Page 1 of 1

(03x13) 061 - Mad Dogs and Servicemen

Posted: Sun Aug 17, 2014 10:18 am
by RJ
Use this thread to discuss episode 03x13, Mad Dogs and Servicemen.

Re: (03x13) 061 - Mad Dogs and Servicemen

Posted: Thu Mar 26, 2015 6:35 am
by Moe_Hawk
Without a shadow of a doubt one of the best episodes of the series and given that came along in season 3 w/o any major plot points, a real hidden gem at that.

What stands out about this episode is that in addition to two solid plot lines... the main plot being the wounded soldier and the b-line being Radar and the dog, this is an excellent episode for character development.

The great star of this episode w/o a shadow of a doubt is the very underrated, forgotten man Wayne Rogers as Trapper John McIntyre. In a performance that makes me feel a little sad about what we missed out on with Roger's departure at the end of season and where the show could have gone. Don't get me wrong, take nothing away from BJ/Potter etc who played their parts over several stellar seasons... I just wonder what if, if the doors slid the other way.

It starts with Trapper and Frank on the bus arguing about whether the soldier should come to the MASH opposed to Tokyo. In addition to seeing a very passionate Trapper fight for the guy, harp on the point about how shellshocked is not the right terminology... he has his very funny SLUGNUTTY! line.
It's interesting watching the chemistry and dynamic between Rogers and Linvalle and the way they can bounce off each other. There's a real comedic capacity about them and I feel that Frank Burns is really worse off for the departure of Trapper. BJ is a good character and Mike Farrell a good actor but his concept of funny/comedy over his first few seasons is sooooo dependent on quick whips and one liners, there's nowhere Burns can go with that. In the future Larry would say he left MASH as he took Burns as far as the character would go... I think he took it as far as the support cast could take him w/o more depth getting written into the character.

Following on from this Trapper and Hawkeye stand on even ground trying to work through what to do about Corporal Travis, he's able to support Hawkeye in his performance as a cruel doc, before Trapper hits the high note in the climatic scene in the episode getting the corporal to open up about the tanks.

To top it off, we get another big laugh out Mr. Rogers in the scene where he and Henry chase the dog and are then chased by the dog. Gets me every time.

His legacy unfortunately is as Hawkeye's wingman, but Trapper could have been something special.

It's not just Trapper though that makes this episode special, all of them step up.

Hawkeye, or Alan Alda more importantly, captivates us with an amazing performance with significantly reduced air time and focus that what he's use to. Despite the focus on Trapper, Radar, Blake etc, he still clearly is the main character in this episode... his anguish at having to be tough with Corporal Travis, advocate for him, lock horns with Frank, focus on Radar... all of it fantastic stuff.

Then you have Blake and Radar who are both relegated to storyline b) but shine nonetheless. Radar establishes his love for animals and again demonstrates how he is a gentle soul but still is able to crack us up repeatedly with his quip to the turtle 'I told you not to do that, he's a colon", his shock that dog was on the menu, and I love it when he's sick and tells Blake the keys to the liquor cabinet are under the welcome mat on the back porch.
Blake naturally works the angels through with him and again demonstrates what a compassionate, well meaning man he is despite his... muddle headedness which is always good for a laugh. His lament for letting Radar have pets, vaccinating the pets, "Radar, we don't have a back porch", getting chased by the dog... and even playing the serious Commander when he's drawn into the main conflict at the end. Ripper performance.

Then you have Margaret letting us see some cracks in that hard ass exterior she puts on, in one of the best scenes of the season. It's when she's going through the letter with Radar from his pen pal and ticks the he's cute box. Nice bit of development there.

All in all, there is plenty to like from nearly everyone here and the episode has no weak scenes. Granted I would have like to have seen more Frank Burns but he's relegated to support character and though he has less air-time, he hits all his marks so no complaining

One of the best of the best for me

Re: (03x13) 061 - Mad Dogs and Servicemen

Posted: Fri Mar 27, 2015 8:46 pm
by Crabapple Cove
Excellent post and summary Moe Hawk! I am also a huge fan of Trapper and wish I could visit the alternate universe where he and Col. Blake remained beyond Season 3. Trapper added so much to the show -- not just his relationship with Hawkeye (which BJ had a similar rapport with), but also, Trapper seemed to me as the only one (other than Margaret) who had a few moments of 'normality' with Frank Burns. Oh well, at least there are 3 terrific seasons of Trapper and Blake that we can watch over and over again!

Re: (03x13) 061 - Mad Dogs and Servicemen

Posted: Sun Mar 29, 2015 4:07 am
by Moe_Hawk
Thanks for the reply CC,

I think what ppl forget when discussing Trapper/Blake etc is that most TV shows even now usually take a little while to find their feet and MASH was no exception.

What stands out to me watching those early seasons is that the producers really wanted the tone mirror that of the movie.

They wanted to demonstrate the outrageousness and insanity of that type of scenario... Ppl clasping hands over bleeding arteries squirting with blood, shells dropping around them, surgeons living big because they could die at anytime, painting Tokyo red with drunkard behaviour, golf in the minefields, peeping in the nurse shower tent etc

In that sense, you can see very clearly why Trapper and Blake were ideal choices as characters. Henry was a commanding officer that couldn't control the chaos but valued human life first, and Trapper rides along with it. BJ and Potter simply have no role in that type of setting... Potter wouldn't stand for it and BJ would crack up.

The problem was that that show couldn't air on TV in that era. What limited good storylines they could do... Well they went through them very quickly and they new it. You see the show start to evolve already in season three towards a more "the horrors of war" angle with episodes like KIM and Abyssinia Henry, which credit to the writers was the right thing to do. It's what the show ultimately became famous for, and the turnover of staff gave them the opportunity to start fresh rather than rewrite