Saturday, March 27, 2010


Episode 1: W*A*L*T*E*R
Original Air Date: 7/14/84
Written by: Everett Greenbaum, Bob Schiller, and Bob Weiskopf

Directed by: Billy Bixby

W*A*L*T*E*R opens in St. Louis, Missouri, as Walter "Radar" O'Reilly, and cousin Wendell (Ray Buktenica) are preparing for Radar's first day as a uniformed police officer.

Its a big day for Radar, as a recently recorded interview he did with Clete Roberts (who came to the 4077th to interview the staff during the war) is airing on television today. Roberts mentions doing a series of "follow up" interviews. He has previously talked to Hawkeye, and now has found Radar.

Radar explains that he didn't feel right about continuing to take money from the government to not grow crops (as a program of the time was doing), so he tried his hand at making the farm work again. It failed again, forcing Radar to sell it and move to St. Louis to find a job.

Turns out Radar's marriage (as seen in AfterM*A*S*H's First Season episode "It Had To Be You") fell apart even before the honeymoon, with his bride Sandy running back to Otumwa to be with a mutual friend of theirs.

Radar, stranded in St. Louis, considered killing himself by taking an overdose of sleeping pills, though he seems hardly up to the task. He meets a nice clerk at the pharmacy named Victoria (Victoria Jackson), and it gets him off his suicidal mission.

Radar and are watching the rest of the Clete Roberts interview on a TV in a department store window, and the crowd around them recognize Radar as the man on the set. He gets mobbed for autographs and pictures, but he's uncomfortable with the attention. A few moments later, he notices his wallet is missing--someone from the crowd must have lifted it!

Radar is horrified, since, aside from his police I.D. and his money, his wallet contained a picture of him, Hawkeye, Col. Blake, and Major Houlihan, which is nearly a sacred item to him.

On the trail of the wallet, they investigate a disturbance backstage at a burlesque theater--a stripper with a bird for a partner is distraught because the bird has gone missing! After a frantic search, Radar's radar (and his knowledge of animals) comes in handy, as he's able to hear the bird and lure it to his shoulder.

Resuming the search, they spot a kid from the crowd who, despite wearing an arm cast, was able to pat them on the back as he left. They give chase, finally catching up to him. The kid, named Elston, claims to be innocent of the crime. As Radar talks to him, we learn that Elston is essentially an orphan, living with his grandmother and scraping to survive.

Radar takes pity on the kid, and buys him some ice cream floats at the pharmacy. He talks to Victoria about his missing wallet, and mentions that the only thing he misses it his picture from Korea. Elston, feeling guilty, gives up the wallet, admitting that hid Dad was killed in Korea.

Radar lets the kid go, but asks Elston to meet him at the pharmacy the same time every week, so they can talk and Radar can keep tabs on him. Elston leaves, and Victoria tells Radar how nice it is of him to look after the kid, giving him a kiss on the cheek.

Fun Facts: The police chief is played by Noble Willingham, who played the owner/bartender of The Recovery Room on AfterM*A*S*H.

There's a scene where Victoria Jackson does her trademark silly song and dance bit, which she did on Saturday Night Live many times. Its so out of place, it stops the show dead in its tracks. The camera has to carefully cut around the fact that, during her handstand, Victoria's waitress skirt rises (falls?), so you can see her underwear, something so out of place for a 1950s small town public place that its absurd.

There is one tiny, quiet moment--when Radar is showing Wendell his picture from the 4077th (which we don't see), he mentions that Col. Blake got killed. Actor Ray Buktenica does a quick little turn of the head, taking notice of the resigned sadness in Radar's voice.

Favorite Line: Despite being at least partly written by Everett Greenbaum, one of M*A*S*H's best writers, I didn't find a single line in this show funny, or even memorable. I can see why CBS didn't greenlight this a series.

Don't get me wrong; W*A*L*T*E*R's heart is in the right place: Radar, as written here, is the same befuddled but endearingly gentle character that we loved from M*A*S*H. But, unlike AfterM*A*S*H, which I think from the get go established a different feeling from its predecessor, W*A*L*T*E*R feels like its trying to milk the warm feelings the viewers had for the original show without adding anything new to it.

Plus, at the time of this pilot being shot (around early 1984), AfterM*A*S*H wasn't exactly burning up the airwaves, so I could see why CBS would think a second M*A*S*H spin-off on the air would be too much of a lukewarm thing. Like AfterM*A*S*H, W*A*L*T*E*R remains an odd, almost completely forgotten coda to the long, celebrated history of the original series.
Okay, even though I said this before, this is the ostensible ending to Thanks to M*A*S*H fan What The Parrot Saw, the rotation points needed for this blog to end got increased, so it needed to stick around long enough to talk about AfterM*A*S*H and W*A*L*T*E*R.

I appreciate everyone who did stick around, and said such nice things about my humble little effort here. And like I said the first time this was supposed to end, you never know when I'll have something new to say about M*A*S*H--which, for me, is a pretty regular event. If I do, I'll say it here.

Until then, goodbye, farewell, and amen!

Friday, March 26, 2010

AfterM*A*S*H Episode 27 - Ward Is Hell

Season 2, Episode 27: Ward Is Hell
Original Air Date: 12/4/84
Written by: David Isaacs & Ken Levine and Dennis Keonig

Directed by: Burt Metcalfe

Klinger, being Klinger, is running a lottery in the ward to make some money, based on numbers called out over the PA. Even when someone wins, Klinger still makes a profit.

Dr. Boyer comes down with an infection, and even though Col. Potter tells him he's going to be fine, Boyer is pessimistic. Potter's suggests Boyer take a few days off (since walking around on his artificial leg is a physically grueling task), and Boyer agrees, reluctantly, taking a bed in the ward with his own patients.

As if that wasn't bad enough, Wally Wainwright shows up, saying no one can find Dr. Boyer's Army records, oh-so-jokingly suggesting that if they can't find them, Boyer will be tossed out of the hospital.

Luckily, they find the forms, and Alma Cox comes to have Boyer sign them. After pretending he's on death's door--which gets Alma all emotional--he makes a crude play for her, right there in the ward, causing her to run off in a panic.

Col. Potter gets wind of Klinger's lottery scam, and is upset this is happening in his hospital. He gets even more upset when he learns Mildred and Soon-Lee are in on it. When Mildred guilt-trips Col. Potter over it, saying they need the money for their baby, he gives up and lets the lottery continue.

When Soon-Lee wins the afternoon's lottery, the other patients think its been fixed. Klinger locks himself inside the ward, while some of the angry lottery losers try and bust down the door. Finally, two orderlies get in, and Klinger offers a refund to everyone.

At the end of the night, the Potters, Father Mulcahy, a young intern named Dr. Caldwell (Tom Isbell), and Dr. Dudziak visit Boyer in his bed. After a discussion who is the funniest comedian out there, Boyer lightens up, and starts doing an old Abbott & Costello routine, verbatim, keeping them all at rapt attention.

Fun Facts: After a month off the air, AfterM*A*S*H came back for two episodes, this one and the following week's "Saturday's Heroes." There was another episode shot, "Wet Feet", that never even aired. Is this anyway to treat a show?

Favorite Line: After Wally Wainwright questions Dr. Boyer's military history, Boyer responds: "If I recall, I stuffed my papers in a shoe and sent it to the White House. Ask the Eisenhowers, they keep all their old junk around--look at Nixon."

This is the last episode of AfterM*A*S*H I have available to me; "Saturday's Heroes" sadly was not part of the package I was sent, and the last filmed episode, "Wet Feet" never aired.

It's downright criminal that CBS didn't even bother to air "Wet Feet", let alone give the show a chance to film a final episode--Col. Potter, Klinger, and Father Mulcahy simply disappeared, never to be seen again.

Those actors, after their years of service on M*A*S*H, deserved better, and so did the loyal viewers--I bet at this point, the only people watching the show were die-hard M*A*S*H fans, so to have the three main characters so unceremoniously yanked from TV is pretty inexcusable.

Having seen these shows for the first time in a quarter century, I feel compelled to have some sort of final thoughts on the series. All in all, I'd say AfterM*A*S*H--in its first season--was a solid show, and definitely could have blossomed into a really good one.

Sure, overall it wasn't all that funny, and you didn't have the life-and-death drama that came from a show set in a war zone. But I was impressed that AfterM*A*S*H, despite its title, didn't really try to merely replicate M*A*S*H's success by copying it: no, I think AfterM*A*S*H was well on its way to establishing its own identity, but of course once the ratings started to slide CBS panicked and insisted on "retooling" the show, then never giving the new version a real chance.

Part of the sad legacy of AfterM*A*S*H is its reputation as one of worst spin-offs, if not the worst, of all time, which is really not fair. I have to think the reason the show is such a joke is because of its sheer unavailability--in an age where you can get According to Jim: The Complete Seventh Season or Viva Laughlin: The Complete Series on DVD, the fact that AfterM*A*S*H isn't on DVD makes it look like Fox has something to hide.

The only mention you'll find of it on the entire Martinis & Medicine box set is an off-stage (but still on-mike) conversation between Harry Morgan and Jamie Farr, while they were shooting the final filmed M*A*S*H episode, "As Time Goes By." Its like it never existed. I really have to thank M*A*S*H fan What The Parrot Saw for sending me the shows; I'm really glad I got to see them again.

But we're still not quite done--because I'm a glutton for punishment, tomorrow we'll take a look at the failed series pilot known as...W*A*L*T*E*R!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

AfterM*A*S*H Episode 26 - The Recovery Room

Season 2, Episode 26: The Recovery Room
Original Air Date: 10/30/84
Written by: Jay Folb

Directed by: Charles S. Dubin

The Potters are up very early in the morning, to catch Father Mulcahy's first televised sermon.
They're also caring for the baby Klinger, which Mildred takes in stride, but Col. Potter has more problem with.

Raising a baby--at their age--is causing a but of stress between the Potters. Col. Potter is angry at how busy Mildred always is, but she reminds him that's the way it is when raising a baby--something he missed the first time around, since he was off at war.

Meanwhile, at General General, Klinger gets an idea to make some money--a fellow patient has been collecting his disability payments and investing in the stock market, so Klinger decides to apply for the benefits, too.

Klinger tells Dr. Dudziak the story of how he was wounded in Korea, but we see the reality, via flashback. She doesn't believe it, and Soon-Lee is worried that if Klinger tells the government he needs disability pay, he'll never be able to get himself free.

Klinger, realizing he screwed up, jumps Alma Cox to make sure she doesn't mail the disability payment forms he gave her. Cox, thinking Klinger's attacking her, screams, and two of the hospital's orderlies come and take Klinger away--but not before he tears up the forms.

Col. Potter and Mildred reconcile at the bar across the street from the hospital (The Recovery Room), and Dr. Boyer decides, after much protesting, to sit down with a group of fellow Korean vets who are part of a therapy group of Dr. Dudziak's.

The next morning, we see another TV sermon by Father Mulchay, playing in a hotel room, where the Potters spent the night, so they could have some time alone.

Fun Facts: Dr. Boyer, over these Second Season episodes, was definitely being crafted into more of an angrier Hawkeye type. He romances (or at least tries to) every nurse he can find, with a never-ending stream of pick-up lines. But the role is continually well performed--and given a nice edge--by David Ackroyd.

This episode features something we've never seen, on either series: a flashback to Klinger's first day in Korea.

Favorite Line: Soon-Lee is skeptical about Klinger's plan to get money without having to do anything: "Max, unless you're a high Korean official, this does not happen."

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

AfterM*A*S*H Episode 25 - Madness To His Method

Season 2, Episode 25: Madness To His Method
Original Air Date: 10/16/84
Written by: Tom Straw

Directed by: Burt Metcalfe

We find Col. Potter up in the middle of the night writing a letter to...Dr. Sidney Freedman!

In the letter, Col. Potter is catching Sidney up on all that's been going on at General General. He admits having a very tough time adjusting to the idea of Klinger being a patient in the hospital's mental ward.

General General's old psychiatrist--one that Klinger could easily fool--passed away unexpectedly, so a replacement is brought in: a young, female psychiatrist, named Dr. Xxxx Dudziak (Wendy Girard). She seems on to Klinger's fake crazy act, and she rebuffs Dr. Boyer's romantic advances with a tart comment.

Col. Potter is also concerned with a patient named Carl, who once went through the 4077th, but is now at General General's psych ward, unable (or unwilling) to talk, preferring to just stare off into space.

Potter is also stressed over Wally Wainwright, who is planning to upgrade the hospital's food by providing deluxe meals in the cafeteria. Potter's concern that will empty General General's food budget in less than six months is ignored, since Wainwright has no plans to be still be at the hospital in six months' time: he'll take the credit for fixing the place up, and then be gone when it all collapses.

Klinger is determined to convince Dr. Dudziak he is crazy, by running around the hospital halls, grabbing Alma Cox and giving her a passionate kiss, as well as dressing up in various, 4077th-era outfits (a dress, combat fatigues).

Col. Potter has a breakthrough with Carl in the cafeteria, when he sees Klinger dressed in Amy fatigues. His first instinct is get up and run away, but Potter tells Carl to express himself, anyway he wants--which he does, by grabbing a handful of food and throwing it at Klinger!

This kicks off a food fight, filling the cafeteria will laughter. Col. Potter finishes his letter to Sidney as the food flies around him.

Fun Facts: Like Season One's "Yours Truly, Max Klinger", this episode is a neat twist of the classic "Dear..." episode format, this time with a letter being written to one of the members of 4077th (sort of). Too bad Allan Arbus didn't make an appearance.

There's a wonderful sequence with Col. Potter, playing chess (again, sort of) with Carl. As he tells Carl a story about WWI, the camera pans around the two of them, doing a complete 360 degree turn, all in one unbroken shot.

Favorite Line: Alma Cox complains to Col. Potter, saying she can't wander the halls of General General without being leered at and commented on by the lascivious--and lonely--patients.

After Potter rebuffs her, she wanders around the corner, only to go screaming the other way, being chased by a bunch of patients having some sort of wheelchair race. In the middle of the pack is Father Mulchay, who exclaims, "Make way for the Holy Roller!"

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

AfterM*A*S*H Episode 24 - Trials

Season 2, Episode 24: Trials
Original Air Date: 10/9/84
Written by: David Isaacs & Ken Levine

Directed by: Charles S. Dubin

Klinger's day in court has arrived, and, despite his lawyer's advice, he pleads
Not Guilty. Col. Potter and Father Mulcahy question this, but Klinger's view is that, if he's found Guilty, Soon-Lee and his son will be sent back to Korea--Klinger wants to take the chance, even if it is "all or nothing."

Col. Potter is brought on as a character witness, but the prosecution brings up Klinger's constant attempt to get a Section-8, his penchant for wearing dresses, etc. Potter does his best to defend Klinger, despite his checkered Army record.

Father Mulcahy testifies next, similarly trying to defend Klinger's character. The prosecution brings up Mulcahy's past drinking problem, which Mulcahy objects to: "Hey, I'm a priest!"

Bob Scanell and Mildred Potter also testify, doing probably more harm than good. The prosecution then calls a surprise witness--Col. Flagg!

Potter, Mulcahy, and Klinger are shocked, to say the least. Flagg enters, and we see he's the same gung ho lunatic he was in Korea, asking the baliff where he'd land if he had to jump out the window. Walking to the stand, he looks at Klinger, mimics drawing an "X" on his forehead, and says, "Hello, fruitcake."

Col. Flagg, on the stand, launches into a tirade against Klinger, accusing him of being a communist because, after spending years trying to get out of the Army, stayed in Korea for two months. Klinger protests that was to help Soon-Lee find her family, but of course Flagg cannot be reasoned with.

Flagg, over the years, has seemingly gotten worse, and he goes on a long tirad about Klinger, Communism, Capitalism, and more, despite the judge's admonitions to settle down. While Klinger testifies, Flagg rushes the stand, supposedly with proof Klinger associated with communists--a photo of him and a Korean civilian, who Klinger says "a dung salesman."

The judge has had enough, and has Flagg subdued. He then makes a decision to end the trial by getting Klinger's lawyer (an inexperienced, easily swayed young man) to change Klinger's plea to Not Guilty Due To Mental Insanity, and orders him to be put under the care of the Psychiatric Ward of...General General!

Klinger is carted away, sort of a free man. Flagg, left alone in the courtroom with the judge, is horrified. He keeps ranting, and eventually the judge gets up and walks out, leaving Flagg alone, testifying to an empty room.

Fun Facts: With this episode, the opening credit sequence changes again--the bland Season Two theme is retained, but the pastel drawings are replaced by photos of the cast members and stills from the show.

Obviously, this episode makes an explicit connection to M*A*S*H, with the guest appearance by Edward Winter as Col. Flagg, who had not appeared on the original series since the Seventh Season. Too bad Klinger couldn't call Winchester to defend him again!

Favorite Line: After Flagg goes on another tirade, Klinger objects: "This is America, not Korea--you can't destroy people over here like you did over there!"

Flagg responds: "I know, McCarthy is stealing my thunder."

Monday, March 22, 2010

AfterM*A*S*H Episode 23 - Strangers and Other Lovers

Season 2, Episode 23: Strangers and Other Lovers
Original Air Date: 10/2/84
Written by: Dennis Keonig

Directed by: Burt Metcalfe

Klinger, still on the lam, is reduced to sleeping on the street in a grimy alley. When he's chased away by a nearby tenant, he bumps into a guy saying he has some work for a guy down on his luck, if Klinger wants it.

Klinger asks what the job is, and he learns it involves some less-than-legal activities, like running numbers, transporting money around, and even roughing people up. Klinger says thanks, but no thanks.

Meanwhile, at General General, Col. Potter is none too pleased to learn that Alma Cox is now his secretary. He tells Alma she's relieved of her duty, but due to V.A. regulations she can't be fired, so he's stuck with her (although, from her point of view, its the other way around). Later, Cox is so obsessed with getting all the proper forms filled out she even interrupts an operation to get Col. Potter to sign some forms.

Dr. Boyer stops by the bar across the street from General General, and bumps into Klinger, hiding out. Boyer offers to let Klinger stay at his place, but Klinger refuses, not wanting to get a friend involved in Klinger's legal mess.

A few hours later, Klinger decides to take Dr. Boyer up on his offer, and he barges in right after Boyer has spent the night with a nurse. Boyer tells him to get out, and Klinger splits.

Alma Cox is so obsessed with officiousness that she follows Col. Potter back to his house. When Col. Potter claims she's a total nightmare, she fakes being sweet and kind, so much so she fools Mildred Potter into inviting her in for a cup of coffee.

Col. Potter has a meeting with Wally Wainwright, the new administrator, and it doesn't go well. Earlier, Wainwright told all the patients of General General that he is open to suggestions on how to improve the place. When he reveals to Potter that was just PR, and he has no real intention of making any improvements, Potter is furious.

He storms back to his office, and opens a bottle of booze, demanding Alma Cox imbibe. Since he now despises Wally Wainwright as much as she does, they bnow have a common enemy. Alma Cox agrees, and throws one back like a pro.

Meanwhile, Klinger decides to take up with the nefarious guy he met earlier, who is running all sorts of illegal operations in a seedy apartment--which just happens to be next door to where Father Mulcahy lives!

Mulcahy has been so sick of the noise, he calls the cops, who come and break up the ring. Everyone scatters, and the only one the cops grab is the fugitive Klinger! Father Mulcahy is horrified at what he's done--accidentally.

Klinger is now back in jail, and he's visited by Soon-Lee, Father Mulcahy, and the Potters. He gets to see his infant son, but even that doesn't lift his mood. Col. Potter promises everything will get straightened out once Klinger gets his day in court.

Fun Facts: A sad indication about how things have changed: in the scene with Alma Cox and Col. Potter in the OR, during surgery, there's a laugh track blaring away.

The merchant who tells Klinger to scram is played by Richard Lee Sung, who appeared on a number of M*A*S*H episodes (he carved the wood bust of Col. Potter in Season Four's "Dear Mildred", for instance).

Favorite Line: Klinger, sure he'll never get to see his son again: "Tell him I love him and to always vote Democratic."

Sunday, March 21, 2010

AfterM*A*S*H Episode 22 - Calling Doctor Habibi

Season 2, Episode 22: Calling Dr. Habibi
Original Air Date: 9/25/84
Written by: Dennis Keonig, David Isaacs & Ken Levine

Directed by: Hy Averback

Alma Cox is in a tizzy over the imminent arrival of General General's new administrator, Wallace Wainwright (Peter Michael Goetz). Col. Potter, Father Mulcahy, and Soon-Lee have other things on their mind, though: namely, Klinger, who is still hiding. Luckily, with a friend in supply, he's able to borrow various outfits--like a doctor's coat--t
o stay around the hospital and see his wife and baby.

Wainwright introduces himself to Potter and Dr. Boyer while they're examining a patient. After he notices Boyer walk away, he's shocked to see that General General has is missing a leg. He thinks Boyer isn't up to the task, but Potter staunchly defends him. Wainwright is unmoved, and flatly states he plans to be stuck at General General for six months--not a day more--and then, "Move on to bigger and better things."

Klinger finds Father Mulchay, who tells him that Soon-Lee has moved in with the Potters. Mulcahy begs Klinger to turn himself in, but Klinger refuses. He then bumps into Wally Wainwright, who believes Klinger is a doctor ("Dr. Habibi"), who insists on getting a tour of place, led by Dr. Habibi.

They end up in the surgeon's changing room, and Col. Potter asks to have a private confab with "Dr. Habibi." While they're outside, Wainwright is open and direct with Dr. Boyer: he's sure Boyer, because of his missing leg, is not up to the job, and even mocks him as a cripple. Boyer, understandably, is enraged.

Boyer and Potter go in to perform surgery, and it's a long, complex procedure, hitting the three-hour mark. Potter, assisting, advises he step in so Boyer can take a break. But Boyer, having something to prove, keeps working.

Wainwright meets with Alma Cox, and her loyalty to Mike D'Angelo is quickly forgotten when she sees a chance to be Wainwright's executive secretary. Wainwright has no interest in her in that capacity, and assigns her to be Col. Potter's assistant (now that Klinger is gone). Cox is upset, but accepts the demotion.

Back at Potter's house, they, Father Mulcahy, and Soon-Lee are shocked to see Klinger show up, in the outfit of an employee of the gas company. When the doorbell rings, Klinger is sure its the cops and goes to leave.

Father Mulcahy tries to stop him, even threatening to knock Klinger out. But when push comes to shove, he can't do it, and Klinger departs. To be continued!

Fun Facts: Clearly the powers-that-be thought the show needed more of a villain, so the ineffectual and dim-witted Mike D'Angelo was replaced by Wally Wainwright, who's a jerk from the get-go. With Dr. Boyer more of a Hawkeye-esque character, AfterM*A*S*H was settling into a format more reminiscent of M*A*S*H--the noble doctors trying to carry on, even though the brass is trying to control them.

Favorite Line: Potter, defending Dr. Boyer: "I've worked with good doctors, I've worked with bad doctors. Even worked with a witch doctor named Frank Burns."

Saturday, March 20, 2010

AfterM*A*S*H Episode 21 - Less Miserables

Season 2, Episode 21: Less Miserables
Original Air Date: 9/23/84
Written by: David Isaacs & Ken Levine
and Dennis Keonig
Directed by: Burt Metcalfe

Picking up right where last season's "Up and Down Payments" left off, Potter and Mulcahy are wheeling Soon-Lee into General General, about to deliver her baby.

Klinger is determined to get out of jail, and Father Mulcahy comes back to tell him that the baby hasn't arrived yet. Klinger is sure that the baby's going to be born while he's still in jail, since the judge that could free him won't be back in his office until morning.

A man in a sharp suit arrives, asking a nurse questions about General General. He seems interested to learn that there's a pregnant woman as a patient, and asks to be pointed to the X-Ray room. He follows Dr. Boyer around, quietly taking notes. Without context, it seems like General General is a total madhouse.

Klinger gets so desperate to get out that he changes clothes with a fellow in-mate, a drunkard who likes where he is. When "Klinger" is put before a judge, its the other guy, who pleads guilty.

The man in the suit happens to be in the elevator when Dr. Boyer makes another movie on Alma Cox, partially to distract her from his going against the regular surgery schedule. After they depart, Klinger drops through the roof of the elevator!

Unfortunately, the cops are already in the building, looking for Klinger. Mulcahy sees him, and tells Col. Potter--but right at that moment, Soon-Lee goes into labor, so they send Bob Scanell to delay the police's search.

Klinger finds his way to the supply closet, and he decides to hide in plain sight...dressed as a nurse. The man in the suit sees this, and jots down all of it in his little notebook.

Klinger arrives just in the nick of time, as they're baby--a son--is born. Unfortunately, the celebration ends there because Klinger announces he's officially on the run. Feeling he can't go back to the judge without being thrown in jail for years, he has decided to stay in hiding.

Col. Potter, Father Mulcahy, and Soon-Lee protest, but Klinger is adamant. Before he leaves, he says, "I had it better in Korea."

Col. Potter is then called to Mike D'Angelo's office, where he finds Alma Cox, crying. She can't even say why--all she does is point to D'Angelo's office. Potter enters, and inside is the man in the suit. His name is Burt Philbrick (Max Wright) and he tells Potter that D'Angelo has been transferred to Montana.

Philbrick says the place is a disaster area, but Potter actually tries to defend Mike D'Angelo, saying the whole V.A. system is a disaster, and D'Angelo shouldn't be taking the fall. Nevertheless, Philbrick explains, a new boss will arrive by the end of the week, and get General General in shape.

Fun Facts: This is the first episode of the second season, and a lot of tinkering went on between seasons: the show's original theme song has been changed (from a nice tune reminiscent of "Suicide is Painless" to a bland, almost Muzak-sounding theme), and the vintage, color-tinted photos from the 50s that were run under the credits have been changed to drawings. Before we even see the episode, Jamie Farr is a female nurse's outfit. Uh-oh.

David Ackroyd has been added to the credits, and Barbara Townsend (Mildred Potter) has been replaced by Anne Pitoniak. A new character, played by Peter Michael Goetz, has been added, and John Chappell (Mike D'Angelo) is also gone.

The original credit sequence ended with a nice shot of Potter, Klinger, and Father Mulcahy; this one ends with Klinger, again dressed as a nurse. Double uh-oh!

Neither Anne Pitoniak or Peter Michael Goetz's characters appear in this episode.

Favorite Line: Its not a funny line, nor is it meant to be: I loved Jamie Farr's low-key delivery of "I had it better in Korea".

Considering the extensive (and, IMO, entirely detrimental) changes AfterM*A*S*H underwent as of the second season--none of which saved the show, in the end--the line feels a little meta, too: indeed, Jamie Farr and Klinger had it better in Korea.

Friday, March 19, 2010

AfterM*A*S*H Episode 20 - Up & Down Payments

Season 1, Episode 20: Up & Down Payments
Original Air Date: 3/12/84
Written by: David Isaacs & Ken Levine

Directed by: Burt Metcalfe

Dr. Boyer seems to be adjusting to life at General General quite well: he's friendly with the patients, and they admire him greatly. He also flirts with some of the nurses, who seem to be interested in him right back. He's even able to make a self-deprecating joke about his leg, something Potter and D'Angelo notice from afar.

Meanwhile, the Klingers look for a new, bigger house. When the real estate agent learns that Klinger is also a veteran, he agrees to help get the necessary loan. Klinger is unsure, since the house is beyond what they can afford, but Soon-Lee loves the house so much, and the real estate agent is so bullish, that agrees to take it.

Back at General General, Dr. Boyer's good mood is spoiled when the elevator breaks, and he has to take the stairs. With his wooden leg, climbing the stairs is a slow, painful process, and it takes him a long time to respond to an emergency page. When he finally gets to the ward, he's furious, and barks at the patients who are staring at Boyer, who is drenched in sweat.

Klinger is overjoyed over his new house, and shows his lease to Father Mulcahy. Mulachy wonders how Klinger can afford it, and looks over his lease. He finds a clause in it that says Klinger has to come up with a huge payment (aka a "balloon payment") in just two years, or he loses the house. Feeling like he's been had, Klinger storms off to talk to his real estate agent.

D'Angelo wanders into the ward, picking the exact wrong moment to goof on Boyer's wooden leg. Boyer cuts D'Angelo's tie in two in front of some visiting officials, embarrassing him greatly. Within moments, Boyer is in Potter's office getting chewed out.

Boyer complains about how he feels like an outcast because of his leg. Potter is sympathetic, but has no time for Boyer's angry sad-sack routine. He tells him that if that's going to be Boyer's attitude, he can just get out, now.

Klinger confronts his real estate agent, and after some pressuring, he agrees to tear up the contract. But he insists on sticking the Klingers with the loss of a down payment, which Klinger objects to...physically.

The Potters throw a dinner for the Klingers, Father Mulcahy, and Dr. Boyer. Klinger shows up with bandages on his hand and head, saying he got hurt in a fall (Potter seems dubious).

Just as everyone is about to eat, the doorbell rings--its the police, here to arrest Klinger, for assaulting the real estate agent!

Potter, Mulcahy, and Soon-Lee follows Klinger to the county jail. Just as they slam the cell shut, Soon-Lee goes into labor! Klinger is left behind as the rest of them head for the hospital.

As we see Klinger watch helplessly from inside the jail cell, we see the words: "Continued Next Season."

Fun Facts: This is the final episode of the first season--the cliffhanger being a departure from M*A*S*H, will never did a two-parter that took place over the season break.

Father Mulcahy plants a Victory Garden, a nice callback to his penchant for gardening on M*A*S*H.

Favorite Line: A nurse has some forms she needs Klinger to sign, but since he's off for the morning, Potter volunteers to fill in. He asks what he's supposed to do, and the nurse points to some forms: "Just sign where it says 'Approved, Sherman Potter' and sign it 'Max Klinger.'"

Thursday, March 18, 2010

AfterM*A*S*H Episode 19 - Fever Pitch

Season 1, Episode 19: Fever Pitch
Original Air Date: 2/27/84
Written by: Dennis Keonig

Directed by: Burt Metcalfe

There's a heat wave on, and since General General doesn't have air conditioning, everyone is suffering under it. Dr. Boyer in particular is annoyed, since one of his patients need surgery, but since he has a 103 degree temperature its too risky.

Father Mulcahy comes in his robe, planning to use General General's shower since the one at the Rectory is weak, dirty, and overcrowded. Col. Potter suggests Mulcahy move out on his own, but he's terrified of doing so--he's never really lived on his own. Potter gently suggests he can handle it--Mulcahy's been through a war, after all. Mulcahy is dubious.

Dr. Boyer heads into Mike D'Angelo's office (which is quite comfortable, since it has a room air conditioner), to beg for a cooling blanket--a piece of new medical equipment--for his patient. D'Angelo says there's no way he can approve that, since reams of paperwork need to be processed first. Boyer is not satisfied by that, and promises that, "Whatever happens to my patient, will happen to you."

Klinger runs into Dr. Boyer in the bar across the street, and after some initial resistance from Boyer, they hit it off when it becomes clear Klinger is just as anti-authority as Boyer is, and is willing to help Boyer in his mission to go around D'Angelo to get a hold of a cooling blanket.

But what Boyer doesn't realize is, Mike D'Angelo is also trying to get a cooling blanket for the hospital, and turns to Col. Potter for help in getting one. He admits that, deep down, he's afraid of Boyer, which is the main reason he's going to this effort.

Potter pulls some strings with the Chief of Staff from another hospital, and arranges to get a cooling blanket from him. Meanwhile, Klinger makes a deal to get one, and meets his contact at the hospital's loading dock. Turns out, the one Klinger and Boyer get is the one Potter was supposed to get! When Potter learns the cooling blanket is now missing, he's furious.

Later that night, Potter has to tell Mike D'Angelo he couldn't get the cooling blanket. Little do they know, Dr. Boyer's patient is currently having his temperature lowered by the cooling blanket. Boyer sees that its working, and gives Klinger the thumbs up.

Fun Facts: Soon-Lee and Mildred do not appear in this episode.

Favorite Line: Dr. Boyer makes a play for Alma Cox, and he's not one to waste time with subtlety: "Get married, we'll have an affair. If it works out, I'll get married, too."

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

AfterM*A*S*H Episode 18 - Another Saturday Night

Season 1, Episode 18: Another Saturday Night
Original Air Date: 2/6/84
Written by: David Isaacs & Ken Levine

Directed by: Jamie Farr

Mrs. Potter is going away over night to visit her sister, leaving Col. Potter all alone in the house. At first, he's enjoying being by himself, but that quickly fades and Potter decides to head to a bar that's across the street from General General.

Potter's waitress is Sarah, the former prostitute gone straight (who appeared in episode 5, "Night Shift"). He's thrilled to see Klinger walk in, who has stopped by to get some food for a ravenous Soon-Lee. Potter wants Klinger to stick around, but he's too busy working a second job at a garage.

Mike D'Angelo walks in, and Potter tries to hide, not wanting to run into him. But, nevertheless, D'Angelo spots him, and wants to buy him dinner. Potter protests that he's already had dinner, but D'Angelo says "You can watch me eat!"

Sarah, the ex-prostitute, seems to know D'Angelo, but he nervously denies this. Potter agrees to not ask any questions, despite Sarah's insistence on knowing him as "Mr. Snyder."

After reading a newspaper article that criticizes General General, Potter and D'Angelo have a discussion about how he should be more available to the patients in the ward. D'Angelo agrees, and takes off to head back to work.

Father Mulcahy walks in, and recognizes Sarah. He believes she's a nurse, and wonders why she's waiting tables. A former "john" walks in, offering her money for her usual services. Mulcahy is offended in Sarah's behalf, and demands the man apologize. The man responds by belting Mulcahy in the face.

D'Angelo does what he promised--visits the ward to talk to the patients. He tries his best, but he has no real solutions to the patient's problems, and accidentally harms a patient by trying to make him more comfortable. The man starts to have trouble breathing, but Dr. Boyer catches it in time, pushing D'Angelo out of the ward.

Sarah follows Father Mulcahy to General General to thank him for standing up for her. She tells him the truth--she was a prostitute, but the time they talked in the stuck elevator helped he rethink her life, and that she will always owe him for that. Mulcahy, shocked at first, is pleased to learn he made such a positive difference in Sarah's life.

Just as Potter is about to head home, he runs into Klinger, pushing Soon-Lee around in a wheelchair in a total panic. Soon-Lee says she has a simple stomach ache, but Klinger is sure this means the baby will be born prematurely.

After an examination, it turns out the baby is fine--Soon-Lee has simple Gastritis, caused by her eating large amounts of bizarre food in the middle of the night. After having such a panic attack, Soon-Lee begs Klinger to quit one of his part-time jobs so he can be home more. He agrees to quit his job at the bakery, but Soon-Lee asks him to dump the garage...since she enjoys having a husband who works at a bakery.

Fun Facts: Alma Cox does not appear in this episode.

Favorite Line: Potter argues that D'Angelo needs to spend more time on the floor of the hospital, getting to know the men. D'Angelo gives in and agrees, saying, "Sometimes, it takes your own mistakes to make you a better man."

Col. Potter responds, "If that was the case, you'd be Jesus Christ."

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

AfterM*A*S*H Episode 17 - Odds and Ends

Season 1, Episode 17: Odds and Ends
Original Air Date: 1/30/84
Written by: Everett Greenbaum & Elliott Reed

Directed by: Peter Levin

Klinger and Soon-Lee are making preparations for the birth of their child. Klinger is upset when Soon-Lee mentions she received hand-me-downs from friends and family, to use for their child. He feels like its charity, and is determined to find a way to make some extra money.

He decides to try betting--first on a horse race, then on a basketball. He even bets on Jai Alai, without even knowing what it is!

Meanwhile, Col. Potter tells Bob Scanell that because of some shrapnel that's been in his shoulder since WWI, he needs surgery again. At first, Bob is hesitant, but listens to Potter's advice and agrees. Scannell searches out Father Mulcahy--not because he's afraid of dying, but to change his will.

Klinger ends up winning some money right away, and of course he's thrilled. Col. Potter admonishes him to be careful--save what he's won, and don't try and win anymore. But of course Klinger won't listen, and is sure that his winning streak will continue.

He comes across a crap game run inside a bathroom of General General, and can't help but get involved. Before long, he's lost it all. Unfortunately, before this, he called Soon-Lee and told her to head down to the baby store and buy everything they needed.

Later, one of the nurses went to get Bob Scanell to prep him for his surgery, but he's missing. Potter tells her to put Klinger in charge of finding him, but Klinger is nowhere to be found, either.

They're both at a nearby bar, drowning their respective sorrows and worries. Klinger tells Scanell about his upcoming fatherhood, and Scanell talks about how lonely he is--he even has a kid, but he doesn't ever come to visit him.

Father Mulcahy funds them, and Klinger has to face Col. Potter, and then Soon-Lee, and tell her the bad news. Soon-Lee is elated at their new found wealth, and Klinger can't just bring himself to tell her what's happened.

But then Klinger finds an envelope in his desk, filled with $500 in cash. How did it get there?

Klinger finds Father Mulcahy and tells him about the money, sure that it was left there by Col. Potter. Mulcahy tells Klinger it wasn't Potter, it was Bob Scanell!

We then flashback to Bob and Mulcahy finishing up the will, and after Bob leaves Col. Potter his beloved fishing pole, he shows Mulcahy a coffee can he has filled to the brim with cash, uncashed checks, and bonds--a small fortune. Bob's been receiving various checks over the years, but since he's been living at the V.A. all these years he needed any of it.

Before he went under the knife, Bob made Mulchay promise that $500 of his money go to Klinger's unborn child. Klinger thanks him profusely, and Bob is wheeled into the O.R.

Later, Bob wakes up, the surgery having gone perfectly. Klinger and Soon-Lee are there, along with Col. Potter.

Fun Facts: Mildred Potter, Mike D'Angelo, Alma Cox, and Dr. Boyer do not appear in this episode.

Favorite Line: Col. Potter is showing his old war buddy Bob Scanell his x-ray, and how some shrapnel he got in WWI has been moving around his body over the decades: "This stuff's been on the road longer than The Student Prince."

Monday, March 15, 2010

AfterM*A*S*H Episode 16 - It Had To Be You

Season 1, Episode 16: It Had To Be You
Original Air Date: 1/23/84
Written by: Dennis Koenig, David Isaacs & Ken Levine

Directed by: Larry Gelbart

Father Mulcahy, Klinger, and Soon-Lee
show up at the Potter's house so they can all drive together to Iowa to attend Radar's wedding. But just as they open the door, they see a surprise guest...Radar!

Radar is nervous and disheveled. After he calms down, he explains to his old pals that last night, during his bachelor party, his oldest friend revealed that he slept with Radar's fiancee. Radar got so flustered and furious at the news he just took off, and headed straight for Col. Potter's house. He didn't even tell his fiancee Sandy, who is at the moment headed for the church, thinking the wedding is still on.

Col. Potter calls Radar's mother to reassure her, and word gets to Sandy, who calls Radar there, to his fury. He storms off, only to go as far as the Potters' front porch.

Father Mulcahy goes out to talk to him, and Radar shares with him how tough his life has been since he got back from Korea. His farm collapsed, and even though he got a big pay-off from the government, he felt like a failure. Radar even contemplated re-enlisting.

A few hours later, Col. Potter then tries talking to Radar, telling him to maybe give Sandy another chance. Soon after, Radar's fiancee Sandy (Kathleen Wilhoite) arrives, in her wedding gown. At first they argue, but Radar realizes he does love Sandy, and they decide to get married. Father Mulcahy performs the ceremony, right then and there. In the middle of the ceremony, Sandy tells Radar that nothing happened between her and Radar's buddy.

Father Mulcahy pronounces them husband and wife, but Radar and Sandy embrace in a passionate kiss before he can finish the ceremony.

Fun Facts: There's a whole separate B-plot with Dr. Boyer, as we see him leave his cruddy, lonely apartment head over to a bar. He's lonely, but can't quite bring himself to talk to anyone, even the beautiful blonde nurse that walks in and makes eye contact with him.

Its a good storyline--dealing with the difficult readjustment some veterans had returning home--but feels odd for the show to give this much time to a brand-new character, especially when the show has other characters--Mike D'Angelo and Alma Cox--still to develop. (Although, to be fair, it does tie in with the main plot, briefly)

As of this episode, Jay O. Sanders (Dr. Pfeiffer) is gone from the opening credits, and the show. Clearly the Dr. Boyer character was brought in, and Dr. Pfeiffer was phased out.

I thought that was too bad, since I liked the character of Dr. Pfeiffer--his naive ways contrasted well with old hand Col. Potter. While Dr. Boyer is, on a gut level, a more compelling character, he's a lot more in the Hawkeye mold, which probably wasn't an accident.

Favorite Line: There's a brief discussion about the then-government policy of paying farmers not to grow food, which means after Radar's crops died, the U.S. government issued him a big check: I didn't grow corn, I didn't grow wheat. Next year I'm thinking of expanding and not getting into soybeans."

Sunday, March 14, 2010

AfterM*A*S*H Episode 15 - Yours Truly, Max Klinger

Season 1, Episode 15: Yours Truly, Max Klinger
Original Air Date: 1/16/84
Written by: David Isaacs & Ken Levine

Directed by: Burt Metcalfe

This episode opens in the middle of the night, with Klinger writing a letter to...Radar!

He's telling Radar the the great news, that he and Soon-Lee are going to have a baby. We see Klinger and Soon-Lee discuss what to name the baby (Klinger is sure its going to be a boy), and where to put it since they don't have any spare room in their small house.

To earn extra money, Klinger has taken a second job on the side, selling frozen meat over the phone (it doesn't go well). He tells Radar about what its like to be around Col. Potter, now that he's home, and Mrs. Potter, whom they both only heard about for so long.

Potter is none too pleased to learn that Mike D'Angelo has hired a new surgeon, named Boyer, whose record post-Korea is spotty at best, having been fired from several hospitals. But D'Angelo--having done this as some sort of favor for a crony--is adamant.

Potter finds Dr. Boyer (David Ackroyd) waiting for him in his office, and at first he's sarcastic and surly to Potter. His record shows he was a Battalion Aid surgeon--and he even has a missing leg to show for it. That impresses Potter, and he mentions having run the 4077th. Boyer's response is, "Ah, a M*A*S*H---the suburbs."

That doesn't endear him to Potter much, but he's willing to give Boyer a chance at a fresh start. He tells Boyer to get to work, and Boyer leaves Potter's office without another word.

Klinger tells Radar about his work with the patients, and Father Mulcahy's adjusting to working with the patients at General General (we see him trying to calm down the mixed-religion parents of a wounded boy, who are arguing over which holy man will counsel their son).

In the ward, Dr. Boyer overhears Dr. Pfeiffer trying to convince a patient to submit to an important surgical procedure. The man is scared to go under the knife, and Boyer unceremoniously tells the man that if he doesn't get the procedure, he'll die, period. Dr. Pfeiffer is horrified and angry, but it seems to work: the man agrees to the surgery.

Mike D'Angelo finds Dr. Boyer sitting at his private cafeteria table, reserved for hospital administration. Boyer has no time for D'Angelo, and insults him to his face, refusing to get up. D'Angelo is incensed and storms off.

In surgery the next morning, Dr. Boyer proves to be a whiz, impressing both Col. Potter and Dr. Pfeiffer, who are assisting. Later, D'Angelo finds Potter getting a haircut, telling him that Boyer is fired.

Potter blows his stack, saying Boyer is a top-flight, "instinctive" surgeon, and demands Boyer stay at General General. D'Angelo is unsure, but Potter bullies him into giving in.

Later, Potter runs into Boyer, who is getting a new artificial leg. He says his goodbyes, believing he's been fired. But Potter tells him otherwise, to Boyer's shock. At first, Boyer refuses, but Potter tells him this is his last chance to work at a V.A. Boyer relents, and they head to the cafeteria to get a cup of coffee--and sit at Mike D'Angelo's table.

We see Klinger finish letter, and it being read by its recipient--Radar O'Reilly (Gary Burghoff)! We find Radar in the middle of his wedding rehearsal, looking not too confident, especially when he reads that Col. Potter, Klinger, and Father Mulcahy will be coming soon to attend his wedding. To be continued!

Fun Facts: Another episode that makes a direct connection to M*A*S*H--not only does it mention--and feature an appearance by--Radar, but the whole show is in the "Dear..." format that the original series mined so well.

There's a scene in the show where Alma Cox twirls a baton of a sort, and she does it really well, in one unbroken shot. Clearly actress Brandis Kemp really knew how to do this, and they worked it into the show (like Gary Burghoff's drumming!).

While I thought this was a solid episode, it can't help but leave you feeling a bit nervous about the future of the show: only fifteen episodes in, and clearly the network and/or the producers felt the need to make a stronger connection to M*A*S*H by bringing in Radar, as well as add a new character, Dr. Boyer. Not a vote of confidence for the series as it stood.

Favorite Line: Mike D'Angelo keeps trying to get Dr. Boyer to listen to him, but he refuses to look up from his newspaper. After D'Angelo barks at him another time, Boyer exclaims, in a Hawkeye-esque show of defiance: "Son of a gun, Virgina Mayo had a little girl! We've got to get her something, Mike!"

Saturday, March 13, 2010

AfterM*A*S*H Episode 14 - C.Y.A.

Season 1, Episode 14: C.Y.A.
Original Air Date: 1/9/84
Written by: Janis Hirsch

Directed by: Burt Brinckerhoff

Father Mulcahy learns that the V.A. has not yet paid the doctor who performed his ear surgery
, restoring his hearing. He goes to Alma Cox to possibly find out why, and she informs him it was because he had the procedure done at a non-V.A. approved hospital.

Mulcahy is sure that's a mistake, so he decides to look into himself, heading down to the records room to look over the V.A.'s regulations. He is overwhelmed by the wall of filing cabinets, all filled with paper, that he has to go wade through.

Meanwhile, the mother (K Callan) of a patient named Bergstrom has arrived, looking for her son. But no one in the hospital seems to remember the boy, or ever having seen him in the hospital. The responsibility moves from the admitting nurse, to a ward nurse, to Klinger, then to Dr. Pfeiffer.

Dr. Pfeiffer manages to fob the search off on Father Mulcahy, who turns to Col. Potter, and he takes up the Bergstrom search.

Col. Potter digs through paperwork, but cannot find any trace of Bergstrom. He goes to his mother, waiting for him in his office. When told the bad news, she begins to cry and lash out, convinced that the Army--and now Col. Potter--are conspiring against her to keep her from her son.

She hands Col. Potter a form she got from the Army--a death certificate. Col. Potter now understands what's going on, and takes Mrs. Bergstrom in his arms. She tearfully restates that her son can't be gone, he just can't.

Fun Facts: Actor Guy Boyd (playing one of the patients) also appeared in a M*A*S*H Season Eleven episode, "Settling Debts."

Favorite Line: Alma Cox rejects Father Mulcahy's forms to have the V.A. pay for his hearing operation on a technicality. He says that isn't fair, and she argues she doesn't concern herself with "fair" or "unfair."

Mulcahy sarcastically offers that her job is to "Observe the technicalities", to which Alma responds, "You have your religion, and I have mine."

Friday, March 12, 2010

AfterM*A*S*H Episode 13 - Chief of Staff

Season 1, Episode 13: Chief of Staff
Original Air Date: 1/2/84
Written by: Gordon M
Directed by: Burt Brinckerhoff

Klinger gets a secret call from Mildred Potter, and its clear they are planning a surprise for Col. Potter.

Meanwhile, Col. Potter is busy examining Mike D'Angelo, who is having a problem with his prostate, and requires surgery. D'Angelo is embarrassed and afraid, but Potter tries to convince him its a completely safe procedure--not to mention necessary, or it'll just get worse until D'Angelo is in agony.

We learn that Father Mulcahy is in on the big surprise for Col. Potter, as well, and the constant phone calls are starting to get noticed. Klinger has to keep Potter distracted and busy.

Mike D'Angelo, ashamed of the procedure he's about to undergo, has Alma Cox tell all his family and friends he's out of town so no one will know. He's convinced he might die on the table, and gives Alma a letter that supposedly contains his most private thoughts.

Col. Potter notices Father Mulchay carrying a box of...something through the hospital halls, but Mulcahy won't tell Potter what's inside. He hastily departs before he has to answer any further questions.

After a run-in with a nurse who freezes up when a patient has a seizure, Potter heads back to his office. When Klinger tries to keep him out of it, Potter begins to figure out that, since his birthday is the following day, its all part of some surprise party. Klinger protests his innocence, and Potter plays along.

Alma Cox is waiting patiently outside the OR as Mike D'Angelo is going under the knife. She can't bear not knowing what's in the letter, so she opens it, thinking its a romantic declaration. It is, but not the kind she wants: D'Angelo reveals he still loves his ex-wife, and its up to Alma to find her and deliver his ashes to her. Alma is crushed, barely caring when Potter tells her the procedure went perfectly, and D'Angelo will be fine.

Cox, in a fit of pique, gets so mad she announces D'Angelo's operation over the hospital P.A., inviting everyone within earshot to go visit D'Angelo while he recuperates in his room.

Potter goes back to his office to find Klinger, Father Mulcahy, Soon-Lee, and Mildred waiting for him. He's sure waiting for him in his office is a birthday party, and heads inside. But he's shocked at what he sees: they have filled his office with all his stuff from his office back at the 4077th--nameplate, saddle, paintings and all.

Late into the night, Mildred and Soon-Lee are asleep as Col. Potter, Klinger, and Mulcahy tell old stories about their days back in Korea. Potter reminisces, "The 4077th: it was cold, it was was one of the best times of my life."

Fun Facts: There's a line in this episode that is a direct quote from M*A*S*H, when Col. Potter reminds Klinger that every time he lies, his nose gets shorter.

This episode, overall, is the one that makes the most direct connection to the original series, with its use of many of the show's props, a mention of Frank Burns, and a reprise of "Suicide is Painless" (played over the scene of Potter looking over all his old things).

Ironic, then, that this episode was neither written or directed by any of AfterM*A*S*H regulars who also worked on M*A*S*H--Ken Levine & David Isaacs, Dennis Koenig, Larry Gelbart, or Burt Metcalfe.

Favorite Line: Grizzled veteran Bob Scanell gets into an argument with another elderly patient, and it develops into a fight. Scanell asks, "How'd you like to limp outside?"

Thursday, March 11, 2010

AfterM*A*S*H Episode 12 - All About Christmas Eve

Season 1, Episode 12: All About Christmas Eve
Original Air Date: 12/19/83
Written by: Dennis Koenig

Directed by: Burt Metcalfe

It's Christmas Eve at General General,
and everyone is stuck at the hospital.

Klinger is busy buying last minute Christmas presents, and Father Mulcahy is busy arranging a delivery of gifts to the patients via charitable donations.

Everyone seems in a good mood, except for Dr. Pfeiffer. When Father Mulcahy tries to give him a present, he refuses it, saying since he doesn't have money to give presents, he feels he shouldn't accept them either. Father Mulcahy tries to talk him out of it, but Pfeiffer mentions that back in his home town, his family was the recipient of the town's collective charity, and he's still sensitive about it.

Soon-Lee arrives, and we see she's there to visit Col. Potter. In his examining room, we learn why she's there: Col. Potter confirms that Soon-Lee is pregnant!

Mike D'Angelo and Alma Cox have a private Christmas get-together, but they're not on the same page: D'Angelo has invited most of the hospital's staff, but Cox was hoping it was a private romantic evening.

Before the Klingers go to the party, Soon-Lee tells Klinger they're going to have a baby--Klinger is overjoyed at the idea of being a father.

Down in the ward, Father Mulcahy unveils another present for the patients: a brand-new, high-tech television! Mulcahy is sure TV will be a source of culture and education, but all the patients want to watch are soap operas and midget wrestling. Unfortunately, it doesn't last long: a patient (a cop, who is sure his wife is cheating on him) gets so furious when he sees what he thinks is his personal life reflected on the soap, pulls out a gun and shoots the TV to death!

Meanwhile, Alma Cox is depressed at being thrown over by Mike D'Angelo. She drinks too much at the party, and is surly to everyone. As a way to pick herself up, she sneaks into Klinger's office, looking for grounds to fire him. In the middle of the attempt, though, she passes out.

Klinger finds her, drunk and passed out, in his office. He's furious, but is still nice enough to forge her name on some vital hospital documents that need to go out that night--if they don't, Cox would be fired. After that good deed, he calls his folks at Toledo to tell them the good news.

Fun Facts: The angry cop is played by Alan Fudge, who played the confused Arnold Chandler in the classic M*A*S*H Season Four episode, "Quo Vadis, Captain Chandler."

Ironically, for a spin-off, AfterM*A*S*H to this point didn't feature a lot of scenes with Potter, Klinger, and Mulcahy together. This episode ends with them sharing a Christmas toast, a nice moment.

Favorite Line: Father Mulcahy takes a phone call from a woman at the hospital's switchboard, apologizing for being late: "Sorry, I was removing mistletoe from the confessional--some young couple must have had fun last night."

The young woman slinks away: "I'll never do it again, Father."

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

AfterM*A*S*H Episode 11 - Bladder Day Saints

Season 1, Episode 11: Bladder Day Saints
Original Air Date: 12/12/83
Written by: Everett Greenbaum
& Elliott Reed
Directed by: Nick Havinga

A group of veterans arrives for their yearly physical, including a bladder check, which none of them look forward to. Col. Potter asks why all these bladder checks are done all at once, and Mike D'Angelo's answer is predictable: this is how the government wants it done.

That same day, Soon-Lee starts volunteering at the hospital, something Klinger isn't wild about. He's sure Soon-Lee's youth and looks will drive these bored, lonely men nuts, but Soon-Lee is insistent.

Klinger runs into an old friend from Korea, an ex-solider named Pete (Kevin Brophy). Pete is thrilled to see Klinger, and they make plans to go to a football game together. Klinger is sad when he sees Pete is at General General to get a new prosthetic leg, revealing an injury Klinger never knew about. But Pete seems to take it all in stride, laughing about the whole thing.

A particularly ornery patient, named
Kraus (Jerry Hardin), is not happy with Dr. Pfeiffer's care (specifically, Pfeiffer's youth and unwillingness to cater to his every whim), and calls a friend in their congressman's office to complain. That trickles down to Mike D'Angelo, who is furious at Pfeiffer, and tells Potter to straighten him out.

Potter agrees with Pfeiffer's point of view, but has to instruct his young charge about how things operate at a VA hospital. Since this
Kraus guy has friends in high places, they have to listen to his complaints.

Later, Pfeiffer learns another one of his patients, a sweet, good-natured guy named Gorcey (Mickey Jones), died during a routine operation. He's floored by the news, and then right at that moment,
Kraus begins banging his water pitcher with his spoon, demanding his dinner in bed.

Pfeiffer is enraged, and grabs
Kraus's bed, dragging it out into the hallway, into the cafeteria. He starts throwing globs of food into Kraus's lap, demanding he eat it, much to the amusement of the other veterans in the cafeteria.

Potter and D'Angelo show up, ready to ball Pfeiffer out, but Kraus is so nasty that they start to see Pfeiffer's point of view.
Kraus says he plans to sue D'Angelo and the hospital, but when everyone in the cafeteria pretend they didn't see a thing, Kraus knows he's been beat. Furious, he attacks D'Angelo!

Fun Facts: Alma Cox does not appear in this episode.

Actor Kevin Brophy appeared on M*A*S*H, in Season Eight's "Life Time." Actor Mickey Jones also appeared on the show, in Season Ten's "Snap Judgment."

Favorite Line: Dr. Pfeiffer is arguing with Kraus, who refuses to go to the cafeteria to get his own lunch, even though he's physically able. He barks, "How am I supposed to get there, on my hands and knees?!"

Pfeiffer responds, "No, that's usually how we come from there."

Sure, if you swap the words "Mess Tent" and "cafeteria", its a joke that could've (and probably did) come right from M*A*S*H, but it still made me laugh.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

AfterM*A*S*H Episode 10 - Fallout

Season 1, Episode 10: Fallout
Original Air Date: 12/5/83
Written by: Larry Gelbart

Directed by: Larry Gelbart

Col. Potter has insomnia. Mildred finds him in the kitchen, and he tells what's bothering him: the endless bureaucracy of General General and how it affects the care he's able to give. He talks about quitting and retiring, something Mildred is perfectly happy to do.

At the hospital, Dr. Pfeiffer tells Col. Potter about an offer he's received to become part of another doctor's private practice. It would prevent Dr. Pfeiffer from becoming Board Certified, but the money and easier hours is vastly tempting. Pfeiffer ends up deciding that, even though the offer is great, the medical experience he's gaining is too good to give up--not to mention the chance to learn under Col. Potter, whom Pfeiffer deeply respects.

During Movie Night, Dr. Pfeiffer overhears one of his patients, named Joe Warner, (William Sadler) mention that he's been present for six different nuclear bomb tests--a patient who has been diagnosed with leukemia.

Pfeiffer does some research, and learns that his patient was part of a troop that was sent to clean up Nagasaki after the bomb was dropped. Father Mulcahy tries to comfort the man, and we see he's having visions--visions of his old Army chaplain, promising that what he's being told to do is "perfectly safe."

Col. Potter and Dr Pfeiffer write up a report about Joe Warner, and how he developed leukemia, and submit it to Mike D'Angelo, who tells Potter in no uncertain terms the report is unacceptable. D'Angelo, reflecting on the financial implications of this, flat out refuses to send the report up the chain of command.

Unable to change D'Angelo's mind, Col. Potter has to break the news to Pfeiffer, who is furious about his report being buried. He threatens to quit--what's the point?--but Potter takes him to task, saying that if Pfeiffer really wants to make a difference, he needs to be in the trenches, helping people like Joe Warner, not playing golf in during his days off from private practice.

Pfeiffer agrees, promising to keep trying.

Fun Facts: There's a female voice coming over the hospital's PA at various times, and to my hear it sounds like Kellye Nakahara. The voice is not credited, and there's no mention of it on IMDB, so I can't be sure.

Mike D'Angelo has a scary line when Potter quotes a scientific study saying that the effects of leukemia could be so long lasting they might even affect Warner's unborn baby.

D'Angelo asks who wrote the report, Potter says, "A bunch of scientists." D'Angelo replies, "So they say the government is lying?" Potter responds with, "No, they just have a different opinion." D'Angelo counters with, "Scientists have opinions. The government has facts."

Soon-Lee does not appear in this episode.

This episode is probably the finest of the series so far, dealing with a tough, real world issue, and not providing any pat answers. The character of Mike D'Angelo, mostly a buffoon up until now, takes on a darker cast when we get to see how unwilling he is to criticize the government in any way, mostly for the sake of a buck. He would've gotten along great with Frank Burns.

Favorite Line: Klinger tells Dr. Pfeiffer what it was like being in the Army. Pfeiffer says, "You must have loved it."

Klinger answers, "Loved it? I wanted to get out the minute I got in. In Basic Training, I wet my bunk every night for a week. Didn't work for me, but the guy below me got out for Pneumonia."

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