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MASH

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I loved Hawkeye and still do because he was so obviously flawed, but still struggling to do right in a horrible place.  Yes, he got preachy in the end, but that was just part of his flawed personality for me.

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I'm with ya, Crs97. I'll sing his praises forever because he was such a huge influence on me when I was young and so impressionable. He didn't have as much control over the show as a lot of people seem to think, and even when he did pen an episode that was a little too preachy or melodramatic, I still appreciate the fact that he was willing to try and fail. I don't love all of his eps, but some of my favorite ones are his ("Dear Sigmund" and "Comrades in Arms" leap to mind). 

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A quibble about the episode in which Hawkeye tries to discover BJ's real name, but all his army records just have BJ listed on them:  I met a gentleman who was drafted for WWII.  His full name was two initials.  The army wouldn't accept it.  He showed them his birth certificate that just listed the two letters, one as his first name and one as his middle name.  They forced him to choose two names.  Everything he ever received from the army said "John Ross" when his real name was "J.R."  Every time I see that episode I think of him.

 

Hilarious story! Thanks for sharing. You would think the Army would have more important things to worry about...

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Sorry, but Jamie Farr has said that as Alan Alda's fame grew so did his ego.

I've met Farr and he's definitely a straight arrow.  So if he says it about Alda, I certainly believe it a lot more.  Plus it really matches what I think came through the cracks (in how sanctimonious the character of Hawkeye got, as well as how I recall Alda acting in interviews back then).

Gary definitely had an axe to grind, I do admit, but that doesn't mean he was making stuff up.  Also, he left before Alda really maximized his influence on the show.

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Unpopular opinion:  I actually like the later episodes better than the earlier ones.  Yes, there are some clunkers in the later seasons, but I would much rather watch Hawkeye sermonize about the horrors of war than hear the rape jokes.  I also thought the addition of Charles and Col. Potter made the show better.  Larry Linville was wonderful, but the character of Frank was too one-note to continue for much longer.  They tried to add some sympathetic tones to Frank and his "Goodbye, Margaret" was heart-breaking, but he was too much of a caricature by the end of his run.  Henry was fine, but Col. Potter added some needed gravitas to Hawkeye and BJ's antics.

I co-sign all of this.  I almost never watch episodes from seasons 1-4 anymore.  I wait for reruns of the later years, mainly for Charles, but also because I liked the transformation in Klinger.  And I LOVE Col. Potter.

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I saw an interview with Gelbart, I think it was, years ago who said that his favorite scene and monologue on the show ever was Mulcahy in one of the "interview" shows when he describes seeing a doctor open a patient and warm his hands over the steam that rises from the body.  He thought that was magnificently acted and basically encapsulated all the horrors of war in one short speech.  I agree.  Christopher was wonderful in that scene.

I think he also said that was based on an actual memoir from someone in a MASH in Korea.

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Christopher was good (and I agree he was great in that interview episode).  Although I've always had a weak spot for Odo Mulcahy too.

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Edited by Kromm

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Col. Flagg was always great because he said the most outrageous things in the most casual, matter of cat way. "Corporal, I'm gonna need you to get me a box of scorpions." "Sir di you--" "Big ones. And if you can't do that, get me two snakes and a rat."

On the subject of Col. Flagg:

Hawkeye: "The wind just broke his leg."

I'm also very fond of the episode with the desk.

Col. Blake: I bet you don't know what kind of wood this is.

Radar (or any number of other people): It's oak.

Col. Blake: Nope, it's oak.

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Where does Jamie say this? In every interview I have read or seen in which he mentions Alan he talks about how much he loves Alan or how he has dinner with the Aldas when he is in New York. I know Wikipedia at one point had a supposed fist fight between Jamie and Alan that actually didn't happen. I am puzzled.

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Can't really speak for any reports of Alda's ego, but I do know that the show's shifting in focus to Hawkeye and away from Trapper was one of the reasons Wayne Rogers gave for leaving the show.

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"Ladies and gentlemen, take my advice

Pull down your pants and slide on the ice"

 

Sidney Friedman was a great character.

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Don't mind Hawkeye too much, can't stand Alda. His view on Occupy pretty much left me with a bad taste in my mouth towards him tbh. As for Hawkeye... I HATED when he became the focus of the show. Don't get me wrong, I can still watch M*A*S*H... but I still would like to throw something at my tv, during some of the monologues.

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This is the thread to talk about everyone's favorite psychiatrist, Sidney Freedman.

 

Really loved his character, enjoyed every appearance he made on the show.

 

@ Mods: Will you edit my thread title? Got Sidney's last name wrong. It's supposed to be Freedman, not Freeman. Thanks.

Edited by AntiBeeSpray

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Alda eventually lost sight of the fact that the best way to address "issues" with a comedy was rather than bang on them heavily, to do it more like this (which totally worked):

 

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And then compare that last to this:

 

 

Now I won't say there's anything inherently wrong with the overall plotline of that episode (the idea that they hardly bothered to get to know this person who died).  And you certainly can't resolve that plot with quips.  But there definitely should have been a middleground less drastic than this 4 minute long anguishing melodramatic monologue about how Hawkeye had all these realizations about himself (upon which Alda likely prepped his Emmy submission reel).  To me this is a pretty good example of how the show (and Hawkeye's character in particular) went wrong when Alda steered the ship.  Was it okay to have something revealed that Hawkeye was suffering under the jokes, that they were a defense mechanism?  Sure.  But look at the self-indulgence of this four minute long sequence (out of a 22 minute long episode).  There was likely a way to do the same thing in a much shorter scene, and probably one that was less monologuey and more interactive with other actors.

Edited by Kromm
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Edited the title for you.

 

I think Sidney was maybe the best use of a recurring guest star I've ever seen on TV (although some of the Good Wife guests may be giving him a run for his money).

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I liked the character, but I do think he also played into the eventual over-seriousness/sanctimoniousness of the show.  He was the lever, for example, for the junk in the finale with Hawkeye.

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Edited the title for you.

 

I think Sidney was maybe the best use of a recurring guest star I've ever seen on TV (although some of the Good Wife guests may be giving him a run for his money).

Thanks :).

 

Yea Michael J. Fox has been doing a good job on there. Haven't watched the show, but from seeing the previews, he seems to be doing a knock out job.

I liked the character, but I do think he also played into the eventual over-seriousness/sanctimoniousness of the show.  He was the lever, for example, for the junk in the finale with Hawkeye.

Good point, Kromm. Didn't let that get in the way of liking the character though. All of the bull was just that... and I wasn't going to let that ruin the show.

Any scene with Dr. Freedman interacting with Col. Flagg was pure gold.

Heck yea! He really knew how to deal with the little twerp :P.

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Dr. Freedman was needed to counter all the silliness because despite all the yucks, the Doctors were seeing young kids shredded to death by modern warfare.  

Not that the Good Dr. couldn't do the yucks too.   As noted, especially with Flagg.   Who needed someone to put him in his place that had the rank to do it, but didn't give 2 hoots about army intelligence  or lack thereof.

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Well, Sidney is the centerpiece of what may be my favorite episode, "Dear Sigmund," and he's definitely presented there as the one sane person who watches the wacky hijinx ensue around him, but isn't above getting involved when asked by B.J. to help play the prank on Frank.  I just loved him.

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Well, Sidney is the centerpiece of what may be my favorite episode, "Dear Sigmund," and he's definitely presented there as the one sane person who watches the wacky hijinx ensue around him, but isn't above getting involved when asked by B.J. to help play the prank on Frank.  I just loved him.

That's my favorite episode of M*A*S*H :). Took 5 tries but I was able to get caps from that scene. Frank is SO over the top there, that it makes me laugh every time. God bless, Sidney, for being such a good sport.

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"Dear Sigmund" is one of the better "serious" episodes--certainly the best that Alda had primary responsibility for.  But out of that pool of slightly too serious episodes, I think I prefer "The Interview".

Edited by Kromm

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This wasn't a line exactly, but the scene that never fails to make me laugh is when Frank is getting ready for his date with Margaret after she's returned from R&R, not knowing that while she was gone she become engaged to Donald. While he's powdering his chest with a huge puff, he clucks like a chicken to the tune of "Back in the Saddle Again."

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And when Radar got his old toboggan cap for him, secretly. 

 

One episode I really like is when he comes back from r and r in Tokyo completely hungover, and his "wife" comes to see him. He doesn't remember marrying her. It's one of the better, more fun later episodes. 

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Ok, I had to find the exact quote, but the delivery of this line, cracks me every time:

Charles: Finally, a peaceful moment to conclude this tape. The would-be lothario Pierce is fast asleep, and the 38-hour day is done. Now, Mother and Dad... I will put this as eloquently... and succinctly as possible...

[opens tea kettle and pulls out a rubber chicken]

Charles: Get me the hell out of here!

It was a good day when David joined the cast. He was just enough of a misfit, but certainly up to handle the antics of BJ and Hawkeye.

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Charles: Finally, a peaceful moment to conclude this tape. The would-be lothario Pierce is fast asleep, and the 38-hour day is done. Now, Mother and Dad... I will put this as eloquently... and succinctly as possible...

[opens tea kettle and pulls out a rubber chicken]

Charles: Get me the hell out of here!

 

 

Yeah, that was one of Charles' first episodes, and a great display of comic timing and delivery by DOS.

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My favourite Winchester moment was his epic takedown of Colonel Flagg.  :)

Oh hell yes. He got him SO good. Charles ruled in that regard ;).

 

And I loved when BJ and Hawkeye kept on changing the size of his clothing XD.

Edited by AntiBeeSpray
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My favorite Dr. Freedman episodes were when he'd walk into the Swamp only to once again step right into another fight amongst the inhabitants (usually a poker game was included some time during the episodes and those were also quite entertaining).

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My favorite Dr. Freedman episodes were when he'd walk into the Swamp only to once again step right into another fight amongst the inhabitants (usually a poker game was included some time during the episodes and those were also quite entertaining).

Yea I loved the ones where he'd be playing poker with them.

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I have a number of them, but most are from later seasons (yeah, I'm a later seasons person.  Sorry).  But one of my very favorites is actually from early on--"Deal Me Out."

 

This is the one with the all-night poker game where people keep checking in and out, an old Korean man gets hit by a jeep in the middle of the compound, and Hot Lips and Frank call some big wig to tattle on Hawkeye and Trapper about how they're treating a patient who is CID or something.

 

The number one thing that makes the entire episode for me is Pat Morita.  This is one of I think only 2 or 3 eps he was in, but he was always hilarious.  Those who only know Morita from Karate Kid are really missing out.  The guy had fabulous comic timing and brilliant delivery.  If you've never seen him on Happy Days, hie thee to . . . well, the nearest place where you can still find Happy Days.

 

When he has to lay down the hand of poker that he just lost because he was trying for a straight and missed the last card--just the look on Morita's face as he throws down the last card cracks me up every single time.  The line isn't funny.  The line delivery isn't particularly funny.  But those two things in combo with his face makes for a brilliant moment.

 

And then, of course, Radar dealing with the old Korean man who is literally stiff as a board is such a wonderful site gag.  No matter how they move him, he's just stiff as a board.  That must have been fun to film.

 

So, for your consideration. ladies and gentlemen, I present: Deal Me Out.

 

What are your favorites?

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You know, it's kind of hard to pinpoint one in particular.  I know the one that I remember most often is one called "Point of View" - it was done from start to finish on the viewpoint of wounded soldier from when he got wounded until he got sent home.  It was an episode that made me feel like I saw a different side to the characters.  Hence, the POV title.  To me, it was an amazing episode.

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I know the one that I remember most often is one called "Point of View" - it was done from start to finish on the viewpoint of wounded soldier from when he got wounded until he got sent home

.That was a great episode and a favorite of mine as well. 

Another that didn't fit the form that I loved was when they were interviewed by a reporter.  Standing out was when Radar thanked the nurses and when Father Mulcahy did that great speech about the surgeons warming their hands. "When the doctors cut into a patient, and it's cold, you know...the way it is now, today,... steam rises from the body... and the doctor will... (hesitates) ...will warm himself over the open wound. Could anyone look on that and not feel changed?"

Edited by MaryHedwig
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I'll have to go with "A Smattering of Intelligence" where Col. Flagg and Trapper's old buddy who is now also a spy visit.  It just had the sharpest comedic pacing and dialog of any episode in my opinion.  "Officer of the Day" was a close second.

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A couple of my favorites are the one where they get cut off from getting supplies, and have everyone banking together, as Henry's desk gets shorter and the furniture disappears. The other one is the one where they go through the whole year. It begins and ends on new years eve.

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One of my top 3 or 4 is definitely "Dear Uncle Abdul", where BJ and Hawkeye are going around telling the same joke to determine who is funniest.  Klinger sums it up in this one delicious last speech:

 

"I got a commanding officer who dresses me up in his clothes and sits me on a horse named Sophie so he can paint his own picture. There's a priest writing war ditties. And a snooty major who pays me twenty bucks to go out into the woods with him and watch him blow up a pigeon with a land mine. And if that doesn't beat all, I got a head nurse who shoots unarmed luggage. All you guys do is go around telling jokes. What the hell is so funny about that?"

 

 

"A head nurse who shoots unarmed luggage" gets me every time.  And I love that scene with Margaret and Charles where she borrows his gun and shoots her footlocker because it's the only way to get a new one.  Heh.

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And she goes through the whole made up story of how it saved her life. When Margaret goes against character, whether playing jokes or drunk, I like her.

 

One of my favorites is "Movie Tonight." And another, when it's showed in full (not cut up for TV) is the two-parter, "Bug Out."

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For me the thing is that the earlier seasons were more about great moments than whole episodes.  Which made it more consistent (and to me far funnier), but it also means you can't really highlight specific episodes all that well.  The later seasons had a few Emmy reaching landmark episodes every season we can point to, but those were mixed in with a lot of mediocrity BETWEEN those landmark episodes.

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And she goes through the whole made up story of how it saved her life. When Margaret goes against character, whether playing jokes or drunk, I like her.

 

One of my favorites is "Movie Tonight." And another, when it's showed in full (not cut up for TV) is the two-parter, "Bug Out."

Yea "Movie Tonight" is really funny. Love how everyone does impressions of everyone else.

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Another of my favorites is the Captain Tuttle episode.  I loved Hawkeye's "touching" eulogy (with great expressions exchanged by Hawkeye and Radar):  "...there's a little Tuttle left in all of us.  In fact you might say that all of us together made up Tuttle."

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Oh, yeah.  That's one of the best early season eps.  Especially when everyone manages to convince Henry that he's actually had lunch with Tuttle, and worked with him.  Heh.

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Best damn officer of the day we ever had!

I also think of Margaret and Tuttle anytime I see a man with auburn hair.

One of my favorites is when they are racing against the clock for the graft.

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I thought of another one I liked "The Late Captain Pierce" - it wasn't necessarily a comic episode, but it had it's moments.  However, I thought it brilliantly portrayed something that could have (and probably did) happen in war.  Being declared dead and not really being dead, and all the ramifications that would have to go on during the mix up.  I loved how it showed the polar opposites of how it could be a good thing (slacking off, which Hawkeye loved to do) and then how it could be a bad thing (like not being able to tell his dad he was alive). 

 

The ending of that episode was poignant.  Hawkeye taking off in the dead-mobile, and BJ needing his help, and him finally helping.

 

Very dark comedy episode.  For it's time, I thought it was great.

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Completely agree about the ending of "The Late Captain Pierce".  I think it might be Alda's best acting in the whole series.  He subtly conveyed someone who was bone-weary and sick of war, who wants to give up but can't quite convince himself, and finally his sense of obligation to the wounded and his fellow doctors wins out.  Just a marvelous performance.

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Two favorites, one for its humor and one because it was touching.

 

The episode when everyone is playing practical jokes and Col. Potter asks them to stop because a big wig (general? colonel?) is coming.  Of course, they don't stop, and the guy threatens to court marshal them all.  They play a joke on him and he has a heart attack.  Turns out he was faking -- he and Potter planned the whole thing to play a joke on everyone else.

 

The Christmas episode when there is a party for the children from the orphanage and they get a critically wounded soldier.  Even though they know they can't save him, Hawkeye, BJ and Margaret work hard to keep him alive until Dec. 26 so that his wife and kids won't have to think of Christmas as the day their husband/dad died.  They come close, but he dies and Hawkeye moves the clock ahead about 20 minutes so that they can list Dec. 26 on his death certificate.  (I recently saw this episode and bawled, since 5 years ago my own dad died on Christmas day.  But I loved the episode even before that.)

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Hey ya'll, just did a bit of housekeeping.  There were two threads, one marked "favorite episodes" and one marked "general discussion", I just combined the two and made one all episode friendly thread.  Feel free to continue to post your favorite episodes, or even ones that weren't so clever as this is the place to do that and for us all to discuss.

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