(04x19) 091 - Hawkeye

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Big Daddy O'Reilly
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(04x19) 091 - Hawkeye

Post by Big Daddy O'Reilly »

Okay, so the actually story behind this episode, apparently, was that is was an experiment done by Larry Gelbart: he wanted to see if just one character was capable of carrying the entire show by himself.

Now, considering that Hawkeye was already the unofficial star of the show, doesn't that kind of defeat the purpose? There were six other main players at the time, any of them could have carried on an episode by themselves, but for it to be Hawkeye, that was just a bit much. It could have been a great opportunity for us to see what REALLY goes through Klinger's mind: Season Four had already given us a few B.J. episodes ("Welcome to Korea, Parts 1 and 2", "Dear Peggy"), a couple of Potter episodes ("Change of Command", "Dear Mildred"), Frank episodes ("The Gun", "Der Tag"), Radar episodes ("The Gun", "Dear Ma"), not to mention previous seasons gave us some Margaret episodes (mainly "Hot Lips and Empty Arms"); Klinger was promoted to a main character this season, we could have gotten a hilarious Klinger episode.

Just my thoughts.

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Re: (04x19) 091 - Hawkeye

Post by Moe_Hawk »

Personally, I think that this is one episode that is unfairly maligned.

Don't get me wrong, it's not a favourite of mine by any means, but I think when reviewing it, people get too heavily drawn into context... which is poorly understood. One of the very common criticisms I hear about this is how ego-maniacal Alan Alda must have been to have an episode all to himself.

When you consider that this episode comes in season 4... after the big cast shake up in season 3 that sees the loss of McLean Stevenson, Wayne Rogers, and a heap of minor characters e.g. Ugly John, a lot of the nurses etc a reality sets in. Alan Alda is the shows only major star left. Hawkeye leaves, MASH is over. KAPUT. The show relies on both the talent of Alda, to take the face of the franchise in Hawkeye and transform him into the character that draws in the masses.
And given the uncertainty of the status of the show and that Alda himself has a career to develop too, for which staying with MASH may not have clearly been in his best interest... an episode rewarding his loyalty and allowing him a chance to both show case his talents and challenge himself as an actor.

Who in this can carry an episode by themselves... at this stage not many.
Frank, Houlihan, Rader are not developed enough as characters and to this point, haven't demonstrated the range
Klinger and Mulcahy are both still bit characters
BJ is very much pigeon holed as a support character
Potter whilst solid... his character doesn't have the depth he needs and heisn't anywhere near the his peek (which is particularly spectacular).

Don't get me wrong, down the line I'd say that Potter, BJ, Klinger and Winchester could do it... but not now

The purpose of this episode to
a) develop the depth of the character... he's vulnerable, scared, alone... where do his thoughts go, what does he do etc
b) showcase Alda's range as an actor

On these 2 points, Alda/Hawkeye is spectacular. You watch this episode for the subtleties in his performance. The quirks, and nuances, his interactions, his monologuing... and on all of these points, Alda excels. Hawkeye himself, you genuinely believe is scared, unsure of himself and works hard to pass the time. In that sense, this episode is quite fun to watch.

The obvious problem with it... and this is important because it's not as significant a problem then as it is now... in the world of DVDs, 30+ channels and endless repeats, the episode doesn't have a lot of re-watch value... mostly due to a lack of progressive storyline. Personally though, I believe that that's more of an era problem. MASH as TV season doesn't have many season arcs like TV shows do today...
you can't punish the producers, writers, Alda etc for that though. Especially when you further consider that part of the episode's appeal is also to highlight how isolated and dangerous Hawkeye's reality really is... and relate that back to the viewers who lived through that era. Nearly 50 years after that war, of course it doesn't hold up.

I bet though that nearly everyone enjoyed this episode at least the first time.

I reckon it fits into the average category... I watch if it's on but don't seek it out

:hawkeye: :hawkeye: :hawkeye: :hawkeye: :hawkeye: :hawkeye:

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