M*A*S*HCast - Season 5, Episode 11: The Colonel's Horse
Special Guest Star: Sean Ross
Air Date: December 7, 1976
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14 responses to “M*A*S*HCast #107 – The Colonel’s Horse”
Thank you for a great conversation! In spite of the boring name of “The Colonel’s Horse” (wish I had a suggestion for a better title, but no), I have always liked this episode a lot.
I have been introducing my mother to MASH, she is now a big fan, and this is one of her favorite episodes. Her favorite characters are Klinger, Margaret, Hawkeye and Potter, in that order. She calls Hawkeye Alan, though. She doesn’t speak English and I guess Hawkeye is hard to pronounce. She doesn’t call Potter Potter either, she just refers to him as “the older guy with the shorts”. I have shown her some of the “it’s hot in Korea”-episodes, and she finds the sight of him in shorts hilarious. It’s very sweet. 🙂
Back to this episode. I agree that among all the big, important episodes with a strong message and life and death situations, it’s always so great to watch the “smaller” ones, how perfectly performed and well written they can be too. I love when it’s just the core cast, in the later seasons I think they did the “someone new arrives in camp and the regular characters react to him or her” a bit too often.
And thank you for mentioning all the crap Margaret is exposed to by men over the seasons. I have commented on this before, how that is one thing about the series I really don’t like. Hawkeye is being so horribly unprofessional to her on several occasions, and sometimes just plain horrible, like when he and Trapper (and even sweet Radar) sets her up to be assaulted in “Bananas, Crackers and Nuts”. If I’m being generous, I can maybe say that it’s more lighthearted in this episode, he isn’t as gross as in “Checkup”, for example, but it’s still not okay of course. With that said, I think that their dynamics is the most interesting one over the seasons. I love that they respect each other so much as professionals, and the friendship/connection/attraction-thing they have going on is a joy to watch, Loretta Swit and Alan Alda are magical together.
One thing I have to protest, though – we Europeans are not topless all the time! I can distinctly remember wearing a top at the beach at least twice! 😉 Ah, who am I kidding – we are topless all the time. I’m Swedish, for crying out loud, I’m actually topless right now. “Topless Wednesday” at the office. A great preparation for “Naked Friday”! 😉 😉 😉
Thanks again for a great episode!
Never been to a nude beach but my theory is that the people you see there are the type you really don’t want to see naked.
The Hot Lips nickname was used very little in the show, even in the first three seasons. Hawkeye and Trapper called her that a couple times and maybe used it to refer to her a few more but mostly just called her Major Houlihan before they got to be friends.
Never recall it being used in the BJ era. The only exception is I think they told the guy who thought she was a commie that was her nickname so he’d put the moves on her and they trapped him.
Possible episode title:
“A Horse of Another Colon”
I found Sean’s theory about the removal of Margaret’s appendix representing the removal of Frank from her life to be interesting. It’s particularly interesting because the appendix has long been thought to be a vestigial organ that no longer serves any useful function, much like Frank. To be fair to the much maligned organ, researchers are discovering that the appendix may actually serve a purpose. No such research exists to suggest a useful purpose for Frank Burns.
One of my favorite lines from this episode is when Potter grumbles about Klinger bringing in a ringer to win the look-alike contest.
In regards to nude beaches, I’ve never been to one, but my wife and daughter accidentally stumbled upon one on one of their first visits to Martha’s Vineyard. They’ve never taken me there on subsequent visits.
Alternate episode titles: “A Tale of Two Ladies” or “A is for Appendicitis”
Thanks for another remarkable episode.
For an alternate title, how about “Margaret’s Appendix and the Horse’s Ass (Not Frank).”
I would have been 11 years old when I watched this episode and I liked it so much I wrote the date I saw it on the inside of my wardrobe so whenever I opened my wardrobe I could remember the happy times. I was a strange child.
On a very different note and sorry for lowering the tone, but Victor Mature was said to be shall we say, very well proportioned. I don’t know if that makes it better or worse for Margaret.
We sure have seen a lot of veterinary medicine in this show lately! I don’t know exactly what twisting of the intestines means in horses. In people, you don’t cure that with enemas. You cure it with surgery. I wonder if ‘colic’ meant impaction of stool, like the horse was obstructed. As for pressure Rob, you don’t want to do more harm than good. Gravity from that height would certainly put a lot of force behind the water. My assumption is that they snaked the hose past whatever was blocking to provide a ‘flush from above’ rather than gunning it from below. Okay … enough of that talk.
As for episode names how about ‘Back in the Saddle’ – a riff on a second honeymoon and the horse story – or ‘Enema of the State’? Maybe ‘A Royal Flush’?
As far as Hawkeye getting BJ to do the gas for the surgery it didn’t strike me as odd and I figured it was actually showing respect.
1st if at all possible you would actually want an anesthesiologist if possible but considering it’s a MASH unit would probably not necessarily have that but that actually is what “Ugly John” was. So afterwards then a doctor then a trained nurse.
2nd by having BJ do it it showed that they took it seriously.
3rd by not having a nurse do it it didn’t put Margaret in a position where someone she normally held rank over was in a position of power over her.
A few random comments:
I must have been watching this episode for over 40 years, and I always wondered why there was a line of people putting water into a water tank. Doesn’t that contradict the very purpose of having a water tank in the first place? It wasn’t until listening to this podcast that it dawned on me that it was to get WARM water. And as for the gun-type nozzle … the hose has to go IN to work, so a gun-type nozzle would probably not be a good choice.
If you wanted to create a MASH spin off, “Frank the Alien” would be a possible option. I have become more and more convinced that Frank being a space alien is the best explanation for his behavior. It is like he learned all the words and behaviors, and he kinda knows how they all go together, but he is from another species and just can’t get it quite right.
The line following shooting Frank is one of my favorites. It is all in the wording. NOT a criminal trial. NOT an investigation. BUT an inquiry. Shooting Frank would be just about the same as a jeep running off the road.
As to the title, when I heard, “The Colonel’s Horse” my first thought was the episode when the Korean Colonel “borrows” Sophie and then dies.
As for the nurse giving anesthesia, I am going to assume that the practice in the 50’s is kinda/sorta similar to how it would have been in later years. A nurse may give anesthesia, but only if there is a physician who is not involved in the operation present. If you look at most of the operating room scenes, there is usually one surgeon doing a minor operation; that is, ready to provide immediate assistance if there was a problem with anesthesia. So they maybe could have gotten a nurse to give anesthesia, but a physician probably would have also had to have been present and Potter was gone and there was no way they would ask Frank.
As mentioned, it is clear that Radar absolutely runs the unit under Blake, but Blake would never admit it. It is also clear that there is no doubt that Potter runs the unit, but he is free to tell everyone that Radar does it. An old saying, “Really important people don’t need to act important.”
Great conversation makes a great show. Nicely done, fellows!
I love this episode, for all the reasons you and Sean bring up. This is one of those episodes that if it comes up while I’m channel surfing I always stop and watch. I love how Mike Farrell snuck in his own father-in-law into the show. I love how the whole camp comes to Sophie’s defense. I would have loved to have seen Frank’s reaction to this activity, if only to poo-poo it (see what I did there?).
As for why Radar doesn’t know about horses, you city slickers must not appreciate that there are different types of farms out there in the Fly Over Land. 😉 Radar was probably on a vegetable or corn or something farm with probably not many or any horses or cows (which would have been a dairy farm).
I don’t have a great title suggestion. Maybe “A Tale of Two Fillies”?
Follies of the Colon, Concerns of the Appendix? By the way, great episode gents!
Loved the character breakdowns this week – the discussion of the Margaret and Hawkeye relationship and how it’s progressed over the years (slash what it could have been), BJ’s close relationship with his in-laws and what that little window into his home life tells us, Margaret continuing to metaphorically “flush” Frank out of her life – great fun analysis of a great fun episode. Thank you as always!
I’m 87.5% certain the episode titles were included in the TV listings. We didn’t get the ‘official’ TV Guide, but the Detroit News and Detroit Free Press used to each produce their own versions which were included with the Sunday editions and I seem to remember seeing episode titles listed as part of the show descriptions.
The episode titles were all familiar to me when I started receiving the infamous Columbia House tapes back in the early 90s, so I’m not sure where else I would have been exposed to them.
One of the many things I love about this show are the little bits they make sure they get right. There’s a scene where the American flag is fluttering behind Hawkeye for a few seconds. Now, in 1976 it would have been no problem getting a flag for the scene…but it would be a 50 star flag. But since the series is set prior to the admittance of Alaska and Hawaii into the Union, any M*A*S*H* unit in Korea would have flown a 48 star flag, which would have been trickier to come by in the Seventies. But the producers went to the trouble to track one down, just so that the proper flag is flying in the background for a few brief moments.