Discuss: Recommend A Single Episode of M*A*S*H to a New Viewer


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.

HannibalMO suggested today’s topic: Recommend a single episode of M*A*S*H to a new viewer.

The Series Premiere?

Almost exactly a year ago we discussed which season of M*A*S*H to recommend to a someone who had never seen a single episode of the show before. Today, we’re doing something even harder: picking just one episode of M*A*S*H a new viewer should watch.

The obvious answer is “M*A*S*H–The Pilot” because it’s the first episode of M*A*S*H and the episode that introduced the show to millions of viewers back in 1972. Without it, there wouldn’t be any other episodes. If it worked as a series premiere 47 years ago, it should work as a series premiere today, right?

I guess the single best episode to recommend to a new viewer depends on the viewer. Is it someone willing to commit to watching 11 season of M*A*S*H? If so, watching in broadcast order makes a lot of sense. But if this hypothetical new viewer is picky about the television shows they watch, maybe “Sometimes You Hear the Bullet” or “The Interview” are better episodes to recommend (for drama) or “Adam’s Ribs” or “Tuttle” (for laughs).

Hit the comments with your thoughts.

10 Replies to “Discuss: Recommend A Single Episode of M*A*S*H to a New Viewer”

  1. I wouldn’t go with the pilot, but rather the ‘second pilot’ – “Divided We Stand,” the 2nd season premiere. It does just as good a job introducing the cast, but in a more fully-formed, and far funnier, manner than the original series premiere. There are technically better episodes, no doubt, but this seems like a perfect starting point to me.

  2. I would go with either “The Interview” or “Dear Sigmund” Both are two of the greatest episodes (in my opinion) and neither has a single character being focused on. Instead, we get some of the greatest slice-of-life type stories which inform many of the greatest personality traits of each of the characters.

  3. The difficulty here is in the changing cast. With only one episode, there is no way to introduce someone to all the characters, so you have to decide which characters you feel are more important to introduce. It’s hard to not have a bias here, but of course for me I’d have to go with an episode in the first three seasons because Trapper/Blake are just much more important to me than BJ/Potter, despite how much longer BJ/Potter were there, and as much as I love Winchester, I feel someone new should be introduced to Frank first.

    I think also regardless if you decide with a season 1-3 introduction, 4-5, or 6+, you basically HAVE to include an episode with Radar, so everything post season 8 is out of the question.

    I feel like Radar’s Report might be the best candidate. One of the best episodes of the series, and shows the life of all characters in the 4077th. You also get Sidney (or Milton as he’s called in this episode) as well as basically all of the staple antics of each character shown on screen. It also uses a structure similar to the Dear… episodes, which is another staple of the show, so really would introduce someone to what MASH is.

  4. While admitting my bias for Seasons 1-3, I would recommend either “Crisis” or “Deal Me Out”. I find both episodes hilarious and I like the way every character makes a contribution to the story.

    If I saw either of the above episodes for the first time I would be eager to see more of what the series was about.

  5. I would go with two episodes instead of one, because of changed cast.
    First, “Chief surgeon who”, to meet all of the early characters plus Klinger (and get a comedy from first couple of seasons), then “War of nerves” to get the knowledge of the changed cast, meet Sidney and feel a shift to dramedy of the later seasons.

  6. There is one episode that would give a new viewer a chance to see the entire cast (“Our Finest Hour”), but I wouldn’t recommend it to a newbie.

    I guess it would depend on the person. For somebody into humor, I’d recommend a wacky episode like “Crisis”. For someone into drama, maybe “Old Soldiers”. I wouldn’t recommend an episode where a main character comes or goes, even though they’re all good.

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