I’m reviewing every episode of AfterMASH, in original broadcast order, and asking fans to add their memories and opinions.
“Snap, Crackle, Plop” (#4, 1×04)
Originally Broadcast: Monday, October 10th, 1983 from 9-9:30PM ET
Written by Dennis Koenig
Directed by Nick Havinga
TV Guide Summary
Klinger has less than a day to prepare for a civil-service exam.
The Hartford Courant Summary
Klinger panics upon learning he must pass a civil service exam to keep his job at Gen. Pershing Hospital.
The main storyline in “Snap, Crackle, Plop” involves Klinger learning at the last minute he has to take a civil-service test if he wants to continue working at General General. Alma Cox, who makes no effort to hide her hatred of Klinger, intentionally failed to tell him about the test.
This unexpected test Klinger must take to keep his job is a rather convenient plot point. Given what we’ve seen of Alma Cox, it’s more than believable she’d try to get Klinger fired by not telling him about it.
True, Alma is the civil service administrator but presumably someone had to know about the test. As we learn in this episode, Klinger has been working at General General for three months. Surely, other new employees would have had to take the test themselves and Klinger (or Potter) would hear about it out.
Regardless, the test exists and Potter isn’t able to pull strings with Mike D’Angelo. The slimy self-serving hospital administrator refuses to cross Alma Cox. In an unrelated minor storyline, Potter and D’Angelo argue about the need for a new autoclave. D’Angelo insists there’s no money available–but there was money to install a new canopy for the hospital entrance. This is only the fourth episode of AfterMASH and I’m already tired of D’Angelo.
There’s another minor storyline involving Father Mulcahy and a patient named Walter (played by Michael Huddleston) who talks about God all the time and may be suicidal. This storyline intersects with the Potter/D’Angelo storyline in an unexpected way.
Yet again, it feels like Father Mulcahy is an afterthought. Perhaps at this early stage the writers weren’t quite sure how to involve him in the action at General General.
Mildred and Dr. Pfeiffer don’t appear in this episode.
The episode title refers in part to the familiar “Snap, Crackle, “Pop” advertising slogan of Rice Krispies. Klinger eats the cereal for breakfast at the start of the episode. I’m not quite sure where “Plop” fits in, however, unless it’s the sound of Klinger’s stomach makes when he contemplates his future.
References to the 4077th
There are several vague references to the “old days” at the 4077th when Klinger used to go around Army regulations to get what he wanted and Potter had more authority.
This is the first of nine episodes written by Dennis Koenig (he contributed the story to a tenth). He served as a producer on AfterMASH as well. Koenig had a hand in writing 17 episodes of M*A*S*H between 1979 and 1983. He also worked as a story editor from 1979 to 1981 and later a producer from 1981 to 1982.
Guest star Britt Leach previously guest starred in the M*A*S*H episode “Heroes” during Season 10.