkeye and B.J. read an article in a newspaper about a supposedly explicit movie named The Moon is Blue, and they decide seeing the movie--banned in Boston--is just the thing they need to lift their spirits. Winchester tries to warn them not to get too excited ("In Boston they would've banned Pinocchio"), but they won't listen.

They go to visit Major Frankenheimer (Hamilton Camp), but he's oily and insincere, and he has no interest in helping them out. He laughs at the idea of getting them The Moon is Blue, but Hawkeye and B.J. get him to agree that if they can get their hands on a print, he'll ship it to them.

Before they leave, Hawkeye and B.J. do a favor for Bannister, who is a quivering mass around women. When he learns he has a blind date, he's too nervous to even contemplate it. Hawkeye and B.J. give Bannister a pill that increases confidence (actually just a sugar pill) so he'll be able to cal the girl and take her out.

Hawkeye and B.J., back at the 4077th, ask Klinger to pull some strings to see if he can get the movie. He owes them for giving him a cure for the excessive heat (the same sugar pills), and the next day he's managed to get a hold of The Moon is Blue!

Unfortunately, Major Frankenheimer is a lying skunk, and even though he has the movie in his hands, he refuses to send it to the 4077th, re-routing it to some generals. Instead, he's sending them State Fair!

Hawkeye and B.J. get an idea, and call Bannister. They ask him to switch the labels on the film cans for The Moon is Blue and State Fair, which Bannister readily agrees to.

That night, everyone is in the Mess Tent for the movie, with only Hawkeye and B.J. realizing what they'll really be seeing. Except, unbeknownst to them, Col. Potter made arrangements with Gen. Rothaker to pull some strings and get The Moon is Blue. Everyone is disappointed--and confused--when State Fair starts up instead.

Weeks later, the 4077th finally gets a hold of The Moon is Blue, but its a huge disappointment--its almost all talk, and not anywhere near as smutty as Hawkeye and B.J. hoped. B.J. complains, "There was more dirt in this morning's breakfast!"

Fun Facts: This is actor Hamilton Camp's second appearance on the show, having previously played Cpl. "Boots" Miller in Season Six's "Major Topper."

A clip of the 1945 version of State Fair is shown, which co-starred Harry Morgan. The episode also mentions High Noon, which also co-starred...Harry Morgan!

Favorite Line: Hawkeye and B.J. are disgusted how relatively clean The Moon is Blue is, despite all the hype.

Father Mulcahy: "One of the actors did say 'virgin.'"

Hawkeye, disgusted: "That's cause everyone was!"

Monday, December 28, 2009

Episode 242 - Settling Debts

Season 11, Episode 242: Settling Debts
Original Air Date: 12/6/82
Written by: Thad Mumford & Dan Wilcox

Directed by: Michael Switzer

Col. Potter notices that Hawkeye gets a letter from...Mrs. Potter?

He demands to know what it says, but Hawkeye refuses to say anything. This drives Col. Potter crazy, and he starts to think it involves his wife Mildred buying a houseboat, something he is dead-set against.

But its not a house-boat--Mildred wrote to Hawkeye to tell him that she has scrimped and saved, and managed to pay the mortgage off early. She's telling Hawkeye and the rest this so they can throw him a mortgage-burning party at the 4077th.

Everyone gets involved in the surprise party, and they try to keep Col. Potter busy and in the dark long enough to get it ready in his tent--cake, fake picket fence, and all. Being in the dark gets Potter furious, and his imagination runs away with him--he's convinced he's going to spend his retirement years on a damned houseboat!

He tries to place a call into Mildred, so Klinger has to keep stalling to keep the call from going through. Margaret comes up with a complicated plan for a new nurse shift rotation, which she shoves in Potter's face trying to keep him busy.

To Margaret's surprise, though, Potter likes the plan, and heads back to his tent. Then Father Mulcahy steps in, and gets Potter to go a few rounds with his punching bag, to relieve some stress.

Potter has finally had enough, and goes to his tent, where everyone is waiting for him. They explain what all the secrecy was about, and Potter is moved to tears over his friends efforts, and the idea that he and Mildred now own their home, lock, stock, and barrel.

Hawkeye and the rest give him a gift: an engraved lighter, which he uses to burn the mortgage.

Fun Facts: There's a B-plot in this episode a brave young lieutenant (Jeff East) who is gravely wounded by a North Korean sniper. Some of the lieutenant's men, who respect him immensely, plan to shoot the sniper in cold blood if their commander ends up paralyzed. The lieutenant, post-surgery, wakes up long enough to tell his men to stand down.

Favorite Line: Potter, enraged over the fact that Mildred bought the houseboat, starts throwing papers all over his office. In his rage, he grabs the framed portrait of Mildred--then Klinger stops him.

Klinger: "Don't do that, sir! You'll never forgive yourself!"

Potter, talking to the picture: "Lucky for you, he was here."

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Episode 241 - Bombshells

Season 11, Episode 241: Bombshells
Original Air Date: 11/28/82
Written by: Dan Wilcox & Thad Mumford

Directed by: Charles S. Dubin

B.J. is thrilled to have the day off, and plans to spend it with a chopper pliot friend fishing.

While on their way to the lake, they spot a wounded solider laying in the brush. They land, load him onto one of the pads, and head back home. But on the way back, they spot another wounded G.I. With no place to land, the chopper pilot has B.J. lower a rope down to the wounded man, and they'll carry him off to a clearer spot.

But the G.I. is too weak to get the rope around him securely, so B.J. prepares to climb down and do it. Just as he begins to get out, snipers start firing on the chopper. One bullet hits the oil cooler, sending black smoke spilling out. The pilot says that the extra weight is too much and they can't take off. He demands B.J. cut the rope, which B.J. protests, saying the young man will be killed if they leave him behind.

The pilot insists, saying they'll all be killed if they stay where they are. B.J., panicking, cuts the rope, and the wounded solider falls to the ground. The chopper takes off, and heads back to the 4077. B.J. is haunted by what he's done, and he tries to find out if any of the other wounded know who that young man was. But no one seems to know.

Before the chopper pilot leaves, he commends B.J. for trying to save the guy, telling him he put B.J. in for a medal. He tries calling I-Corps to find out if the 8063rd has reported any wounded matching the wounded soldier, but they are no help. Col. Potter asks B.J. about the medal, but B.J. is tight-lipped and only asks that Potter stop the medal from going forward, which Potter agrees to, a tad confused.

B.J. heads to the 8063rd himself to see if the young man is there, but he has no luck. He makes it back to the 4077th just in time to catch the giant welcoming celebration for Marilyn Monroe, who everyone believes is coming to visit. After its clear that Marilyn isn't coming, a visiting General (Gerald O'Laughlin) goes ahead with awarding B.J. with a medal for bravery. B.J. grimly accepts it, wandering off towards the Swamp after the party breaks up.

Hawkeye follows him, and B.J. admits how disgusted he is with himself: he has always considered himself anti-authority, anti-war, and "oh-so superior" to those "military fools who kill each other." But he realizes that, in that moment in the chopper, he was everything he thought he wasn't. Hawkeye tries to comfort him, but it doesn't work.

Hawkeye is called away by a patient, who miraculously recovers when he overheard that Marilyn Monroe was coming to the 4077th. B.J. gives the young man his Bronze Star, and when asked what he did to deserve the citation, B.J. says, "Its a little something we give you for getting out of here with your butt in one piece."

Fun Facts: The B-plot involving Marilyn Monroe supposedly visiting the 4077th gets started by Hawkeye and Winchester, and it quickly snowballs completely out of control. Hawkeye has a whole bit where he calls Marilyn's movie studio pretending to be Ted Williams, and has to rely on Winchester for faking he's from Massachusetts. A great bit of phone comedy, ala Bob Newhart.

Favorite Line: B.J.'s scene with Hawkeye, where he faces up to what he did, is fantastic. He mocks his and Hawkeye's superior attitude to all things military, and then concludes with: "Good luck, pal, I hope you can keep it up...the minute I cut that rope they made me a soldier."

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Episode 240 - Who Knew?

Season 11, Episode 240: Who Knew?
Original Air Date: 11/22/82
Written by: Elias Davis & David Pollock

Directed by: Harry Morgan

Hawkeye returns to the Swamp in the middle of the night, waking B.J. as he brags about the great night he just had with a new nurse, Lt. Millie Carpenter.

The next morning, during breakfast in the Mess Tent, Col. Potter delivers some grim news: Lt. Millie Carpenter has been killed. Apparently, she went for a stroll in the hills, and stepped on a landmine. Everyone is shocked and saddened, but none of them volunteer to say "a few words" at Millie's memorial service.

Later, Hawkeye finds Father Mulcahy as he goes through Millie's personal items, looking for information about her to prepare the service. After making small talk, he volunteers to deliver Millie's eulogy.

He starts asking people in camp about Millie, but no one has much to say about her: Margaret can only say "she was a good nurse", and even her fellow nurses don't have much to add other than commenting that when Millie got sent a big box of fudge from home, she only gave her roommates one piece each.

Hawkeye grows so frustrated that he decides to give up trying to write a eulogy, turning the job back over to Father Mulcahy. But Mulcahy suggests he read Millie's diary, which he found among Millie's personal items.

Hawkeye takes it back to the Swamp and reads, and we hear Millie's words in a voice over. We learn that she felt a lot for Hawkeye, but never let on. She ends the diary mentioning she's going to go take a walk, the last thing she would ever do.

Hawkeye is deeply troubled over what he's read, knowing that he never would have let Millie get close, insistent as he is on keeping things casual. He's convinced that their relationship would have been the same at six months than it was after the first few dates.

The next day, Hawkeye delivers the eulogy, sharing a few facts about Millie: the big box of fudge that Millie was so stingy with was given out to the wounded in Post Op, during the night shift so no one ever saw what she was doing. Also, she bravely volunteered to work at a MASH because she was so in awe of the work everyone was doing.

Hawkeye decides to use this moment to learn something: to try and not be so reserved about his feelings, and to let people know what they mean to him--something Millie never got the chance to do.

Hawkeye singles out Margaret, Col. Potter, Father Mulcahy, Charles, Klinger, and "Beej", telling each of them how much he loves them. He ends with saying "Goodbye, Millie."

Fun Facts: There's a great moment between Hawkeye and B.J. where they talk about Millie's memorial service, where Hawkeye gently chides the pre-fab service Mulcahy would offer.

As good as the memorial scene is, I always thought it was a little awkward that Hawkeye singles out the show's main characters as those closest to him. Of course, that makes sense, but I wonder how the nurses in the audience that Hawkeye had slept with felt about being left out?

The actress providing Millie's voice in uncredited.

There's a B-plot involving Winchester and Klinger where he tries to get Winchester to invest in a new product, what will be come the hula hoop. After some initial interest, Winchester decides the whole thing is ridiculous and withdraws his investment.

Favorite Line: When Klinger shows Winchester his invention, the proto-hula hoop, Winchester is none-too-impressed: "My word--you have invented...the circle!" Hasn't Winchester seen The Hudsucker Proxy?

Friday, December 25, 2009

Episode 239 - The Joker Is Wild

Season 11, Episode 239: The Joker Is Wild
Original Air Date: 11/15/82
Written by: John Rappaport and Dennis Keonig

Directed by: Burt Metcalfe

B.J. pulls a prank on Hawkeye in the Swamp, which Hawkeye thinks is utterly lame. He's not bothered by being the butt of a joke, just its tired premise. He brags about the classic jokes he and Trapper pulled, which seems to make B.J. a tad jealous.

B.J. pulls another tired gag on Margaret in the Mess Tent, and the discussion again turns to "the good old days", which inspires B.J. to surmise that Trapper was such a genius that he could pull a gag on everyone in the next 24 hours, with each victim having to do a striptease on top of a table while singing "You're The Tops."

Everyone wonders when B.J. is going to kick it off, but he demurs, saying he doesn't go in for that sort of thing--its only something the "legendary Trapper" could pull off.

The next day starts off with a prank being pulled on Winchester, followed quickly by one on Potter. This sets Hawkeye on edge, convinced that if he keeps his eye on B.J. he won't get gotten.

Soon after, Margaret, Father Mulcahy, and Klinger fall victim to B.J., too. The build-up of suspense drives Hawkeye nuts--he treats everyone he encounters like they are part of B.J.'s elaborate prank, even a visiting doctor from the 8063rd (Clyde Kusatsu), who thinks Hawkeye is completely insane.

Its gets so bad that Hawkeye can't even sleep, spending the night surrounded by a fence made of barbed wire, golf club in hand, twitching at every sound.

The next morning, everyone reconvenes in the Mess Tent, and a weathered, tired-looking Hawkeye is smug about not having been pranked by B.J.

Hawkeye lords it over B.J. so much that it inspires the rest of them to admit the real truth--none of them were actually pranked. It was all an elaborate ruse by B.J., designed to drive Hawkeye crazy--every single joke perpetuated on Winchester, Potter, et al, were all phony. As B.J. calls it, "The best joke was the joke that never came."

Hawkeye, admitting when he's been bested, climbs atop the Mess Tent table, drops his drawers, and sings "You're The Tops" at full blast. The doctor from the 8063rd happens by, and walks away shaking his head, utterly convinced Hawkeye is crazy.

The next morning, B.J. makes sure there are no hard feelings. Hawkeye says of course not, promising he'll "never tangle with the master again." The joke master, B.J., wakes up and we see Hawkeye has indeed gotten revenge--by shaving half of B.J.'s mustache off.

Fun Facts: This whole episode feels like a giant tribute to Wayne Rogers and/or Trapper John.

Since everyone at M*A*S*H knew this was the last season, I've always thought this episode was the series taking a moment to stop and pay homage (especially since Trapper is the only departed character not mentioned in the penultimate episode, "As Time Goes By").

Related to that, during the reminisces about Trapper in the Mess Tent, Hawkeye calls Trapper "A man of ahead of his time." He turns to Margaret, asking, "Right, Margaret?" to which she replies, "He was a ridiculous, juvenile child." Hawkeye, proud of the response, says, "See?"

Actor Clyde Kusatsu previously appeared in Season Eight's "Goodbye Cruel World", as well as Season Two's "Henry in Love" and "Officers Only."

Favorite Line: In an episode with many funny lines, nothing, but nothing, beats Hawkeye's prank on B.J. at the very end of the episode, pictured above. That one shot of B.J. with half a mustache (with Hawkeye silently losing it in the background, gleeful of pulling the joke off) remains one of my all-time favorite M*A*S*H moments. (And, in its own way, is yet another reference to days gone by)

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Episode 238 - Foreign Affairs

Season 11, Episode 238: Foreign Affairs
Original Air Date: 11/8/82
Written by: David Pollock & Elias Davis

Directed by: Charles S. Dubin

A French Red Cross volunteer named Martine LeClerc (Melinda Mullins) arrives in camp to visit some the wounded. Everyone takes a shine to her, none more so than Winchester, who seems immediately smitten.

Later that night, Margaret and Martine share drinks in the O Club, and Hawkeye immediately tries an all-art charm offensive on Martine. She's polite, but seems indifferent to his advances.

She is much more receptive to Winchester, whose class and intelligence immediately charms her. They quickly bond over their mutual love of all things French, leaving Margaret out of the loop. After a few awkward moments, she excuses herself leaving the two of them alone.

Winchester and Martine stay up all night talking, into the morning. Martine admits to a love of Spike Jones, which inspires Winchester to loosen up and admit something silliness he secretly loves: Tom & Jerry cartoons.

Everyone takes notice of the two of them, with Hawkeye and B.J. being kept busy with their own dilemma: one of their patients, a North Korean, is being bribed by an oily PR man (Jeffrey Tambor) to become a turncoat and come to America as a way to "sell" the war to the people back home. The North Korean flatly isn't interested, but the PR man won't take no for an answer.

Over the next couple of days, Winchester and Martine's relationship continues to deepen, and Winchester admits he feels as much for Martine as he has felt for anyone in his entire life. Martine admits that she, too, has never felt this way since the death of her beloved Robert. Sharing a bottle of wine in her tent, Winchester and Martine spend the night together.

The next day, the two of them go on a picnic, and Martine mentions the one time she posed nude for a painting. When Winchester innocently asks whether her husband Robert minded that, she says since they were never married, there wasn't any sort of jealousy.

As she continues her story, Winchester is thrown--he's getting a better sense of how "bohemian" (as he puts it) Martine is. While Martine talks of meeting his family, Winchester is deeply upset.

The next night, in the O Club, Winchester is cold and distant to Martine, and she's confused as to the change in his behavior. Back in the Swamp, they talk about it, and Winchester says his family is very conservative (in both definitions of that word) and would never be able to accept Martine's free-thinking ways.

Martine says what matters is whether he can accept her, not his family. He admits that, deep down, he cannot. Deeply saddened, she points out that she's even more sad for him. When Winchester asks why, she mentions that she wasn't attracted to Hawkeye because "He was too much the little boy", but now she sees that Winchester "is not enough of one."

She gets up to leave, planting a last gentle kiss on his lips before departing.

Fun Facts: Another installment of The Young Sherman Potter Adventures: he mentions a young mademoiselle he knew--seemingly intimately--back during WWI.

This is actor Soon-Tek Oh's final appearance on the series--he plays a South Korean translator helping the PR man get his message across to his would-be turncoat.

There's a great moment where, as Winchester leaves Martine in the O Club, he runs into Hawkeye and B.J. who goof on him for doing so. Without a trace of humor, Winchester spits out "Shut up" before blowing past them.

Favorite Line: The doctors are talking about the Winchester/Martine romance, and Potter observes: "That joie de vivre of her might be just the thing to oil his hinges."

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Episode 237 - Trick or Treatment

Season 11, Episode 237: Trick or Treatment
Original Air Date: 11/1/82
Written by: Dennis Keonig

Directed by: Charles S. Dubin

Its Halloween night at the 4077th, and a battalion of visiting Marines are getting hammered over at Rosie's Bar. Hawkeye, B.J., Col. Potter, Margaret, and Klinger are all in costume, planning to head over to the party.

Winchester, wanting nothing to do with any Halloween celebration, has volunteered to be on duty in Post Op. He ends up with first patient almost immediately--a Pvt. Mosconi (George Wendt) who stuck a pool ball in his mouth as a gag, but now can't get it back out. Winchester examines him, torturing the poor guy pretending not to even notice the ball jutting out of his jaw.

Before everyone can make the party, wounded arrive, including one young soldier already toe-tagged. There's so many patients that the doctors don't have time to examine the dead young man closely, so his body is put off to the side while they tend to the living.

During the session in OR, each of the doctors tell ghost stories. Everyone gets spooked, except for Winchester, who doesn't believe any of it.

More wounded arrive, keeping the doctors busy. We see the young dead solider laying on the compound. Except...he's not quite dead. We see his hand move slightly, then stop again. But no one notices.

Graves Registration arrives looking for any dead soldiers. There's still just the one, the young man came in that way. They carry the body onto their truck, but stop to grab a cup of coffee, leaving him there while they rest.

At the end of the night, all the wounded have been taken care of. Father Mulchay returns from a trip to the orphanage, and he runs into Hawkeye, who tells him how busy they were. Father Mulcahy asks if any of them need last rites, and the only one that does is the young man in the truck.

Just before Graves Registration drives off, Father Mulcahy stops them, wanting to give the man last rites. He climbs into the truck, and begins the ritual--then stops. He is shocked to see a tear falling from the man's eye, and he calls out for Hawkeye.

Later, in Post Op, all the doctors huddle around the young man, on his way to recovery now that he's been tended to. B.J. remarks this is the first time being "dead" wasn't terminal, and Hawkeye suggests "This is a ghost story none of us will ever be able to top."

Fun Facts: There's a great, angry speech from Potter to an MP looking to investigate a solider who ran over a chicken coop. He mentions having "A dozen types of blood squishing in my boots", having little time for such a penny ante distraction.

One of the drunken Marines is played by Andrew Dice Clay (here billed as Andrew Clay), of all people. He's not bad in this small role, and pretty funny. Obviously, his career took a very different path.

Favorite Line: Winchester, pretending not to fully comprehend why the Marine has a pool ball in his mouth. He looks at it, and says: "Oh, look, there's a little '6' painted on it! Could that old you are?"

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Episode 236 - Hey, Look Me Over

Season 11, Episode 236: Hey, Look Me Over
Original Air Date: 10/25/82
Written by: Alan Alda and Karen Hall

Directed by: Susan Oliver

With the threat of a Chinese invasion, the Army has moved the nurses out of the 4077th, leaving just the men. This quickly turns the place into a shambles--the place is a mess, equipment is lying all over the place, and the doctors are left with people like the hapless Igor to assist them in surgery.

Luckily for them, the Chinese have retreated, and the nurses are brought back, where they are treated like returning heroes. Everyone is happy, except for Margaret, who is furious when she learns that she and the nursing staff are expecting an inspection from the dreaded Col. Buckholtz in just five days.

Margaret rounds up the nurses--taking them away from their welcome home party--and heads into the OR. They are shocked speechless by the shambles left behind by the men, and Margaret barges into Potter's tent and demands to know how this could've happened.

The next day, the doctors have been drafted to help out, but they aren't much help. Hawkeye in particular is focused on trying to romance a nurse, seemingly any nurse that will respond to his come-on line. He's rejected by several of them, but is oblivious when Nurse Kellye hints that his line would work on her.

That night, the welcome home party is kicked off, and all of the nurses go except for Kellye, who glumly volunteers to finish up some last details. She even finishes the one task Hawkeye was assigned--to fix the Autoclave.

Later, in the O Club, Hawkeye tries putting the moves on various nurses, but still gets nowhere. Kellye is there, and she asks Hawkeye to dance, which he accepts. They dance the Lindy, but when it ends and a slow song comes on, Hawkeye awkwardly walks away, asking instead to buy Kellye a drink.

At the bar, they begin to talk, but within a few moments Hawkeye gets distracted by a nearby nurse, completely ignoring Kellye--so much so she wanders out of the O Club without him even noticing.

The next day, Col. Buckholtz (Peggy Feury) arrives, driving Margaret crazy with her stern and exacting manner. As good and sharp as Margaret is, its still not quite good enough for Buckholtz.

Hawkeye makes a joke about Buckholtz's manner, but Kellye snaps at him to be quiet. B.J. makes a similar joke, which Kellye responds to. Hawkeye notices this, and asks what the problem is.

They go out into Klinger's office and have it out--Kellye tells Hawkeye how hurt she is by his inattention, and how that over the years he's never taken notice of her, just because "I'm not 5 foot 9 with long blond hair and a nose you could fit into a bottlecap!"

Hawkeye, stunned, apologizes, but its clear Kellye is very hurt. Margaret--afraid Buckholtz will overhear the tumult--breaks it up, ordering Kellye to go with Buckholtz's aid (Gary Grubs) to inspect the supplies.

In the Mess Tent, Margaret sits with B.J. and Winchester, complaining about Buckholtz. B.J. and Winchester are sympathetic, but point out that what Buckholtz does to Margaret, Margaret does to the nurses, and look how that makes her feel. Margaret objects, but changes her mind when she overhears two nurses complaining about Buckholtz, saying, "She's almost as bad as Houlihan!"

In Post Op, Hawkeye watches as Kellye cares for a dying solider, holding his hand and being with him during his last few moments, putting him at ease. By the time he does, Kellye's eyes are filled with tears.

Later, Hawkeye visits the Nurses Tent, flowers in hand. Kellye assumes that whoever Hawkeye is there for, "she's not here."

Hawkeye says he's there to see her, and he apologizes, saying she was right--he never did really see her, even though they've worked together for so long. She thanks him, but can't ask him in, because--she's on a date with Buckholtz's aid, Lt. Geyer!

Margaret runs into one of her nurses who is working late into the night, correcting things pointed out by Buckholtz. Margaret tells her to forget all that, and take the rest of the night off.

Days later, Margaret finds out she passed the inspection, and has a drink to celebrate. Hawkeye puts on a slow song on the jukebox, then walks over to Kellye. He silently points to her cheek, then to his, and they get up and dance together.

Fun Facts: What an extraordinary opportunity this must have been for actress Kellye Nakahara--its almost unprecedented for a show to take a longtime supporting character and give them such a showcase. And Ms. Nakahara makes the most of it, delivering a great performance.

This is the first episode of the Eleventh, and final, season.

Favorite Line: After Hawkeye awkwardly refuses to dance a slow dance with Kellye, he offers her a drink instead.

She says, "Oh, I don't know, I'm a big drinker--something light." The bartender asks, "Want another Scotch on the Rocks?", to which Kellye tersely responds: "That'll be fine."

Sunday, December 20, 2009

M*A*S*H Trivia Game - 1982

Trivia-based games were all the rage in the early 80s (due mostly to Trivia Pursuit, which was a monster smash), and game manufacturers figured out a way to make trivia games on their own, based on specific properties. So why not a M*A*S*H game?

I remember having the cards, but have zero memory of the rest of the game. I have vague memories of trying to incorporate the M*A*S*H cards into games of TP I played with my parents, but it never quite worked.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

M*A*S*H Bubble Gum Card Set - 1982

M*A*S*H got its own bubble gum and trading card set, consisting of 66 cards featuring stills from the show (but only episodes from Season Six on), made by the Donruss company.

On the back are sections of a larger image that you were supposed to put together, puzzle-like. When all put together, it was (if memory serves, I haven't had these cards in a long time) a shot of the show's opening shot, seen above.

Friday, December 18, 2009

M*A*S*H Halloween Costume by Ben Cooper - 1981

What kid wouldn't want to go as Klinger for Halloween?

I saw these photos on an eBay auction for this costume and just had to er, borrow them for this post. Had the box been M*A*S*H-specific, I would've bid on it!

I've seen pictures of a similar (almost identical, really) Hawkeye costume, but this Klinger one is new to me. I guess its safe to assume there was a Hot Lips, too, since she and Hawkeye tended to be the two characters most represented on show-related merchandise, but a quick Google search didn't turn up any info one way or the other.

On a final note, I love the Batman Utility Belt-esque belt, complete with Caduceus buckle!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

M*A*S*H Jeep by Tri-Star - 1982

You have to give the manufacturers of the M*A*S*H toy line credit--they gave it their all. Not only did they produce a line of figures (seen here yesterday), but they produced a surprising number of vehicles and tie-in playsets to go along with the figures.

This M*A*S*H Jeep is a fairly pricey item to find nowadays, especially still complete and in the box. It even comes with an additional action figure, an all-purpose G.I. (which I've named "Goldman") which bares a resemblance to the Hawkeye figure, save for his blond hair. I don't know this for a fact, but I'm pretty sure this figure was never sold separately, making it exclusive to the jeep, ambulance and chopper sets (the last two I have not been able to get a hold of yet).

Interesting little tidbit on the back of the box: they picture the action figures available, and Tri-Star chose to show the Klinger in Drag figure, making the one dressed in standard fatigues the "variant", I guess.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

M*A*S*H Action Figures by Tri-Star - 1982


In 1982, there was an explosion of M*A*S*H-related merchandise, from games, t-shirts, shotglasses, and, improbably, action figures.

The above figures were released by Tri-Star in 1982, with the entire line consisting of Hawkeye, B.J., Col. Potter, Margaret (here called "Hot Lips"), Winchester, Klinger, and Father Mulcahy.

There are several questions that come to mind when you think of this particular line of toys--first, did anyone really think an adult show like M*A*S*H would be popular as a line of kids' toys? What were kids supposed to do with these?

Secondly, and even more of a mystery, is concerning the "variant" figure in the line--Klinger. Not only did they make a regular Klinger figure, but they also made one in drag! This has got to be the first (maybe still only?) action figure of a man wearing women's clothes produced for a mainstream audience.

Of course, Klinger had stopped wearing his Section 8 outfits a few years earlier, making the decision to produce a figure like this even more of a head-scratcher.

This was years before the whole toy collector sub-market sprang up in force, so these figures pretty much came and went, despite the show's massive popularity. Even now, they can be found fairly cheaply on eBay--I think I managed to amass this whole set for less than $100 total.

Of course, the most expensive figure of the set is--you guessed it--Klinger in drag!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Episode 235 - That Darn Kid

Season 10, Episode 235: That Darn Kid
Original Air Date: 4/12/82
Written by: Karen Hall

Directed by: David Ogden Stiers

Klinger runs into a local merchant selling, among other things, a live goat. Smelling a financial opportunity, he borrows some money from Hawkeye and B.J.
to buy it, figuring he can use it to provide fresh milk to the rest of the 4077th for a pretty penny.

While Hawkeye, stuck being Paymaster, doles out money to the camp, Klinger sets up a table nearby trying to get people to buy a glass of milk.

Hawkeye has only given out pay to a couple of people when wounded arrive. Klinger puts the money--and the goat--in his office for safekeeping. When he and Hawkeye return to retrieve it, they see that the goat contentedly munching on the money!

Most of the money is now gone, having been digested, and Hawkeye is forced to tell everyone there's going to be a delay in getting paid, which of course is not met with good cheer.

They tell I-Corps what happened, and they send someone to investigate the missing money, an irritated Major Van Zandt (John P. Ryan), who is in the middle of a complicated report for his commander, and has to put it aside to look into what he calls "this ridiculous goat story."

Van Zandt doesn't believe Hawkeye's story, and after a cursory examination decides Hawkeye is solely responsible for the missing money, which means his wages will be garnished until all of the $22,000 is paid back.

Hawkeye, Potter, and Klinger devise a plan: Klinger claims there's a call from Van Zandt's commander, getting him out of the VIP tent. The call is mysteriously "lost", so Van Zandt returns to his tent, only to see the self-same goat munching his report!

Van Zandt is furious, and Col. Potter and Hawkeye arrive to see what the trouble is. Van Zandt smells a set up, and Col. Potter makes him an offer: if Van Zandt confirms that the goat ate the money, then they will verify that it ate his report--getting both of them out of trouble.

Van Zandt agrees, taking the goat with him as evidence. Potter quietly remarks that its amazing how paper much goats will eat--especially when you smother a little molasses on it!

Fun Facts: This is the last episode of the tenth season, which would be the show's last season consisting of a standard twenty-four episodes.

Hawkeye, trying to get out of being Paymaster, claims he "Already did it once this war", referring to the Season Three episode "Payday."

There's a funny line in the O Club, when Igor mentions that the only beverage he has left is a case of Grape Nehi, which "Nobody drinks around here since Radar shipped out."

Favorite Line: Potter runs into Hawkeye on the compound, and remarks that he probably hasn't read the bulletin board in the last day or two.

Hawkeye agrees, asking: "How do you know?"

Potter: "Because you haven't come screaming to me."

Hawkeye: "Why would I come creaming to you?"

Potter: "Because there's a notice there that says its your turn to be Paymaster."

Hawkeye, exploding: "I don't want to be paymaster!"

Potter, almost delighted, points at Hawkeye: "That's more like it!"

Monday, December 14, 2009

Episode 234 - Picture This

Season 10, Episode 234: Picture This
Original Air Date: 4/5/82
Written by: Karen Hall

Directed by: Burt Metcalfe

Col. Potter's anniversary is coming up, and he's stumped at what to get his wife Mildred. He finally hits on the idea of painting a portrait of his other family--the 4077th--and sending it to her.

Unfortunately he's picked the worst possible time to try and get everyone together, since minor squabbles have broken out among them all, quickly blowing up into full-grown fights.

Hawkeye and B.J. are on each other's nerves, so much so that Hawkeye temporarily moves out of the Swamp, taking up residence in a small hut behind Rosie's.

This leaves B.J. and Winchester alone together, and while it starts off well, their relationship quickly devolves too--B.J. is telling numerous stories about his daughter Erin, which he finds endlessly fascinating, driving Winchester insane.

The fighting is so bad that they can't even stay civil while Col. Potter tries to paint them all, and he gets so frustrated he calls it off. Later, he decides to paint them in groups of two, keeping all the Swamp Rats separate.

Margaret, Klinger, and Father Mulcahy each decide to intervene, and individually come up with plans to get the doctors back together--Margaret tells Hawkeye that B.J.'s daughter is having some problems with her potty training, trying to inspire some sympathy from Hawkeye.

Father Mulcahy works on Winchester, telling him--supposedly confidentially--that Hawkeye wants to come back to the Swamp. Winchester, realizing Hawkeye is a good buffer from B.J.'s endless stories of domesticity, is sympathetic to the idea.

Klinger goes to B.J. and tells him that he overheard Winchester recording a letter to his sister Honoria, scheming to drive B.J. out of the Swamp, as well, so he can have the place to himself.

Eventually Hawkeye moves back into the Swamp, and there's enough of a truce that all six of them reunite for Col. Potter so he can finish the painting. Unfortunately, the web of lies told by Mulcahy, Margaret, and Klinger starts to unravel, and it quickly breaks down into a screaming match among all of them.

Potter finishes the painting, shaking his head in disbelief. As the six of them continue to argue, the camera pans back and we see the finished work--a portrait of six good friends, smiling and content.

Fun Facts: I like how, of the three plots devised by Margaret, Mulcahy, and Klinger, its Klinger who doesn't even bother to try and come up with a story based on even a kernel of truth: he just flat-out lies, which is a great bit of characterization.

I love how frigging annoying B.J. is when telling the stories of his family: Mike Farrell uses a sickeningly-sweet, sing-songy voice to really drive it home.

Favorite Line: Klinger, trying to fool B.J., warns him not to tell Winchester he said anything, because: "Then I'd be forced to do something I hate--lie."

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Episode 233 - Sons and Bowlers

Season 10, Episode 233: Sons and Bowlers
Original Air Date: 3/22/82
Written by: Elias Davis & David Pollock

Directed by: Hy Averback

The Marines are celebrating yet another victory over the 4077th, this time at softball, drinking heavily at the O Club, all on the 4077th's dime.

Col. Potter is sick of constantly losing to the Marines, and gets the idea to try another sport, one he thinks they can win at--bowling. He quickly assembles a team of himself, Klinger, and B.J., and starts a search for a fourth player.

While Klinger is on the phone searching for the proper equipment, he hands a recently-arrived letter for Hawkeye. Hawkeye reads it then and there, and looks concerned. After Klinger leaves, Hawkeye picks up the phone and tries to place a call to his father back in Maine.

Getting a call through is a huge, complicated, frustrating process, so Hawkeye has to practically scream at the top of his lungs to be heard. Winchester, next door in Post Op, comes in and asks him to quiet down. Hawkeye brushes him off, and resumes his call within earshot of Winchester.

Winchester then turns on his heel and stays with Hawkeye, talking with him about what's going on--Hawkeye's father is going in for surgery, and even though his father doesn't say what it is, Hawkeye feels its serious.

Hawkeye eventually learns that his father has a mass pushing against his kidney, and by the time he gets a second call through his father has already gone in for surgery.

Hawkeye and Winchester, having nothing to do but wait, sit and talk about their fathers. Hawkeye expects the worst, and can't stand the idea his father would die without him having one last chance to tell his father how much he loves him.

Winchester tells Hawkeye that he should feel lucky that its only geographic distance keeping them apart--he and his father "have been 12,000 miles apart in the same room." He compares their respective relationships and says that, while he knows his father only wanted the best for him, while he has a Father, Hawkeye has a Dad.

Wounded arrive, and Hawkeye tries to take his mind off his worries and volunteers to play on the bowling team. But after only a few frames another call from home comes in and he has to beg off.

He finally gets the chance to talk to his Dad, and everything went perfectly. Hawkeye is overjoyed, gently scolding his Dad for not telling him about all this earlier, but then tells him just to get some rest.
Hawkeye hangs up, his eyes tearing up from happiness.

Later, in the O Club, the 4077th is celebrating their first win against the Marines (with the last-minute help of Margaret), and Hawkeye buys Winchester their first round. They share a toast to "Fathers...and their sons."

Fun Facts: This episode features an abbreviated version of the credits--"Suicide is Painless" starts in a few seconds later than it normally does, and eliminates all the shots that are usually seen between Harry Morgan and Loretta Swit's names, so the sequence ends at the right moment.

This story obviously conflicts with previous episodes where Hawkeye writes letters home to his mother. Having spent my life reading comic books, I'm usually a big fan of continuity, but in this case who cares? This particular storyline is so good its worth it, even if it does conflict with previous episodes.

This is actor Dick O'Neill's third appearance on the series (after Season Five's "38 Across" and Season Eight's "B.J. Papa San"), playing yet another different character.

Favorite Line: Hawkeye, a little stunned at Winchester's revealing story, admits, "Charles--you've never told me anything like this before."

Winchester, without moving, says, "Actually, Hawkeye--I've never told you anything before", the only time Winchester ever called him by his nickname. A truly wonderful moment between the two characters.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Episode 232 - Heroes

Season 10, Episode 232: Heroes
Original Air Date: 3/15/82
Written by: Thad Mumford & Dan Wilcox

Directed by: Nell Cox

The 4077th prepares for a visit from "Gentlemen Joe" Cavanaugh, a famous championship boxer who is on a goodwill tour. The one most excited is Father Mulcahy, to whom Gentleman Joe was a childhood hero.

A day later, Gentleman Joe arrives, and he doesn't quite live up to his name--he's friendly to the members of the 4077th, but within their earshot he's surly and dismissive to the people helping him on the tour, complaining about the lousy conditions.

Gentleman Joe makes a beeline for Post Op, and he turns on the charm for the wounded soldiers, who seem genuinely appreciate to see him. Its clear that, in just a few minutes, he lifts everyone's spirits.

That night, they have a steak dinner in Gentleman Joe's honor. He stand up to make a toast, when he suddenly collapses, falling face-first onto the table. Hawkeye is first to him, and they wheel him into the hospital.

Turns out Gentleman Joe has suffered a massive stroke, so massive that it essentially means Gentleman Joe is dying, and he only has a few days left.

The Army PR man accompanying Gentleman Joe realizes this is huge news, and contacts the press train. Within a few hours, the 4077th is deluged with reporters, who throw the camp into chaos.

The reporters turn to Hawkeye for answers regarding the champ, and even though there's not much Hawkeye can do, the reporters treat him like a hero, and Hawkeye seems to take a shine to the attention, as well, much to the dismay of the others.

The reporters keep Klinger up all night, since they're all camped out in Klinger's office filing their news stories. Margaret makes an errant comment about how much attention Gentleman Joe is getting (compared to the wounded soldiers in Post Op), and the reporters pounce.

The only one not annoyed at all the press attention is Father Mulcahy, who is more concerned with Gentleman Joe. As the champ lay dying, Mulcahy sits with him and tells him the story about how, as a child, Mulcahy saw Joe fight and, even though the crowd wanted blood, Joe showed mercy towards his opponent. It was a profound moment for him, and helped shape the man he would become. Moments later, Gentleman Joe finally does pass away.

The press, no longer having a story, eventually clears out. The only real lasting evidence Gentleman Joe was ever at the 4077th is the giant mountain of food (complete with mini-fridge) Klinger ordered using the memo sent out to cater to Joe's every whim.

Fun Facts: Mulcahy's speech to Gentleman Joe, involving both boxing and Plato's "Ideal Plane" is wonderful--a great solo showcase for William Christopher.

The press, as a group, is presented here as a pack of ignorant and stupid guys, blinded by fame and missing all the really important news of the world. Thank god that's changed!

Favorite Line: The Army PR man asks Klinger to cart around some heavy equipment, one of a seemingly-endless list of tasks. Klinger manages to drag it all into the Mess Tent, and then he's asked to move it again.

Klinger: "No problem--I never planned on having kids anyway."

Friday, December 11, 2009

Episode 231 - Promotion Commotion

Season 10, Episode 231: Promotion Commotion
Original Air Date: 3/1/82
Written by: Dennis Keonig

Directed by: Charles S. Dubin

It's promotion time again, and Hawkeye, B.J., and Winchester are put in charge of the review process, selecting candidates to be recommended for promotion.

Many of the enlisted men try and curry favor by being extra helpful and polite, some with outright bribery (Igor prepares Hawkeye and B.J.'s favorite food for lunch, for example).

But one of them tries a more direct route: Cpl. Hitalksi (John Matuszak), who is a mountain of a man, finds Winchester and asks to be recommended. When Winchester points out Hitalski's record of brawling has already disqualified him, he threatens Winchester with, as Winchester puts it, "a fist the approximate size of Ohio."

The three doctors put together a quiz on Army protocol, and all the candidates fail miserably--except for Klinger, who aces every question. Hawkeye, B.J., and Winchester are so impressed they break into a round of applause.

Winchester tries to turn to Hawkeye and B.J. for help with Hitalski, but they point out that even if they went along and recommended Hitalski, Potter would bounce it. And even if he didn't, I-Corps would. That leaves Winchester with not a lot of good options.

A few days later, the promotion list is released, and Klinger has been promoted to Sergeant! He, Hawkeye, and B.J. are overjoyed, but its not good news for everyone--Winchester's cot is already empty.

Hitalski nevertheless finds Winchester (hiding in Post Op), and is about to punch his lights out when Hawkeye, B.J., and Klinger bust in. They tell Hitalski a supplemental list came out, with him on it! They also tell him that Hitalksi is being transferred back to the States, and they rush him into a jeep and out of camp.

Winchester is stunned at the turn of events, then watches Klinger call the MPs, and inform them that there's a Cpl. Hitalski, who just threatened to beat up an officer and is carrying forged travel papers, on the way down the road. The MPs promise to arrest Hitalski, much to the relief of everyone.

Fun Facts: There's a B-plot about Col. Potter and the bond he forms with a young solider who wants to join the Bomb Disposal Unit just to feel more like a man. Potter treats him like the son he never had, even though the show stated he had a son in seasons four and five.

Favorite Line: After blowing Hawkeye's chances with a nurse, Rizzo defends himself in his particular Nawlins patois: "I was jus' tryin' to hep!"

Hawkeye, angrily: "I don't need your hep!"

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Episode 230 - Where There's A Will, There's A War

Season 10, Episode 230: Where There's A Will, There's A War
Original Air Date: 2/22/82
Written by: David Pollock & Elias Davis

Directed by: Alan Alda

A Battalion Aid surgeon is killed, so an emergency request for a temporary replacement surgeon is sent to the 4077th. Normally it would be B.J.'s turn, but since he is off in Seoul for an afternoon of R&R, Potter sends Hawkeye.

Hawkeye arrives, and the situation is so grim that, in a rare moment of quiet, he decides to sit in a corner and write out his will.

In a series of flashbacks, and using a voice over by Hawkeye, we see moments involving him and the other at the 4077th which relate to the items Hawkeye is bequeathing to them.

Hawkeye starts off leaving everything to his father, with the exception of a few items. He starts with B.J., but at first can't think of what he wants to say. So he moves onto Winchester, leaving him his purple robe--purple being the color of royalty.

He leaves Father Mulcahy a nickel, a reference to the time Mulcahy got away with getting revenge on a careless General by ruining the General's elegant meal--the General promising that Mulcahy's life wouldn't be worth "a plugged nickel" if he wasn't a priest.

He leaves Margaret his pair of funny nose and glasses, a reminder of her all-too-hidden silly side. With Col. Potter, he recalls a conversation he had with him a week after Potter transferred to the 4077th and they talked about fishing. Hawkeye leaves him his father's copy of Last of the Mohicans.

To Klinger, he leaves his beloved Hawaiian shirt. We see a flashback about the time Klinger handed Hawkeye an issue of Life that had a huge article on Maine, which delighted Hawkeye. Klinger, in a true act of generosity,
traded a giant hunk of Lebanese salami for it, but didn't tell Hawkeye that.

Hawkeye is allowed to go back home, and he arrives in the middle of the night. Coming back to the Swamp, he takes notice of the picture of B.J.'s family and gets an idea--he goes to Potter's office and composes a letter to Erin Hunnicutt, with a list of all the men her father worked on while in Korea, so she has some idea of what her father was doing while he was away.

Fun Facts: I really love this episode, the flashback sequences are extremely well executed--the lack of laugh track really helps make them feel real.

That said, like Season Eight's "Dreams" episode, it might have been nice to see the return of Trapper, Henry, Frank, or even Radar, since any of them could have been worked into the flashback framework.

Favorite Line: When Hawkeye packs up to leave, the Battalion Aid surgeon (Dennis Howard) asks, "Did you finish your will?"

Hawkeye responds without thinking, "All but my best friend." He pauses. "How did you know I was writing my will?"

The surgeon responds, "I've seen a lot of those written here."

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Episode 229 - Pressure Points

Season 10, Episode 229: Pressure Points
Original Air Date: 2/15/82
Written by: David Pollock & Elias Davis

Directed by: Charles S. Dubin

While Col. Potter is on a visit to the 8063rd, a patient of his develops further problems, requiring Hawkeye to perform another surgery.

Potter returns, and is troubled at the news that Hawkeye had to do "mop-up work" on one of his patients. Turns out Potter missed a small piece of shrapnel which then dislodged itself, causing the need for the second surgery.

Potter's mood is further darkened when another patient inadvertently insults him, wondering why he is being transferred when his buddy--Potter's patient--isn't, even though they have the same wounds.

Later, during a lecture in Potter's office from a Captain regarding a new piece of extremely destructive artillery, Potter explodes at him, wondering why, if they can create better and nastier weapons, why can't they find a way to stop "this stupid war?"

That night, Sidney Freedman arrives, saying he's on a fact-finding mission regarding stress. He makes his way over to Col. Potter's tent, and we find out that it was Potter who called Sidney. Sidney is surprised to learn this.

Potter shares with him that, lately, he's been "a lot less perfect than I can accept" regarding his surgical skills. He's worried that...

At that point, Potter's voice trails off, and he insists that nothing's really wrong, he just needed to vent a little. Sidney is dubious, but Potter says that all he needed was to talk. Sidney goes back to the Swamp.

The next day, in the Mess Tent, it doesn't take much to set Potter off--he snaps at the cook for the lousy food, barks at Klinger, and then really hits the roof at Hawkeye when he learns that he authorized the release of Potter's patient now that he's well.

Meanwhile, Hawkeye, B.J., and Winchester have been having an ongoing feud about their personal cleanliness habits--Winchester deciding to out-slob his roommates, using B.J.'s knife to slice onions, eating raw sardines, etc.

It all comes to a boil, leading the three of them to start destroying parts of the Swamp, so much so it starts to draw a crowd. Potter gets wind of this, but, instead of blowing his stack, he asks Klinger order Winchester a new pillow.

He asks Sidney to meet him back in his tent, and then he admits what's really wrong: he's deeply worried that he's lost his touch as a surgeon, and the idea of incoming wounded fills him with terror. He tells Sidney the story of how he decided to become a surgeon: as a boy, he watched as his veterinarian uncle perform a live-saving operation, and bask in the glory of what lays inside the human body. Since that day, all he ever wanted was to become a surgeon.

Sidney is comforting, reminding Potter that of course someday he will get too old to be a surgeon--but right now, he's letting the fear of failing take over, and whether or not that affects him is purely under Potter's control.

Wounded arrive, and before cutting into his first patient, Potter takes a deep breath, and begins. He seems to be his old self again.

Later, the 4077th has a contest, raising money for the orphanage, over who gets to shave the still-sloppy Winchester. Potter wins, and, holding the razor in his hand, is as steady as a rock.

Fun Facts: This is Season Ten's unofficial "Angry Potter" episode.

The syndicated version of this episode removes Potter's fantastic speech about the moment he knew he wanted to be a surgeon--easily the best scene in the show! Whoever did the editing really cut the guts out of this particular episode.

Favorite Line: Sidney sees Winchester, unshaven, slovenly, and eating raw sardines, and acts surprised at this change of behavior. Winchester insists "Naw, you're seeing the real me."

Sidney: "I'm sorry to hear that."

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Episode 228 - The Tooth Shall Set You Free

Season 10, Episode 228: The Tooth Shall Set You Free
Original Air Date: 2/8/82
Written by: David Pollock & Elias Davis

Directed by: Charles S. Dubin

Wounded arrive, late into the night, mostly made up from a unit of combat engineers. Winchester is surlier than usual, due to a toothache he's trying desperately to cover up.

After the session in OR, the doctors are met by Major Weems (Tom Atkins), who is here to see his men. Everyone is impressed that Weems made a trip this late at night, but he says its the least he could do.

Hawkeye and B.J. offer to let Weems sleep in the Swamp, and he mentions how guilty he feels sleeping in a bed when it takes getting shot for his men to get the same opportunity. Hawkeye and B.J. are further impressed at Weems' care for his men.

In Post Op, Weems suggests one of his men--Cpl. Dorsey--should go home, but Hawkeye tells him the young man's wounds aren't that serious. Weems is insistent, telling Hawkeye in private that Dorsey comes from a poor farm family, and they really need him back home. Hawkeye promises to see what he can do.

Later, Father Mulcahy happens to mention that Dorsey is from Brooklyn, which doesn't jibe with what Weems told Hawkeye. Hawkeye then asks Dorsey (Lawrence Fishburne) about living in Brooklyn, and his story checks out. He asks Dorsey about about Weems, which elicits a surly, tight-lipped response.

Hawkeye talks it over with B.J., and they notice that Weems is desperate to send Dorsey--a black man--home, but wants to keep the more seriously wounded Sturdevant, who is white. That doesn't seem to make sense to either of them.

More wounded combat engineers arrive, and the ambulance is filled with young men--all of them black. This leads Hawkeye and B.J. to do some research, and they learn that even though black soldiers only make up a small part of Weems' unit, they suffer an overwhelming proportion of the casualties. They then turn to Col. Potter to tell them they're findings.

That night, Hawkeye and B.J. are having drinks outside the Swamp when they are joined by Col. Potter and Major Weems. Weems starts suggesting again some of his men should be sent home, and Col. Potter starts playacting--pretending that he's angry at Weems for sending so many of "them" home.

Hawkeye and B.J. play along, and Weems feels comfortable enough to say how he really feels--he admits he simply doesn't want to associate with black soldiers, so he assigns them risky duty so they earn more rotation points and get sent home faster. Or they get wounded--its all the same to Weems.

They go inside for more drinks, where they are met by Major Rockingham (Jason Bernard), Deputy Chief of Staff of Personnel at I-Corps, waiting inside. Weems tries to cover, but Rockingham says he plans to bring Weems up for a court martial.

Weems argues, but when Hawkeye, B.J., Potter, and Winchester say they plan to testify against him, he tries to bargain his way out of it. Rockingham offers him a an alternate deal: instead of a court martial, Weems resigns his commission, then and there.

Weems refuses, but Rockingham says he plays to call the JAG immediately--its one or the other. Weems crumbles, signs the paperwork, and storms out.

Everyone celebrates their victory, but there's one more part to the plan--Major Rockingham is actually Captain Rockingham, DDS. Winchester cowers in terror, but finally gives in and allows his tooth to get worked on.

Fun Facts: Tom Atkins is a great character actor, known mostly for his horror films: he appeared in The Fog, Escape From New York, Halloween III, and Creepshow, among others. Too bad he's such a creep here!

Favorite Line: After Winchester lets loose a loud moan in the middle of the night from his toothache, Hawkeye says: "Beej, remember--in the morning, its your turn to milk Charles."

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