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.
Doc Funnypants suggested today’s topic: What is your favorite Charles Winchester line of dialogue?
So Many Options
The M*A*S*H fan community is still coming to terms with the loss of David Ogden Stiers so it’s only fitting that this week’s Monday M*A*S*H Discussion involves his character. In fact, don’t be surprised if every Monday M*A*S*H Discussion this month is about Charles. I’ve mentioned before how my appreciation for Charles and the brilliance of David Ogden Stiers grew and grew while rewatching all 251 episodes of M*A*S*H for my Episode Spotlight reviews. Charles had so many wonderful lines of dialogue that, like many fans, I’m not sure I can pick just one favorite.
There is, of course, the iconic speech Charles delivers during “Fade Out, Fade In” (Season 6):
“But know this. You can cut me off from the civilized world. You can incarcerate me with two moronic cellmates. You can torture me with your thrice daily swill, but you cannot break the spirit of a Winchester. My voice shall be heard from this wilderness and I shall be delivered from this fetid and festering sewer.”
But to me, the most memorable Charles lines display his compassionate side, like this emotional line from “Death Takes a Holiday” (Season 9):
“On the contrary. It is I who should be sorry. It is sadly inappropriate to give dessert to a child who’s had no meal.”
Or his admission to Hawkeye in “Sons and Bowlers” (Season 10):
“I always assumed that that’s how it was in every family. But when I see the warmth, closeness, the fun of your relationship… My father’s a good man. He always wanted what was best for me. But where I have a father, you have a dad.”
And, of course, this brutal line from “Goodbye, Farewell and Amen” (Season 11):
“Well, I’m gonna be head of thoracic surgery at Boston Mercy Hospital. So my life will go on pretty much as I expected. With one exception. For me, music was always a refuge from this miserable experience. And now it will always be a reminder.
Then there are the witty lines, like “In the first place, I don’t sweat. I perspire. And in the second place, I don’t perspire,” from “Fade Out, Fade In” (Season 6); “Hunnicutt, I have met a lot of people in my life. You are not among them” from “Commander Pierce” (Season 7); or “Klinger, my constant reminder that Darwin was right” from “Bottle Fatigue” (Season 8).
If I have to pick a favorite, it’s probably the line from “Death Takes a Holiday” because it represents how Charles grew as a human being during his time at the 4077th.
Hit the comments with your thoughts.