Discuss: How Would Colonel Blake and Colonel Potter Interact?


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.

Ferret Face suggested today’s topic: How would Colonel Blake and Colonel Potter interact?

Two Men with Families, But Only One Family Man

Yes, it’s time once more to ponder how two characters who never met on M*A*S*H would interact if they served at the 4077th at the same time. Ferret Face suggested this topic but I decided to split it into multiple topics, each with a different paring. We’ve already discussed Colonel Blake and Charles, Trapper and Charles, Trapper and Colonel Potter, Frank and Charles, and Trapper and B.J.

Today we’re discussing Colonel Blake and Colonel Potter. They’re both commanding officers, surgeons, husbands, and fathers but they have very little in common. They’re both fine surgeons and both develop father-son relationships with Radar. But in many ways the two men are complete opposites. For starters, Potter is an Army man through and through. Blake was drafted. Blake is unfaithful to his wife. Potter is a devoted husband. Potter earns the respect of his subordinates. Blake is routinely ignored.

Because the two men both commanded the 4077th, there’s likely no realistic way they could ever have served together. Potter, being a full colonel, would outrank Blake. That doesn’t mean they couldn’t have spent time together if, say, Colonel Potter visited the 4077th while Blake was in command.

Let’s pretend somehow both Blake and Potter work together at the 4077th long enough to develop a relationship. How would they get along? Would Potter find Blake’s command style frustrating and incomprehensible? Would Blake chafe at Potter’s professionalism? Would the fact that Blake routinely cheated on his wife bother Potter? Or would they bond over the loneliness of command, ignoring their differences?

Hit the comments with your thoughts.

4 Replies to “Discuss: How Would Colonel Blake and Colonel Potter Interact?”

  1. Scenario: Potter is visiting, consulting surgeon and commanding officer to help Henry in a rough stretch.

    First, almost as soon as they meet and start interacting, Blake would insist he’s seen Potter before someplace, but it’d never dawn on him who it was. Partly because it would ruin the in-joke about the General Steele episode, and partly because – this is Henry Blake we’re talking about. He was probably the easiest to fool with the Tuttle ruse way back.

    But one thing they both definitely have in common is a colorful way with language, each his own. Blake’s is more “midwestern cornball”, and Potter’s more “cowboy wisdom”, but both are at least a bit similar, and, I imagine, fun to write. I can also imagine a conversation about, say, a battle that could result in huge casualties, filled with each man’s way with words. Radar reacting with “Holy Cow, that’s a catastrophe!”, Hawkeye responding, “To the English language.”

    Throughout, especially given the overall situation, I can see Henry being totally deferential to his one-rank-up superior in his own Henryish way.

  2. Assuming that they were assigned at the same time, I would see Henry being relieved to have someone else take the reins of command. Henry has never appeared quite comfortable with the stress and responsibility, so I think he would welcome the respite. He might be kept on for a time to ease the transition.

    As for personality, I think they’d get along quite well since (in my opinion) Henry would never try to usurp Potter’s authority. I think that they would be great drinking buddies and surgical consults.

    1. That’s one thing I overlooked in my post: both MacLean Stevenson and Harry Morgan were great at playing drunk. Scenes with them drinking together would be hilarious.

  3. I believe Henry would be happier as a surgeon without the added responsibilities as a commander. I’m sure he’s be giving up his personal tent to Col. Potter and have to move into the swamp. He’d have to bunk with Frank 🙂

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