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  • Nightmare Fuel: The episode "Dreams" had a very Twilight Zone-y feel to it. As it includes dream scenes like Margaret in a bloody wedding dress and Hawkeye losing his arms and screaming to the sound of helicopters.
    • The ghosts in "Follies of the Living - Concerns of the Dead".
  • Adaptation Displacement: Most are aware that it's based on the 1970 film, but how many fans know of Richard Hooker's MASH: A Novel About Three Army Doctors (1968) that inspired the film?
  • Alternative Character Interpretation: It might just be fandom overthinking things but the Live Journal consensus on Hawkeye is that he's bisexual and manic-depressive.
    • To be fair, the Live Journal consensus on everyone is that they're bisexual and manic-depressive.
    • There is also some debate about whether or not Hawkeye is supposed to be an Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist or Heroic Sociopath who happened to share the writer's political beliefs or an Marty Stu who swerved into Jerkass territory. Or any position inbetween.
      • There is also debate about how sympathetic or unsympathetic we are supposed to feel towards Frank. Is he just a stupid Jerkass? Or a stupid Jerkass whom, nevertheless, did not deserve to be bullied and tortured the way he was? A doctor who was cracking under pressure? Or, a demented, deeply disturbed sociopathic Man Child who was actually dangerous (recall the time he tried to get Hawkeye hanged.)?
  • Anvilicious: Once Alan Alda got creative control.
  • Awesome Music: A special, more military version of the "Suicide Is Painless" theme was used for parts of "Bug Out", parts One and Two (Which, incidentally, was the series' first Cliff Hanger episodes), including one point where the climax is hit during a shot of Potter and Houlihan on top of Sophie, Potter's horse. The music was never used for any other episode.
  • Badass Decay: Few fans remember that crazy CIA agent Col. Flagg was a seriously dangerous character in his first appearance, even pulling a pistol on Hawkeye.
    • He was also far more laid back and even participated in the camp poker game.
  • Black Hole Sue: Also once Alan Alda got creative control. Hawkeye became the center of the universe, the linchpin of reason and sense. While still fallible and capable of making mistakes, his opinions were nevertheless the moral compass others were meant to set their course by, and everyone from Father Mulcahey to Colonel Potter came to him for advice regularly. Probably the most blatant this got was the aptly-named "Hawkeye", which is pretty much literally nothing but a thirty minute long stream of consciousness monologue by Alda.
    • Although it should be noted that "Hawkeye" was written and filmed before Alda took creative control of the show.
  • Ensemble Darkhorse: Klinger
  • Fair for Its Day: The episode "George" comes off today as extremely dated, handling the subject of homosexuality in the military poorly and misleadingly. However, in the 1970's, having an episode that portrayed a gay soldier as a sympathetic character and a courageous Marine was really quite amazing.
    • Although technically, it should be dated, as it takes place in the '50s with '50s sensitivities.
  • Foe Yay: Played straight with Hawkeye and Margaret (and, in some early episodes, with Trapper and Margaret).
  • Funny Aneurysm Moment: In a very early episode, Margaret (who has an absolutely gorgeous curvy body, by the way) is feeling self-conscious about her weight and laughs about "throwing up" later to lose it. Bulimia was not a well-known disease in the early '70s, let alone the early '50s.
    • Also, the episode that guest stars Patrick Swayze as a patient diagnosed with terminal cancer.
      • In-universe example: in one of the early seasons, Hawkeye pretends to be having a psychological breakdown in order to get leave in Tokyo. Cue the series finale.
      • In "O.R.", Hawkeye tells Henry that he'll die an old man in his bed in Bloomington, Illinois. Ouch, show.
      • In a first-season episode "Dear Dad, Again", Hawkeye says that he's surprised Father Mulcahey doesn't "go deaf from the sound of all the commandments breaking around him". In the series finale, Father Mulcahey's hearing is severely damaged (perhaps permanently) by a nearby mortar round.
      • In season 1's "Henry Please Come Home", Blake tells Hawkeye, "One of these days Frank's gonna throw the book at you, and I won't be around to help." Sure enough, in "The Novocaine Mutiny", Frank has Hawkeye court-martialed for alleged mutiny.
  • Growing the Beard: Though opinions may vary, the series became a good deal more thoughtful, sincere, and mature with the departure of Trapper and Colonel Blake and the arrival of BJ and Colonel Potter. Of course, some would say the beard became overgrown and the series verged on Wangst the more control Alan Alda gained over it.
    • "Growing The Moustache," perhaps? The rule with some fans is to skip any episode where BJ has a moustache - those last seasons are the ones with the highest quotient of Wangst, Anviliciousness, and Cerebus Syndrome.
  • Heartwarming Moments: Real Life example: The Hawkeye of the film, Donald Sutherland told a story on a talk show about when he was standing next to his television counterpart Alan Alda in a receiving line for the Queen of England. Alda whispered in Sutherland's ear: "Thank you for my life."
  • Ho Yay: Hawkeye and Trapper, big-time.
    • Hawkeye and B.J. also had their moments. From the final episode:

 Hawkeye: Look, I know how tough it is for you to say goodbye, so I'll say it. Maybe you're right. Maybe we will see each other again. But just in case we don't, I want you to know how much you've meant to me. I'll never be able to shake you. Whenever I see a pair of big feet or a cheesy mustache, I'll think of you.

B.J.: Whenever I smell month-old socks, I'll think of you.

Hawkeye: Or the next time somebody nails my shoe to the floor...

B.J.: Or when somebody gives me a martini that tastes like lighter fluid.

Hawkeye: I'll miss you.

B.J.: I'll miss you, a lot. I can't imagine what this place would've been like if I hadn't found you here.

    • "What if I were dying? Would you hold me and let me die in your arms, or leave me on the floor to bleed?"
    • When Blake is saying his goodbyes in "Abyssinia, Henry", he holds out his hand for Hawkeye, who says, "I'm afraid just a handshake won't do it, Henry," and promptly smooches him on both cheeks.
    • Henry and Radar. They spend an indecent amount of time cuddling in the showers in "The Sniper".
    • This website has a list of every single slashy quote from the entire series. It's... extensive.
  • It Was His Sled: Henry's death.
  • Jerkass Woobie: Frank could be considered one of these. While he often acts in a way that makes you want to see karma bite him in the ass, karma bites him so often and so mercilessly that it's easy to actually feel sorry for him. Particularly after Margaret left him and he became progressively more unhinged; even Hawkeye and BJ eased up on him during that time.
  • Memetic Mutation: "I'm not as think as you drunk I am!" is possibly courtesy of a very drunk Margaret Houlihan from the episode "Hot Lips and Empty Arms".
  • Moral Event Horizon: Frank was always a Jerkass, but having Hawkeye court-martialed on spurious charges knowing perfectly well that Hawkeye would be executed if he was found guilty...?
  • Narm: Any time Trapper would dramatically declare his longing to be home with his wife and the horrors of being separated from his family by the war, since chances were almost 100% that the episode would also show him thoroughly enjoying her absence with whatever hot girl crossed his path. Possibly the same with Colonel Blake, though since he was often less brazen and smug about his conquests, it didn't cause quite so much dissonance.
  • Narm Charm: Sometimes, the camera will zoom in anvilly on the actor's face when they talk. But usually the moments are so emotional (see BJ's breakdown in "Period Of Adjustment") that you don't really mind.
  • Older Than They Think: Alan Alda's Hawkeye talks and acts a lot like Groucho Marx.
  • Recycled Script: Plenty, but of note is the seventh season episode "Preventative Medicine" had a plot that was essentially the same as that of the first season episode "The Ringbanger". In keeping with the show's gradual slide into drama, however, the psychological gaslighting of the original was changed to coercing the victim into unnecessary surgery, to which B.J. took a moral objection.
    • The "sidelining an officer via unnecessary surgery" angle had itself been used before, in a secondary plot involving Col. Flagg in season 3's "White Gold".
    • Two conversations between Hawkeye and his nominal nemesis (Frank and Charles) were recycled pretty closely in subject matter. Being the different characters they were and the different points in the show, though, the scene with Frank saying he came from a loveless home was Played for Laughs, while Charles' admission of a distant family life and envy of Hawkeye was treated as showing his good side.
  • Retroactive Recognition: Quite a few. George Wendt (Cheers), a very young Patrick Swayze, and so on.
  • Seasonal Rot: Although exactly when it first set in is a matter of some dispute.
  • Tear Jerker: Several. "Abyssinia Henry", "Good-bye Radar", the finale, etc.
    • Of special note is the death of Hawkeye's visiting friend Tommy in "Sometimes You Hear the Bullet", the earliest sign that the show would be progressing beyond lighthearted sitcom hijinks.
    • Season 11, "Run for the Money." Winchester takes a liking to a patient and the reasons why are rather touching.
    • Season 9, "Death Takes a Holiday." Winchesters heart of gold is revealed and it is rather touching.
    • Colonel Henry Blake's death being announced. Or at least implied. The montage didn't help much either.
  • Seinfeld Is Unfunny: Some younger viewers may wonder what the big deal is, but you can thank M*A*S*H for pretty much every Dramedy series that's come in its wake.
  • Values Dissonance: The episode where Hawkeye, BJ and Col. Potter arrive at camp driving drunk in celebration of making a General look ridiculous may have been a standard comedy business in the late 1970s, but now a typical viewer, well aware of the dangers of drinking and driving would be alarmed that they could have killed someone, or themselves.
  • The Woobie: Pretty much everyone was this at least once. Yes, including Frank.
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