M*A*S*H (1974/1975) – Mad Dogs and Servicemen, Private Charles Lamb, and Bombed

Hawkeye (Alan Alda) and Trapper (Wayne Rogers) have to try psychiatry on a patient suffering from PTSD in Mad Dogs and Servicemen while Radar (Gary Burghoff) has to have a rabies shot after he’s bitten by a feral dog that has been visiting him at the camp.

Written by Mary Kay Place and Linda Bloodworth-Thomason, this episode debuted on 10 December, 1974.

Of course, Frank (Larry Linville) is furious that Travis (Micheal O’Keefe), the soldier suffering from war fatigue and PTSD is allowed to stay in the camp while Hawk and Trap tend to him. The way the two work Travis is rough on Hawkeye as he has to be ‘bad’ cop, while Trapper gets to chat and confide in him, hoping that their efforts come to fruition.

There’s also a really nice moment when Houlihan (Loretta Swit) is reading a letter to Radar who is laid up in bed following his injections. Something he’s not keen on doing again.

It’s a nice, gentle episode with some funny moments, and a nice emotional payoff for Travis and the doctors, with Frank realising, once again, that he was wrong. Poor ferret face.

I like Radar’s moments, and this is the first time we see Rosie’s (Shizuko Hoshi) bar on screen despite it having been mentioned before this.

Not the best, or strongest episode, simply a run of the mill, entertaining foray for the 4077th.

Private Charles Lamb was written by Sid Dorfman and first aired on 31 December, 1974.

After the unit handles a whole lot of Greek casualties, their CO (Titos Vandis) invites the 4077th to join them for their Easter celebrations. Blake (Mclean Stevenson) agrees and the entire camp is delighted when food and drink arrive that puts their own supplies to shame.

As the party gets closer, and the enthusiasm of real food sweeps the camp, Radar is shocked to discover that the Greeks have brought in a lamb for the dinner. He can’t let that happen, despite the fact that everyone else is salivating for it, and comes up with a way to get the lamb away from trouble.

Meanwhile, Trap and Hawk also deal with a wounded soldier, who shot himself to get away from the front. The only problem if Frank funds out the wound was self-inflicted, it could be real trouble for the young solider. But Frank shoots himself in the foot when the solider confesses to him, believing he is Mulcahy (William Christoper).

The party is something to remember, and the 4077th may never recover, even if they didn’t have a roasted lamb to enjoy. This one was fun, and I love how Radar uses the system to get the lamb to safety.

And the party, though we only get glimpses of it, looked pretty spectacular, and every one seems to fall victim to it, with only Hawk, Trapper and a few of the Greek soldiers still standing by episode’s end.

Bombed finished out our trio of episodes this week. Written by James Fritzell and Everett Greanbaum it was the first episode of 1975, airing on 7 January.

Despite claims by the Army, the 4077th is being bombed (by their own side) and things are getting increasingly rough for the unit. There’s an enemy soldier in the OR with a grenade strapped to his chest, Blake (McLean Stevenson)and Mulchay are trapped in the latrines when a bomb hits, and Trapper and Houlihan are stuck together in the supply shed, making Frank increasingly furious as things are hinted to have happened.

This one is a fast moving story, with lots of things happening, and the laughs keep on coming. It’s a little upsetting to think Trapper was trying to put the moves on Houlihan, he is married, but she handles him easily, and lets Frank stew in his worry and jealousy.

And fear, as the shelling keeps coming.

Frank is shown to be a racist, refusing to operate on a Korean soldier, but that just adds to his ferret face personality. Hawkeye, and the rest, however, just want to get the job done, and perhaps that’s why even Houlihan lets Frank worry as she does. She knows she can do better (and we know how she feels about Trapper).

There’s still more to come, and I will re-up for another tour next week with M*A*S*H!

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