Monday M*A*S*H Discussions offers fans the opportunity to offer their opinions on a wide variety of topics relating to M*A*S*H. Please share your thoughts and ideas in the comments section. My hope is these discussion posts will continue to elicit comments in the weeks and months after they’re initially published. Have a suggestion about something you think might be worth discussing? Let me know and maybe it will become my next Monday M*A*S*H Discussion topic.
Today’s topic: Who was the better commanding officer, Henry Blake or Sherman Potter?
In Charge of the 4077th
Be careful before commenting because I’m not asking readers to choose their favorite commanding officer. I’m asking them to think about who commanded the 4077th better. It’s a hard question to ponder simply because the first three seasons of M*A*S*H with Henry Blake in charge are so different than the eight seasons in which Sherman Potter oversaw the 4077th.
Henry seemed to hate being in command and having to make decisions. He clearly hated the paperwork that came with being commanding officer. I think it’s safe to say Hawkeye and Trapper liked Henry as a person but I don’t think they had much respect for him as a commanding officer. Frank and Margaret clearly didn’t. They went over his head more than once with complaints. At times, it felt like Radar was the one running the 4077th, not Henry.
Potter, by comparison, was very comfortable being in charge of the 4077th. He didn’t always love it, but it was something he wanted to do, not something he was forced to do. Everyone respected him, with the possible exception of Frank. He took pride in his position and in the people under his command.
Many fans may argue Potter was the better commander and there’s probably some truth to that. Henry had his serious moments when he rose to the occasion, but was more laid back and easygoing. Potter occasionally joked around, but mostly took his job seriously and conducted himself as an officer first and foremost. Both had their own command styles. Was one better than the other? The 4077th survived and thrived under both Henry and Potter.
Hit the comments with your thoughts.