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."


Russell said...

This episode to me shows everyone exactly what is wrong with later MASH episodes...everyone is so frickin' nice to each other!

I consider this sickly sweet portrait the worst art "Col Potter" ever did, and a terrible episode to sit through. Blah!!

Radar Hat said...

Every time I see this episode; Once Hawkeye moves into the room behind Rosie's, I think of how the show may have looked if it had gone on a few more years - with Hawkeye staying behind after the war had ended. The premise could have been him staying to try to help with the damage from the war, while trying to work through some of his issues.

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