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Thread: M*A*S*H

  1. #31
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    That part always freaked me out.

  2. #32
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    Just watched the ep the other day when the spirit of dead soldier lingers around the camp, unseen by all except Klinger who's delerious with fever. Very moving, actually brought me to tears, especially the ending when the spirit of another dead soldier tells him 'It's this way' and he joins the long line of the dead walking down an endless road

    My favourite character? Actually Charles Winchester, he could so easily have been a Frank Burns clone but he wasn't, he was a good surgeon, respected by the others, a man of wit and culture who hated the war as much as they did but was still an antagonist for the slobbish Hawkeye and BJ. I always loved the final ep where they announce the truce and whilst everyone else screams and dances with joy Charles just stands there, closing his eyes in silent relief. His leaving is great too, making a gift of his favourite book to Hotlips and telling Colonel Potter that when he's in charge of a surgical team of his own he will try to lead them just like Potter did with him

  3. #33
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    Decided to start a soft rewatch of the show.

    Season 1, episode 1: "Pilot".

    Personally, I prefer the later stuff in the show. In this episode, in addition to the regular cast, there's Lt. Dish (dropped after two episodes), Ugly John (dropped after season 1, only appears in ten episodes), Captain whose-nickname-is-a-racial-slur (so I won't use it) Jones (dropped after 11 episodes, only appears in six), Boone (only appears in a few season 1 episodes) and Ho-John (dropped after the first season, only appearing in seven episodes). All characters from the film, that I guess they just didn't have anything for them to do in the show. Father Mulcahy is there, but played by a different actor. His name is given as John P. Mulcahy, while Mulcahy's first name was later given as "Francis". So, I guess one could write off the pilot Mulcahy as a different person. Could be more than one priest named Mulcahy in the army (heck, there was a later episode, where part of the plot had there be another Benjamin Pierce (think he was also a captain), in addition to Hawkeye).

    Shame that Ho-John wasn't more of a main stay. Not because I thought that he was a great character, in the pilot, but because the show is set in Korea. Makes sense to have a regular Korean character. Granted, they later got a recurring Asian character in Kellye, but she wasn't Korean. Also started as an extra, who appeared so often and stayed for so long that she eventually got to head up an episode in season 11.

    In this episode, Hawkeye says that Ho-John can stay with his parents, when he goes to the States. Naturally, later episodes depict Hawkeye's dad as a widower (with Hawkeye's mom having died, when Hawkeye was a kid).
    Last edited by jon-el87; 04-17-2021 at 04:15 AM.

  4. #34
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    Season 1, episode 4: "Chief Surgeon Who?"

    Enter Corporal Klinger. Also, Hawkeye becomes chief surgeon. Not much else to say about the episode. Without it being the introduction of the former (an eventual main character), I would've skipped it.

  5. #35
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    Season 1, episode 7: "Bananas, Crackers and Nuts".

    Trapper and Hawkeye did what??!!!! Margaret is almost raped (which Trapper and Hawkeye knowingly arranged) and they find it amusing?! Our heroes ladies and gentlemen. Two scumbags that arranges for a woman to be sexually assaulted.

  6. #36
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    Season 1, episode 17: "Sometimes You Hear the Bullet".

    The strongest antiwar story of the first season. According to Wikipedia, it might also have marked the first time that two men kissed on the lips, on American television.

    Ron Howard guest starred as a minor, who've joined the Marines. This was before Happy Days, back when Ron was best known for playing Opie on The Andy Griffith Show. An episode of its spin-off had Opie attempt to join the Marines.

    It's a good episode. Though, I hope that Hawkeye would've still turned in Walter, even if Tommy hadn't died. Otherwise, Hawkeye would've looked the other way, when a 15-year-old went back to the front.

    Frank throwing out his back would've probably gotten him discharged.

  7. #37
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    Season 2, episode 20: "As You Were".

    Always check in with your gorilla on a regular basis.

    At the end, the PA announces the release of Nazi war criminal Alfred Krupp. Placing the events of this episode around Januari of 1951. Of course, if this is Januari, people sure aren't dressed for it.

    Thought Trapper and Hawkeye putting Frank in a box was uncalled for. What had he done? Out of boredom attempted on his own to perfectly arrange the stuff in the mess hall? It's not like he was angrily bossing people around, he was just trying to kill some time for himself. For some reason, this caused Trapper and Hawkeye to decide to mess with him. It's one of those times when one looks at it and feels a little like Frank might actually be the victim in all of this. Is he acting the way that he does, because he is an a-hole... or is he just a victim frequently trying to get back at these two guys who've been picking on him for ages (and lashing out)? After all, the pilot started with all having already been there for a while. With hostilities already being in place. We never see who started it.

    Outside of that, the episode was fine.

  8. #38
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    Season 2, episode 22: "George".

    Frank wants to send private Ross directly back to the front (while Blake wants to give Ross two weeks in Tokyo). Shame that they didn't touch on the possible racial angle. Though, Frank would probably do the same to a white guy.

    The main plot of the episode revolves around Frank trying to report a gay soldier, getting him a dishonorable discharge. Despite being made in the early 1970s, the gay soldier isn't a walking stereotype, played for laughs. Only Frank (the antagonist) resorts to gay jokes, not Hawkeye or the others.

  9. #39
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    Season 2, episode 24: "A Smattering of Intelligence".

    Enter Colonel Flagg... or is it the return of him? The actor had played a different character, in a later episode, which a later episode apparently implies might've been Flagg under one of his many aliases. Fun games that Trapper and Hawkeye were having with Flagg of the CIA and Pratt of G2 (don't think I've ever seen G2 used in any other movie or TV show).

    Season 3, episode 1: "The General Flipped at Dawn".

    Welcome, Colonel Potter... I mean, General Steele. Apparently, Gary Burghoff and McLean Stevenson struggled to make it through the troop inspection scene, without laughing. They had both only seen Harry Morgan in serious roles, and had no idea that he could be funny. Mind you, because of Morgan's later role on the show, it feels strange to see him as another character for one episode.

    Minor note: the guy who shot John Wilkes Booth was named Boston Corbett.

    Season 3, episode 24: "Abyssinia, Henry".

    One of the classic/iconic moments of the show. Henry getting killed really hammered home the idea that not everyone gets to go home from a war. He had also been a main cast member for three seasons. This wasn't some one-off guest star, who have never been seen before, and all characters get emotional when he gets killed (with the audience not feeling it, as we've never seen him before).

    Would be interesting to see this episode be remade today. Reflecting more recent storytelling, and maybe made for a streaming service. Thus not being limited to 24 minutes. They could've showed Henry's family in Bloomington. Their happiness and joy, that Henry is coming home. Spent some time with them. Making the true impact of Henry's death more intense. After all, the mourners aren't limited to Henry's former co-workers at the 4077th. They include his wife and their children (whom the former will not have to try and explain to the latter, that daddy is not coming home after all).

    The scene between Henry and Radar gives the current year as 1952.

    This episode aired March 18, 1975. McLean Stevenson died from a heart attack on February 15, 1996. Roger Bowen (Henry Blake in the original movie) died from a heart attack the very next day.
    Last edited by jon-el87; 04-18-2021 at 04:08 AM.

  10. #40
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    Season 4, episodes 1 & 2: "Welcome to Korea".

    Goodbye, Trapper. Hello, BJ. Wayne Rogers left the show after season 3, prompting the depature of his character and entry of a new doctor. I quite like cast changes, depending on how they're done. Here they make sense, it's a military unit. People get transferred in and out. People get discharged. In a later interview, the creators spoke about how they aspired to make new characters, into the opposite of whom they were replacing. That's the right way to go. Don't bring in two new characters, who are carbon copies of Henry Blake and Trapper John. Have them be their own characters.

    Like that they make BJ freshly drafted. We get to follow his first experiences in Korea. Something that we didn't with Hawkeye, Trapper, Frank and Henry. Everyone had already spent an X amount of time at the 4077th. BJ's daughter, Erin, is said to be a newborn in this episode. Of course, over the course of the show, her age was all over the place.

    Because of Rogers' departure, the opening credits have been modified... but only with shots of Rogers edited out and altered and Mike Farrell edited in. They would also edit out shots of Gary Burghoff, after Radar left. No idea why they were so reluctant to make new opening credits. Of course, it wasn't the only 1970s show to refuse to update the opening credits (merely editing out departed cast members). Haven't seen much of it, but Little House on the Prairie seemed to have kept the same opening credits for seven seasons (looking at the opening credits right now on Youtube). Season 8 only did minor alterations to adjust for the departure of one of the daughters. For season 9, they finally had brand-new opening credits, because everyone except Melissa Gilbert was gone.

    Of course, it might've been too expensive to shoot an entirely new opening credits sequence. A thing that I'm often curious about, is if any of the people that run to the helicopters, at the start of every episode, got paid for the usage of their image. After all, every week, your face is seen as you run to the helicopter, during the show's 11 year run. I hope that they didn't get screwed over... but they probably were. Probably, didn't have contracts for it or something.

    Season 4, episode 3: "Change of Command".

    Welcome, Colonel Potter.

    According to the previous episode, Potter assumes command on September 19, 1952. Meaning that the remainder of the show would have to be set between that date and 28 July 1953... only it doesn't. A later episode even depicts Potter as having been in command in late 1950. Starting to think that placing a long-running series, that runs for 11 years, in a conflict that only lasted 3 years was a bad idea.

    It's a shame that Potter ordering Klinger to wear a uniform didn't stick. The whole crossdressing thing was worn out. If Klinger's eager to get out of the army, he should try new anticts. Maybe not every episode, as then the writers would quickly run out of ideas. But him just walking around in a dress every week feels lazy. Also dependent on whether the individual viewer finds the mere sight of a man in a dress hilarious. Not to mention, after three seasons, Klinger should've concluded that wearing dresses won't work. Of course, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing, over and over again, expecting different results.

  11. #41
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    Season 5, episodes 1 & 2: "Bug Out".

    Got mixed feelings about them returning at the end. On the one hand, it feels like the whole bug out was pointless (even if it depicted something that would happen to this unit, from time to time). At the same time, what else could be done? The filming location would obviously remain the same. So, it was either return to this location, or pretend that this is a new location from now on.

    Margaret gives the current month as September. "Abyssinia, Henry" gives the year of Henry's departure as 1952. "Welcome to Korea" establishes Potter as assuming command as of September 19, 1952. So it can't take place earlier than September 1952.

    Season 5, episode 3: "Margaret's Engagement".

    Frank has a minor mental breakdown, after Margaret gets engaged. Given his eventual departure, I thought that this was good foreshadowing.

    Potter expresses concern that Margaret might be rushing into things. Not a bad thing to say, seeing how short-lived this marriage proved.

    Season 5, episode 25: "Margaret's Marriage".

    Margaret finally gets married, after being engaged for eight months. Given that "Bug Out" was September of 1952, this episode couldn't take place earlier than May of 1953. Means that the war's almost over for the characters... oh, right.

  12. #42
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    Season 6, episodes 1 & 2: "Fade Out, Fade In".

    After five seasons, Larry Linville had grown tired of playing the increasingly one-dimensional Frank Burns. He exited the show, giving room for Charles Emerson Winchester III. Sticking with the rules of making the new character, the opposite of whomever they replaced. Charles is a competent surgeon, who is better than Hawkeye and BJ. Only held back to his slow speed, due to his inexperience with meatball surgery. Additionally, while Frank loved being there, Charles is eager to get out. Thought that his entrance was well-handled.

    Season 6, episode 7: "The Light That Failed".

    The bit with Charles administrating the wrong medication felt like something for Frank Burns. Guess not all writers had gotten used to writing this new, competent surgeon. They were clearly also hinting at a possible relationship between Charles and Margaret. Thank heavens that never happened. Charles is supposed to be the opposite of Frank. Him entering into an adulterous relationship with Margaret (only ties time, she's married, while the man is unmarried) would've been a repeat of a key Frank Burns element.

    The mystery novel thing was a bit fun. Though, their attempts to figure out the missing solution was over the top. They even go so far as to call the author. Why not just call one of their relatives in the States, have them check out a complete copy of the book, at a public library, then tell the 4077 staff the solution? Must be easier than to getting the phone number of the original author and expect her to just remember who the killer was, in a book that she likely wrote years ago (as she was likely a Agatha Christie-pastiche, she's probably written many other stories).

  13. #43
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    Season 7, episode 7: "None Like it Hot".

    I know that this isn't the only time, but it's fun to see Klinger attempt another section 8 scam, than just standing around in dresses.

    Season 7, episode 11: "Point of View".

    Good experimental episode. Seeing everything from the POV of an injured soldier. A shame that I watched it on my TV. One day, I'd be interested to rewatch it on a virtual reality headset (literally putting me into the eyes of Private Rich).

    Minor note: Rich's letter sets this episode in September of 1951... a year before Potter is supposed to have assumed command (according to the start of season 4).

  14. #44
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    Season 8, episode 2: "Are You Now, Margaret?".

    Yeah, had my suspicions about her for quite a while.

    Season 8, episodes 4 & 5: "Good-Bye, Radar".

    Having played Radar in the film, Gary Burghoff was the first to be cast for the show. With this two-parter, he become the last to leave, before the end of the series. Leaving Alda and Swit as the only two original cast members left on the show.

    Quite like the two-pater. Radar's torn between his duties at the 4077th and his duties to his family back home, now that Uncle Ed is dead. It's only after Klinger manages to secure a new generator, that Radar feels that it's okay for him to leave.

    Looking over the four departures (Henry, Trapper, Frank and Radar), I like that they kept it varied. Henry got all his point and got to say goodbye to everyone, then got killed on the way home (never making it there). Trapper also got discharges, and was able to return home... but Hawkeye never got to say goodbye to him (the question is if life ever brought the two friends back together, after both returned home?). Frank had a mental breakdown and was shipped home. After Radar's uncle dies, he is given a hardship discharge and is able to say goodbye to everyone, before leaving (even if they weren't able to attend the party, that they had planned for him).

    Nice that they had Radar meet a girl... giving a possible hint at a romantic future (though, I've heard that AfterMash and the W*A*L*T*E*R pilot established otherwise. Of course, does anyone consider those two canon? One was a pilot, for a show that wasn't picked up. The former apparently ran for two seasons, but no one ever talks about it in interviews/M*A*S*H retrospectives. Doesn't even appear to be available on DVD or anything).

    Season 8, episode 6: "Period of Adjustment".

    BJ breaks down after learning that, when Peg and Erin met Radar at the airport, Erin called Radar "daddy". Really felt for BJ in this episode. Sometimes I find him insufferable Specifically when his Peg-related concerns have to do with her getting a job, or might become more independent.. But this time I really felt for him. This isn't a case of him being insecure in his manhood. This is a case of a parent who's missing part of his child's life... even more because of how long the show ran. Originally, he arrived in 1952 (probably not long before Potter in September), with the Korean War ending in July of 1953. And Erin was originally a newborn (meaning that, realistically, BJ would've only missed a few months). Here she's able to walk and talk, and BJ ends up being depicted as missing years of her life, over the course of the show.

  15. #45
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    Season 8, episode 10: "The Yalu Brick Road".

    Enter G.W. Bailey as Sgt. Rizzo. Rizzao became a recurring character. However, after this episode, Bailey appeared as an unnamed G.I. (who was clearly not Rizzo) in the 13th episode of this season. Could've been shot first, they liked Bailey and cast him as Rizzo. Because it feels weird to first introduce a recurring character, then have him make an appearance two episodes later, as another character.

    Season 8, episode 11: "Life Time".

    Another experimental episode, set in real time. It was co-written by Alan Alda and Walter Dishell (the show's medical consultant).

    Season 8, episode 15: "Yessir, That's Our Baby".

    Good exploration of racism in Korea, while also highlighting possible failiures of the U.S. government, when it comes to children spawned by American soldiers and foreign women. At the end of the episode, I always want to know what happened to that baby. Did she ever make it out of Korea? If she did, did she have a happy life?

    Hawkeye gives the current year as 1951 (yeah, whatever).

    Season 8, 18: "Old Soldiers".

    At times, the show feels more like a fully-blown drama, than a sitcom... could be because I always watch the DVD:s without the laugh track.

    Season 8, episode 22: "Dreams".

    Another experimental episode. Quite like the dream sequences. Gives you some visual insight into the fears of the main characters. First appearance of BJ's wife. Like that they got the same actress back to play her, in a later episode.

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