Season 1 Episode 1

M*A*S*H - The Pilot

Aired Unknown Sep 17, 1972 on CBS

Episode Fan Reviews (7)

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  • The first episode of this long running, beloved series sees Hawkeye raffle off the gorgeous nurse Dish to raise college tuition money for his house-boy Ho-Jon.

    The year is 1972 and CBS gambles that the popularity of the MASH movie will transfer to TV. For most of us in the audience, that means we get more of the hideously anachronistic haircuts and left wing, anti-war, liberal posturing that made the movie so popular. But nevermind. The series would go on to become such a landmark in television history that these minor concerns just wouldn't seem all that important in years to come.
    Wisely, CBS produces a pilot that is very close in both attitude and spirit to the movie, for all those that might have missed it. As such, were treated to the irreverence and the subversiveness that made the movie so popular without any of the heavy handed drama that would eventually make the series so popular.
    In my opinion, this is just fine. For me, a comedy means jokes, hopefully followed by me laughing at them. And this pilot does just that. We get more of the wackiness of the movie, which, at times, seems a little like "Meatballs" set in the Korean War. I've always been partial to the first three seasons of MASH for this reason. I truly enjoyed some of the drama that crept into the show in later years, and I certainly think this had a lot to do with the show's longevity. But, at the ene of the day, I watch MASH for laughs, and I feel the pilot delivers nicely here, while at the same time introducing/reintrodicing the audience to the MASH phenomenon started by the movie.
  • As pilots go, pretty good.

    So it's 1972. You've decided to release a comedy set in a hospital during the Korean War, which is right up there with Porridge and Hogan's Heroes for 'Comedies set in really bizarre places'. You're hoping that it lasts a long time and is very popular (let me spoil the end: it does). So what do you do for the pilot? Confuse people.
    Seriously. The plot's all about raising enough cash to send Ho-Jon to America for an education, but he's still there next episode. Dish is introduced as a main character and then promptly goes into cameos. It begins with the words 'Korea 1950, a hundred years ago', bizarrely. The whole thing just seems weird.
    The pilot gives off the distinct feeling of throwing many characters and ideas into the fray and accepting whichever seem most popular. There's a brief scene in America (the only one in the series), there's a reference to a character from the novel (who never appears) and Spearchucker just seems out of place.
    The plot is pretty simple; to send a Korean they know to university, Hawkeye and Trapper intend to hold a raffle to raise money, while Frank Burns and Hot-Lips raise every argument known to man trying to stop them. It also jars a little that Hawkeye and Trapper (and everybody bar Frank) have absolutely no issue with essentially pimping out a nurse; this is the nearest that the TV series gets to the original book.
    Characters are pretty much the same as they always are first season; Hawkeye gets the brilliant lines, Trapper gets the moderate lines and Frank Burns – well, if you've ever seen Red Dwarf, you're gonna get serious Rimmer vibes from Frank. By and large, the episode is pretty good. I snark a lot, but that's just hyperbole; this is a good episode, with only a few bad things going for it; the disappearance of many characters, if not by season's end then by the end of the episode and the ending (so did Hawkeye change the name at the last minute to avoid incriminating himself? Did he just want to give Mulcahy a treat? Does he hate the man?). But, yeah. It's a great pilot, and a great sign of things to come.
  • This is the first episode of the series of MASH which was a movie that was based on the novel also titled MASH. This episode introduces the first set of major characters and also gave you the main point and goal for the series.

    I personally really like this episode because it really shows the comedy talents of Alan Alda and all the main characters. This episode is a classic episode and a must for all real MASH fans. I really liked the part where they do the drawing and Father Mulcahy wins the drawing just when General Hamilton walks in. That is sucha a funny scene. I also love the part where Trapper, Hawkeye, and Radar put Frank Burns to sleep. Actually, this whole episode was so hilarious that it made me want to continue to watch the whole series and later buy the whole series on DVD.
  • Hawkeye gets a letter from his old college saying that the Korean boy Ho-Jon has been excepted. Trapper and Hawkeye come up with the idea to have a party to raise the money, but after beating up Frank...Colonel Blake calls it off...or so he thinks

    This is a great start to a great series. Everytime I watch it though I notice the characters don't look the same in the next episode. For example...Hawkeye has longer hair in the first episode...Trapper's hair is more straight in the back rather than being curley and "Hot Lips" also looks different. I'm not sure how long it was from the pilot episode to the next one they shot...but it looks like a while. Maybe the only reason I notice it is because I have seen the episode a 100 times. Has anyone else noiced or just me? Great Episode!
  • A great way to start of the series! If it had been one of the more dramatic or sad episodes the series probably wouldn't have been such a hit!

    One of the funnier episodes! Interestingly there is no blood in surgery unlike later episodes. Afraid it might make people squeamish I guess... To pay for their Korean friend to go to college in America, Hawkeye and Trapper, surgeons at the M*A*S*H (Mobile Army Surgical Hospital) 4077th. Hold a raffle for 2 weekend passes to Tokyo with a nurse. Henry says no but leaves for a meeting and Frank Burns is the only person left to stop them. So in typical M*A*S*H fashion Hawkeye and Trapper drug him and wrap him in bandages. Then while they are having their party Major "Hotlips" Houlihan goes to give a patient his shot. Upon pulling down his pants and seeing his behind she says "FRANK!!!" This part is outrageously funny and sure to get laughs from almost anybody who sees it. So of course it all comes together. The Priest of the outfit wins the raffle just as Henry and a General come back. And Margaret leads Frank wrapped in bandages. Of course Hawkeye and Trapper are going to be court-marshalled. However Radar the company clerk hears the choppers coming. More choppers means more wounded. And many people would die if two of the best surgeons couldn't operate. So it all turns out well. In my opinion it's one of the better pilots I've seen for shows. Just as interesting as some in the 5th or 9th season. The show is good from the start!
  • 100 years ago... the antics of the beloved 4077th MASH unit begins with a bang, a hole in one in the minefield. In order to raise money for their friend attend Hawkeye's old college, Hawk and Trapper decide to raffle a nurse and three nights at Tokyo.

    Despite several continuity errors that appear years later, The Pilot episode for MASH is one of the greatest series premieres. The chemistry between the characters is almost completely developed and the attitude of the series is set and will vary little throughout the rest of MASH's run. The only flaws in this episode are the minor characters that have substantial screen time, but will later be cut completely from the show (Spearchucker, Crazy John, and General Hammond). It also lacks any dramatic overtone or storyline that becomes prominent in the series, in fact it is one of the few episodes that is entirely comedic in its delivery. This episode stands as a great portent of future perfection for this series. Although it is still odd and awkward to see Hawkeye without any grey in his hair...
  • An excellent beginning to the series!

    In the first episode of this legendary comedy series, we are introduced to the characters Hawkeye, Trapper, Frank, Hot Lips, Radar and Henry Blake that are the focus of the first three seasons of the series. The rapport and comedic moments that the characters share are clearly visible to the viewer with the occasional moments of drama spliced deftly between them. An example of this can be seen near the end of the episode where a party set up to raise money to send a Korean to the U.S. is interrupted by an enraged general. Before the general can drag Trapper and Hawkeye off to jail ( with a drugged and bandaged Frank looking on), wounded soldiers arrive and the entire outfit springs into action to save the men's lives.

    This is a great episode to watch from start to finish and is easily watchable again and again by any fan of the show.
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