M*A*S*H- a season by season discussion!

Discussion in 'Visual Arts' started by ohnothimagen, Dec 1, 2017.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. ohnothimagen

    ohnothimagen "Live music is better!" Thread Starter

    In the spirit of the "song by song"/"album by album" discussions, I thought it would be fun to do a variant on one of the finest television series ever, M*A*S*H. We'll go season by season, so if you can let's just keep the talk focused on each specific season, your favourite/least favourite episodes, scenes, quotes etc. I know there are a few M*A*S*H aficionados here, so hopefully this'll be a good 'un!
  2. ohnothimagen

    ohnothimagen "Live music is better!" Thread Starter

    M*A*S*H (season 1)
    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    M*A*S*H (season 1)
    clockwise: Loretta Swit, Alan Alda, McLean Stevenson and Wayne Rogers, 1972.
    Country of origin United States
    No. of episodes 24
    Original network
    Original release September 17, 1972 – March 25, 1973

    The first season of M*A*S*H aired Sundays at 8:00-8:30 pm on CBS.

    Alan Alda Capt. Benjamin Franklin "Hawkeye" Pierce
    Wayne Rogers Capt. "Trapper" John MacIntyre
    McLean Stevenson Lt. Col. Henry Blake
    Loretta Swit Maj. Margaret "Hot Lips" Houlihan
    Larry Linville Maj. Frank "Ferret Face" Burns
    Gary Burghoff Cpl. Walter "Radar" O'Reilly


    • All episodes are listed in order of airdate.
    • No. in Series refers to that episode's number within the overall series; No. in Season refers to the order in which the episode aired within that particular season.
    • Production codes are taken from the M*A*S*H episode database
    1 1 "Pilot" Gene Reynolds Larry Gelbart September 17, 1972 J-301
    Army surgeons Hawkeye Pierce (Alan Alda) and Trapper MacIntyre (Wayne Rogers) hold a raffle to raise tuition for the Swamp's Korean houseboy while their commanding officer Henry Blake (McLean Stevenson) is away. The prize is a weekend with nurse Lt. Dish. To keep Major Frank Burns out of the way, he is sedated. This episode features George Morgan in his only appearance as Father Mulcahy.
    2 2 "To Market, to Market" Michael O'Herlihy Burt Styler September 24, 1972 J-303
    Hawkeye and Trapper get into black marketing for medical supplies and offer Henry's antique oak desk as payment, after the supplies are hijacked. Episode features Jack Soo, who would later appear in the series Barney Miller.
    3 3 "Requiem for a Lightweight" Hy Averback Robert Klane October 1, 1972 J-308
    Trapper goes into the boxing ring against another unit's thug in a deal with Henry to keep a nurse, Lt. Cutler at the 4077th. Hawkeye comes up with a plan to equal the odds. Frank tries to upset Hawkeye's plan but it backfires. This episode marks the first appearance of William Christopher as Father Francis Mulcahy.
    4 4 "Chief Surgeon Who?" E.W. Swackhamer Larry Gelbart October 8, 1972 J-307
    Hawkeye is named chief surgeon of the 4077th, to the great chagrin of Frank Burns and Margaret Houlihan. Jamie Farr is introduced as the cross-dressing Corporal Maxwell Q. Klinger. William Christopher does not appear in this episode.
    5 5 "The Moose" Hy Averback Laurence Marks October 15, 1972 J-305
    Hawkeye and Trapper plot to free a Korean girl from serving a GI. Larry Linville, Loretta Swit and William Christopher do not appear in this episode.
    6 6 "Yankee Doodle Doctor" Lee Philips Laurence Marks October 22, 1972 J-310
    Hawkeye declares a filmmaker's documentary about the 4077th to be propaganda and decides to make his own, with characters based on Groucho Marx and Chico Marx. William Christopher does not appear in this episode.
    7 7 "Bananas, Crackers and Nuts" Bruce Bilson Burt Styler November 5, 1972 J-311
    Hawkeye goes crazier than usual when he doesn't get his R&R, so a shrink (Stuart Margolin) is brought in to examine him. William Christopher does not appear in this episode.
    8 8 "Cowboy" Don Weis Robert Klane November 12, 1972 J-309
    A series of so-called "accidents" makes it clear that someone wants Henry dead. Loretta Swit does not appear in this episode.
    9 9 "Henry, Please Come Home" William Wiard Laurence Marks November 19, 1972 J-302
    Henry gets transferred to softer duty as a reward for the 4077th's high efficiency rating, but Hawkeye and Trapper scheme to bring him back once they realize Frank will be the replacement commanding officer. Loretta Swit does not appear in this episode.
    10 10 "I Hate A Mystery" Hy Averback Hal Dresner November 26, 1972 J-306
    Hawkeye is the prime suspect in a series of thefts at the 4077th.
    11 11 "Germ Warfare" Terry Becker Larry Gelbart December 10, 1972 J-304
    Hawkeye and Trapper take a sample of Frank's blood while he's sleeping, but the recipient starts showing signs of hepatitis. William Christopher does not appear in this episode.
    12 12 "Dear Dad" Gene Reynolds Larry Gelbart December 17, 1972 J-313
    It's Christmas time at the 4077th, and Hawkeye is writing a letter to his father about the activities at the camp.
    13 13 "Edwina" James Sheldon Hal Dresner December 24, 1972 J-312
    The nurses declare themselves off-limits until their colleague Edwina (Arlene Golonka), an incurable klutz, gets a date with one of the soldiers – and Hawkeye is it. William Christopher does not appear in this episode.
    14 14 "Love Story" Earl Bellamy Laurence Marks January 7, 1973 J-314
    Radar receives a "Dear John" letter, then seeks advice from Hawkeye when he falls for a nurse (Kelly Jean Peters) with a taste for the classics. William Christopher does not appear in this episode.
    15 15 "Tuttle" William Wiard Bruce Shelly & David Ketchum January 14, 1973 J-315
    Hawkeye and Trapper invent an imaginary captain to cover their donations to an orphanage. This episode marks the only time the character "Sparky," with whom Radar frequently communicates by phone, is actually seen on screen. He's portrayed by Dennis Fimple. Bruce Shelly and David Ketchum received a Writers Guild Award nomination for this episode.
    16 16 "The Ringbanger" Jackie Cooper Jerry Mayer January 21, 1973 J-316
    While a colonel with a high casualty record (Leslie Nielsen) is recovering in post-op, Hawkeye and Trapper conspire to keep him out of action. William Christopher does not appear in this episode.
    17 17 "Sometimes You Hear the Bullet" William Wiard Carl Kleinschmitt January 28, 1973 J-318
    Hawkeye's emotions run high when an old friend (James Callahan) comes to Korea to write a book about the war; meanwhile, a private (Ron Howard) turns out to have faked his age to enlist. Carl Kleinschmitt received a Writers Guild Award nomination for this episode.
    18 18 "Dear Dad...Again" Jackie Cooper Sheldon Keller & Larry Gelbart February 4, 1973 J-317
    Hawkeye writes another letter to his father detailing incidents at the 4077th. Note: In the conclusion of his letter, Hawkeye asks his father to give his mother and sister a kiss, but later in the series Hawkeye is revealed to be an only child and his mother is deceased.
    19 19 "The Long-John Flap" William Wiard Alan Alda February 18, 1973 J-319
    A pair of long-johns sent to Hawkeye by his father becomes a hot commodity at the 4077th during a cold snap, as they're passed from person to person.
    20 20 "The Army-Navy Game" Gene Reynolds Story by : McLean Stevenson
    Teleplay by : Sid Dorfman February 25, 1973 J-322
    The 4077th gears up for the annual Army-Navy game until an unexploded shell hits the compound. Note: The first of three consecutive episodes that would feature a 'jazzier' version of the opening theme song Suicide is Painless. After that, the theme would return to the more familiar version.
    21 21 "Sticky Wicket" Don Weis Story by : Richard Baer
    Teleplay by : Laurence Marks and Larry Gelbart March 4, 1973 J-321
    Hawkeye obsesses over a patient who isn't recovering as expected.
    22 22 "Major Fred C. Dobbs" Don Weis Sid Dorfman March 11, 1973 J-320
    Hawkeye and Trapper's constant pranks finally prompt Frank to request a transfer. That is, until he hears rumors about gold in the hills near the camp.
    23 23 "Cease-Fire" Earl Bellamy Story by : Robert Klane
    Teleplay by : Laurence Marks & Larry Gelbart March 18, 1973 J-323
    Rumors run rampant that the war is about to end, but Trapper is the sole doubter.
    24 24 "Showtime" Jackie Cooper Story by : Larry Gelbart
    Teleplay by : Robert Klane & Larry Gelbart March 25, 1973 J-324
    The 4077th go through various dramas while a traveling USO troupe arrives to provide entertainment.
  3. ohnothimagen

    ohnothimagen "Live music is better!" Thread Starter

    Clearly the first season was inspired by the film version and indeed attempts to emulate the movie in some ways. Note that at first there were considerably more supporting characters on the show (Spearchucker, Ugly John, Nurse Cutler, Lt Dish etc) before they obviously decided to whittle down the main cast a bit (especially once they realized there were no black surgeons serving in Korea, so goodbye Spearchucker). The main cast seems a bit more "ensemble" as well- obviously the show had yet to become "The Hawkeye show featuring some other characters".

    The series is also at it's most "sitcom"/"service comedy" here. Some of the episodes haven't aged well. Indeed, the odd episode aside it took about half the first season for the series to find its stride. "Sometimes You Hear The Bullet" is generally considered the turning point. What I also find amazing, even after all these years, is just how much the writers were able to slip past CBS Standards And Practices, starting right from the Pilot episode. Raffling off a nurse? Hell, I bet that concept would still raise eyebrows today!

    "The Pilot", "Chief Surgeon Who?", "Tuttle" and "Sticky Wicket" are probably my favourite season 1 episodes, with "Sticky Wicket" being a particular favourite. I'll probably end up saying it a few times in this thread but IMO considering M*A*S*H was supposed to be a show about doctors, it was at its best when the stories and plots tended to focus on medicine. In season 1 we had yet to see any of the personnel's family members stop by the unit for a visit...
  4. The Sometimes You Hear the Bullet episode is memorable and a strong one. Ron Howard gave a strong performance -in particular, the scene where Hawkeye rats him out to the MPs.
    Matthew Tate likes this.
  5. ohnothimagen

    ohnothimagen "Live music is better!" Thread Starter

    "You double crosser! I'll never forgive you for this...I'm gonna hate you for the rest of my life!"
    "Well, let's hope it's a long and healthy hate."

    Great episode, arguably the first "classic" episode and one that is absolutely butchered in syndication...the subplot involving Frank throwing his back out is noticeably scarred on TV.

    Given all the syndication cuts (here in Canada the History Channel seems to be the only one still showing M*A*S*H, two episodes a day) if yer a fan of the show it is essential to own on DVD. With the "no laugh track" option:righton:
    Sean, wayne66, trumpet sounds and 2 others like this.
  6. Yeah, I may pick up the DVD set with no laugh track option as it seems that would be a whole new experience. The laugh track could be annoying, particularly when you started recognizing how often they repeat the same track.
    trumpet sounds and ohnothimagen like this.
  7. ohnothimagen

    ohnothimagen "Live music is better!" Thread Starter

    Not only that, but so many lines of dialogue get buried under that laugh track, but yeah, it's like a completely different show without the laugh track...or the syndication cuts.
    Spadeygrove and Pete Puma like this.
  8. Grand_Ennui

    Grand_Ennui Forum Resident


    I've never minded the laugh track, on "M*A*S*H" or any sitcom for that matter-I've grown so used to them over time that it seems odd without one (but that's probably just me.)... Now syndication cuts are a different animal altogether-Those suck.
    Jimmy B. likes this.
  9. mmars982

    mmars982 Forum Resident

    Pittsburgh, PA
    I saw a documentary on the show recently where they said that this was the episode when they changed from being a silly sitcom to more of a drama with comedy.
    ohnothimagen and Pete Puma like this.
  10. czeskleba

    czeskleba Senior Member

    It's a myth that there were no black surgeons in Korea during the war, albeit one that Larry Gelbart apparently still believed as recently as this century, since he posted the following on usenet:
    "Extensive research indicated there were no black surgeons in MASH units in Korea. We were not interested in empty tokenism. We also had to cut down on the number of characters in the series for budgetary reasons."

    Truth is, there were at least two black surgeons known to have served, and one of them (a Captain Miles) was stationed at the 8055th where Richard Hornberger also served. He is visible in the picture below, although this was taken before Hornberger's arrival at the unit:


    It's a shame the "extensive research" cited by Gelbart apparently did not include talking to Hornberger himself. Or perhaps budgetary reasons were the primary reason for the elimination of the Spearchucker character and the "there were no black doctors" excuse was contrived at a later date?
  11. JozefK

    JozefK Forum Resident

    I always knew Gelbart's "no black surgeons" excuse was BS, though I never knew until now there had actually been one at the 8055.

    The real reason is hinted at in Gelbart's remark about the budget -- the show was already becoming "The Hawkeye show featuring some other characters". This is in fact essentially the reason Rogers left.
    fr in sc and Grand_Ennui like this.
  12. JozefK

    JozefK Forum Resident

    I prefer the first three seasons, before it became the Alan Alda Sensitive Sermon of the Week. Some of the later episodes, such as the one where Hawkeye delivers the eulogy for a nurse, and tells the other characters how special they are to him, make me want to vomit.

    I also look at "Sometimes You Hear the Bullet" as a turning point -- the first step on the good-intenion-paved road to Alda-ism...
    robargebl, fr in sc, Jimmy B. and 5 others like this.
  13. Luke The Drifter

    Luke The Drifter Forum Resident

    United States
    I like a lot of the season one episodes. Favorites include: Cowboy, Tuttle, You Never Hear the Bullet, and Long-John Flap
    Rob P S, Aftermath and ohnothimagen like this.
  14. JozefK

    JozefK Forum Resident

    If we do an episode by episode I'll go into more detail, but for now:

    The first season features two all time classics: "Tuttle" and "Cease Fire" -- both top 10 for me. Several others are very well-done.

    There's one outright turkey: "Edwina", which shows some writers were having trouble with the premise/characters.

    "The Ringbanger", a solid episode, is notable for being the first real comedy performance of guest star Leslie Nielsen. If you watch carefully you can see hints of Airplane and Police Squad to come.
    Suncola, Luke The Drifter and Frankh like this.
  15. czeskleba

    czeskleba Senior Member

    I can understand why they couldn't afford to have a larger cast, but it's unfortunate from a verisimilitude perspective. The notion that there would be only four doctors at a MASH unit who had to be on call 24-7 really strains credibility, particularly when attention is drawn to it as was done in some later episodes. If that were really the case, it would be incredibly irresponsible for any doctor to ever get drunk.
    fr in sc and Grand_Ennui like this.
  16. JozefK

    JozefK Forum Resident

    An interesting aspect of MASH is how it was influenced by Hogan's Heroes. HH's most prolific writer, Laurence Marks, also wrote a number of early MASHes. And of course the Gene Reynolds connection.

    It's ironic that Gelbart liked to knock Hogan's Heroes, since MASH clearly owes the earlier series a debt. Compare the scenes of barging into the Col's office in order to con the commanding officer (which can be traced back to Bilko).


  17. russk

    russk Forum Resident

    Syracuse NY
    Great show with so many good episodes. I really liked the first 6 seasons the best. Anyone know if it is coming out on Blu-Ray anytime soon. I actually wish this show was on Amazon so I could just but the seasons and stream it.
  18. JozefK

    JozefK Forum Resident

  19. Jayce

    Jayce Forum Resident

    My favorite TV show of them all. I most prefer seasons 3-7.
    My dad always reminded me of Hawkeye. My grandfather reminded me of Potter.
    Now my dad reminds me of Potter.
    I cannot exaggerate the impact this show has had on me.
  20. Sprague Dawley

    Sprague Dawley Forum Resident

    just gave it a go, man that opening montage, havent seen that since the 80's, damn, the flood of nostalgia was surprisingly strong, knew every sequence, and with each there was a "time and place" flashback.

    tried watching a season 1 episode and lasted about 5 minutes. Hawkeye was just flat out annoying.
    fr in sc, Jimmy B. and ohnothimagen like this.
  21. Jay_Z

    Jay_Z Forum Resident

    I believe the actual units only had three surgeons. They had about a dozen doctors in total. On the show they showed the surgeons doing all sorts of doctor care. In real life that would have been handled by other doctors.

    For anything major the Army had planned the unit would be informed about beforehand. They did have radios, you know. Otherwise, maybe there was only one of the surgeons on duty at any time.

    To me the dumb thing was to make the CO a practicing surgeon. I have mentioned this before. Wasn't done in real life or the movie, and it really made no sense at all. It's hard for me to even think of a TV show that had the command character regularly mixing it up in whatever the action was. That's for the staff. Star Trek did it, but it was criticized and done a lot less in the sequel series.
  22. wayne66

    wayne66 Forum Resident

    I first saw that episode in syndication and I did not like that the impression we get is that Ron Howard's character ended up hating Hawkeye. It was not until later when I saw the entire episode and Hawkeye gave Ron, Frank's medal and he leaves on a happy note that I was happy about that ending.
    ohnothimagen likes this.
  23. John54

    John54 Senior Member

    Burlington, ON
    I remember many of these episodes and I believe I've seen them all.

    Season 1 was closest to slapstick; seasons 2-3 were mostly verbal humour with witty repartee, which I vastly prefer.

    The moment I remember most in season 1, and I believe it must have been episode 3 with the boxing match, was the Australian guy chloroforming a boxing glove then demonstrating how to get it in the other fighter's face and knocking himself out!

    I don't believe either the Aussie or "Spearchucker" were seen after season 1.
  24. czeskleba

    czeskleba Senior Member

    Hornberger has five surgeons in his story at one time: Pierce, McIntyre, Forrest, Jones, and Burns. And my recollection is that he says there were two surgeons on each of the three shifts. And Dr. Harold Secor (the real-life doctor at the 8055) lists at least five surgeons in his "incomplete" list of personnel stationed there at the same time as him. So it appears there were at least five surgeons, maybe six, at a unit.

    But yeah, it's the fact that there are no other doctors at all aside from the four surgeons that really strains the believability.

    Making the CO into a surgeon is an obvious consequence of the reduced cast. If they were only able to afford to have a certain amount of regulars, it makes sense to make the CO a surgeon. It may not be believable, but to me it makes more sense than only having three doctors responsible for the entire camp.
  25. ohnothimagen

    ohnothimagen "Live music is better!" Thread Starter

    Great, now I feel silly for even mentioning that, thanks a lot, guys:laugh: Yeah- Gelbart shoulda done all his homework, even though they did deign to do extensive research in Korea between, as I recall, seasons 2 and 3.
    Indeed, Wyne Rogers was already feeling disenchanted with his place in the show in season 2.
    Another episode where some significant plot details are excised in syndication.
    Hey man, if you thought he was annoying in season 1, check out something like season 9 where he's really annoying!:laugh:
    Yes- again, some of the cuts they made in syndication eliminate major plot developments. The cuts weren't quite as bad starting at about season 7 thereabouts, but some of the early episodes really get gutted.
    No, and IMO they shoulda stuck around a while. Likewise, the Duke Forrest character from the film might have been a nice addition to the show.
    fr in sc, Aftermath and wayne66 like this.
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page