Discuss: Imagine an Episode With Only Margaret


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: Imagine an episode with only Margaret.

Is Margaret Stranded? Working?

Two weeks ago, we discussed whether the Season 4 episode “Hawkeye” could have worked with a different character. That made me wonder what episodes focusing exclusively on other characters would be like. Rather than try to fit Trapper or Charles or Radar into “Hawkeye,” why not imagine an episode in which Trapper is basically the only character? Or Charles. Or Radar. Or any main character other than Hawkeye.

So, starting today, that’s what we’re going to do for the next ten weeks. I’ll pick a character at random and ask readers to share their ideas for an episode in which that character is either the only character or, like in “Hawkeye” the only character speaking English. Will these discussions quickly become repetitive, with the same few concepts used and reused with character after character? Perhaps. But I’m confident there will be some interesting ideas for each character.

We’re kicking things off with Margaret. In my imaginary episode, she’s alone in Radar’s office on the phone talking to Donald. We only hear her side of the conversation. I’m sure there are plenty of ways to keep her isolated. Maybe it’s late at night and she’s thrown Radar out so she can have some privacy. Maybe she threatened anyone who dared step inside while she’s still on the phone.

Hit the comments with your thoughts.

8 Replies to “Discuss: Imagine an Episode With Only Margaret”

  1. One idea that comes to mind is perhaps Margaret is ill and confined to her quarters.

    To relieve her boredom, she takes out a momento box filled with items from her parents, lovers, etc.

    As Margaret reviews each item, she talks to it as though she were talking to the person who gave it to her or it represents.

    It could be a way to delve into her past, herself as a person, her motivations and vulnerabilities. It could also allow for a range of emotional performances – happy, sad, angry, regret, etc.

    1. This is a great idea and would work perfectly for Margaret. Too bad you weren’t around the writing staff back then!

    2. Along those lines, it would be a great opportunity to see younger versions of Margaret and see how having a career Army officer for a father shaped her mindset in later years. As for needing earplugs, I don’t really think Margaret was always shrill.

  2. I honestly can’t imagine a Margaret-only episode, I really can’t. Especially at that point in the series, her character hadn’t quite evolved and developed too much by that point . . . sure, we saw she was having increasingly more tiffs with Frank and she had moments where she questioned their relationship, but for the most part, she was still the uptight, by-the-book, military brat who needed a man to complete her, and that’s about it.

  3. RJ’s imaginary episode would almost certainly be a very annoying 22 minutes of television. The main problem with it is that in basically every instance of her talking to Donald on the phone, she’s screaming her head off and very shrill. Can you imagine sitting through 22 minutes of what we had to see in “Last Laugh” when she’s going nuts? Granted Radar was in that scene but it still angers me whenever I think about it. Can’t imagine sitting through an episode of just that kind of nonsense, but that’s really all we would ever get for an episode like this. An episode of them just being lovey dovey would be almost just as bad, but also out of character.

  4. It’s not quite the same, but I have a similar idea that’d be perfect for Margaret – she’d still be the primary character, but other actors would be used. The discussion theme reminded me of an extended scene in the Frasier episode “Don Juan in Hell”, where Frasier is alone in a motel room, talking to the women in his life inside of his imagination as a way of working out his girlfriend troubles.

    For M*A*S*H, it’d be fairly late in its run. She’d be in Tokyo on R&R, in a hotel room. Maybe suddenly, or maybe because Sydney Freedman advised her to do it, men she’d dated, and even just flirted with over the years, show up in her mind, most likely starting with some generals (even Iron Guts Kelly!), leading inevitably to Frank, then, after a bit, Donald.

    I also imagine Charles popping in to remind her of the early flirting put into his era on the show. As a comment on what a mistake that was of the writers, she’d remember none of it, to Charles’s chagrin. Of course, at some point Hawkeye is there due to their behind enemy lines experience, and in general. Sully would be there, too, of course. It’d all end with Col. Potter appearing as a part of Margaret’s mind that offers sound advice. Being late M*A*S*H, it’d have a fairly feminist message at the end of course.

    This would-be episode would need to tone down her yelling a bit, though there’s likely be some – mostly aimed at Frank, probably. I like the idea of her ridding herself of the lesser men in her life with a sharp “DIS-MISSED!”(Frank whining when it’s his turn, naturally) at one point or another.

  5. I could see an episode where, as in The Abduction of Margaret Houlihan, she has to deliver a baby. It’s a baby girl and she talks to the baby about her life, her regrets her wishes for the future etc.

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