M*A*S*HCast - Season 4, Episode 21: Smilin' Jack
Special Guest Star: Lori Schwartz
Air Date: February 3, 1976
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8 responses to “M*A*S*HCast #93 – Smilin’ Jack”
I’m going to try and kill two birds with one stone with this explanation. When the hypodermic needle is launched vertically into the air, it passes through a rift in the space-time continuum that is located near the ceiling of the O club. The needle then reappears an instant later, traveling on a trajectory that is perpendicular to its original direction, allowing it to strike the wall near Col. Potter. This same rift creates time distortions that both alter past events, leading to the lack of continuity between episodes, and compresses time, making it possible for eleven seasons of television to fit within a three year long war.
Thanks for another incredible episode.
I could be 100% wrong, since it’s not shown very clearly, but I think the first thing that Jack is handing BJ are his wings, meaning that he’s not allowed to fly anymore, since the wings are placed over the left breast pocket. The second thing he hands off, coming from his right collar, is his rank badge, meaning that he’s out of the Army. Again, that’s all based on placement on the uniform, so I could be completely off base.
I don’t specifically recall this episode, but any show dealing with diabetes piques my interest, ever since my daughter was diagnosed with Type 1, three and a half years ago.
We have been told, thanks to modern medical advances, that diabetes shouldn’t hold her back. With constant glucose monitoring devices and automated pumps to deliver insulin, it has allowed her to live an adjusted, but somewhat normal life.
I was kind of gobsmacked to learn that even with these advances, a diabetes diagnosis will still probably make someone ineligible for military service today. I looked it up thinking “Well, that episode’s story wouldn’t fly today”. I was wrong. It makes sense, because things can go wrong quickly with diabetes, but it just kind of flies in the face of “don’t let diabetes stop you!”. I guess there’s somethings it stops no matter what.
For us comic geeks, Robert Hogan played baseball star Paul Diamante, kidnapped by George Sanders’ Mister Freeze on two early episodes of Batman (1966) “Instant Freeze/Rats Like Cheese”.
This was a huge WTF episode for me.
First of all, who the heck is this guy? Everyone seems to know him but us. And he has carte blanche to stroll into OR and take pictures? Doesn’t seem like something Potter or Hawkeye would allow.
Then there is this contest or record that everyone seems to follow but isn’t clearly explained.
Then he goes out despite being grounded by Potter. I could see maybe getting away with a normal run (even though that has risks) but putting two people in the cab with him was extremely dangerous and merited an ass chewing. He put people’s lives at risk just to set some record he had to know Dangerous Dan (another guy they all know but we don’t) could easily top.
And I hate to ask, but could someone please explain what was “dirty” about the “three to tie” comment? I am either just clueless or missing something.
That being said, I enjoyed the podcast and your guest. I hope she is able to avoid the family curse and is able to handle it if not.
I have nothing to add except this was another great episode and Lori was a wonderful guest. Lucky for me that the hosts and the other commenters were so thorough, since I’ve fallen behind on my Fire and Water homework. (I still need to go back and finish commenting on “Der Tag”!)
Lori and Rob touch on an interesting point….why is it that people of my “vintage”, who were young children in the late 70’s, early 80’s, got into MASH at such a young age? My son is 10 and has no interest in watching MASH with me, god knows I’ve tried, but old polaroid’s from my 7th birthday party show me in a MASH sweater (and a full head of hair, no less!). It’s something to ponder, as over all of these podcast episodes more guests than not have stated that they came to MASH at such a young age. As Rob often points out, it’s not a show aimed at young children, yet most of us came to love it at a young age. Curious. No matter….great podcast as usual Rob and Lori, looking forward to the rest of season 4 and beyond. That is all!
Thanks again guys for this episode, and we’ll done Lori on your debut. Having seen every episode of Mash, a gazillion times, you pointed out something that I had yet to realise concerning this episode. That the competition makes no sense! How did I miss that? I mean, it wasn’t as though the war was going to stop. Anyway, looking forward to the rest of season 4. Cheers
Two significantly late comments:
First, this episode helps explain how Colonel Potter knew Nurse Cratty. Obviously, “Smilin’ Jack” has been in Korea, otherwise he would not have flown over 800 patients. So when Colonel Potter says he treated the “scratch” – to me it looked like the nurse burned him with a cigar; plausible given the explanation – he obviously had to have been in Korea as well. So this confirms for me that Potter had a staff assignment in Korea.
Second, to agree with a previous comment, this is one of the few episodes that I thought they got wrong. My father was an Air Force physician who retired in the rank of Colonel, and after retirement fulfilled his dream of being a “small town country doctor.” I like to think that he had a lot of Colonel Potter in him; or maybe vice versa. He was willing to manipulate regulations to provide patient care, and was easy going about most things. However, he made one point crystal clear to those around him: If you EVER do anything to endanger a patient, I will destroy you! If a pilot had ever put patients at real risk by flying in that situation, I know for certain that he would have had the pilot hung, and then whatever was left court-martialed.
Colonel Potter’s reaction to the situation is perfectly appropriate right until the end. However, I find it impossible to believe that he would have simply “laughed it off” after the patients had been safely delivered. I know for my father, and I have to believe for Colonel Potter based on later events, putting those patients at risk due to pride and selfishness would have bene unforgiveable. The same for Hawkeye. We see his reaction when Colonel Potter faces a relatively remote risk from simple high blood pressure.
I have to believe this situation would have been handled differently a couple of seasons later. To me, this episode seems to have more of the flavor of the “farce” seen in the first three seasons.