You know, I used to think of Seasons Four and Five as sort of interchangable seasons, but as I've gotten more familiar with them, I have to say that's not entirely the case, as it does feel somewhat different from Season Four.
I know Larry (Gelbart), Gene, and Burt always speak of it as the "stand alone" season, the one that doesn't feel like the first four, or the next six (like I feel about Season Seven), my guessing is because Larry was no longer in charge, and this was Gene's only season of being completely in charge before departing as well... but there's a little more than that.
For example, as far as stories go, Season Four seemed to get slightly more serious in tone as it progresses, particularly the last few episodes, but Season Five on the other hand seemed to do an about-face, and went back to being more light-hearted and comedic. That's not to say Season Five doesn't have it's share of some heavy episodes, but the season seemed to be made up mostly of some fine comedy moments.
And of course, we all know what the big highlight of the season was: Margaret getting engaged and later married to Donald Penobscott, while Frank further de-evolved into a one-dimensional psychopath.
The first time I ever saw that episode, my jaw nearly hit the floor as I could not believe what I was seeing: Margaret has FEELINGS!
It should also be noted that Season Five introduced some of the semi-regular nurses that would remain fixtures at the 4077th until the very end, including Bigelow, Able (played by Judy Farrell) and Baker (played by Jan Jorden)... though interestingly, in addition to Jan Jorden, there were three other different Bakers played by different actresses... and all those episodes were back-to-back as well! You also had the cute Mickie Baker married to Lieutenant Tony Baker, you had the somewhat homely Baker who tried coming onto Radar for some reason, then you had the Baker that was in the shower when Radar was searching the entire camp for Margaret.
One odd thing about Season Five is that at one point, an age-old visual gag is utilized that you wouldn't expect on M*A*S*H: the old subtitle gag.
The entire scene is cut from syndication, but in "Dear Sigmund" (5x08), Klinger tries to fake amnesia, and only speaks in Arabic, to which, everything he says to Potter comes with subtitles... even for that time, M*A*S*H seemed too smart and too sophisticated to rely on such a silly/fluffy little gag like that.
Talk about individual episodes here. Every episode has its own discussion thread and there are also threads for each season.
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