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Name That Episode III #186

The Name That Episode game is played Tuesdays and Thursdays, with images posted randomly between 12PM and 6PM Eastern. Players can participate as often as they like. An archive of past rounds can be found here. Today’s image can be found below. Can you name the episode it’s from? Feel free to post guesses in the comments section. As always, the winner gets bragging rights.

And the Winner Is: Father Angus, who correctly identified “End Run” from Season 5.

Name That Episode

M*A*S*H-Related Clue on Last Night’s Jeopardy

Last night’s Jeopardy! featured a clue that involved M*A*S*H but wasn’t actually about the series. During the Double Jeopardy round, the $1,200 clue in the Emmy Time category was the following:

In 1980 it was James Burrows vs. 4 “M*A*S*H” episodes for directing, & Jim won for this show’s “Love & the Nice Girl” episode.

One of the contestants was able to chime in with the correct answer: Taxi.

For the record, those four M*A*S*H episodes nominated for Outstanding Directing in a Comedy Series were “Dreams” (Alan Alda), “Period of Adjustment” (Charles S. Dubin), “Bottle Fatigue” (Burt Metcalfe), and “Stars and Stripes” (Harry Morgan).

I’ve updated my M*A*S*H on Jeopardy page with this latest clue.

Name That Episode III #185

The Name That Episode game is played Tuesdays and Thursdays, with images posted randomly between 12PM and 6PM Eastern. Players can participate as often as they like. An archive of past rounds can be found here. Today’s image can be found below. Can you name the episode it’s from? Feel free to post guesses in the comments section. As always, the winner gets bragging rights.

And the Winner Is: Father Angus, who correctly identified “Germ Warfare” from Season 1.

Name That Episode

Episode Spotlight: A War for All Seasons

Every Monday, I spotlight a random episode of M*A*S*H, providing a brief review and asking readers to offer their thoughts.

“A War for All Seasons” (#200, 09×06)
Originally Broadcast: Monday, December 29th, 1980
Written by Dan Wilcox & Thad Mumford
Directed by Burt Metcalfe

Capsule Summary: An entire year passes for the 4077th: Hawkeye and B.J. try to build an artificial kidney machine; Margaret takes up knitting; Charles gets in over his head betting on baseball; and Father Mulcahy becomes a farmer.

There’s no way to reconcile “A War for All Seasons” with the admittedly convoluted timeline of M*A*S*H. It simply can’t be done. That doesn’t mean it isn’t fun to try. It’s just easier to ignore the timeline entirely and consider this a standalone episode that exists on its own, unconnected to the rest of the series.

It’s not like the homemade kidney machine was ever seen again, despite Hawkeye and B.J. spending months working on it. Nor do we ever see Margaret knitting after this episode. Father Mulcahy’s garden disappears entirely. The Sears catalog, seemingly so important to the 4077th here, likewise doesn’t make another appearance.

If I had to pick a favorite storyline, I’d probably go with Hawkeye and B.J. building their kidney machine even though its more serious than any of the other storylines. It’s also vaguely reminiscent of how Colonel Potter was able to put together a Wangensteen suction in “Good-Bye, Radar (Part 1)” during Season 8.

The Charles storyline also feels somewhat familiar or at least it reminded me of Frank betting on baseball in “Out of Sight, Out of Mind” during Season 5. I’m conflicted about whether or not Charles would demean himself by listening to baseball, even if he thought he could make some cabbage (or coleslaw or garbanzos).

It’s a little disappointing that we don’t get to see Charles confront Klinger. Of course, few of the storylines get a solid ending. That’s the whole point of the episode. The year might end for the 4077th but the war doesn’t. It just keeps going.

That said, Margaret’s storyline does conclude pretty definitively, unless she’s planning on continuing to work on her potholder-turned-scarf-turned-blanket. Also, Father Mulcahy’s garden was a success and stands ready to be revived in the spring.

Although “A War for All Seasons” is mostly a silly episode, the second New Years Party is actually quite depressing. Nobody at the 4077th expected to still be in Korea in 1952. It’s not much of a celebration and Colonel Potter nearly breaks down while delivering his famous line for the second time:

Hear ye, hear ye. Here’s to the New Year. May she be a damn sight better than the old one. And may we all be home before she’s over.

In my opinion, Hawkeye and B.J. walking out of the Mess Tent and past Father Mulcahy’s dead garden would have been a much better way to end the episode. On the other hand, everyone sitting down to watch filmed highlights of the past year shows that life goes on. I hate Charles attacking the movie screen with a knife during the tag. That’s too wacky and crazy for Charles. It does provide a jarring end to a bizarre episode, however.

Colonel Potter toasts the new year.

The game-winning home run that cost Charles so much money (known as the “Shot Heard ‘Round the World”) was hit by Bobby Thomson of the New York Giants during the final playoff game to decide the winner of the National League pennant. The game was played in New York City on October 3rd, 1951. The game really was carried on Armed Forces Radio for the benefit of military personnel in Korea. The broadcast heard in this episode is fake, however, and seems to be based on the famous Russ Hodges call over WMCA-AM radio in New York City. Perhaps some baseball or military experts can specify which radio broadcast would have been carried over Armed Forces Radio.

This was the 200th episode of M*A*S*H broadcast by CBS but not the 200th episode produced. Assuming that the episodes were actually filmed in their production order, the 200th episode produced was “No Sweat.”

It’s not believable at all that the Army would allow the 4077th to shoot off fireworks–or that Colonel Potter would even think about doing it.

Speaking of fireworks, watch closely during the 4th of July party and you’ll see Charles lurking the background while Colonel Potter, Klinger, Hawkeye, and B.J. are placing their bets. With all that noise, it’s impressive he was able to overhear their conversation.

Name That Episode III #184

The Name That Episode game is played Tuesdays and Thursdays, with images posted randomly between 12PM and 6PM Eastern. Players can participate as often as they like. An archive of past rounds can be found here. Today’s image can be found below. Can you name the episode it’s from? Feel free to post guesses in the comments section. As always, the winner gets bragging rights.

And the Winner Is: Seoul City Sue, who correctly identified “There Is Nothing Like a Nurse” from Season 3.

Name That Episode

Name That Episode III #183

The Name That Episode game is played Tuesdays and Thursdays, with images posted randomly between 12PM and 6PM Eastern. Players can participate as often as they like. An archive of past rounds can be found here. Today’s image can be found below. Can you name the episode it’s from? Feel free to post guesses in the comments section. As always, the winner gets bragging rights.

And the Winner Is: Father Angus, who correctly identified “Baby It’s Cold Outside” from Season 7.

Name That Episode

Episode Spotlight: Dear Uncle Abdul

Every Monday, I spotlight a random episode of M*A*S*H, providing a brief review and asking readers to offer their thoughts.

“Dear Uncle Abdul” (#181, 08×12)
Originally Broadcast: Monday, December 3rd, 1979
Written by John Rappaport & Jim Mulligan
Directed by William Jurgensen

Capsule Summary: Klinger writes his uncle a letter, Hawkeye gets upset when B.J. steals his joke, and a soldier shows up at the 4077th looking for his buddy.

“Dear Uncle Abdul” opens with Klinger reading over a letter he’s writing to his uncle. He mentions his new job at the 4077th, a niece bit of continuity for M*A*S*H following Radar’s departure earlier in Season 8 and Klinger’s transition to company clerk.

Before I get into discussing the episode, I just have to ask: Is there anyone who thinks Hawkeye’s joke is funny? I’ve always figured the writers intentionally came up with a joke that isn’t actually funny. Am I missing something? Is there something funny about a wannabe circus performer who can fly through the air just by flapping their arms that I just don’t get?

There is so much going on in this episode it’s hard to know where to start. Based on the title, the A Story should be Klinger’s letter but the episode really isn’t about Klinger writing to his uncle. That is to say, he isn’t writing about past events at the 4077th that are seen in flashbacks. Things happen–a lot of things happen–and he writes about them after the fact. The episode features very little narration from Klinger and it’s easy to forget he’s even writing a letter.

Rather than split every little plot into a separate story, I suppose the A Story could be everything that Klinger does ultimately decide to include in his letter: Colonel Potter’s painting, Father Mulcahy’s Korean War song, Margaret’s footlocker, and Charles hunting quail. If not for these little vignettes, none of these characters would have anything to do other than react to the joke.

Father Mulcahy’s song is terrible yet still emotional: “Perhaps at least we’ve asked ourselves / What we should have asked before / With the pain and death this madness brings / What were we ever singing for?” I wonder who actually wrote the melody and lyrics.

The feud between Hawkeye and B.J. over who tells the joke better is thus the B Story, which is the weakest part of the episode in my opinion. Focusing so much of the episode on a joke that isn’t funny backfires. Rather than provide a sort of joke-within-a-joke for the audience to enjoy, it just falls flat. That said, seeing Alan Alda walk around furiously flapping his arms is amusing. Klinger putting the two of them in their place is the high point of this storyline.

That makes Eddie, Hank, and Dave the C Story. It’s a decent storyline but feels too cut and dry. Eddie shows up, Hawkeye and B.J. can’t believe someone like him is in the Army, his buddy is sent home, and he gets a new buddy to look after him. There’s no real tension, no real concern about Eddie’s fate.

Final thought: Hawkeye’s sad little mustache in the tag scene is hilarious.

Hawkeye’s mustache.

At the start of the episode, Klinger is typing the letter to his uncle. At the end, he’s writing it by hand.

Although not the last episode in which a character wrote a letter, this was the final episode to use a variation of “Dear [Somebody]” as its title.

Richard Lineback later played Pvt. Scala in “Trick or Treatment” during Season 11.

Name That Episode III #182

The Name That Episode game is played Tuesdays and Thursdays, with images posted randomly between 12PM and 6PM Eastern. Players can participate as often as they like. An archive of past rounds can be found here. Today’s image can be found below. Can you name the episode it’s from? Feel free to post guesses in the comments section. As always, the winner gets bragging rights.

And the Winner Is: converse_craig, who correctly identified “Strange Bedfellows” from Season 11.

Name That Episode

M*A*S*H Final Jeopardy Clue Yesterday

Last night’s Jeopardy! featured a Final Jeopardy clue about M*A*S*H. The category was Historic TV and here’s the clue:

An authentic Bell H-13 Sioux air ambulance was used in the opening credits of this television series.

Two of the contestants, including the returning champion, gave the correct answer: M*A*S*H. The third contestant guessed Emergency (an NBC medical drama about paramedics with the Los Angeles County Fire Department).

I’ve updated my M*A*S*H on Jeopardy! page with this latest clue.

Name That Episode III #181

The Name That Episode game is played Tuesdays and Thursdays, with images posted randomly between 12PM and 6PM Eastern. Players can participate as often as they like. An archive of past rounds can be found here. Today’s image can be found below. Can you name the episode it’s from? Feel free to post guesses in the comments section. As always, the winner gets bragging rights.

And the Winner Is: Seoul City Sue, who correctly identified “Last Laugh” from Season 6.

Name That Episode