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Name That Episode III #246

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: Chauncey Uppercrust, who correctly identified “Yessir, That’s Our Baby” from Season 8.

Name That Episode

Name That Episode III #245

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: BDOR, who correctly identified “The Interview” from Season 4.

Name That Episode

Episode Spotlight: Hot Lips and Empty Arms

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

“Hot Lips and Empty Arms” (#38, 2×14)
Originally Broadcast: Saturday, December 15th, 1973
Written by Linda Bloodworth & Mary Kay Place
Directed by Jackie Cooper

Capsule Summary: Margaret gets depressed and demands a transfer after receiving a letter from an old friend who married a doctor she turned down.

It’s more or less universally agreed by M*A*S*H fans that “Hot Lips and Empty Arms” is the episode that starts the character of Hot Lips on the path to becoming Margaret. Her evolution continues throughout Season 5 (“Margaret’s Engagement,” “The Nurses,” “Margaret’s Marriage”) and into Season 6 (“In Love and War” and the two-part “Comrades in Arms”) and Season 7 when her marriage to Donald Penobscott ends.

What’s notable about “Hot Lips and Empty Arms” is the simple fact that nothing actually changes for Margaret. She doesn’t leave the 4077th nor does she leave Frank. Nevertheless, viewers are given a glimpse of how frustrated Margaret is with her life and the decisions she’s made. “I married the army,” she tells Frank, “and what have I got to show for it? Rotten living conditions, no social life, surrounded by insolent doctors and nurses who don’t give me an ounce of respect.”

Margaret also makes her feelings for Hawkeye and Trapper very clear: she basically despises them and blames the pair for undermining her with her nurses. Yet she also apparently harbors feelings for Trapper (“That curly blond hair and that crooked smile. And you’re really built, too, you know, you son of a gun.”) as well as some regret for beginning a relationship with Frank.

In other words, Margaret is conflicted on multiple levels, unhappy with her career and her personal life. She’s unable to open up to anyone about how she really feels unless she gets very, very drunk. The Army is supposed to provide the discipline and sense of order she craves but the 4077th is anything but ordered and disciplined.

Loretta Swit certainly seems to have had a lot of fun getting to act drunk. I really love the interaction between Margaret and Henry about the incoming wounded:

Margaret: “Major Margan Houlihet reporting for duty, sir.”
Henry: “Oh boy, drunk as a skunk.”
Trapper: “She’s tanked.”
Hawkeye: “A fine time to make a drinking debut.”
Margaret: “Where are the casualties, sir?”
Henry: “Now just hold your horses. They’re not even here yet.”
Margaret: “Well, then let’s go get ’em, sir. I’ll drive.”
[Hawkeye and Trapper laugh]
Henry: “Major? Major, dear, you’re drunk.”
Margaret: “Oh, I’m not so think as you drunk I am.”
[Hawkeye and Trapper laugh]
Henry: “Uh, you’d better go to your tent, Major.”
Margaret: “I can’t operate in my tent.”
Trapper: “You’re doing okay so far.”
Margaret: “Oh, go salute yourself!”

I don’t think it’s a flaw in the episode that Margaret never explains why she decides not to transfer away from the 4077th. Maybe it’s the incoming patients. Maybe it’s Trapper. Maybe she’s too scared to leave a place she knows, a place that’s comfortable, for the unknown.

There’s not much going on in “Hot Lips and Empty Arms” that doesn’t involve Margaret in some way. The minor subplot in which Henry orders an adult movie and watches it with Hawkeye and Trapper draws in Margaret. She calls it “the most vulgar, based thing” she’s ever seen. Later, he orders two more films from the Tobasco Film Company: “Paulina Paris and Her Pelican” and Francine Laflame and Her Tassles in the Air.” Poor Radar has to sign his name to the order form.

Speaking of Radar, he’s seen drinking and smoking a cigar–two things the naive, innocent Radar of later seasons doesn’t do.

Still from the M*A*S*H episode Hot Lips and Empty Arms showing Hawkeye, Margaret, and Trapper.
Hawkeye and Trapper try to sober up Margaret.

Linda Bloodworth and Mary Kay Place were the first women to write for M*A*S*H. The pair went on to write “Springtime” and “Mad Dogs and Servicemen” (both Season 3). Linda Bloodworth later wrote “Soldier of the Month” (Season 4) and “The Nurses” (Season 5) on her own. Mary Kay Place also acted in “Springtime,” playing Lt. Louise Simmons.

The shower scene in which Hawkeye and Trapper try to sober up Margaret was obviously the second (or third) take. Trapper’s shoulders are already wet before Margaret hugs him.

I love the opening scene with Radar delivering mail. Watch it closely. First he gives a letter to Goldman, who is sitting in a jeep, then hands one to Voskowitz (played by an uncredited actor), who is standing next to a barrel fire. Voskowitz turns the letter over in his hands several times while Radar knocks on a door and walks into a tent. Radar comes out of the tent with a cracker or a cookie in his mouth. As he walks toward the camera, Voskowitz drops his letter in the fire. Was that scripted? It had to be scripted. No extra would burn a prop without permission, right?

Next, Radar approaches a soldier (played by Dennis Troy) talking to Nurse Watson (the lovely Sheila Lauritsen). “Letter from your wife, sir,” Radar announces. The soldier takes the letter. Nurse Watson looks surprised and walks away. Radar then knocks on the Officers Latrine to deliver yet another letter. Of course he knows who’s in the latrine. He’s Radar.

Is the scene in which Margaret returns some of Frank’s things usually cut in syndication? I don’t recall Bimbo the stuffed dog.


Name That Episode III #244

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: GM, who correctly identified “The Red/White Blues” from Season 9.

Name That Episode

Dan Wilcox to Receive Writers Guild Award

Scriptwriter Dan Wilcox, who had a hand in writing 17 episodes of M*A*S*H, will receive the 2017 Morgan Cox Award from the Writers Guild of America West at a ceremony on February 19th. According to the Writers Guild Awards website, the Morgan Cox Award “is presented to that member or group of members whose vital ideas, continuing efforts and personal sacrifice best exemplify the ideal of service to the Guild which the life of Morgan Cox so fully represented.”

Along with writing partner Thad Mumford, Wilcox wrote or co-wrote 15 episodes, the first of which was “Are You Now, Margaret?” during Season 8. The two also wrote the teleplay for “Nurse Doctor” (with Sy Rosen) and provided the story for “Death Takes a Holiday” (with Burt Metcalfe). Wilcox also served as executive story editor during Season 8 of M*A*S*H and executive script consultant during Season 9. He then became a producer during Seasons 10 and 11.

A press release announcing the award can be found here. It includes details on Wilcox’s involvement with the Writers Guild of America, which dates back to 1965.

(via Variety)


Name That Episode III #243

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: buckeyebabe, who correctly identified “April Fools” from Season 8.

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Episode Spotlight: Morale Victory

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

“Morale Victory” (#188, 8×19)
Originally Broadcast: Monday, January 28th, 1980
Written by John Rappaport
Directed by Charles S. Dubin

Capsule Summary: Hawkeye and B.J. are made morale officers; Charles saves a soldier’s leg at the cost of limited mobility in one arm, then learns the soldier is a concert pianist.

Half of this episode is forgettable at best, painful to watch at worst. Hawkeye and B.J. are too childish, Colonel Potter is too angry, Klinger is too eager, and the entire camp is too demanding. The idea of Hawkeye and B.J. being forced to serve as morale officers isn’t a bad one. The way it plays out, however, is too exaggerated, too absurd, too silly.

Everyone chanting “Kill the cook!” in the Mess Tent? Really? That’s not funny, that’s stupid. I do enjoy Igor’s rant about not being responsible for the food. I’m guessing Jeff Maxwell was really excited when he got the script for this episode and learned he had a long speech.

If only Hawkeye had remembered the amazing ribs he had shipped from Chicago in “Adam’s Ribs” during Season 3. Bring in boxes of ribs and tubs of sauce and have a barbecue–much easier than trying to put together a beach party. It’s too bad the party scene had to be shot on the Stage 9 sound stage rather than at the Fox Ranch. The cramped party doesn’t look like much fun.

Fortunately, “Morale Victory” also features a wonderful Charles storyline. Does it strain credulity that out of all the surgeons in Korea, Charles is the one who operates on a concert pianist? I suppose but I can let it slide. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: the longer I’m a M*A*S*H fan, the more I come to appreciate David Ogden Stiers.

Once again, he does fine work here, from the expression on his face when Charles learns that Private Sheridan is a concert pianist to his conversation with Father Mulcahy to the way he opens up to Sheridan in the Officers’ Club about wanting to play music:

Charles: “Don’t you see? Your hand may be stilled but your gift cannot be silenced if you refuse to let it be.”
Sheridan: “Gift? You keep talking about this damn gift. I had a gift, and I exchanged it for some mortar fragments, remember?”
Charles: “Wrong. Because the gift does not lie in your hands. I have hands, David. Hands that can make a scalpel sing. More than anything in my life I wanted to play but I do not have the gift. I can play the notes but I cannot make the music. You’ve performed Liszt, Rachmaninoff, Chopin. Even if you never do so again, you’ve already known a joy that I will never know as long as I live. Because the true gift is in your head and in your heart and in your soul. Now, you can shut it off forever or you can find new ways to share your gift with the world–through the baton, the classroom, the pen. As to these works they’re for you because you and the piano will always be as one.”

The speech resonates with anyone–myself included–who has always dreamed of being able to play an instrument, to truly play it. I took piano lessons when I was a kid. I can “play” the piano. I can “play” recognizable songs. But like Charles, I cannot make the music.

Still from the M*A*S*H episode Morale Victory showing Charles.
Charles learns that Private Sheridan is a concert pianist.

You can learn more about Paul Wittgenstein at Wikipedia as well as a lengthy article in Limelight magazine from 2014. Here‘s a YouTube video with audio of Wittgenstein playing Ravel’s “The Piano Concerto for the Left Hand in D major,” the piece Private Sheridan plays.

With the exception of the first notes, we never see Sheridan actually playing the piano. Careful camerawork, including closeups of a robed arm tickling the ivories, makes it look like actor James Stephens is playing. I wonder who that arm belongs to.

The 100-10 Field Service Regulatiosn manual is real. You can find the November 1943 version at the Internet Archive.


Name That Episode III #242

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: Crabapple Cove, who correctly identified “The General Flipped at Dawn” from Season 3.

Name That Episode


Name That Episode III #241

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: GM, who correctly identified “Give ‘Em Hell, Hawkeye” from Season 10.

Name That Episode