Saturday, 7 February 2015

Top Ten M*A*S*H episodes

This will be by far the hardest blog post I have ever written in my entire life.  M*A*S*H is the single greatest TV show ever to air ("Good-bye, Farewell and Amen" holds the distinction of being the most-watched episode of anything ever) and now I'm going to try and pick ten of my favourites.  Wish me luck!

10. "The General Flipped At Dawn" Season Three

"That General is nuts! I've seen that look in every Hitchcock movie!"

Harry Morgans (RIP) debut at the M*A*S*H 4077 as General Max Steele is easily one of the funnier episodes of the series.  My favourite scene is when he, Major Burns and Col. Blake are inspecting a new campsite - Frank and Henry warn the General that a salute will probably set the snipers off, but he inisists on one anyway.  Cue snipers and Frank and Henry suddenly thinking lunch is the best meal of the day.

9. "Kim" Season Two

"How can you make a mistake giving a kid his life?"

To be honest, if I'm going to choose between Trapper and BJ, then BJ will win hands down every time.  Trapper was just a little too much like Hawkeye for me, only with the added "I'm cheating on my wife" tagline. However, Kim makes me like Trapper just a little bit more, because it shows him as a great father, even if he is a bit of a lousy husband.
8. "None Like It Hot" Season Seven

"All right, let's hold our water everybody. This can still work. We hide this when we have to, we respect each others privacy, change the water every now and then and above all we be greedy and keep this thing to ourselves!"

There's no such thing as a secret when you work closely with other people.  You knew the minute that BJ and Hawkeye decided to keep their beautiful tub a secret that the news would be all over camp within a week.  This episode is NOT one you watch on a hot day, especially with one Maxwell Klinger trying to get his Section Eight by wearing his winter clothing in the middle of summer.  Also not an episode to watch if you have a sore throat.  Poor Radar.

7. "The Nurses" Season Five

"Did you ever show me any kind of friendship? Ask my help with a personal problem? Include me in one of your little bull sessions? Can you imagine what if feels like walk by this tent and hear you laughing...and know I'm not welcome?"

I've always loved Major Margaret Houlihan (Loretta Swit has to be one of the most beautiful women I've ever seen), not so much in the first few seasons while she was fooling around with Frank, but in the later seasons where she really came into her own as a character.  This episode shows how isolated her life is, being the highest-ranking female, the one who is torn between being a woman and her career.  It makes you wonder if she would have been with Frank at all if the girls had let her in.  I really do feel for the Major in this episode.

6. "Morale Victory" Season Eight

"Don't you see? Your hand my be still, but your gift cannot be silenced if you refuse to let it be."

Major Charles Emerson Winchester III.  Easily the most complex charecter in the whole series in my opinion, the snotty upperclass brat who is capable of the most amazing feats of compassion seen in the show.  This episode shows so beautifully how compassionate and passionate the man is, about not only healing the body but the spirit too.  This man is able to recognise beauty and acknowledge and encourage it, even if it far surpasses himself.  I wonder sometimes if the character ever had a family after the war, I daresay any child would flourish with a father such as Charles (where do you think the male lead of Chuckles and Giggles gets his name from?).

5. "Sons and Bowlers" Season Ten

"But...where I have a have a Dad."

I love this little combination of my three favourite characters - the emotional connection between Charles and Hawkeye (seeing more of Charles compassion and learning more about Hawkeyes past and how he lost his mother) and Margaret kicking bottom against the camp rivals, using not only her feminine charm but simply by being better than the boys.  She is such a kick-arse character!

4. "Out of Sight, Out of Mind" Season Five

"One part of the world has closed down for me, but another part has opened up. Sure I keep picturing myself sitting on a corner with a tin cup selling thermometors, but...I'm going through something here I didn't expect. This morning I spent two incredible hours listening to that rainstorm. And I didn't just hear it, I was part of it. I'll bet you have no idea that rain hitting the ground makes the same sound as steaks when they're barbecuing."

One of my number one worst fears (amongst my many, many fears) is going blind.  I'm too paranoid to go blind, I could never trust my other senses not to be fooled.  I'd constantly be questioning who people were or where I was, terrified that I was being mislead by people out to get me.  This episode sort of soothes me a bit, Hawkeye seems to wear his lack of eyesight very well.  It opens up a new world for him, that he would probably have never experienced if he hadn't lost his eyesight.  The fooling of Frank Burns is always good for a laugh too (fink) and the ending always makes me laugh.  There's sleezebags, and then there's Benjamin Franklin "Hawkeye" Pierce.

(By the way has anyone else compared barbecuing steaks to rain?  They do sound very similar!)

3. "Life Time" Season Eight

"If we cut off the blood to the spinal cord for more than 20 minutes he stands a good chance of winding up paralysed. What time is it?"

"1432 sir."

"Right, let's go!"

This whole episode is a race against time to get a new aorta for a wounded soldier.  Unfortunately the aorta they want is attached to a guy who's slowly dying and whose buddy isn't so thrilled about watching his mate get cut up for spare parts.  You know, just writing that made me look at my arm, at the little holes that will always be there from previous blood donations.  I keep telling myself that I need to go and fill out a form to become an organ donor, but I never get around to it.  It really needs to be an opt-out system, I hate to think of someone lying there near death and the organs that can save them just get buried in some grave.  What a waste.  I hope my family will honour my wishes to be used for spare parts, there's a lot of me that could be made use of.

2. "Bless You, Hawkeye" Season Nine

"Arsenic would solve your problems Pierce, I know it would solve mine."

I gotta use that line one day.

Another character I have a lot of love for is Dr. Sidney Freeman, the psychologist who comes over to play poker and help the staff of the 4077 (usually Hawkeye).  This time Hawkeye has a psychomatic reaction to stale water from a ditch, leading to some repressed memories.  I'm sure I probably have some repressed memories, for example I can't for the life of me remember what happened in September of 2004, although I have a seething hatred of port adelaide for some reason.  Brains are weird.

1. "Adam's Rib" Season Three

"I've eaten a river of liver and an ocean of fish!"

Pick any moment out of this episode and it's memorable.  Hawkeye starting a riot in the Mess Tent.  Forgetting the colesaw.  Just settling down for ribs and choppers come in.  The succotash in the stoal.  I love this episode.  Just watch it, the episode speaks for itself.

Anyone else feel like BBQ ribs now?

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