M*A*S*H (1982) – Trick or Treatment, Foreign Affairs, and The Joker is Wild

Dennis Koenig pens Trick or Treatment which first aired on 1 November, 1982. While the 4077th attempts to get in on local Halloween parties, a slew of wounded ruin their evening, but doesn’t stop them from sharing ghost stories, and dressing up in costumes.

Amongst the wounded are Richard Lineback, George Wendt, and Andrew Clay. And there’s a body with a toe tag on it that may not be completely dead yet.

While Charles (David Ogden Stiers) deals with injuries delivered to a bunch of drunk Marines, B.J. (Mike Farrell), Hawkeye (Alan Alda), Houlihan (Loretta Swit) and Potter (Harry Morgan) tackle the deluge of wounded, still in costume, and trying to keep everyone’s spirits up.

It’s light and enjoyable, and doesn’t really trot out any real spookiness or much of anything besides the unit dressing in costume. The idea of the soldier toe-tagged already and still alive doesn’t quite get the attention it deserves and is played straight all the way through instead of embracing a bit of the spooky for Halloween.

Overall, for a Halloween episode, it’s a bit of a disappointment, but for a run-of-the-mill MASH ep, it works fine. I do like seeing the gang in costume looking like they are ready to have a good time though.

Foreign Affairs was written by David Pollock and Elias Davis. It first debuted on 8 November, 1982.

While Hawkeye and B.J. deal with a wounded North Korean pilot, and a Military PR Major Reddish (Jeffery Tambor) who wants to promote him as a hero State-side for defecting with a MiG fighter, Charles has an affair of the heart with a visiting French Red Cross service woman, Martine (Melinda Mullins).

We get to see Charles really open up emotionally, and embrace the idea of falling for Martine. He is enchanted and bedazzled by her, but the suggestion that she could come to America to visit and meet his family shakes him, and the core conservative beliefs that his family, and he, hold.

And it’s something he struggles to rid himself of, but whether that happens or not, or lasts if it does…

Reddish has a translator helping him, and he’s played by the wonderful Soon-Tek Oh (making yet another appearance). Hawkeye and B.J. come up with a great idea to cash in on Reddish’s hero plan and give someone a better life.

It’s fun, but the stuff with Charles is truly bittersweet as you are left to wonder if he’s dooming himself because of his family’s beliefs.

The Joker is Wild was written by John Rappaport and Dennis Koenig. It had an original airdate of 15 November, 1982.

B.J. is pulling pranks again, but when Hawkeye complains that his gags aren’t quite as good as old Trapper’s used to be, B.J. suggests a prank-off with the loser having to stand atop a table, stripping and singing.

Hawk is determined not to be got by B.J., but it seems that everyone else in the camp is falling victim to the doctor’s machinations. Hawkeye may be the last man standing, will he make it through or will he become a wreck before the end?

I had this story figured out just over a quarter of the way through, but it was damned fun watching it play out, and the last moments of the episode which feature Hawk’s revenge are truly laugh-out-loud.

We also get another recognizable guest star, Clyde Kusatsu shows up as an old roommate of B.J.’s playing a doctor on exchange from the 8063rd.

It’s light, funny, and watching the gags play out was priceless, building to that perfect ending.

Man, am I gonna be bummed when the series is over.


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