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Fridge Brilliance

  • In MASH, Hawkeye always referred to Colonel Potter by his rank or name ("Colonel, I need some help here"), while he tended to call Lt. Col. Henry Blake by his given name. At first, I thought it was primarily because Hawkeye and Blake were more friends than officers. Then it hit - Hawkeye also had far more respect for Potter than he had for Blake (probably because Potter didn't put up with much from Hawkeye). The only time Hawkeye called Potter by his given name was when he was going to ask Potter to stay in Korea... and it came out like he was asking a loved one not to leave. I have no doubt that Hawkeye loved Henry Blake, but he respected Potter - and using Potter's rank was his way of showing it.
    • And this dynamic is inverted, naturally, with Frank Burns. Hawkeye et al. clearly didn't routinely address him by his first name from a sense of chummy cameraderie.
  • All the characters who disappear without explaination were in a frontline unit in a war zone, with a mine field nearby. In fact, one nurse near the end of the series dies after stepping on a mine while on a walk. These characters could have died, and it was too depressing for the main characters to mention close friends and collegues dying. The nurse late in the series had only been there about a month, and no one had gotten to know her, and Henry dying was so much of a shock that they couldn't help but think of it.
  • Edward Winter, known for portraying Colonel Samuel Flagg, first appeared as a Captain Halloran, an officer with the CID in the episode Deal Me Out, where he played poker with Sidney Freedman. When Colonel Flagg later met Sidney Freedman in the episode "Quo Vadis, Captain Chandler" he remarked that they once played poker together.
    • Particularly good, as when he first appears as Colonel Flagg, a G2 officer shows up investigating him and tells Hawkeye and Trapper John that Flagg had previously infiltrated the CID.

Fridge Horror

  • In "The Novocaine Mutiny", Frank says that he's aware that the hearing he brought against Hawkeye will result in Hawk's death "or worse", which is followed by a joke about wanting virginity. So Frank, who has entries in Unintentionally Sympathetic, was willing to see Hawkeye raped? Huh.
    • It was BJ and Hawkeye that were making the rape joke.
  • Whenever Hawkeye replaces Frank's gun with a toy or a gun shaped lighter, he immediately pulls the trigger when unholstering it, thinking it is a real gun. We all know Frank failed gun safety and Rule of Funny notwithstanding, he's pointing it at someone every time. In Five O'Clock Charlie, when he 'arrests' Henry and Pierce for sabotaging his AA gun, he points the toy popgun at Pierce and pulls the trigger, if only done for the 'bang' flag to pop out. When he builds a small sandbag bunker in the Swamp and is woken up in the middle of the night, he points the lighter in Hawkeye and BJ's direction. Again, this was done so the lighter would light, but still. In either time, had he had a real gun and done that, he would have shot Pierce in the face
    • In fairness, a real loaded pistol is heavier than a lighter/toy gun. It's possible that Burns pulled the trigger after realizing he'd been pranked. Then again, this is Frank we're talking about....
  • In the pilot, while trying to think of ways to raise money for Ho Jon's tuition at Hawkeye's alma mater, Hawkeye suggests selling Spearchucker Jones. Spearchucker was the only black doctor. He then disappears five episodes later with no explanation. So, did Hawkeye really sell Spearchucker into slavery?
    • In reality, it was a double-dose of Did Not Do the Research. They cast the role of Spearchucker based on the character from the movie, then were informed that there were no black surgeons in Korea. After cutting the role from the series, they were informed that there actually were a few black surgeons in Korea.

Fridge Logic

  • If one of the camp's four doctors was hopelessly incompetent, how did they have a 97% survival rate?
    • I believe Hawkeye would say that Frank is responsible for the other 3%.
      • But given the volume of patients they regularly had, and only had four doctors, they could not have such a high success rate if one of those doctors, who shared in about 25% of the load, was totally incompetent, and killed more patients than he saved.
      • Not all the doctors perform surgery all the time. One has to man triage, for example.
      • But not every time. Throughout Frank's stay, all four doctors are shown in the OR at once the majority of the time, with Frank rarely doing triage.
      • Not all wartime injuries are life-threatening. They probably had a lot of lesser injuries and illnesses to treat, that would account for most of that 97%; we just don't see these less-serious cases very often because they're less dramatic than the life-or-death ones.
      • Henry, in an early episode, tells Frank that Pierce is a better surgeon "when the heat is on." Most likely, Frank is a qualified surgeon in his own right (before he got Flanderized, at least) but he can't keep his cool when he has to hurry, like when they are overwhelmed with patients. As long as he can take his time and go by the book, Frank will have a successful operation, but drops the ball when having to do 'meatball surgery'.
  • One story has Potter and Klinger bartering with a Canadian unit for curare, an anesthetic banned by US officials. The unit they dealt with was the Princess Patricia's Light Infantry, an Alberta regiment. So what was an infantry regiment doing with surgical anesthetic? There were two Canadian medical units in Korea at the time, the No. 25 Canadian Field Ambulance and No. 37 Field Ambulance, yet the writers chose the most prolific Canadian infantry regiment.
    • They probably just wanted to use a unit name that Americans might recognize, but it also suggests a possible bit of fridge horror: since in the real world, curare was a weapon long before it was a medicine, and an infantry regiment would have no medical reason to keep a supply of a powerful paralytic, were the Canadian Forces involved in secret chemical warfare?
      • The episode (as do many others others) illustrates that anything of value could be put on the trading block between units. It's entirely plausible that the Canadian unit had taken in the curare in a previous trade, knowing it had high value to a medical unit.
      • The irony being that Charles almost kills a patient with curare early on, but is the first to tout its effectiveness in trained hands like theirs.
      • Which brings on even more Frige Logic, since Charles would have likely studied everything he could about curare so he could avoid that mistake again in the future, meaning he'd be likely to know more about it than the others.
        • While Charles did mishandle the curare, the error was mistaking it for morphine when he was trying to relieve severe pain in a post-surgical patient rather than in how he used it for its intended purpose. (While he erred in not properly verifying the label of the drug he was about to administer, someone also made an equally serious error in putting a vial of a drug only useful in surgery in the ready drugs tray of the post-op ward. Such a drug should only be out for use in pre-op or the OR itself.)
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