M*A*S*H

Season 5 Episode 14

The Most Unforgettable Characters

4
Aired Unknown Jan 04, 1977 on CBS

Episode Recap

Part One: Radar types out a staff duty log, describing an OR sesssion. However, he uses a lot of flowery language. When Potter sees it, Radar tells him he's practicing because he was accepted into the Las Vegas Famous Writers School. He tells the Colonel that he found their ad on the back of a Superman comic. He says that the school said he had 'extraordinary potential.' It cost him fifty dollars, plus a five dollar student activity fee. Potter says it sounds like a scam, but Radar tells him it is run by writers like Hemingway, Steinbeck and O'Neill: Ethel Hemingway, Jerry Steinbeck and Eunice O'Neill. Potter tells him that a duty log is no place for self-expression. In the Swamp, Hawkeye and BJ are playing tennis with a blown-up surgical glove. Hawk calls a foot-fault on BJ; when he protests, Hawk asks Frank for a ruling, but he's engrossed in a magazine article about Sweden's rising suicide rate. Hawk then hits an ace on BJ and celebrates; when Radar comes in, he pretends that Radar is a reporter. Radar tells them about his writing class and asks them for help with his first assignment: he has to write an amusing anecdote and he doesn't have one. Hawkeye relates a story from medical school. He says he had an exam on anatomy and was stuck on how many bones were in the human hand. He sees a squirrel on a window sill who pointed at its hand and said 'twenty-four.' He wrote it down and found out after the exam he was off by four bones. He went all over the campus and found the squirrel, angrily saying he was wrong; the squirrel then said he thought he meant a squirrel's hand. When Radar says he can't use it, Hawkeye says, 'Do you want me to make one up?' BJ asks Frank if he has one. When he refuses, they all insist he 'be a pal,' so Frank tells about a sickly kid named Timmy in a wheelchair who would always sit on his porch and wave as Frank walked by. One day, Timmy lost control of his chair, and it skidded off the porch, across the lawn and hit Frank's father's car. Frank laughs hysterically and Hawkeye says he hoped Timmy wasn't hurt. Frank says that it didn't matter because Timmy's parents had money. When BJ says that wasn't amusing, Frank yells that they have no sense of humor and that he can't do anything to please them. He leaves and Radar decides to go to his next assignment; when he finds it's to describe a beautiful scene outside his window, he decides to go to the third one. In the mess tent, Frank is upset that the tapioca pudding is gone. He says that it is his birthday and he always has tapioca pudding. He goes to a table where Hawkeye, BJ and Igor are sitting. He takes Igor's pudding; when Igor says he shouldn't, Frank ignores him. He takes a bite and thinks there are raisins in it, but Igor tells him they are flies. Hawk and Beej laugh and Frank tells them it's his birthday. Radar tries to use some new vocabulary on Klinger, but he misuderstands. Then Father Mulcahy tells him about his sister, a Benedictine nun in San Diego. She also plays basketball; the Padre tells Radar she can slam dunk while wearing a heavy crucifix. In post-op, Frank tells a patient that his birthdays are no longer special, but he's asleep. Frank sees a Purple Heart pinned to the patient's blanket. He tries to take it off, but when Hawkeye and BJ come in, he gets flustered and leaves. Hawk and Beej then decide to stage a fight in front of Frank as a birthday present. Back in the Swamp, Frank tries to play with a yo-yo, but it falls off the string. Hawkeye and BJ then come in yelling at each other. BJ is upset that Hawkeye assigned him to a long shift alone. They grab a pillow and start throwing it at each other. Hawkeye asks Frank to decide and he says he likes how they are handling it better. Hawk then says he will go talk to Potter about it and throws the pilllow at BJ. He yells that Hawk is a 'two-faced rat' and tells Frank how he is so competitive and childish and always has to get the last word in. Hawk comes in and says that Potter is taking a nap. BJ says he'd rather work the shift alone than be in the same room with him, then he throws the pillow at him and leaves. Frank tells Hawkeye all the names BJ calls him and throws in 'Ferret Face,' saying that 'he was so mad he thought you were me!' When Frank tells him what else BJ said, Hawkeye gets genuinely upset.
Part Two: Radar is typing out another duty log about Klinger leaving guard duty to go capture surrenduring Chinese soldiers after hearing that capturing them gets you points toward early discharge; however, he was wearing a dress at the time and the Chinese hadn't seen a woman in a long time, and Klinger escaped with a torn dress. Radar uses more flowery language and when Potter sees it, he yells that duty logs have to be military. Radar asks him his opinion on his writing; Potter tells him he doesn't think much of it beacuse it sounds like he swallowed a dictionary and tells Radar to be himself. In the compound, BJ tells Hawkeye that Frank is happy; Hawk says that he can't believe what BJ said and that he doesn't know him very well. He tells BJ to say something and walk away; BJ does it three times and Hawk says something each time. Radar asks Margaret for help writing about a romantic interlude; she tells him about a time when she and her fiance' Donald were sipping wine in a Tokyo restaurant and a big man brushed her leg. She screamed and he got up ready to fight the man, but he got bit by the man's seeing eye dog. Klinger interrupts a basketball game in the compound by sitting down and pouring the contents of a gasoline can on himself; then he pulls out a box of matches and threatens to immolate himself if he doesnt get a Section Eight. Potter convinces him to come to his office to talk about it; when Klinger passes by, he pats him on the back, sniffs his hand and whispers something to Radar. In the office, Potter tells Klinger that he doesn't have the authority to give him a Section Eight. He offers some R and R in Seoul; Klinger says 'freedom or fire.' When Potter refuses, Klinger says. 'Remember me at your next weenie roast!' and leaves. Potter asks him what he should tell his wife and he tells Potter to put him him a blue urn, it's his best color. He then says, 'I... shall not return,' sits down and asks, 'Shall I pour?' However, he doesn't know that while he was in the office, his gas can was switched, so when he pours it out on him, he sputters and yells, 'Who put gasoline in my gasoline?!' He spots a cigar in the crowd and runs into the showers, scaring out a nurse. That night, Radar comes in the Swamp because he doesn't know how to be himself. Hawkeye says he should write about things he feels strongly about, like his animals, Iowa or his uncle Ed. He says that he'd write about how friends can betray you and how people forget about loyalty. BJ says he'd write about being suspicious and resentful. Then they start arguing again. Radar then says he found something he feels strongly about; Hawkeye and BJ's friendship. He says that he comes in the Swamp for a laugh and to feel good because they are true friends. Frank accuses him of being mushy but Radar says no; that most guys in the army say they are friends but Hawk and Beej are, except for now. They realize what's happening, apologize and tell Frank that the whole thing was stage for Frank's birthday. Frank then yells at Radar for spoiling the whole thing. Hawk gives him a drink and tells him he's one of a kind. Radar says they are too. BJ says Hawk is perfect; he says he'll give BJ the last word. BJ says 'Thank you' and Hawk says, 'You're welcome.' In his office, Radar types a letter to his mom. He says he's giving up on the writing because 'I found out I can write better as myself than Hemingway, O'Neill or any of those other bums. And it doesn't cost me anything.' He signs it, 'Simplistically yours, Walter.'

Epilogue: Radar practices his new magic act in the Swamp. When he asks for someone's watch, Hawkeye says to use Frank's. He puts the watch in a cloth and pulls out a hammer. Frank then says he will destroy the watch, grabs the cloth and claims Radar put the watch in his pocket when they weren't looking. He then smashes the cloth with the hammer and gives it back to Radar. However, Radar says that he made a little mistake and Frank opens the cloth to see his watch destroyed. He yells that it cost fourteen dollars and was given to him by a whiplash patient. Hawkeye tells Radar to do his next trick: vanish into thin air. Radar grabs his stuff and runs out of the Swamp with Frank hot on his heels.
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