Discuss: Section 8 Stunts You Wish Klinger Had Tried

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 is: Section 8 Stunts You Wish Klinger Had Tried

“I’m Section 8, Head to Toe”

Klinger pulled dozens of stunts while bucking for a Section 8 discharge from the Army, many of them involving crazy outfits. Most M*A*S*H fans probably have their favorite stunt(s). Perhaps no single stunt is more memorable than his attempt to hang glide his way to freedom while wearing fuzzy pink slippers (as seen in “The Trial of Henry Blake” during Season 2).

Are there any Section 8 stunts you wish Klinger had tried but never did? I think it could’ve been interesting to see Klinger try to give everyone at the 4077th the silent treatment–for days on end. He’d still do his job and never risk the health of a wounded or recovering soldier, but he’d do it silently. Frank in particular may have reacted badly to Klinger refusing to answer his questions.

We saw Charles give everyone the silent treatment in “The Billfold Syndrome” during Season 7,” and it didn’t work. It was too juvenile for Charles. With Klinger, though, it probably would’ve been much more amusing.

Also, what if Klinger impersonated someone else at the 4077th, insisting that they’re an imposter pretending to be him? I see this unfolding in one of two ways. Played for laughs, he could imitate Frank over and over again, infuriating Frank and Margaret. For a darker take, perhaps after Radar left and Klinger took over as company clerk, maybe Klinger started thinking he was Radar, worrying Hawkeye, B.J. and Colonel Potter. Especially after he correctly predicts incoming wounded the way Radar used to.

The possibilities are endless, really. He ate a jeep once. Maybe he also tried eating a helicopter.

Hit the comments with your thoughts.

6 Comments

  • Doug says:

    I’d say “Krazy Klinger” was used about perfectly, like using Colonel Flagg. And besides the “big red bird with fuzzy pink feet” hang-glider stunt, my favorite scheme was his escape down the river, “down the Inchon River, to the Sea of Japan, then, The Golden Gate!” Especially when the raft inflates and knocks Colonel Potter out of his chair.

    Once the show became mostly drama, combined with Jaime Farr deciding that Klinger needed to develop beyond wearing dresses, the character settled down. For him to have continued those schemes to get out of the Army runs counter to the flow of the series as a whole.

    There are two related points I’d like to mention. First, I understand why the writers did it, but considering that Klinger had been filling in as the company clerk for quite a while, the episode Period Of Adjustment is rather unfair. This, combined with the maudlin storyline makes it one of my least favorite episodes of the series. Also, remember that Klinger’s original MOS was as a medic (witness that he was sent with Hawkeye and Margaret in Aid Station, and he mentions it to Radar when he complains about removing his earring in Lieutenant O”Reilly (?)). So, his skills as a clerk and a scrounger are unexpected.

    The second point is one that I’ve seen mentioned before: why wasn’t Soon-Lee introduced sooner than As Time Goes By? He falls for her quickly (true, it seems to be a trait of Klinger’s, but she was supposedly a guerilla sniper when he first meets her), and in the next episode (admittedly, the series finale), he marries her. Just seems rather rushed and shoe-horned in by the writers. I also wonder why Millie Carpenter (the nurse killed in Who Knew?) wasn’t introduced a couple of episodes earlier.

  • BDOR says:

    I really can’t think of any other stunt that Klinger could have pulled that he didn’t already. Especially in Season 7, when it seemed to try a new stunt every week, whether it was wearing a fur coat and rubbersuit in a heatwave, pretending he’s back in Toledo, taking up voodoo, to outright bribery. I think they pretty much exhausted every kind of stunt Klinger could possibly imagine until he became a regular guy.

    I did, however, and maybe some of you might remember, come up with an idea in a Thanksgiving fanfic I once wrote years ago where Klinger turns himself into a scarecrow . . . and actually begins attracting crows.

    • David G. says:

      Y’know what? THAT one was actually done on TV. It was in the 2nd season episode of “AfterMASH” called “Madness To His Method” (the one 2nd season ep of that series that was actually pretty good from start to finish). Find it on YouTube. There’s a scene where Klinger is dressed up as a scarecrow in the hospital garden.

  • JocularityGirl says:

    I love Klinger’s section 8 stunts! My fave is probably the “Big Red Bird With Fuzzy Pink Feet” scheme!
    RJ, I ❤ your idea for Klinger to impersonate one of the other staff. Could you imagine him in a frock and glasses, quoting “Jocularity!” and pretending to be Father Mulcahy, or sneering and acting snooty like Frank Burns, or acting paranoid like Colonel Flagg?! Oh, the possibilities are endless!

  • penguinphysics says:

    The one thing that I would have loved would be in relation to Klinger sending photos of himself to various generals. I think it would be uproariously funny if one of the generals started ‘skirt-chasing’ him. I realize that, in the seventies, this could have never gotten past the censors, but I would find it screamingly funny.

  • UglyJohn says:

    Klinger must have tried every stunt he could think off at the time. He dressed up as a nurse who was going to be a general’s date in Seoul. Smuggled himself out in an ambulance as Flagg’s prisoner, ate a Jeep and assorted attempts to dodge and dive his way out of camp.

    What didn’t he try? He never disguised himself as one of the wounded headed for home. Guess he did have a sense of ethics. Too low even for Klinger’s desperation.

    One stunt he should have tried was to be one of the ambulance drivers heading out of the camp for Seoul transferring wounded out of the battle zone. Another great one should have been taking over as the heli pilots ballast dummy on one of his evac trips instead of Mulcahy, only to find out too late that the guy was headed to the very place Klinger didn’t want to be! The front lines.

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