M*A*S*HCast #92 – The Novocaine Mutiny

M*A*S*HCast -  Season 4, Episode 20: The Novocaine Mutiny

Special Guest Star: Dr. Anj

Air Date: January 27, 1976

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12 responses to “M*A*S*HCast #92 – The Novocaine Mutiny

  1. Hawkeye’s “Mediocrity’s no crime, Frank!” is a favorite quote of mine from this episode, which I’ve repeated to myself on numerous occasions, especially at work.

    In defense of Father Mulcahy’s actions when the poker game is discovered, I like to remind myself that he’s doing it for the children. We’ve seen that Mulcahy’s church services are not very well attended, which means he doesn’t take in a lot of money passing around the offering plate. Therefore, he needs to find some other way to raise money for the local orphanage. Besides, it’s not like he’s spending that money on the… black… … market… … …. Okay, but that’s for the children too!

  2. Well, Dr. Anj brought the movie knowledge in addition to the medical knowledge, making this an even richer episode than usual. I have blessedly little experience in military operating rooms and court rooms, so this episode will inspire no war stories. However, anyone interested in an experience that (unlike practicing medicine in combat) is indeed a strawberry festival can click here:

    It happens every year with top flight musical acts, carnival rides, livestock competitions, impressive arts and crafts, live pig races, and delicious fair food. That fair food includes some festival specialties like strawberry shortcake, strawberry jam, strawberry lemonade, and pretty much anything you can make out of strawberries. So, so many strawberries. Wear sunscreen.

  3. Charles is my fave character he does’nt want to be here. He does’nt LIKE these people but he does his job and he IS a decent human. Unlike frank. Frank is worse than I remember him. Somewhere in my brain I grew the idea that frank REALLY LOVED Margret on rewatch this is not the case.

  4. Great podcast episode! Although Seasons 4 and 5 are excellent, I sometimes feel like the writing for Frank is all over the place. Sometimes he wants to be best friends with Hawkeye and BJ. And we see in Season 5 that he has trauma from his childhood when his father only pretended to be his friend (according to what Frank says to his mom on the phone). So it seemed like there were seeds of potential growth for Frank if he had stayed on the show as it grew more serious after Season 5. Yet other times he’s shown as overtly malevolent, racist, or otherwise beyond redemption like in this episode where he’s literally trying to get Hawkeye executed. I guess one could say the writing simply showed different aspects of his personality.

    Anyway, Larry Linville was such a talented actor that I wish he could have had an opportunity for more character development, which I think we started to see just a little bit in Season 5. It would have been fascinating to see what Frank would have been like if he was still on the show in the final few seasons.

  5. Frank did show brief moments of normality from time to time. I do wish they had allowed some growth in character.

  6. Great show again guys. You made me want to go ahead and rewatch the Caine Mutiny which I haven’t done so in many years. And I agree with most of the comments, the writing for Frank at times is all over the place. Such an unlikable character, played to perfection by, by all accounts, genuine nice guy Larry Linville.

  7. I have just come across this podcast and am slowly working my way backwards.

    I would address one issue that was referenced in this episode and is often brought up by MASH fans:

    As a nurse corps officer, Margaret was not eligible for command. The only officers who could command a medical unit were Medical Corps officers (i.e. physicians.) Both nurse corps officers and chaplains were not eligible to command any type of unit during this time period. (As the years progressed, nurses and other health professions were allowed to command medical units, and today, there are probably more nurse corps commanders than medical corps unit commanders in the Army.) Chaplains are still not eligible for command. When I was in ROTC, a retired Chief of Chaplains – a Major General – was retired in the area and came to speak to us. He emphasized this point by saying if the enemy came pouring through the wire, and he was there with a second lieutenant, the second lieutenant would be in command.

    As for Major Burns getting into trouble, well, what could they have possibly done to him? In the same way that Captain Pierce is, in essence, “bullet proof” from getting into trouble for his antics, Major Burns is, in essence, “bullet proof” from his incompetence. The only worse assignment they could possible give him would be to move him to an aid-station, but that would have put even more lives in jeopardy. In the end, the Army demonstrated excellent practical administration – they eventually shipped him out to a completely different department.

  8. The lens flares all around Frank in his recollection makes him appear positively celestial…angelic, even. Why am I not surprised he envisions himself this way?

    And I honestly can’t understand how Col. Potter tolerates having Burns in the unit. He isn’t merely an inept surgeon, he’s quite probably a danger to his patients. Surely Sherm could have moved him out and rang up some old friends among the higher brass to get himself a new (and competent) surgeon, rather than continue to put up with Frank…which he eventually did to get Charles. But shouldn’t that have happened about three days after Potter first arrived at the 4077th and got his first dose of Frank Burns in the O.R.?

    As for who ought to be the second-in-command, Margaret is also a Major. I realize having a woman command an Army unit (even if it’s a medical one) would have been unusual, but would it have specifically violated any official military code, as she is a commissioned officer?

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