Amph MASH Chronology: Disc. Bananas, Crackers & Nuts!

Discussion in 'Community' started by Rogue1-and-a-half, Sep 15, 2012.

  1. Rogue1-and-a-half Manager Emeritus who is writing his masterpiece

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    Nov 2, 2000
    star 8
    So, I posted the first review in this series over on the temp boards. It got exactly zero replies. Undeterred, I press on. If I get through like ten episodes and no one has replied, then maybe I'll kill it. :p


    To Market, to Market (1.2)

    [IMG]

    *Biggest laugh in this episode is a brutal edit to the title sequence where the camera cuts away from Hawkeye just before Lt. Dish appears over his shoulder. You can see the top of her head begin to appear and then they cut away.

    *So, as this one opens Hawkeye and Trapper operate on a wounded 2-star general. There’s a near foul-up because they’re out of hydrocortisone. Turns out the black market hijacked the shipment.

    *Spearchucker gets a mention in dialogue. I wonder if he’ll actually appear.

    *So, the new shipment of hydrocortisone arrives. Only the truck is empty, the supplies having been stolen again, somehow without the driver even knowing this time. There is a “hilarious” *BOING* sound effect when Hawkeye and Trapper look in the back of the truck and see that it’s empty. Do they have to do one of those every episode? Hope not.

    *McLean Stevenson and Gary Burghoff just keep stealing the show. HENRY: (lovingly polishing his desk) “Bet you don’t know what kind of wood this is.” RADAR: (not even looking) “It’s oak.” HENRY (still polishing) “Nope, it’s oak.” I mean that doesn’t really pop on the page, but they kill it.

    *G. Wood makes a vocal appearance when Hawkeye backs Henry into calling General Hammond on the phone about the hydrocortisone. But Hammond won’t send them any more, since the requisitions already show that they received their shipment. Luckily Radar is able to track down some hydrocortisone that a black marketer known as Charlie Lee happens to have. So, Hawkeye and Trapper head to Seoul to talk to him.

    *Charlie Lee is played, marveleously, by Jack Soo, who classic television fans will remember from his brilliant deadpan work on Barney Miller.

    *So, he has the meds, but he wants $10,000 dollars, which, given the rate of exchange in the Pilot, would require raffling off five nurses. Hawkeye and Trapper try to figure out something to trade with him, but he has everything. And then Hawkeye comes up with an ace in the hole: Henry’s fancy antique desk.

    *What’s kind of amusing is that Hawkeye borrows liberally in his sales pitch to Charlie Lee from the speech that Henry gave earlier. Of course, Hawkeye wasn’t in the room when Henry gave that speech. Of course, knowing Henry, he’s given that speech a million times, so that’s not such a problem.

    *Jack Soo is able to make you buy this. He sits there in his fancy sweater and his flashy bandanna and you believe, “Hmm, this is a gangster who would definitely say yes to a deal that got him a fancy desk.”

    *So, Hawkeye and Trapper bring Charlie to the 4077th disguised as a Korean general so he can inspect the desk himself. McLean Stevenson once again proves that he deserves the MVP award by slamming his thumb in the drawer and greeting the “general” with his thumb in his mouth.

    *So, they arrange for Charlie’s truck to come back at 0600 the next morning, so Hawkeye and Trapper go to Henry’s office at 0500 to figure out how to get the desk out of Henry’s office. However, Frank and Margaret are both suspicious so Frank tries to follow them and then Margaret hears a noise in the office and they both enter.

    *Pretty good scene here. Hawkeye and Trapper hide under the desk and have to endure about thirty seconds of really awful romantic discussion. The two of them then leave, but Frank locks them into Henry’s office.

    *The truck arrives but Radar can’t get the door unlocked. This leads to a sharp cut to the outside of the office and then the back wall falls off. Hawkeye and Trapper carry the desk out, but then, of course, Frank is coming. So Frank walks around a corner to find Hawkeye and Trapper kneeling at the desk, which they have covered with a tarp, hands clasped, eyes heavenward. “Early mass,” Trapper deadpans. It’s a good moment. I mean, it’s very sitcommy, but pretty clever.

    *All the shenanigans have made the driver of the truck nervous and he’s booked out of camp, so Hawkeye shouts, “Get O’Brien.”

    *Frank, meanwhile, still suspicious, has gone to rouse Henry. The two arrive on the scene just in time for a helicoptor to roar by overhead, Henry’s desk dangling from a long, long line. Hawkeye and Trapper stroll by nonchalantly.

    *Okay, so the shot of Henry and Frank and the helicopter with the desk. That is kind of legitimately comic genius.

    *So, Charlie Lee brings by the hydrocortisone. Henry wanders by as Charlie is chatting with Hawkeye and Trapper. “You got a relative that’s a general?” Henry asks. “We all look alike,” Charlie replies.

    *Odessa Cleveland gets another mention in the cast list as Ginger. Who was she related to, I wonder?

    *Well, it’s better than the Pilot. By quite a bit. I mean, it’s a farcical episode, especially the last seven minutes or so. But I’ll take it. I mean, I laughed a few times. It’s an improvement.

    ** ½ out of **** stars.

    Michael O’Hurlihy, Burt Styler

    MASH Episodes, by Quality:

    1. To Market, to Market
    2. Pilot

    The Abridged MASH

    To Market, to Market
  2. JoinTheSchwarz Comms Admin & Community Manager

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    Nov 21, 2002
    star 8
    This is a series I really enjoyed when I was a kid, and that probably merits a reviewing. I'll follow this thread with attention.
  3. Valairy Scot Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Sep 16, 2005
    star 5
    I loved M*A*S*H although my parents wouldn't allow me to watch at first (it was "too old" for me, but they based that on the movie).
  4. Lowbacca_1977 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 28, 2006
    star 6
    Dude, spoiler tag this.


    (I also wish I had my MASH DVD set. I've never actually watched it all through, although my brother watched the whole show over the course of a month a few years back)
  5. GrandAdmiralJello Moderator Communitatis Litterarumque

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    Nov 28, 2000
    star 10
    Winchester is amazing.


    But that's like what, season 6? :p
    Mar17swgirl likes this.
  6. Ramza JC Head Admin and RPF Manager

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    Jul 13, 2008
    star 7
    So, the instant I saw this thread, I checked Amazon Prime to see if I could watch along, because I have never actually watched MASH, and this seemed like a good chance to finally check it out and see if it was my thing.

    ... It's not on Amazon Prime. :mad:
  7. GrandAdmiralJello Moderator Communitatis Litterarumque

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    Nov 28, 2000
    star 10
    Nor on Netflix. You're going to have to take the plunge and buy the DVDs.


    (p.s. you won't regret it)

    (p.s.2 I can see you liking Hawkeye)
    Last edited by GrandAdmiralJello, Sep 15, 2012
  8. Ramza JC Head Admin and RPF Manager

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    star 7
    Would watching the movie first maybe give me an idea of what I'm in for? That one I can bum off my folks.
  9. Lowbacca_1977 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 28, 2006
    star 6
    I'd say no, I don't think they really compare or have the same flavour. I do recommend checking an episode out on tv though, it should be on right now, statistically.
    GrandAdmiralJello likes this.
  10. GrandAdmiralJello Moderator Communitatis Litterarumque

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    In addition, the show changes significantly partway through. Seasons 1-5 are more comedic, while seasons 6-11 start becoming more serious and dramatic (while still very funny). But you can't lose either way. If you do decide that you like it, definitely watch it in order though.
  11. Mar17swgirl Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Dec 26, 2000
    star 7
    The later cast (with BJ, Winchester and Potter) is much better, IMHO. Winchester rulez. :cool: While he's mainly portrayed as the same kind of "unlikeable major" like Frank Burns, unlike Burns he genuinely has a good heart deep inside (it shows beautifully in several episodes). Plus, he's got class. :cool:
    GrandAdmiralJello likes this.
  12. GrandAdmiralJello Moderator Communitatis Litterarumque

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  13. Mar17swgirl Chosen One

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    Dec 26, 2000
    star 7
    I love how he's friends with all the big brass. Has connection whenever they need something. :p
  14. Ramza JC Head Admin and RPF Manager

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    Jul 13, 2008
    star 7
    After tracking down the pilot through what were, of course, extremely legal but so difficult to replicate you might as well not ask channels... this is pretty great. If I have a bit of extra money left over at the end of the month, I know what I'll be spending it on.
    Last edited by Ramza, Sep 15, 2012
  15. Rogue1-and-a-half Manager Emeritus who is writing his masterpiece

    Member Since:
    Nov 2, 2000
    star 8
    I think MASH is the odd show in that it jumps the shark in reverse. About three seasons in it starts getting more ambitious and more serious and they add B.J. in place of Trapper which is a great trade-up. Then in season six, they trade Frank Burns for Winchester, which is a HUGE trade-up and the show just keeps getting better. I don't look down too much on the first three seasons though; there's some great comedy in there and I think the emotional pay off at the end of season three is really great. But all that in time. I wish I was faster at writing reviews; I'm a speed demon at actually watching the show.

    By the by, I loathe the movie. The show is much better.
  16. JoinTheSchwarz Comms Admin & Community Manager

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    We call that growing the beard.
  17. Chancellor_Ewok Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 8, 2004
    star 6
    Not really. In the movie Hawkeye is played by Donald Sutherland and he gives the character a totally different flavour than Alan Alda. In fact the ONLY actor who appears in both the film and the series is Gary Burghoff, as Radar.
    Last edited by Chancellor_Ewok, Sep 18, 2012
  18. yankee8255 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 31, 2005
    star 6
    I'll avoid arguing whether the show got better or worse as it went along, other than to say that I think the last season or two got a bit too sappy. The show was just very different, two different shows, essentially, once the core of the original cast left. In a way it was probably liberating for the writers, as it allowed them to depart from the tone of the movie more. But I still love the original cast, much prefer Trapper to BJ.
  19. Rogue1-and-a-half Manager Emeritus who is writing his masterpiece

    Member Since:
    Nov 2, 2000
    star 8
    Timothy Brown is in both movie and tv show as, essentially, the same character (Spearchucker). He got cut from the TV show fairly quickly though.
  20. solojones Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Sep 27, 2000
    star 9
    I have the complete series on DVD and have seen most of the episodes. It's been one of my favorite shows since I was a kid and my parents would show it to me on reruns all the time. Definitely one of my favorite shows. And definitely an interesting case of a show totally changing over its run. A lot of people say that Alda made the show too preachy near the end, but I feel like a show about war deserves to be serious and dark after a while. The journey Hawkeye goes through over the course of the series is amazing.

    Oh and Goodbye, Farewell, and Amen is still one the best series finales ever. Makes me cry every time.

    Hmm now I feel like watching some of this again.
  21. Rogue1-and-a-half Manager Emeritus who is writing his masterpiece

    Member Since:
    Nov 2, 2000
    star 8
    Requiem for a Lightweight (1.3)

    [IMG]

    *So, as this episode begins, Hawkeye and Trapper are on their way to the operating room, distracted because they’re playing a walking game of Gin Rummy. Suddenly, they run into a nurse just coming out of the showers, clad only in a towel. It’s Marcia Strassman as new nurse Margie Cutler. She’ll be a briefly recurring character.

    *Later, while the two are chatting up Cutler, Margaret comes up and sends Cutler away and then gives Hawkeye and Trapper a reaming out and tells them to stay away from her nurses.

    *Trapper then tells Hawkeye that he’s exhausted and is going to sack out for a week. Hawkeye says he’s got some patients to check up on. They then, of course, bump into each at the door to Nurse Cutler’s tent.

    *Trapper is carrying a small bouquet of flowers and Hawkeye has a pair of silk stockings slung over his shoulder. “Are those for me?” Hawkeye asks Trapper, pointing to the flowers. “If you’ll put those on,” Trapper says, thumping the stockings.

    *Radar brings Henry a sheaf of blank papers to sign. “It’s to cut down on your workload,” Radar says. “I’m not signing blank papers,” Henry snaps, “I don’t even know what I’m signing when they’re not blank.”

    *So, Margie tells Hawkeye and Trapper that Margaret’s transferred her to another outfit. So, they hit up Henry to try to get him to override her. Henry offers them a deal. General Barker wants the 4077th to put up a boxer for the inter-unit boxing tournement. Henry says if Hawkeye and Trapper help him with his problem, he’ll help them with theirs.

    *Trapper tells Henry to just get whoever they put up last year. “I can’t,” Henry deadpans. “She’s gone.”

    *Hawkeye and Trapper tell Henry that they can’t do it. Immediately upon leaving his office, Hawkeye starts putting the hard sell on Trapper about what great shape he’s in: “I’ve seen the guys sneaking peeks at you during calisthenics.” “Which guys have been sneaking peaks at me in calisthenics?” “I’d rather not say. Some of them are married.”

    *Next thing you know, Trapper’s sparring with Radar. Gary Burghoff does some sublime physical comedy here.

    *McLean Stevenson enters, watches blank faced for about ten seconds and then says, “I’ll write his wife.” Great delivery.

    *Oh HEY it’s William Christopher as Father Mulcahy! First appearance!

    *The scene ends with Radar planting one right in Trapper’s stomach. Pretty good.

    *More comedic sequences of training. “How far have I run?” “Thirty feet.” “That’ll do it.”

    *Trapper’s working out on a punching bag, which is actually Frank’s duffel bag. Margaret happens by: “Wait a minute, isn’t that Frank’s bag?” “I thought you were Frank’s bag.” Touche, Trapper, touche. That’s the first legitimatly funny insult they’ve given Margaret.

    *So, General Barker arrives with his boxer, who is, of course, incredibly huge. Radar tells a story that he heard about the guy getting mad and punching a jeep. And knocking it out. I don’t even know how to react to a story like that.

    *John Orchard appears here as Ugly John. It’s his second appearance after a brief OR appearance in the Pilot. I think he vanishes pretty quick.

    *Anyway, Ugly John being an anesthetist, he douses Trapper’s right glove in Ether. Just keep jabbing him, Ugly John says and he’ll go down. Does this lead to an extremely labored gag in which Ugly John accidentally passes out himself? You know it does.

    *Henry decides he wants Trapper to back out since he’s afraid he’ll get hurt, especially his hands, you know, Trapper being a surgeon. Hawkeye reassures Henry by letting him in on the ether trick, but Hawkeye, rather stupidly now that I think about it, tells Henry in front of Frank. I’m not sure what Hawkeye was thinking there.

    *General Barker asks Henry if he’d like a gentlemanly wager: “What do you say to a hundred?” “Dollars?”

    *Frank and Margaret switch Trapper’s small bottle of ether with a bottle of distilled water.

    *Father Mulcahy introduces General Barker’s fighter: “With a record of ninety-seven wins, no losses and three arrests . . .”

    *Very funny gag in which Radar rings the bell very loudly and the guy sitting next to the bell on the other side flinches. It’s all in the execution. Trust me, it’s funny.

    *Hawkeye figures it out when Trapper keeps getting knocked down. He dashes back to the OR for some real ether.

    *So, the General’s fighter gets the ether in the face and topples out of the ring, landing, of course, right on Frank and Margaret.

    *The next day, Henry brings Nurse Cutler to the Swamp: “Gentlemen, you have lived up to your part of the bargain. I have lived up to mine. *aside to Nurse Cutler* Keep moving or you’re dead.”

    *Hawkeye tries to put the moves on Cutler, but she goes for Trapper and his black eye , of course. “I managed him,” Hawkeye says ineffectually. “Does it hurt?” Maggie moans, gazing into Trapper’s eyes. “No, not at all,” Hawkeye avers.

    *Well, that wasn’t much of a twist. I suppose the main interesting things about this episode are all kind of cast related: it introduces Nurse Cutler who will briefly be a supporting character and, most significantly of all, introduces William Christopher, the “real” Father Mulcahy. Beyond that, it introduces him as having trained boxers in the past; that’ll be an enduring part of his character, his love of the violent game of boxing. Interesting that they had it from the beginning. Did Dago Red love boxing in the movie? Man, I don’t remember.

    *On the technical side of things, it’s worth mentioning that this is the first episode directed by legendary television director Hy Averback, who would end up directing an astounding number of MASH episodes.

    *Plotwise, not a particularly strong episode. Some good line deliveries, but nothing out of the ordinary.

    *1/2 out of **** stars.

    Hy Averback,Robert Klane

    MASH Episodes, by Quality:

    1. To Market, to Market
    2. Requiem for a Lightweight
    3. Pilot

    The Abridged MASH

    To Market, to Market
  22. SiouxFan Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 6, 2012
    star 3
    This show is one of the rare ones that never goes out of style. I've got to agree with everyone else, it got LOTS better when Winchester replaced Frank. It's kind of a toss-up though, if I like Trapper or BJ better.
  23. General Kenobi Administrator Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Dec 31, 1998
    star 6
    M*A*S*H is my favorite television show. I've spent uncounted hours - afternoons and nights in high school and college watching it in syndication, as well as several runs through on the DVD set - at the 4077.

    I'm surprised to see so many of you preferring the later seasons and characters. Perhaps it's because most (ok, probably all) of you are younger than me. When I chat about M*A*S*H with folks my age and older, most of them bash the BJ/Winchester years as bad as the prequels. While I'm not in that camp - there are some great dramatic and comedic moments in those years, I find the best seasons to be the first five. If I was handing out all-time Emmy awards, Larry Linville would get one for his portrayal of Frank Burns. He makes it one of the great comedic roles in television history.

    And Rogue is right, there's some great comedic timing between Radar (Burghoff) and Henry (Stevenson). Rogue, have you seen most of the episodes before, or is this mostly first-time viewing for you as well? I enjoy reading reactions of new viewers of classics.
  24. SiouxFan Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 6, 2012
    star 3
    My problem with Frank is that he was largely one-dimensional. Winchester was a pompous windbag, but some of the episodes also gave him depth and make him likable. (The episode when we learn that his sister stutters comes to mind) They never really developed Frank as a likable character, he was just the butt of most jokes. In the interest of full disclosure, my first MASH memory was watching the episode when Henry leaves the 4077. That had to be, what, 1975? I still remember seeing my Mom cry when Radar came into the OR to announce the news.
  25. Valairy Scot Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Sep 16, 2005
    star 5
    The show transitioned from a pure comedy to more of a dramady with the cast changes and it kept the show fresh. Some called the latter years "preachy" but I enjoyed it.

    The cast changes were overall positive - not necessarily "better" but equally good and yet different. I did like how Winchester was no "push over" like Frank; he was a worthy foil.

    Radar and Father Mulcahy were gold.