Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Episode 25 - Divided We Stand

Season 2, Episode 25: Divided We Stand
Original Air Date: 9/15/73
Written by: Larry Gelbart
Directed by: Jackie Cooper

General Clayton, worried that the pressures of working so close to the front are taking their toll on the staff of the 4077th, sends a psychiatrist, Captain Hildebrand (Anthony Holland), to check up on them and write a report.

Henry is the only one told of Hilebrand's real mission, and he is upset over the idea that the 4077th might be broken up if the report isn't good. And even though he's sworn to secrecy, late at night he tells Hawkeye and Trapper of Hildebrand's true mission. Later, Hildebrand overhears Henry and Radar talking, where Radar informs him that everyone in camp with be on their best behavior.

Things are okay at first, with Hawkeye and Trapper pretending they like Frank (but doing so with a dollop of sarcasm), leaving Henry to laugh nervously.

Eventually, the cracks begin to show, and Captain Hildebrand catches all of the 4077th in their usual antics. He calls a meeting in Henry's office, telling them all that he is going to recommend that the unit be broken up.

His thoughts are interrupted by Radar, who announces that wounded are arriving. The doctors snap into action, bursting out of Henry's office, leaving Captain Hildebrand all alone.

He visits the O.R., and is sickened by what he sees--the blood and gore. Hawkeye, Trapper, and the rest are running like well-oiled machine, and Hildebrand leaves.

Later, General Clayton arrives, and they all find Hildebrand in The Swamp, drinking heavily. Hildebrand admits that while the members of the 4077th are indeed mad, it would madder still to break them up.

Fun Facts: This is the first episode of the second season, and the first to air in its new time slot, right after All in the Family. With that huge potential new audience, Larry Gelbart said he wrote his episode partly as another pilot, (re)introducing the characters and their relationships. This occurs via General Clayton telling Hildebrand who's who at the 4077th.

This episode features the first appearance of Kelly Nakahara as Nurse Kellye, although she will go uncredited for many episodes.

Favorite Line: Hawkeye and Trapper are overdoing the buddy-buddy talk with Frank to impress Captain Hildebrand, and at one point he says that the three of them are going to open a clinic together when they get home.

Frank, caught up in the spirit, agrees, and offers "Yeah--us war buddies would run the place."

Hawkeye: "Frank will park the cars."

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

TV Guide - 9/9/72

This piece appeared in the Sept. 9, 1972 edition of TV Guide.

The cast looks like their having a good time. Little did they know the show they were working on would become a cultural phenomenon in just a few years.

Its interesting that the photographer and/or the cast and studio made no effort to convey the show's relationships in this photo--Hot Lips is goofing around with Hawkeye and Trapper, and Frank looks like a fun guy, part of the gang!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Episode 24 - Showtime

Season 1, Episode 24: Showtime
Original Air Date: 3/25/73
Written by: Larry Gelbart
Directed by: Jackie Cooper

A USO trip is visiting the 4077th, and the show goes on as various events transpire--Hawkeye and Frank engage in a war of ever-escalating practical jokes (this has to be the most playful Frank has ever been!), Henry is desperately trying to get a phone call home, since his wife is giving birth, and Trapper, Hot Lips, and Ugly John are deeply involved in a difficult case.

In addition, the unit's dentist, Capt. Kaplan (Harvey Goldenberg), has his orders to be shipped home, but is so paranoid something will happen that holds up his leaving that he refuses to do anything--kiss a nurse, touch a piece of paper (in fear of getting a papercut), or even go to the Latrine.

In between Radar joining the USO band on drums, he gets word to Henry that his wife has given birth to a son. Trapper's patient pulls through after hours of surgery, Hawkeye wins the prank war by collapsing the walls of the Latrine while Frank is in it, and, even though he makes it out the camp, a jeep accident causes Kaplan to break some bones, leaving him stuck in the 4077th for a little while longer.

Fun Facts: This is the series' third episode to be directed by Jackie Cooper, famous child actor who would also become quite a successful director. He also played Perry White in the Superman movies, which means Mr. Cooper managed to be involved two of my all-time favorite things. Good on ya, Mr. Cooper.

This is the show's final episode with the character of Ugly John. Although the actor, John Orchard, would return to the series as a guest-star many seasons later.

This is the final episode of the first season. With Season 2, the show would be moved to a new time slot, to behind the blockbuster All In The Family, Saturdays at 8:30. The show would then become a hit, and never look back (even though the show would get moved again the next season).

Favorite Line: Hawkeye and Father Mulcahy have a nice moment in the Mess Tent. Mulcahy has been doubting his usefulness to the unit, at least compared to what the doctors do.

Hawkeye tells him of a professor he once had, who liked to say that "God cures the patients, but the doctor takes the fee."

Mulcahy asks "Do you think that's true?", to which Hawkeye replies: "I'm able to do a lot of things in surgery that I'm not really good enough to do."

To try and replicate the idea of the summer break between seasons, the blog will be taking a week off before starting our look at Season 2 (we'll do that for each break between seasons).

In the meantime, we'll be doing posts about other M*A*S*H-related stuff, like tomorrow's look at an article about the show in TV Guide!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Episode 23 - Ceasefire

Season 1, Episode 23: Ceasefire
Original Air Date: 3/18/73
Written by: Robert Klane
Directed by: Earl Bellamy

After a particularly grueling, casualty-heavy period, the 4077 gets an amazing bit of news from General Clayton--a ceasefire has been arranged!

Even though Henry asks Hawkeye and Trapper not to say anything before it becomes official, the word gets out anyway, and soon the camp breaks into a non-stop party.

The only holdout is Trapper, who doesn't believe its really true. Hawkeye is aghast at Trapper's pessimism, and bets him $50 that he's wrong.

Radar starts a scrapbook, and gets people to sign it. Frank and Hot Lips spend their time together, and Hawkeye has to extricate himself from the various relationships he has with some of the nurses. Nurse Cutler expects their relationship to continue once they get home, and Hawkeye lies, claiming to be married, to get out of it. Nurse Cutler is not amused.

General Clayton arrives for a final send-off, and Hawkeye can't resist getting in one last dig: under the guise of it being a tribute, he airs a slideshow of Clayton in various embarrassing scenarios, like coming out of Hot Lips' tent, and holding her in a passionate embrace.

Frank and Clayton are furious, Hot Lips embarrassed, but everyone else laughs. Unfortunately, word comes that the ceasefire is not happening--and wounded arrive shortly thereafter.

In the end, Hawkeye is still upbeat, even though he threw away thousands of dollars in poker IOUs, severed his relationships with two nurses, and has Clayton mad at him. It was all worth it, just to have that brief moment of hope.

Fun Facts: This episode features the last appearances of Ho-John and Nurse Cutler. I'm not sure what world Margie Cutler was living in, thinking Hawkeye and she were exclusive--he's been dating different nurses throughout the series, and is even doing so with another Nurse (Lt. Griffin, played by Lynette Mettey) in the very same episode!

Favorite Line: M*A*S*H, and TV in general, is not as much a director's medium as it is a writer's. So in a series like this, you don't get many memorable shots or sequences that call out as being particularly "directed."

But in The Swamp, when Hawkeye and Trapper are debating whether the ceasefire is real or not, the camera shoots over the shoulder of Trapper, sitting on his bunk as he and Hawkeye talk.

After Trapper makes the bet, Hawkeye says: "I hate to take your money." Trapper quietly adds "I only hope you will", as the camera pans left, so that Trapper's face isn't seen as he says the line. Its a wonderful little moment of seriousness in a very upbeat, funny episode.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Episode 22 - Major Fred C. Dobbs

Season 1, Episode 22: Major Fred C. Dobbs
Original Air Date: 3/11/73
Written by: Sid Dorfman
Directed by: Don Weis

During surgery, Frank yells at Nurse Ginger Bayliss, so badly she sheds a tear. After trying to console her afterwards, Hawkeye and Trapper decided to extract some revenge on him.

Thus begins a week of them torturing Frank, pulling one prank after the next. One morning, Frank wakes up with his hand wrapped in a cast, with a hook sticking out of it. This is the last straw for him, and he demands that Henry transfer him out.

Even though Frank tells them he's being transferred, Hawkeye and Trapper don't know when to quit--they stick a microphone inside Hot Lips' tent as Frank tells her he's leaving. Their "farewell scene" is subsequently broadcast over the camp's P.A., embarrassing Hot Lips so much she demands a transfer, too.

This enrages Henry, who holds Hawkeye and Trapper responsible for the 4077's loss of a "Fair but competent general surgeon" and a head nurse. Oops.

Once Hawkeye and Trapper are told they have to pull double duty until Frank and Hot Lips are replaced, they realize they went too far and contrive a way to keep Frank at the 4077th.

They get the idea indirectly from Radar, who has been out in the Korean hills panning for gold (Korea is one of the world's largest gold producers). Even though they think Radar's foolish, they drop hints about the gold to Frank while they pretend they think he's asleep. They supposedly come back with bags full of it (actually the worthless mineral Pyrite), and leave some of it out for Frank to find.

He does, and when he goes wandering into the hills, he finds some more. He is so overwhelmed at the idea of being fabulously rich that he runs back to Henry, asking for his transfer to be cancelled. Henry is mad at this, and says if he does that, then it will be the last time. Frank agrees.

He then tells Hot Lips, and takes out into the woods to show her the gold--and there's a lot of it: a lot--the ground, the rocks, the trees, the PA speaker, even the jeep Hawkeye and Trapper drive by in--are gold.

Margaret sits down a nearby rock, frustrated Frank fell for yet another trick.

Fun Facts: This episode is infamous as being considered the worst M*A*S*H ever. In The Complete Book of M*A*S*H, Larry Gelbart said this: "When I look back at some of those first-year shows, I'm embarrassed. The one about Major Fred C. Dobbs? The worst."

True, the episode is based on a fairly flimsy, not-war-related bit of research (namely, the amount of gold Korea produces), but its not that bad a show--its pretty funny in places, and the microphone prank is of course taken from the movie.

Its really the final scene--where everything's painted gold--that this episode breaks the Goofy Meter. Its so unreal, so sitcom-y, so absurd that it doesn't seem like the same show as all the others.

Favorite Line: When Hot Lips is telling Frank about the special dinner she has planned, she tells Frank she got the cook to make porkchops: "You know, just the way you like them--with extra fat." Bleah!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Episode 21 - Sticky Wicket

Season 1, Episode 21: Sticky Wicket
Original Air Date: 3/4/73
Written by: Laurence Marks & Larry Gelbart, Richard Baer
Directed by: Don Weis

During surgery, Frank is particularly snippy and clumsy, and Hawkeye is less able to laugh it off, at one point throwing an instrument at him in frustration.

Later in the Mess Tent, Frank asks why Hawkeye was so "tough" on him, and he lets Frank have it--he's a bad surgeon, constantly requires other people's help, is nasty to the staff, and "a pain in the gluteus maximus." Trapper and Ugly John concur.

Hot Lips gets so mad at them that she demands Henry do something about it, and he calls Hawkeye to his office while Hot Lips is there. Henry says the camp's morale is down because of the blow-up in the Mess Tent, and Hawkeye has to try and patch it up by publicly apologize.

Hawkeye isn't having any of it, and walks out. Later, back in surgery, Hawkeye really busts his butt over one patient, Pvt. Thompson. He survives the surgery, but seems to be getting sicker, with a temperature of 101.

In the Mess Tent, Hawkeye can't understand what's going wrong, and Frank chooses this moment to needle him. After letting go with "Well, I haven't killed anyone this week, howabout you?" Hawkeye leaps over the table to throttle him. The fight is broken up by Trapper and the rest.

Hawkeye is so disturbed over this patient he camps out in the bed next to him, and gets so annoyed by the poker game in the Swamp he moves out! He tries to get some peace and quiet in the Supply Tent, but a constant stream of interruptions (a nurse he has a date with, Trapper, the delivery of a kitchen sink) drives him nuts.

Henry arrives, and asks whether Hawkeye is going through all this because he's really worried about the patient, or his ego--Hawkeye just doesn't like the idea of one of his patients not getting better.

Finally, something occurs to Hawkeye, and he gets Hot Lips out of bed in the middle of the night to assist in another surgery for Thompson. Turns out a piece of shrapnel moved and slipped behind the Sigmoid Colon, causing a small tear, something even the best surgeons could've missed.

Frank, observing, says "Anyone could've missed that", which Hawkeye takes as a peace offering. He thanks Frank, and relative piece at the 4077th is restored.

Fun Facts: One of the movies playing in the Mess Tent in this episode is Bonzo Goes To College, which was released in 1952. This would one of a long string of movies somehow playing at the 4077th before they ever made it to movie screens at home, or in some cases were even made.

With some minor exceptions, this is the first real episode of the series that focused on a particular medical case, something the show would do with greater frequency as it went on.

Hawkeye mentions, in a final scene with Trapper, that he was the one who named their tent "The Swamp."

Favorite Line: When Frank is taunting Hawkeye about his patient's lack of progress, everyone tells him quiet down, including Trapper: "Frank, why don't you let that cut under your nose heal?"

(I still use that line to this day)

Friday, March 20, 2009

Episode 20 - The Army-Navy Game

Season 1, Episode 20: The Army-Navy Game
Original Air Date: 2/25/73
Written by: Sid Dorfman, McLean Stevenson
Directed by: Gene Reynolds

Radar is collecting bets on the upcoming Army-Navy Game, and Hawkeye, Trapper, and some nurses are in Henry's office as he tunes in the game.

The celebration is halted by the sound of incoming artillery--bombs begin to fall, and some debris hits Henry, knocking him silly. Frank insists he is in charge, but when he proves useless, Hawkeye essentially takes over.

Things get worse when an exploded bomb lands in the center of the camp. Hawkeye calls HQ, to ask them what to do. He gets a hold of a flunky who seems more interested in the game, but tells them to get all the markings off the bomb they can and report back.

Frank, still insisting he's in charge, is guilted into going out to check on the bomb, but faints before he can take one step out the door. Hawkeye does the job, and, with his stethoscope, can hear that the bomb is ticking away!

Later, Henry has recovered from his blow to the head, and re-assumes coomand. The Army says the bomb doesn't sound like any of theirs, try the Navy!

The Navy isn't much help, and saying it isn't one of theirs, either. They promise to look into it.

In the meantime, the camp passes the time--Hawkeye, Trapper, and Ugly John pay cards, Radar makes time with a nurse(!), and Frank and Hot Lips have a romantic moment alone.

The Navy finally calls back, and tells the 4077th that the bomb belongs to...the C.I.A.!

(Hawkeye wonders why the Navy can't get specific info about the bomb from the C.I.A., and Henry answers that's because "The C.I.A. won't tell anyone its business"--a great line)

Hawkeye and Trapper volunteer to go out and dismantle the bomb, with the help of the instructions they've gotten from the Navy. They follow the instructions, but when a poorly-sequenced part of the instructions caused them to snip a wire too soon, they run and duck for cover.

The bomb goes off, but all it shoots out are--paper? Yes, paper--leaflets telling the enemy to give up, they have no chance of winning, signed Douglas MacArthur. As Trapper explains, "It's a propaganda bomb!"

To make matters worse, Navy ends up beating Army, 42-36.

Fun Facts: This episode features a different arrangement of the show's theme, "Suicide is Painless." Its more jazzy and upbeat, like something you would've heard by a big swing band.

This episode's story is credited to McLean Stevenson, the only actor other than Alda to work on the series on the other side of the camera during the first few years of the show. And its a really good story--exciting and unusual for the show to that point.

Henry's wife is still named Mildred at this point (after he's been hit by debris, he's absently-mindedly calling her name). That would be changed shortly to Loraine, but the next 4077th colonel's wife would be named Mildred, too!

Favorite Line: This episode is filled with great lines, and it was hard to pick a favorite. But I always laugh when Father Mulcahy comes in to the office to listen to the game, rooting for Notre Dame.

Henry:(annoyed) "Father, Notre Dame isn't playing."

Mulcahy:(disappointed) "Oh, then what's all the excitement about?"

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Episode 19 - The Long John Flap

Season 1, Episode 19: The Long John Flap
Original Air Date: 2/18/73
Written by: Alan Alda
Directed by: William Wiard

The 4077th is going through a brutal cold snap, and everyone in camp is freezing to death.

Except Hawkeye, who is toasty because of a pair of long johns he got from home. He's busy lording it over Trapper, who is even more miserable because of a cold.

His whining becomes so pathetic that Hawkeye can't take it anymore, and gives the longjohns to Trapper.

Later, Trapper uses the longjohns as a bet in a poker game, positive that he can't lose...except that he does, when they learn Radar has four 10s. Hawkeye can't believe it.

News of the longjohns spread, and Radar manages to parlay his ownership of them into a date with a gorgeous nurse. But his stomach is bigger than his libido, and he trades the longjohns to the cook for a whole leg of lamb, complete with mint jelly.

The cook then trades them to Frank Burns, in exchange for not getting reprimanded by Burns for having a dirty kitchen. Burns, in turn, gives them to Hot Lips when he admits he has them and she flat out demands he give them up.

Later, they are stolen from Hot Lips by Klinger, who has to endure the cold outside while he's on sentry duty. But he feels so guilty about stealing them that he confesses to Father Mulcahy, and turns them over to him.

Mulcahy--after enjoying one solid night of toasty sleep--turns them into Henry, since its the proper thing to do. Henry promises to conduct an investigation to see who the proper owner is--but first, he's going to try them on himself.

Hawkeye and Trapper discover Henry as he's road-testing the longjohns, and demand their return. Just at that moment, Henry's appendicitis flares up, so bad he needs surgery. But even though he's in massive pain, he instructs the doctors to be careful to not cut the longjohns!

After the surgery, Hawkeye is toasty again in his longjohns. Both Trapper and Radar try to guilt Hawkeye into giving them up again, but he's having none of it.

Fun Facts: The first episode of the series written by Alda, who of course would go on to become one of the dominant creative forces on the show.

So its ironic that this episode A)is fairly silly, and features the kind of plot that Alda seemed the most determined not to be involved with, and B)it features one of the most out-of-character moments the show ever had.

When the cook sees Radar making time with the nurse, he asks "You're some guy, Radar--what's your secret?"

Radar responds: "I like to put 'em on a pedestal. Make them feel special...give them little gifts."

So not only does Radar--Radar--all of a sudden have a reputation as a ladies man, he actually has romantic advice for the cook! Any similarity to the Radar O'Reilly we came to know and love is purely coincidental.

Favorite Line: As they help Henry out of his office into surgery, he's hunched over in agony. Hawkeye feels compelled to add: "By the way, I loved you in Duck Soup."

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Episode 18 - Dear Dad...Again

Season 1, Episode 18: Dear Dad...Again
Original Air Date: 2/4/73
Written by: Sheldon Keller & Larry Gelbart
Directed by: Jackie Cooper

Hawkeye writes another letter home, chronicling the experiences at the 4077th.

The most notable development is the addition of another doctor, Adam Casey (Alex Henteloff), who is a top-flight surgeon. The only problem is, he's not a real doctor--something he confesses to Father Mulcahy.

During downtime, Hawkeye and Trapper make a bet that Hawkeye can walk the camp naked and no one will notice. He makes it all the way into the Mess Tent until one of the Corpsman (Roy Goldman, making what I believe is his very first appearance on the show, who would go on to stay on the series until its final episode) drops his tray in shock. Trapper wins the bet.

Hawkeye eventually learns of Casey's lack of credentials, and takes over for him mid-surgery. Later, he makes a deal with Casey--he won't turn him in, on the condition he never touch another patient again. Casey agrees, and admits to faking a number of professions--he has the skill, he just doesn't have the patience to do it by the book.

Later, as Casey prepares to ship out, he's decided to try on a new role--one of a chaplain.

Fun Facts: There were battles between the network and the show about the use of the laugh track. The producers didn't want it used at all (since of course the show was not shot in front of a live audience), but CBS insisted.

So they struck a deal, where the laugh track would be used, except in surgery--which seemed too serious to have people giggling all over it. This episode violates that rule, where you hear the laughs kick in when Hawkeye tells a joke to Nurse Bayliss.

Take a look at the moment where Pvt. Goldman drops his tray in reaction to Hawkeye being naked--its one of the few moments of really bad acting on the show. Goldman sees Hawkeye, pauses for a full second, then lifts his hands slightly and drops his tray, in mock surprise. Its so horribly fake its funny all in its own way.

Favorite Line: As Hawkeye prepares for his streaking jaunt, he asks Trapper for a shot of liquid courage.

Trapper responds: "We don't normally serve people without neckties."

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Episode 17 - Sometimes You Hear The Bullet

Season 1, Episode 17: Sometimes You Hear The Bullet
Original Air Date: 1/28/73
Written by: Carl Kleinschmitt
Directed by: William Wiard

Frank and Hot Lips engage in a romantic evening, but its ruined when Frank's back goes out. As Hawkeye and Trapper tend to him, they learn Frank has applied for the Purple Heart, something neither they or Henry can believe.

But that's interrupted when a childhood friend of Hawkeye's, Tommy Gillis (James T. Callahan) arrives in camp. The three of them head back to The Swamp to get blasted.

Tommy tells them he's writing a book about the war (You Never Hear The Bullet)--not from a reporter's POV, but a soldier's--Tommy is there, on the front lines, with the rest of them.

Wounded arrive, and Tommy heads back. One of the wounded is a very young man, Private Wendell (Ron Howard!). After talking with him, Hawkeye learns Wendell is not even 16 years old, and went to war to impress his girlfriend back home, so he can "Earn a medal and be a hero."

Wendell begs Hawkeye not to turn him in, and Hawkeye agrees after failing to talk Wendell out of it.

More wounded arrive, and one of the most hurt is Tommy. Hawkeye works on him, but its no use. Tommy dies on the table, muttering in amazement that, unlike his book title, he actually heard the bullet that did him in.

Afterwards, Hawkeye stands in the doorway of the O.R., crying. Henry tries to console him, pointing out the two rules they taught him in command school: "Rule #1--Young men die. Rule #2--Doctors can't change Rule #1."

Hawkeye decides, then and there, to do something--he tells an M.P. that Pvt. Wendell is only 15 years old, and should be sent home immediately.

Wendell threatens to hate Hawkweye as long as he lives, and Hawkeye hopes that's a long, long time.

Later, to partially make it up to Wendell, Hawkeye gives him Frank's Purple Heart--so he's getting what he wanted, but will no longer be on the front lines.

Comments: This was the episode that creatively put M*A*S*H on the map--a perfect mix of comedy and drama. Hawkeye's scene with Henry is masterful, and one of the best moments of the series.

There's a famous anecdote about this episode: sometime after it aired, a nay-saying CBS executive told the producers, "Someday I'll tell you how you ruined M*A*S*H." Its that kind of clear-headed, creative thinking that I'm sure earned that exec many, many millions of dollars a year.

Favorite Line: Hawkeye is stunned that Henry might process Frank's request for a Purple Heart.

Hawkeye: "Henry, you're not going to endorse this idiot's application, are you?"

Hot Lips: "That's Major to you!"

Hawkeye, without missing a beat:
"Henry, you're not going to endorse this major idiot's application, are you?"

Monday, March 16, 2009

Episode 16 - The Ringbanger

Season 1, Episode 16: The Ringbanger
Original Air Date: 1/21/73
Written by: Jerry Mayer
Directed by: Jackie Cooper

Hawkeye and Trapper are operating on a near-celebrity: Colonel "Buzz" Brighton (Leslie Nielsen), whose battlefield exploits have been chronicled in Stars & Stripes.

Afterwards, they all share a drink together in The Swamp, and beneath Buzz's genial exterior, the doctors get a glimpse of the man inside--someone callous about losing the lives of his own troops, all in the name of earning himself some glory. He constantly bangs his ring on his chair, a sign of dominance.

Hawkeye and Trapper are sickened by Buzz's attitude, so they conspire to try and keep him in camp for a while, in the hopes that maybe he'll lose his command if he's off the battlefield for too long. They try to convince him his body and mind need time to rest, but Buzz isn't convinced.

Meanwhile, Frank and Hot Lips get involved, wanting to know why the doctors insist on keeping Buzz. Hawkeye and Trapper decide to pit them all against each other--they tell Hot Lips Buzz is suffering from a crippling lack of insecurity, and when Buzz asks them if he can go to Frank for a second opinion, they tell him that Frank is secretly a transvestite--something the macho Buzz steers clear of.

While Hot Lips tries to seduce Buzz back to health(!), Hawkeye and Trapper then try and get Henry drunk, so he'll sign a paper sending Buzz back to the states.

All this chicanery comes crashing down in Buzz's tent, when Frank discovers Hot Lips and Buzz in an embrace. Henry shows up, drunk, and Buzz accuses everyone of being out to get him. Hawkeye and Trapper manage to convince Buzz he needs a long rest--Henry signs the form, and Buzz is headed home.

Comments: A nice, macho performance by Leslie Nielsen, who of course most people my age only knew from being in Airplane! and The Naked Gun. Seeing him in this episode after first seeing him in those Zucker movies was quite a revelation.

This premise--getting someone Hawkeye considers dangerous off the line--was partly reused in a third season episode, and then again much more explicitly in the eighth season--but with very different results.

Favorite Line: Hawkeye and Trapper are cluing Buzz in on Hot Lips' reputation. When they first mention her nickname, Buzz replies: "Oh, you call her Hot Lips?"

Hawkeye: "And not because she's left-handed."

...I have no idea what that means. When I first heard the joke as a teenager, I assumed it was some sort of adult reference that I'd understand later, when I got older.

Its twenty plus years later, and I'm still in the dark.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Episode 15 - Tuttle

Season 1, Episode 15: Tuttle
Original Air Date: 1/14/73
Written by: Bruce Shelly & David Ketchum
Directed by: William Wiard

Hawkeye and Trapper are making a secret donation of medical supplies to a local orphanage. When the Sister asks who is responsible for such a large act of generosity, Hawkeye sputters "Uh...Captain Tuttle." Trapper goes along.

Figuring this was the best way for the donations not to be tracked, Hawkeye and Trapper figure that's that. Except that the name Tuttle starts to spread through the camp like wildfire--Frank wonders why this Tuttle hasn't reported to him (since he is second in command, after all), Henry assigns him to be Officer of the Day, and he even manages to make Frank jealous, after Hot Lips mentions how attractive she finds the Captain to be.

Tuttle even manages to collect a huge wad of back pay (Hawkeye, with his surgical mask on, pretending to be him)--but not before telling the pay master that all his future pay is to go to the orphanage.

Sensing they need to beef up their lie a bit, Hawkeye, Trapper, and Radar break into the camp's personnel records, and forge Tuttle's profile. After giving him sterling medical credentials, Hawkeye throws in something for Hot Lips, making Tuttle a real looker.

The Tuttle lie grows so big that General Clayton arrives to give the captain a medal for his extreme generosity--now what?

During the ceremony, Hawkeye has to break the grim news that Captain Tuttle died while at the front helping wounded soldiers. Leaping from a helicopter, he had everything he needed--except his parachute.

Later, Radar wonders where Hawkeye and Trapper got the uniform and dog tags. Trapper insists they're on loan from Major Murdock--Tuttle's replacement.

Comments: A ridiculous, very sitcom-y premise like this would probably sink most shows striving for realism, but the performances--particularly those of Alda and Rogers--keeps this episode from collapsing in on itself. Its actually a very funny show.

This is the only time we get to see Radar's radio pal, Sparky, played by Dennis Fimple. He helps Radar pull one over on Henry by re-routing a call Radar has made right back to the 4077th.

Another minor sort of record is made in this episode--during the final credits, we see "Captain Tuttle as Himself", the only time the show would have some sort of joke in the credits.

Favorite Line: After creating Tuttle's supposed chisled-but-boyish good looks for his profile, Trapper pauses to mutter "Hawkeye...I think I'm in love."

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Episode 14 - Love Story

Season 1, Episode 14: Love Story
Original Air Date: 1/7/73
Written by: Laurence Marks
Directed by: Earl Bellamy

Radar is acting very strangely--he doesn't have any appetite (ironic, since he's the only one who can stand the food), doesn't want to kid around, and has even begun to screw up his clerking duties--this is serious.

Hawkeye and Trapper ask what's wrong, and Radar's answer is in the form of...a 45" record?

They play it, and we hear the voice of Radar's girlfriend, who announces she is breaking up with him, and marrying his best friend, Elroy Dimple (great name).

Hawkeye and Trapper try to cheer Radar up, and even try to get one of the 4077's nurses to go out with him, but no luck. He only perks up when a new nurse arrives, Lt. Anderson (Kelly Jean Peters). Its love at first sight!

Hawkeye introduces himself to Lt. Anderson, tying to find out more about her. She's very sophisticated, arriving to the unit with her classical records and copies of Plato's Republic and The Fall of The Roman Empire. Hawkeye realizes Radar has his work cut out for him.

In preparation, Hawkeye and Trapper teach Radar some quick, easily-remembered phrases that sound smart but mean nothing out of context, like "That's highly significant", "Ah...Bach!", and "I consider that Horse and Buggy Thinking."

Radar is able to fake it enough to (temporarily) fool Lt. Anderson, and a tiny little romance begins to blossom. For some reason, Hot Lips takes offense at this, and demands Henry break them up--its not regulation for officers and enlisted to engage in personal relationships.

Henry is nonplussed, and is secretly supportive of Hawkeye and Trapper's plan to inflict a little romantic longing between Frank and Hot Lips.

After weeks(!) of keeping them apart, Frank and Hot Lips begin to go nuts. Finally, one night when Frank sneaks into Hot Lips' tent, he finds Hawkeye and Trapper in her bed!

Hot Lips walks in, and is equally furious. She wants to know why they're doing this, and they tell them that they have to back off Radar and Lt. Anderson. After initially refusing, they buckle when Hawkeye and Trapper appear ready to stay in her bed all night.

The episode ends with Radar and Lt. Anderson sharing a meal in the Mess Tent. She is going on and on, and when Hawkeye and Trapper sit down, they find Radar dozing off. When they wake him up, the first thing he can think to say is,

Comments: I don't understand why Frank and Hot Lips have such trouble getting together for sex...doesn't Hot Lips live alone? This particularly inconvenient fact seems to get forgotten during various episodes.

Favorite Line: Radar's default phrase, when he's trying to impress Nurse Anderson but has no idea what to say: "Ah...Bach!" Haven't we all been there when trying to get someone to notice us?

Friday, March 13, 2009

Episode 13 - Edwina

Season 1, Episode 13: Edwina
Original Air Date: 12/24/72
Written by: Hal Dresner
Directed by: James Sheldon

The 4077th is throwing a birthday party for Nurse Edwina Ferguson (Arlene Golonka). She's a sweet girl, but a real klutz, and clearly insecure. So much so she runs off in tears during the party.

Nurse Cutler follows her out, asking what the problem is, and Edwina reveals that, even though she's just a few weeks shy of going home, she is depressed. Edwina is lonely, and has never attracted the attention of any of the men of the 4077th, which has crushed her self-esteem.

Shortly thereafter, all the various men of the 4077th start getting suddenly rejected by the various women in their lives, and Radar overhears (via a hole in the Nurse's Shower) that the nurses have decided to "cut off" all the men until one of them steps up to the plate and romances Edwina.

The men decided to hold a raffle to see who the "lucky guy" is, and of course its Hawkeye!

Hawkeye schmoozes Edwina during lunch and dinner, trying his best to be funny and charming. Edwina is such a clutch she barely notices, but finally Hawkeye gets to asking her out, and she accepts.

That night, they each prepare for the date in royal style--each of them wearing kimonos, Hawkeye crosses the camp and picks Edwina up, bringing her back to The Swamp.

During the date, everything that could go wrong does, with Edwina accidentally elbowing Hawkeye in the eye, knocking him over, smashing a glass onto the floor (which Hawkeye accidentally tramples on, with bare feet), scaring him half to death.

Hawkeye finally concludes that all this klutziness is some sort of defense mechanism of Edwina's, in an attempt to keep men away before they can hurt her. Edwina is touched by all the effort Hawkeye is making, and they share a gentle kiss where nothing goes wrong. Edwina is thrilled that she's capable of being affectionate and open with someone, and it doesn't immediately go all wrong.

Of course, just as she discovers this, she knocks The Swamp's chimney pipe over, spilling soot all over Hawkeye and his bed. Hawkeye can only laugh hysterically.

Hawkeye and Nurse Cutler see Edwina off as she heads for home, and Margie thanks Hawkeye for being so nice to Edwina. The enforced abstinence is finally over!

Comments: A very sweet episode, and a nice vehicle for guest-star Golonka, who has a huge part in this episode, bigger than any of the others except for Alan Alda.

Favorite Line: As Hawkeye tries to woo Edwina, he talks about himself, talking about all the various facets of his personality: "Underneath all that of course is Public Parking."

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Episode 12 - Dear Dad

Season 1, Episode 11: Dear Dad
Original Air Date: 12/17/72
Written by: Larry Gelbart
Directed by: Gene Reynolds

This episode opens with Hawkeye writing a letter to his Dad, as Christmas approaches at the 4077th.

There's no big storyline threading through this episode--rather, its a series of smaller scenes that Hawkeye describes to his Dad.

We see Trapper and Ginger Bayliss as they help dispense medicine (and lollipops) to local kids, a date between Frank and Hot Lips ruined by a series of escalating practical jokes pulled on them by Hawkeye and Trapper,
Henry gives the camp a lecture on sex, and a run-in between Klinger and Frank, which leads to Klinger decking him, and then returning with a grenade to blow them both up! Thankfully, Father Mulcahy intervenes and talks Klinger out of it.

Lastly, just as Hawkeye (dressed as Santa) is about to entertain some visiting Korean children, an emergency at the front pops up--a wounded solider requiring emergency surgery!

Hawkeye, still dressed as Santa, hops in a chopper and lands in the middle of a battle, to perform the most amazing house call of all time.

The episode ends with Hawkeye signing off, and reintroducing everyone at the 4077th one more time.

Comments: This is the first episode in the "Dear...." format, where a character will narrate the entire episode as they dictate a letter to someone back home.

Every single character in the series (in addition to Sidney Freedman and even an undercover North Korean spy) would get at least one episode to themselves doing this, except for Hot Lips and Frank. My imagination reels at the thought of an entire M*A*S*H episode narrated by Frank Burns.

Favorite Line: This early on, the show is still using the P.A. Announcer (who we never see) as a way to add random jokes, like when he reads off the list of men who "Have volunteered for the 10-mile physical fitness hike:"
Dead silence.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Episode 11 - Germ Warfare

Season 1, Episode 11: Germ Warfare
Original Air Date: 12/10/72
Written by: Larry Gelbart
Directed by: Terry Becker

A North Korean soldier is recuperating in the 4077th's OR, but Frank wants him shipped out and not given any further treatment. Hawkeye and Trapper of course disagree.

The last straw is broken when the solider needs a pint of AB Negative, a rare blood type. Frank forbids it, so Hawkeye and Trapper go to Henry for help. Henry sort of agrees with them, but tells them to get the solider out of OR, so Frank can be mollified.

So Hawkeye keeps the soldier in his own bed in The Swamp, which angers Frank to no end. They then do a search of the camp's blood types to see who has AB Negative...and it just so happens that Frank's blood type.

In the middle of the night, they take a pint from Frank, and then in the morning they test it. Turns out traces of Hepatitis are found, so they need to get a second sample to double check. Since they can't risk taking more blood...

After trying to fool Frank into drinking a whole bunch of beer (and then faking that the Latrine is "Under Renovation"), they get a urine sample and sent it off to Seoul to be tested. In the meantime, they can't let Frank touch any patients...or Hot Lips!

After repeated attempts to keep them separated, Hawkeye and Trapper finally have to reveal what's going on when Frank prepares to so surgery. They go so far as to handcuff Frank to Hot Lips, to stall for time.

Frank and Hot Lips scream so loud Henry shows up to find out what's going on, just in time for the lab report to come back and reveal that Frank does not have hepatitis. But he does have Anemia...that's what you get when you donate blood without being ready!

Comments: There is one really bizarre moment in this show, when it becomes clear they have to keep Frank and Hot Lips apart. During various scenes of the two of them trying to have a rendezvous, there's narration by Hawkeye, in the style of Wild Kingdom, talking about them as if they're wild animals. Who, exactly, is Hawkeye talking to?!?

This episode features the second, and last, appearance of Lt. Dish. Hawkeye and Dish talk in the Mess Tent, and he has a fantasy about her sitting there naked, complete with fantasy-style music. Another truly weird sequence that would seem completely of place with the later episodes.

This episode also features the last appearance of Spearchucker. He is never referred to ever again, and all but officially removed from the show's history.

Favorite Line: While Hawkeye and Trapper are stealing Frank's blood, Hawkeye starts goofing around, whispering romantic nothings in Frank's ear, telling him "How big and strong" he is.

After Frank seems to enjoy it, Trapper says: "We better be careful--we don't want to start something we can't finish."

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Episode 10 - I Hate A Mystery

Season 1, Episode 10: I Hate A Mystery
Original Air Date: 11/26/72
Written by: Hal Dresner
Directed by: Hy Averback

The episode opens with Hawkeye cleaning up in a poker game against Trapper and some others. He's built up a tidy nest egg, which Ho-John keeps track of for him.

During the game, Frank, who is watching disapprovingly, notices that sterling silver frame around a picture of his mother has been stolen. He's sure Hawkeye or Trapper did it, and storms off.

He visits Hot Lips, who sees that her fancy hairbrush has been stolen. A few tents down, Henry sees that the fancy-schmancy fishing reel he got for his girlfriend Leslie (Nurse Scorch, played by Linda Meiklejohn) has also been stolen. Its a crime wave!

The thievery gets so bad Henry is forced to perform a tent-by-tent search. He ends up at The Swamp, where neither Hawkeye or Trapper are taking him very seriously. But things get very serious when Henry finds all the stolen items in Hawkeye's foot locker!

Hawkeye protests his innocence, Henry asks Hawkeye what the joke is, meanwhile Frank and Hot Lips are preparing the forms for a court martial.

Hawkeye insists he's being framed, and tries to figure out who's doing it, all the while being watched by a suspicious Hot Lips in the OR, and Radar out of it. It starts to drive Hawkeye crazy.

Later, he sets a trap for the real thief, by announcing over the PA system that fingerprints have been found on the stolen items, now in Henry's desk. In the middle of the night, he calls a meeting of all the interested parties in the Mess Tent.

Dressed like Sherlock Holmes, Hawkeye goes through all the possible suspects. He pulls a bluff, revealing that the real thief is...Ho-John!

Ho-John fesses up, but admits it was to raise money to bribe border guards to get his mother and sister across the border, to where its safer.

Everyone agrees to let Ho-John keep the stuff, so he can help his relatives. Hawkeye is impressed with how much extra money Ho-John has been able to save...until he realizes the total includes Hawkeye's poker winnings.

Comments: The final third of the show, where Hawkeye enters the Mess Tent dressed in a trenchcoat and hat, is one of the examples (exclusively in the first season) of M*A*S*H being pretty sit-com-y--what is Hawkeye, a prop comic?

Scenes like this feel like either the writers still weren't sure how real the show should be, or they were bones thrown to the networks, to assure them that M*A*S*H was, in fact, just a silly ol' sit-com! Nothing to pay too close attention to, Mr. Paley.

Favorite Line: When Ho-John asks Frank why he got into medicine, Hawkeye mutters "To meet girls", in a way that sounds almost like an ad-lib.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Episode 9 - Henry, Please Come Home

Season 1, Episode 9: Henry, Please Come Home
Original Air Date: 11/19/72
Written by: Laurence Marks
Directed by: William Wiard

In the O.R., there's a dust-up when Frank is rude to Nurse Ginger Bayliss, and Hawkeye and Trapper call him out on it, in front of the rest of the staff.

After surgery, Frank insists Ginger should be formally reprimanded, and Hawkeye and Trapper yell at him all over again. Henry calms everything down, but warns them that they have to try and get along with Frank, in case, someday, Henry isn't there to fix everything.

Not too long after, Gen. Hammond arrives to bestow a commendation (4th class) on Henry, now that the 4077th has achieved a 90% efficiency rating, the highest of any MASH unit in Korea.

Along with the commendation, Henry is transferred to Tokyo, where he'll be teaching. Hawkeye, Trapper, and Radar are stunned--and even more stunned when they realize that Frank is now in charge!

Under the command of Burns, the place becomes a nightmare--he changes everyone's duties and schedules, shuts down doctors' still, and insists on other Army formalities--morning reveille, calisthenics, the whole bit.

This forces Hawkeye, Trapper, Radar, Spearchucker, Ugly John, Ho-John, and Boone to try and figure out what to do with Frank. Suggestions like having him transferred, getting him on the operating table, and even pushing in front of a moving chopper blade are all offered.

But Hawkeye realizes the answer is Henry--they need Henry back!

They take a trip to Tokyo to hang out with Henry, who is enjoying himself immensely. They try and guilt him into coming back, but he won't do it (why would he?).

The part of their plan that works is when they have Radar fake a serious illness, something they can't quite diagnose. Henry is concerned enough to come back to the 4077th to help out, and his arrival is less than welcomed by Frank.

After a cursory examination, Henry suggests exploratory surgery on Radar, which catches everyone by surprise. As they try and talk him out of it, Frank and Henry get into an argument. In a careless moment, Radar offers to place a call to Gen. Hammond for Henry, leaping out bed in the process.

The whole sham revealed, Henry demands to know what's going on. Hawkeye admits it was all a plan to get Henry back, and out of the hands of Burns. Henry, against all his better judgment, agrees to return to commanding the 4077th.

Later, Henry interrupts a poker game in The Swamp. He tells everyone that things are going to be stricter, more serious from now on, but when he accepts the martini offered him and pulls up a chair at the poker table, everyone can see things are back to normal.

Fun Facts: M*A*S*H as a series was never all that concerned with episode-to-episode continuity, but there are moments when CBS' habit of showing the shows wildly out of order really becomes apparent--Spearchucker and Ugly John return, after being gone for several episodes. In addition, General Hammond is back, even though we've already seen General Barker and General Clayton appear.

In addition, the character of Boone is part of Hawkeye's informal gang, played by actor Robert Gooden. This was a character from the movie, and it didn't take long for the show's producers and writers to figure out the series didn't need to retain so many of the movie's characters. He would make only one more appearance in the series.

In the scene where Frank angrily confronts Henry about reprimanding Ginger Bayliss, Hawkeye says: "You're kidding, doctor--and I only call you that because it always gets a laugh."

At that moment, the laugh track kicks in, thereby delivering the exact thing that Hawkeye just mentioned, as if there are bleachers of people at the 4077th watching all this. A truly Dada-esque moment on the show.

Favorite Line: When Ugly John's suggestion of getting rid of Frank via the operating table is met with comments like "You're not very imaginative, Ugly John", his matter-of-fact response is: "Huh, never claimed to be!"I know it doesn't read that funny, but there's something about John Orchard's delivery that makes me laugh every time.

There's also a nice moment, at the end, when Henry sits down to play poker with the guys. He plops down next to Radar and puts his arm around him, amid all the chatter of the characters. A sweet bit of business between McLean Stevenson and Gary Burghoff.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Episode 8 - Cowboy

Season 1, Episode 8: Cowboy
Original Air Date: 11/12/72
Written by: Robert Klane
Directed by: Don Weis

One of the wounded is a chopper pilot named Cowboy (Billy Green Bush), who rests up in the 4077th's Post Op.

Cowboy's wounds aren't so bad, but his real problem is that his wife has been writing him letters, telling him that their relationship is in trouble. Cowboy requests to go home from Henry, who refuses. He sympathizes, but can't justify sending someone home just for that.

At the same time, Henry denies Trapper permission to borrow a Jeep to make some time with a nurse. He and Hawkeye wonder if Henry is starting to "go sour on us."

Cowboy doesn't take too well to being told he can't go home, and soon after we see Henry barely escape a couple of accidents--he's shot at while golfing with Hawkeye, a out-of-control jeep goes through his tent, the latrine blows up while he's in it. Eventually the whole camp--even Radar--begins to steer clear of their commander, afraid of being near someone who obviously has a target painted on his back.

Henry, now a nervous wreck, agrees to take some R&R, and Cowboy offers to give him a lift in his chopper. While Henry is showing Frank the ropes in his office, he is almost killed when a small bomb goes off under his chair!

Back at the camp, Hawkeye discovers via a search of his duffel bag that its Cowboy who is the attempted assassin, just in time to learn from Trapper that Cowboy just took off in his chopper with Henry!

Cowboy tips Henry off that he plans to kill him, just as Hawkeye, Trapper, and Radar try to get through to him via the radio.

As Henry fights for his life, they read Cowboy a letter from his life, which has just arrived. She admits to being tempted by other men, but ultimately loves him, and wants to stay together.

Relieved, The Cowboy calms down and flies them back to the 4077th.

Later, in The Swamp, we learn that The Cowboy is going to get a chance to get some R&R. Trapper asks is Henry was scared up in the chopper, all alone with The Cowboy.

He says no, but when he jumps and spills his drink over the sound of a backfiring jeep, Hawkeye and Trapper have a good laugh at Henry's expense.

Fun Facts: The scene with The Cowboy and Henry in the chopper is sort of startling in its lack of comedy--The Cowboy is trying to murder Henry in cold blood, and he almost succeeds!

We learn that The Cowboy is going to get to visit with his wife--a very sympathetic gesture, considering he turned to attempted murder to get what he wanted. And I always though the Army was strict!

Favorite Line: Hawkeye and Trapper sitting with Henry in the Mess Tent, admitting they're worried about their commander: "Henry, don't you realize if anything happens to you, Frank Burns would be running this place?"

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Episode 7 - Bananas, Crackers, and Nuts

Season 1, Episode 7: Bananas, Crackers, and Nuts
Original Air Date: 11/5/72
Written by: Burt Styler
Directed by: Bruce Bilson

After a brutal, unending stream of wounded, Hawkeye and Trapper demand some R&R in Tokyo. Henry agrees, and they start to pack.

Their glee is interrupted when more wounded arrive, and things are made even worse when afterwards, Henry leaves to go to a medical conference. They know that acting commander Frank will never give them time off.

Hawkeye decides the best way to get some rest is to act crazy (with Trapper as "The only one that can handle him"), so he goes all out--rebuffing the advances of Nurse Cutler in public, and even pretending to eat a piece of a North Korean soldier who died (ewww!).

Instead of getting R&R, Frank and Hot Lips call in a psychiatrist, Captain Sherman (Stuart Margolin), who examines Hawkeye, who still doesn't drop the act. He messes with Sherman's head, even telling him he has a crush on Frank.

Henry returns, shocked to learn what's been going on. Sherman wants Hawkeye to get actual psychiatric help, and Frank and Hot Lips start going along with it, figuring this is a chance to get rid of Hawkeye once and for all, referring to Pierce as "Poor Hawkeye--poor, sick Hawkeye."

When informed of this, Hawkeye reveals it was all an act, but Capt. Sherman won't listen.

Hawkeye enlists Radar to help with a plan--he has the signs on the V.I.P. tent and Hot Lips' tent switched, ending with Margaret unknowingly walking in on the sleeping Capt. Sherman, and getting undressed.

Sherman, who once had a relationship with Hot Lips, takes this as all the encouragement he needs, and lunges at her. Hot Lips screams for help, alerting the whole camp.

Hawkeye, Trapper, Frank, and the rest storm in, and Sherman is left stammering a half-hearted defense. Claiming it was all a frame-up, his case against Hawkeye is closed.

Fun Facts: Stuart Margolin would return next season, as a different character. M*A*S*H would do that a lot, and as a kid it used to confuse the heck out of me.

Favorite Line: When Capt. Sherman insists he's been framed, Hawkeye laughs it off with the deliberately mangled cliche "You're living in a fool's paranoid."

I still use that phrase to this day.*

*When appropriate

Friday, March 6, 2009

Episode 6 - Yankee Doodle Doctor

Season 1, Episode 6: Yankee Doodle Doctor
Original Air Date: 10/22/72
Written by: Laurence Marks
Directed by: Lee Philips

An oily, fast-talking Lieutenant named Bricker arrives (Ed Flanders, Dr. Westphall on St. Elsewhere) looking to make a movie about the 4077th.

He asks Hawkeye and Trapper to contribute, but they refuse when they see its just a glorified propaganda piece. They are particularly disgusted by Frank's phrase, "Yankee Doodle Doctor", to be used as narration.

Bricker suggests doing the film without Hawkeye and Trapper, but Henry says they are sort of the heart of the unit, and the film really wouldn't work without them.

Despite pressure from Henry, Hawkeye and Trapper break in to Henry's file cabinet and expose the film already shot, ruining it. Lt. Bricker is enraged, and leaves the camp.

Hawkeye then decides they can shoot their own film, using the camera equipment Bricker left behind (along with his cameraman). After a few days of shooting, they debut it in the Mess Tent, in front of the whole camp and the visiting General Clayton (Herb Voland).

The film is basically a Marx Bros. movie featuring Hawkeye as Groucho, Trapper as Harpo, Radar, Nurse Cutler, and the rest of the gang. It makes Henry laugh, Clayton mad. It features scenes of Hawkeye, Trapper, and Radar dropping their pants, Radar getting operated on by Groucho Pierce, and all the gang throwing a massive party.

It ends with a single shot of Hawkeye talking to the camera, dead serious, denouncing the propaganda of a "Yankee Doodle Doctor" and how, despite all their efforts, the war kills more people than doctors can save.

Clayton isn't thrilled, but admits parts of it were funny. He asks for all the goofy stuff in the movie be removed, and just keep his intro and Hawkeye talking at the end. But he quietly suggests Henry keep a print of the whole thing...so they have "Something to laugh at when all this is over."

Fun Facts: The debut of third general, General Clayton, who would appear on the show for the first two seasons.

Hawkeye's film is actually pretty funny, and it seems like it was a little ad-libbed, since some of the actors seem to flub their lines and have little asides.

Favorite Line: Hawkeye at the end of Yankee Doodle Doctor, talking to the audience, both real and fake: "...not a great end to a movie. But then no war is a movie."

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Episode 5 - The Moose

Season 1, Episode 5: The Moose
Original Air Date: 10/15/72
Written by: Laurence Marks
Directed by: Hy Averback

Hawkeye and Trapper are incensed when they see that a visiting Sergeant is accompanied by a "moose", a local term for a slave. This Sgt. Baker bought the young girl, named Young Hi, from her family to work as his helper. Baker underlines his lack of humanity when he refers to Young Hi as a "gook", a word Hawkeye demands never be uttered in front of him again.

Hawkeye and Trapper do some investigating, and via Radar and Ho-John they find out how Young Hi ended up as Baker's moose. They suggest reporting him to his commanding officer, but Henry points out that won't do much good--Baker's C.O. has a moose of his own.

They decide to set a trap for Baker, by having him play in a poker game where Radar is letting Hawkeye know what cards Baker is holding. Baker ends up hugely in debt to Hawkeye, who offers to call of the debt if he frees Young Hi. Baker reluctantly agrees and leaves camp.

They then send Ho-John to find her family. In the meantime, they work on teaching Young Hi to be a confident, poised young woman, who does not need to constantly be deferential to others. They teach her English beyond the few cliches she's learned, how to be more confident, even getting her to help out in Post Op. She also acts as a personal assistant Hawkeye--old habits die hard.

Young Hi's younger brother--a little, smooth-talking punk named Benny--arrives to take Young Hi back, and says they'll be able to get even more money for her now that she's been educated. Hawkeye and Trapper, after threatening to get on their knees and punch the little shrimp in the nose, try to convince Young Hi she doesn't have to do what her family demands, but she leaves with Benny anyway.

But after a few minutes, she returns to The Swamp, telling Hawkeye and Trapper she told Benny to shove off!

Later, we learn that Young Hi has moved on to a Buddhist monestary, in a letter she wrote to Hawkeye and Trapper, thanking them for their help.

Hawkeye, Trapper, and Spearchucker are happy they've been able to show Young Hi a better life, and Hawkeye muses he misses the good shaves Young Hi used to give. Trapper and Spearchucker respond by roughhousing Hakweye and shoving him into The Swamp.

Fun Facts: This episode features that racial slur, the first time I ever heard that word. I was too young to really know what it meant, but seeing Hawkeye's revulsion towards it told me all I needed to know.

Like they did in the pilot, Hawkeye, Trapper, et al, get away with doing something bad--cheating--in the service of a good cause.

This episode is the first of many examples showing that while the members of the 4077th are, by and large, an upstanding, hardworking bunch, there are those in the U.S. Army--"the good guys"--who are not so savory. I mean, this Baker guy bought a human being, for Pete's sake--being kicked off camp was a pretty light punishment, when you think about it.

Favorite Line: Hawkeye grabs a dangling, unlit cigarette out of Benny's mouth:

Hawkeye: "You'll get this back when you're fifty."

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Episode 4 - Chief Surgeon Who?

Season 1, Episode 4: Chief Surgeon Who?
Original Air Date: 10/8/72
Written by: Larry Gelbart
Directed by: E.W. Swackhamer

This episode opens with the viewer getting a chance to see what daily life is like inside the O.R.--even though Frank Burns is ranking surgeon, he's clearly out of his depth. He's snappish and rude to the others, and, even worse, he's behind in his medical information. Everyone on the medical staff seems to turn to Hawkeye for help and advice.

After a particularly nasty blow-up between Hawkeye and Frank, Henry realizes the 4077th can't keep going like this, so he has to appoint a chief surgeon.

Henry calls Frank and Hawkeye to his office. Contrary to army protocol, he skips over Frank and names Pierce as Chief Surgeon. Frank is enraged and forces Henry to admit that, "when the heat's on", Hawkeye is the best surgeon in camp.

Frank and Hot Lips decide to go to General Barker, and complain about this breach of the rules.

When Barker arrives at the 4077th, Frank and Hot Lips tell him that there's a wounded man waiting to be operated on. He storms off to go find "Chief Surgeon Pierce."

He finds Hawkweye, Trapper, Capt. Kaplan (Jack Riley), and Ugly John playing cards! He demands Hawkeye operate--now.

Hawkeye refuses the order, saying medically its not the best idea while the patient is still in shock. He's having a nurse give the patient some blood and get him better ready for surgery, and expects to operate around 3am.

Barker doesn't like that answer, so he storms off to find Henry, only to find that the whole camp seems to be jumping, even this late at night--Radar is reading comics while drinking Henry's brandy, Spearchucker (Timothy Brown) and Nurse Ginger Baliss (Odessa Cleveland) are playing Strip Dominoes, and the camp's night sentry, Cpl. Klinger (Jamie Farr) is wandering around the camp in a WAC uniform!

Once Barker finds Henry, they meet Hawkeye and Trapper in the O.R., now that the patient is ready for surgery. Barker is impressed by Hawkeye's surgical skill, and grudgingly admits he was wrong, and Hawkeye was right.

Barker tells Henry to ignore Frank from here on in, and marvels at how anything gets done in this madhouse. He is not reassured when Klinger reappears, naked, still on duty. Hawkeye, Trapper, and Henry take it all in stride.
Fun Facts: This episode has two big moments--Hawkeye is appointed Chief Surgeon, and the debut of Klinger.

In the previous two episodes, McLean Stevenson's Henry Blake was a lovable doofus, but didn't seem that great a commander. But he has a great moment with Frank, when he ignores tradition and appoints Hawkeye Chief Surgeon. It showed that, when medicine was concerned, Henry had a steel spine--at one point Henry and Frank are eye to eye, yelling at each other, and its a genuine moment of tension. Frank is about as threatening as he ever was on the show.
Favorite Line: As Barker storms out of the card game in The Swamp, he threatens Hawkeye:

Gen. Barker: "You haven't heard the last of this."

Hawkeye, in a perfect, deadpan Groucho tone: "I wasn't listening to the first of it."
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