Although Season Seven is my personal second favorite season, there's something about it... this season is almost in a league of it's own, you can sense there's something different in the atmosphere, but you can't place your finger on it... I think of Seven as the "Transition Season": it's not quite as comedic as the first six seasons, but it's definitely nowhere near as dark, depressing, and preachy as the last four.
I give kudos to Ken Levine, David Isaacs, and the other writers for this season, because they really experimented a lot with this one: they knew we had all been seeing the same old sets over and over again, they wanted to try some different things, especially visually, so we had a lot of different kind of scenes, we had scenes on the Ranch at night, we've had episodes that take place out of camp, plus we've had a number of "special" episodes, such as "Our Finest Hour, Parts 1 and 2" (7x04/05), "Point of View" (7x11), among others.
In a sense though, this season seem to also really mark the beginning of the end of the show as we knew it: this was the last season where comedy was the forefront of the writing; this was the last season with the likes of Ken Levine, David Isaacs, Jim Fritzell, Everett Greenbaum, Ronny Graham, among other writers; this was the last season where Klinger tried to buck for a Section 8; and this was the last full season with Radar.
Speaking of Klinger, I will say this though, this season was an interesting one for him, he seemed to finally realize that wearing dresses wasn't getting him anywhere, because he was pretty much trying a new scheme every week, from trying to sweat himself to death, to dabbling in voodoo, to outright bribing Potter.
I liked "Our Finest Hour" better than "The Interview" (4x25), mainly because "Our Finest Hour" turned out to be a clip show, and I always enjoy clipshows and retrospectives and seeing the different scenes from the past they use to remind us why we love the series... and it was also a nice little reminder to us who may have forgotten about Trapper, Henry, and Frank (I kind of had forgotten about Trapper and Henry by this point the first time I saw these episodes).
I also remember reading an anecdote from Ken Levine that they had previously stopped using Colonel Flagg, because the writers and producers felt he was becoming too broad, too silly, and too one-trick a character, especially for the direction the show was evolving in, so "Rally 'Round the Flagg Boys" was pretty much sort of an unofficial farewell episode for him.
Another great, stand-out episode from this season was "Dear Sis" (7x15), which was a really poignant and heartwarming Christmas episode... back when shows weren't necessarily forced to do a Christmas episode practically every single season they're on the air, so that makes it all the more special, I think.
Oh, and I also forgot to mention something else about this season: apparently even though Gene Reynolds had stepped away from the series a year prior, he continued to consult with Alan Alda, and contributed input to the series, but I know there were a lot of areas where he wasn't pleased, in addition to Larry Linville's departure the previous season, I understand he was unhappy with Margaret getting divorced.
I pretty much agree with your post entirely Zelmo, except for one little thing...
Personally, I kind of liked "Lil"... no, it wasn't the best episode of the series, but I didn't think it was a bad episode either. It intrigues me though to see how much Potter and Radar's relationship had grown: whenever Henry fooled around with other women, Radar basically just looked the other way and didn't say anything; but the very idea that Potter would cheat on Mildred sent Radar up the wall... it really was almost like if Radar's father was making time with another woman.
Other than that, I'd also add "Major Ego" (7x09) to the list of episodes from this season that I don't like.
I also forgot to add "B.J. Papa San" (7x16) to the list of episodes that I really did not like.
Like Season Six, Season Seven has a number of my very favorite episodes of the entire series...
"None Like it Hot" (7x07) is a very relatable episode, because Tennessee is notorious for intolerable heat during the summer (and it's like our summers last forever), so to watch this episode when it's hot outside makes you feel like you're not alone in your suffering (though surprisingly, this summer has been unusually cool and comfortable).
"They Call the Wind Korea" (7x08) As I mentioned in the Season Six thread, before I actually watched the series, there were a few scenes from various episodes that I would see while channel surfing, and from this episode, I caught a glimpse of Charles and Klinger in the truck with the Greeks, followed by Radar going on a frantic search for his missing guinea pig... but I'm also interested in severe weather as well, and this is as close to "severe" the weather ever got on the show.
"Baby, it's Cold Outside" (7x10) One of my favorite cold snap episodes... and just think, once again, Klinger was so close to getting a discharge... plus, I liked how Charles flaunted around his polar suit in front of everyone.
"Dear Sis" (7x15) Again, a great and touching Christmas episode.
"Hot Lips is Back in Town" (7x20) The subplot with Radar and Linda Nugent speaks to me because on December 18, 2009, I learned just what it means when people say, "Love conquers all", when I fell in love with the most absolutely wonderful girl in the whole world.
"The Party" (7x26) This was a really interesting episode, I like the idea of arranging a party for all the families and loved ones back home.
Honorable mentions also go to "Commander Pierce" (7x01), "Peace on Us" (7x02), "Point of View" (7x11), "Out of Gas" (7x13), "The Price" (7x18), "The Young and the Restless" (7x19), and "Rally 'Round the Flagg Boys" (7x22).
I forgot to mention too, that another change in this season was that we were introduced to a new, permanent Rosie.
I always disliked her compared to the other Rosie's in this past, this Rosie was always smug and snarky, like those stereotypical sharp-tongued diner waitresses you see depicted on American TV... all the other Rosie's were rather friendly towards the guys in camp (though one of them was a little too much like a stereotypical simple-minded Asian who could only speak broken English); this Rosie seemed to dread anytime any one of them stepped foot into her bar, especially Hawkeye and B.J.
Talk about individual episodes here. Every episode has its own discussion thread and there are also threads for each season.
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