Discuss: Imagine an Episode With Only Radar


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 Radar.

Which Radar?

We’re in the sixth week of our “Imagine an Episode with Only…” journey. We’ve already imagined episodes with only Margaret, Colonel Potter, Trapper, Father Mulcahy, and Frank. Today, let’s share our ideas for an episode featuring Radar. He doesn’t have to be literally the only character but he should be the primary focus and any other characters probably shouldn’t be speaking English. That’s how “Hawkeye” worked and we’re trying to think of similiar experimental episodes for the rest of the characters.

The first thing to think about when trying to come up with an idea for an episode featuring Radar is to decide which version of Radar to use. The scheming Radar from the early seasons who smoked cigars or the naive, innocent Radar who came later? I’ve come up with ideas for both versions of Radar, actually. Would either have succeeded as an episode of M*A*S*H? I’m not so sure.

My idea for an episode featuring Radar from the first few seasons involves Radar’s unique talent for knowing what’s about to happen or what someone’s going to ask him. That’s how the episode avoids conversations with other characters. Radar already knows what they’re going to say, so he answers before they can open their mouth and then he rushes off.

For example, the episode could start with a poker game. Radar suddenly tells everyone choppers are incoming, then immediately leaves the tent to make sure Henry is awake or dressed or otherwise reading for surgery. As the episode progresses, Radar will run from one end of camp to the other, making sure everything is where it should be and everyone has what they need.

I like this idea, even if it seems difficult to film. Radar’s ESP ability worked best in small doses. An entire episode of him cutting people off before they can ask him a question may have become repetitive or even annoying.

My idea for an episode featuring the naive, innocent Radar also runs the risk of feeling repetitive and annoying. The entire episode revolves around Radar and his animals. He spends an entire day with his animals, talking to them and feeding them and telling them about the latest goings-on at the 4077th.

Hit the comments with your thoughts.

3 Replies to “Discuss: Imagine an Episode With Only Radar”

  1. Season 4 already seemed like the “Radar O’Reilly Show” at times anyway, with many episodes where he’s the primary focus, or even a secondary focus: “The Gun,” “Mail Call Again,” “The Price of Tomato Juice,” “Dear Ma,” just to name a few, so this might as well have been a good time as any to have an all-Radar episode.

    That being said, even if this happened with naive Radar, I feel like it would still be within his character to figure out a way to get himself out of whatever situation he may be in . . . say he got himself lost or something . . . I’m sure he’d be freaking out at first, but after the initial worry, I could definitely see it within him to figure his way back to the 4077th – maybe using his knowledge of nature and the outdoors to help guide his way.

  2. I could almost see the episode working as something like Dear Ma, but not including any of the other main characters. Radar could be telling is mom about how extremely busy it gets at the 4077th sometimes, and it could be intercut with scenes showing Radar basically keeping the camp running and taking care of everything while Henry (or Potter), Hawkeye, Trapper (or BJ), Frank (or Charles), Margaret, Klinger, & Father Mulcahy all spend the entire episode in the O.R. and never seen.

    We have a couple episodes where that happens a little bit, and I think if written properly, it could fill out an entire episode.

  3. The Radar with his animals is a great idea.

    My idea is that there are needs, maybe an emergency, or even day-to-day things of varying degrees of seriousness and silliness, and Radar is relating it largely through a (one way to the audience) conversation – better a few smaller ones – with Sparky. We never see him anyway, that one time notwithstanding. Things may be otherwise going slow that day on Sparky’s end, allowing somewhat longer talking spells between the two. There can also be some alone time, but with things being hectic Radar might do a small bit of commentary to his teddy bear to ease a bit of the tension.

    This would work best with early Radar, but later in that era (seasons 3 or 4), almost a between-evolution period but closer to the earlier one. For the kind of situations that could drive the Sparky sessions, probably season 3 would be best.

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