Episode Spotlight: Hey, Doc

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

“Hey, Doc” (#77, 4×05)
Originally Broadcast: Friday, October 10th, 1975
Written by Rick Mittleman
Directed by William Jurgensen

Capsule Summary: Hawkeye and B.J. handle a number of unofficial requests for help, including a general who needs penicillin and a sergeant who wants to ship home enough equipment to start a restaurant.

I don’t really have much to say about this episode, truth be told. There’s nothing wrong with, nothing to criticize or complain about. Neither is there anything particularly noteworthy. It’s a regular, run-of-the-mill early Season Four episode. A solid episode. A good episode. And sometimes that’s enough.

The highlight of the episode for me is the wild tank ride of Frank Burns. He certainly looks gleeful driving the tank through the camp, destroying tents and crushing tents. At least at first.

Its obviously not the Swamp that Frank drives through, although the signpost has been placed in front of it to suggest it is. If you look carefully as B.J. is diving through the side of the tent, you’ll notice it’s absolutely empty other than the chairs and table. No mention was made of the Still being destroyed by the tank.

A gleeful Frank driving a tank
Frank in the Tank

Of the three requests for help that gave the episode its title, Sergeant Kimble’s plea for his medical record to be changed so he could take a ship home was given the most screen time. When Hawkeye and B.J. first approached Frank to sign the papers for Kimble, I was a little surprised that Margaret didn’t suggest he do it in order to get the microscope.

Of course, I then remembered this was Hot Lips Houlihan, not Margaret Houlihan, as evidenced by her infatuation with Colonel Criswald and attempt to talk up Frank’s accomplishments. The Margaret Houlihan seen later in the series would have been more interested in helping patients and probably would have been fine with falsifying a document to get a microscope.

10 Comments

  • There’s one thing I like about this episode, and one thing only: the aforementioned joyride Frank took in the tank. That was hilarious. Especially when he flattens Potter’s jeep, and Potter pulls out his pistol to shoot it like a wounded horse.

    Well, there ARE SOME other memorable lines in this one:

    POTTER: We’re doin’ all we can; I’m workin’ hard, and Radar’s scared.
    B.J.: And that’s all?!
    POTTER: I can work twice as hard if you like. Radar, can you be twice as scared?
    RADAR: Done, sir!

    And…

    RADAR: (On the phone) Hey, listen, can you speak up a little louder please, somebody’s trying to kill me!

  • 5 O'Clock Charlie says:

    Another good line immediately after the above quote:

    BJ: Colonel, look at this, come here.
    POTTER: What is that?
    HAWKEYE: Two bottles of toenail juice.
    BJ: The scotch– eight-year-old scotch.
    POTTER: Ah, well… the good die young.

  • Seoul City Sue says:

    Fun episode…..although I do have to wonder if Generals usually asked favors of the doctors like that. Treating them for unmentionable illnesses and then not keeping records.

    Frank’s destruction of the compound is fun to watch as always. Good episode.

  • Doc Funnypants says:

    First off, Griswold was a general and I don’t know if anyone noticed but Lt. Chivers looked a lot like Charlton Heston. Frank comparing himself to George Patton seemed typical of his ego-driven personality.

  • Rick says:

    I’ve seen a lot of comments on this episode in various places and all seem to gloss over the fact that Sgt. Kimball is a racist. Worse, Hawk and BJ seem to be ok with this. The scene is explicit: Kimball’s Korean Kafe, a joke about the linen coming from the Ku Klux Klan by name and a joke about putting the salt and pepper in the eyeholes of the linen. MASH was generally against racism and that’s what makes this scene confusing. In spite of the blatant racism, Hawk and BJ help this Sgt. I prefer to think that it was poor writing or poor editing. Maybe someone here can point out something I missed.

    • ltradar says:

      I don’t think that exchange should be taken so seriously. The way I took it was that Kimball thought he was clever using alliteration with the name of his restaurant. In his usual joking manner, Hawkeye just points out what 3K also stands for back in the World. It’s just the guys joking amongst themselves about a trivial coincidence.

      Although racist attitudes may perhaps were more prevalent in the 1950s, there’s nothing to suggest Kimball actually is, or that he’s not a good guy. Just my thoughts on it.

  • Phil says:

    Here’s a perfect example of how this show needed a military-knowledgeable consultant: Kimble is stated as the motor-pool sergeant, which is usually a E6 (staff sergeant) or E7 (sergeant first class) at the company level. However, he’s wearing the rank of a first sergeant (3-up 3-down with a diamond). First sergeants report directly to a company commander and are the CO’s adviser in enlisted affairs. The E7 platoon sergeants report directly to the first sergeant as part of the NCO support chain.

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