M*A*S*HCast #90 – Hawkeye

M*A*S*HCast -  Season 4, Episode 18: Hawkeye

Special Guest Star: Paul Wildenberger

Air Date: January 13, 1976

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21 responses to “M*A*S*HCast #90 – Hawkeye

  1. Well done, Rob and Paul! Please, never apologize for the digressions. The stories each of you brought to the table were fascinating.

    On a high school field trip to the Alabama Shakespeare Festival, I saw Cleavon Little do a one-man show. He was portraying an African-American farmer in the post-war South and telling his life story. I’ve been a fan of the format ever since, and of course I loved this episode even before that.

    Three miles an hour is a more realistic walking pace for a twenty mile journey. I think that little girl went and found the neighbor who had a motorcycle or maybe a donkey cart.

    I think the warning not to fall asleep with a concussion is a complete myth. I think even Hawkeye says he has no medical reason to be afraid of it. I always contributed his fear to a need for control, especially regarding anything medical. But I’m sure Doctors Anj and Chris Lewis will weigh in with actual medical knowledge (as long as I still get to do amateur psychology).

    Rob, your question about memorable meals made me think of many made memorable by the setting, the food, the people, and the surrounding events. I probably could do a podcast, and it would be about more than just Dreamland (see comments to the Adam’s Ribs episode). I even remember the story of someone else’s meal in the mountains of Puerto Rico, told to me by a trek partner in survival school.

    Ah, well. I should go. I think it’s time for second breakfast!

  2. I have never had a concussion, but my son Andrew did after a bad car accident a few yeas back. He had short term memory loss, was addled and his speech was stuttered for several weeks following. Shortly after that he had super memory recall, which is indeed a thing, for a very brief few days, then things went back to normal. Although he still doesn’t remember the weeks leading up to his accident to this day.

    Unfortunately I knew of a family who lost their son due to a concussion from a sports injury. I don’t know if it’s true, but I always heard the reason he died was that he was allowed to go to sleep the night after his injury against doctor’s orders not to. Again, it may be bunk, but that’s the story that’s always been told.

    I don’t recall this particular episode, but it’s safe to say, and nothing against the great Alan Alda, these types of episodes are the reason Wayne Rogers left the show.


    1. I googled. Cleveland Clinics says there’s zero evidence that sleeping after a concussion causes comas or other problems:

      Another site called healthline (in an article reviewed by a physician) says “Sleeping cannot cause serious problems after a concussion. The danger is that when you are asleep, your family or your doctors are not likely to notice indications of serious brain damage — such as a seizure or weakness of one side of the body.” But, “as long as you can carry on a conversation, you can walk without difficulty, your pupils aren’t dilated,” you can go ahead and rack out.
      “In fact, experts now recognize rest as an essential part of recovering from a mild head injury, especially during the first three to five days.”

      1. Thanks for the clarification Captain. Perhaps the family in question was told not to let him sleep to monitor seizures, etc. and they didn’t. Or, because the boy died in his sleep, the rumor mill went with the old trope of “don’t sleep after a concussion” and filled in the blanks.

        1. Makes sense. I love my hometown and I mean no disrespect, but the second option is what would’ve happened there.

    2. “Welcome to ConcussionCast, celebrating the greatest minor head injuries, blow by blow”!

      Joking aside, concussion is the most common head injury I see in my practice, and – whilst most are self-limiting, the effects can last quite a while. My favourite head injury resource is the UK charity Headway (https://www.headway.org.uk/about-brain-injury/individuals/effects-of-brain-injury/), if anyone wants to learn more. [Usual Caveat – if any readers have any concerns, check in with your usual doctor!]

      Feeling drowsy after having even a mild head injury is common, and wanting to sleep is natural. We advise it’s OK to sleep (I think of it as being like a ‘soft reset’), as long as someone is keeping a watchful eye on the patient and that – from time to time – they check that the patient is rousable. I’d endorse all of the other warning signs in the link that Captain Entropy shared.

      In older adults, more serious problems (such as a subdural bleed) can occur days, even many weeks after a fall, so we’re always much more cautious when our more senior patients experience head injuries, frequently arranging a scan of the head to exclude something more worrying, especially if the concussion symptoms are evolving or lasting longer than we’d normally expect.

  3. Wonderful episode gents! If you skim various MASH fan chatter on Twitter or Facebook, you’ll see that this is one of the more disliked episodes of the 11 year run, but I’ve always enjoyed it. I guess you feeling for the character of Hawkeye and the actor Alan Alda can effect your opinion, but since Hawkeye is my favorite character and I love Mr. Alda, it’s never bothered me. Quite appropriate, for an episode of various ramblings, that Rob and Paul ventured off on a few entertaining tangents. As for the episode content itself, regarding not talking about other characters, I always thought it would have been interesting to have Hawkeye reminisce about Henry and Trapper, perhaps spill his true feelings about Henry’s death and Trapper’s departure to the family, knowing they wouldn’t understand what he was talking about. We the audience would get to hear his feelings, while HIS ‘audience” wouldn’t understand a word. Anyway, another interesting, format busting episode in a season full of them. Can’t wait for the rest of season 4 (and 5-11)! That is all!

  4. This is probably my least favorite episode over the entire 11 year run. I’m a big fan of groups; the interactions, the dynamics, the give-and-takes….so a half hour of one character’s ramblings just doesn’t do it for me. I never wanted to see the One Man Show that was popular in the Seventies with James Whitmore as Truman or Hal Holbrook as Mark Train. No, thanks! I found it fun that Rob and Paul ended up talking about theatre in this episode, because this episode feels very much like a play.

    Now, if the ramblings had been MORE character based, such as Mick suggests with Hawkeye talking about Trapper and Henry and the folks at the 4077th, I think it might have worked better. (We do get something like that in the later episode where Hawkeye writes his will.) Plus, some of what Hawkeye says in this episode is sort of contradicted by the upcoming episode with Blythe Danner. It’s strange that he never mentions her during this episode. Just overall, a tour de force for Alan Alda but just not worth numerous viewings.

    I also disagree that Hawkeye is the only character this scenario would have worked with. If this had been Col Potter he would also have given us a monologue, but maybe a stream of consciousness about his past exploits in WWI and WWII. That would have been great. And dare I say, he would have had a lot more interesting memories than just deli food.

    I love Rob’s idea of forcing Frank and Hawkeye into a confined space overnight so that they have to spend time together. With that logic, this would have been a great Frank Burns episode, too. It might not have been as “entertaining” but it would have been fascinating.

    I love Phillip Ahn. One of the great character actors of all time. Recognized him from KUNG FU and from early Mr. Moto and Charlie Chan movies. And by the way, that was real Korean he was speaking, not just made-up gibberish.

    1. I have to agree with the Corporal Captain, I think an episode like this with Potter could have definitely worked, touching on his memories of past wars and his youth in Missouri. Kind of like a back door pilot for “The Young Sherman Potter Chronicles”. Even Charles would have been an interesting character to try this with, perhaps we’d get to see the more of the “real” Charles, when he can let his hair down, so to speak, around those who can’t understand what he’s saying.

  5. Hawkeye’s monologue about the wonders of the human hand is, hands down (sorry), my favorite part of this episode. It’s that kind of wonder that drew me to the field of biology. You think of the complex functioning of a single cell, how millions of those cells have to work in coordination to form a single (multicellular) organism, how multiple organisms from many different species have to work together to form a functioning ecosystem, and, finally, how multiple ecosystems have to operate in conjunction to form our planet’s biosphere. It’s all truly fascinating.

    Thanks for another incredible episode.

    1. The body is a truly amazing piece of engineering; my own favourite example is how the ear works to collect, amplify and code the mechanical pressure wave of a sound into an electrical signal we perceive as hearing. Just incredible! Podcasts are much less enjoyable without audio – look after your hearing, folks!

  6. I’ve noticed in my ramblings with MASH over the years that this episode has a multitude of haters. Back when the website “Jump the shark” took comments from the public, this was considered one of the episodes where the series jumped. Many people spewed vitriol over it. However it is my favorite episode of the 11 year run. Before VCRs, I put an audio microphone up to the TV and made a cassette of the program. Therefore I can quote (at least the syndicated version) this episode verbatum.

    I also think the character Hawkeye is the only one that could pull this off He had constant humor and sarcasm. Can you imagine 30 minutes of Hot Lips’ high pitched screams and narcissium? She’d be asking the Korean family for a mirror and lipstick constantly.

    As you mentioned, the actress who played the mom also was the first Rosie. And if you recall when they were trying to find the dog that bit Radar, Rosie translated from a native that the dog was “delicious”.

    When character actors were performing on MASH, were they really speaking Korean, another Asian language, or was it just “gibberish” (no offensive intended)? And would the script actually have it spelled out or would it just say “character says something in “

    1. Randall, the next time we have Koreans on MASH I’ll make a point of noting what language they are speaking. I would offer to go back and re-watch HAWKEYE to listen to the wife and kids, but I just can’t manage that. 😉
      Generally, if the actor is saying things in “pidgin English” it’s potentially because the actor is not Korean. I don’t speak Korean, but I know enough about Asian languages to be able to tell if someone is saying something fluently or just saying it phonetically. (Think Margaret speaking Korean, the few times she did.)

  7. I had concussion once after a hiking accident. I felt ok, but did not realise I am a non smoker and asked my friend for a cigarette.

  8. I don’t dislike this episode, but it’s pretty low on my list. It leaves me very impressed with Alan Alda’s acting skills, and you can’t help but feel his enthusiasm. But for me the real fun of the show is the interplay between the characters. Hawkeye is funny, but he’s much funnier when bantering with others.

  9. This was interesting to watch once but it really isn’t an episode I want to see every time it is on.

    I enjoyed the pointless ramblings by the hosts as it certainly fit in with the theme of this episode. You really had nothing to discuss so you did the best you could.

    My mother was in a community theater production of Harvey. She played a snooty lady who was befuddled when Elwood introduced his friend.

    A lot of Korean characters were played by non-Koreans. Mako, Jack Soo, and Pat Morita were all Japanese. So who knows what they were really saying.

  10. I’m actually moving through MASH for the first time, even though it was still airing original seasons when I was a child (it wasn’t a popular show in my household, and my parents declared it too political / adult for us to watch). My wife, however, grew up with it and loved it. When we got to this episode, neither she (a long time MASH fan) nor myself (a new MASH fan) came away happy.
    Alan Alda is a very talented actor, and Hawkeye is a funny character. As an experiment, the episode isn’t a failure, but I’d consider it far from a success. It’s actually the first episode my wife asked we skip for future rewatches of the series. I found his monologue an interesting character study, and it revealed a bit of Hawkeye’s fragility. I wonder if he literally can’t stop talking, concussion or no concussion, because the horror of his situation actually threatens to overwhelm him. Still, I would put this as my second to least favourite episode of MASH so far.
    I enjoyed the podcast regardless! Also, will echo that I think saying “this would only work for Hawkeye” is unfair. It would be unwatchable for Frank, but Potter, BJ, or Margaret could have easily pulled off this episode. I in fact think it would have been improved to have one of the supporting cast do this. But that’s as much shade as I’ll pull over the episode for now.
    Maybe the best way to put it is as a drama major I completely appreciate the episode, even if I didn’t find it to be good television.

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