M*A*S*HCast #61 – Mad Dogs and Servicemen

M*A*S*HCast –  Season 3, Episode 13: Mad Dogs and Servicemen

Special Guest Star: Mechelle Huber

Air Date: December 10, 1974

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15 responses to “M*A*S*HCast #61 – Mad Dogs and Servicemen

  1. This was your best episode yet. Ms. Huber is the perfect foil for the host. Instead of two like-minded people spending 40 minutes yukking it up over a half-hour TV show, Ms. Huber brought a fresh and insightful perspective to bear on the subject and the conversation took interesting turns. Bring her back!

      1. It’s your podcast, brother. I was just saying that it was nice to get some fresh conversation instead of repeating lines and then saying, “That was so funny.” I.E. at the end of each podcast episode: Q: “What was your favorite line?” A: “I already said it fifteen minutes ago, but it was xxxx.” — “Yeah, that was great.” Like I say, Ms. Huber was a foil, and an admirable and thought-provoking one, at that, who contributed a unique perspective that added to understanding and considering the episode in a different light, acknowledging that we are looking at a work of art. No offense intended. It is what it is. YMMV, but this was my favorite episode thus far. Keep up the good work and keep the memory of M*A*S*H alive.

  2. Another reference to eating dog comes in season 4’s “Hawkeye”. When Hawkeye returns to the hut he samples the wife’s cooking, is amazed that it has meat, then pauses and says “Wait, where’s the dog?”

    Ken Burns did a documentary on the Lewis and Clark Expedition. In it, it was mentioned that when the explorers finally broke through the Rockies and found the Pacific they could have feasted on salmon and other fish but they wanted meat so they would trade for dog.

    When they are running from “mad dog” notice that the dog easily catches up with them but goes a different direction as the scene fades.

  3. Great discussion! I enjoyed Mechelle’s fresh perspective, and her tales of her favorite teacher.

    In college, I once had an interesting, philosophical discussion with a friend from Indonesia about eating dog. He wondered why we didn’t eat it here. I tried to explain they were our pets, and he said they had pets as dogs too, and the conversation just kind of circled for a while. I couldn’t really explain why we would eat cows and pigs, which people also sometimes have as pets, but were so aghast at the thought of eating a dog. We just are, collectively. I still recall that conversation to this day, so it made quite an impression.


    1. I think Colonel Potter answered the cow and pig question. “You ever take a peek at a cow or a pig? They’re ugly. We’re doing them a favor by eating ’em . Saves ’em the agony of looking at their reflections in the trough every morning.”

  4. A great day when MASH Cast and MASH Matters drop on the same day.

    I thought the Jamie Farr interview on MM would be the best thing I heard today. But the discussion with Mechelle was fantastic. If her parents are in their mid-40s, then they are too young to have seen the show live. That really makes me feel old.

    I enjoyed hearing her history with the show. It is great it had a positive influence on her education and that she had such an understanding teacher.

    The part about eating the dog didn’t bother me. It isn’t something we do here, but this is a different culture. But I agree that joke might not fly today as it might look racist if you are saying they eat dog. To be honest, I don’t see the difference in eating dog and eating cow. And sorry, Potter, but eating a horse is no sin just because it is a prettier animal.

    I wouldn’t want to eat dog or horse, I was just making a point.

    Seeing Trapper be the hero by being the patient’s friend was nice. I think this was the only time he mentioned Boston.

  5. Mechelle was a great guest, and it’s great to hear that M*A*S*H can still appeal to a whole new generation. (Though talk about feeling old — I think I might be a few years older than her parents!)

    Regarding the dog joke, it didn’t bother me too much just because I took it more as a hot dog joke than a eating-dog gag, if that makes sense. Also, it’s hard to fault the characters for an occasional dip into dark humor; with what the average MASH doctor would see on a day-to-day basis, it’d be a natural pressure valve. I used to work in a daily newsroom, and it’s an occupational hazard there, too.

    When did Radar start transitioning from the slightly more crass and crafty Peeping Tom to the beloved, tender-hearted animal-lover we came to know and love? Was it pretty well-established by this point? It was a good direction in which to take the character, and a necessary soft spot in an often rough setting, so I’m guessing it was early on. While I’m thinking about it, what kind of farm did Radar’s family run? He mentions animals once in a while, but it always seems to be as long-term pets more than livestock.

    I always like seeing Wayne Rogers get some good scenes to work with. I think Mechelle hit on one of the reasons Trapper has always been one of my favorite M*A*S*H characters — he listens. He always seems to catch onto subtleties quickly, is often thoughtful, and certainly pays attention where Hawkeye is often ready to leap into the fray feet first. I still wish he’d been given more to do on the show, but at least we got BJ out of the deal.

    1. Max, you probably know this, too, but corn and dairy farms are both common in Iowa, and neither would have required sending a lot of animals out for “processing.” When Radar goes home, I think they get a letter about what he’s growing, although they later learn he’s inflated his success. He’s a wonderful young man, but he has a tendency to confuse correspondence and creative writing.

    2. Max, I’ve also wondered about the apparent contradiction between Radar’s farm background and his aversion to slaughtering animals for food. Perhaps, that’s why Radar struggled as a farmer after his return from the war, or Cap could be correct that the O’Reilly farm was a dairy or produce farm. Actually, my wife did her dissertation research on dairy cattle, rather than beef cattle, for similar reasons.

  6. I enjoyed the addition of Major Mechelle to the unit’s table of organization and equipment, and look forward to the next time she draws special guest star duty.

    In regards to this episode, I know it’s pure slapstick, but I smile every time I watch Henry and Trapper chase the dog around the camp.

    1. T/O&E! Way to throw down the military jargon, Brian! It’s getting so an actual soldier (not just an out of shape former airman) would feel comfortable around here.

      Concur on Mechelle’s great turn as guest host. I especially appreciated the history teacher story (like everyone else), but also the way she made some excellent rapid fire points toward the end.

      I didn’t think of it until Rob and Mechelle keyed in on it, but Trap’s lack of fear of the potentially rabid dog is in character. At this point, he’s well-established as the gutsiest member of the cast when it comes to physical threats.

      Oh, and I didn’t say it before, but great episode as always!

  7. Alan Alda did a wonderful giving us a believable Hawkeye being a hard nose (to put it mildly) with Cpl Travis. As I think about it, the reason it works is Hawkeye knows BS. He can fling it, and when he’ll call others on their BS immediately. That habit lets him address Travis’ paralysis as being all in his head, similar to how he would cut down Frank, Margaret, even Henry and any number of Generals. But this was different. It’s a patient and he wants to help, and for Hawkeye, “do no harm” includes emotional harm. And this situation called for him to create a little pain in the hopes of healing. Like having to re-break a bone to set it properly. I can’t give enough credit to the writers and Alda for this performance. And bless them for letting Trapper have a major part as well.

    Great episode, and fantastic guest! Here’s hoping Mechelle can return to the Swamp soon!

    1. Great points, Tim. I think you nailed it with the “re-breaking a bone” analogy, but the difference that makes it more difficult here is how long he has to be hard-nosed and ignore his empathy alarm. That difficulty really shows how much faith he has in his colleague, Dr. Sidney Freedman — something we see in pretty much every episode featuring Sidney. I enjoy that relationship.

  8. As a vegetarian I’ve never understood the issue with some animals as food and some not. I would prefer no animals killed but it’s always be confusing to me the mindset that says we can kill and eat these but not those when not based on nutrition or safety of consumption. What is it that makes people look at some animals and go those are food and those we create emotional attachments to? It’s clearly social as for example dogs, cats and guini pigs are all food in some places and pets in others.

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