M*A*S*HCast #108 – Exorcism

M*A*S*HCast -  Season 5, Episode 12: Exorcism

Special Guest Star: Bryan Poyzer

Air Date: December 14, 1976

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8 responses to “M*A*S*HCast #108 – Exorcism

  1. I have to admit that “Exorcism” is an episode I usually skip, it’s just not for me. But after listening to this, I might give it a chance and watch it!
    Since I’m me, I have to make a Margaret-related comment 🙂 Yes, I agree that she can be quite annoying with her talk about the marvelous, perfect Donald Penobscott. But I also find it to be a bit sad. Not only because we know how their relationship will end, but also because of how much she wants to have something of her own. For someone to commit to her. Maybe Donald made her feel protected in a way, having him was having a safe place in her life and she was finally going to get a stability she never had. I’ve always felt that she was more in love with the idea of a fiancé than the actual man himself, they did hardly know each other after all. Her longings and dreams for something that is just hers gives her annoying bragging about her wonderful man a bit of a sad edge to it.

  2. Wonderful podcast on an often underappreciated episode gentlemen! Welcome to the unit Bryan, hopefully this will be the first in a long line of appearances. As a lapsed Catholic who lived through 12 years of Catholic school and the accompanying rules and sacraments, the speech Mulcahy gives to Frank makes me smile every time. THIS is what I was religion, specifically the Catholic religion, can be, and SHOULD be. Open minded, welcoming, understanding, curious. And THIS is what made me love MASH, and how it formed my world view. Listening to what Father Mulcahy says, I’ve tried to incorporate that into my own world view. I’m not particularly religious anymore, but I’m open and ready to learn about ALL beliefs. Pretty good for a half hour sitcom! Keep up the great work guys, that is all!

  3. This is one of my favorite episodes, for all the reasons that you and Bryan get into. Great discussion about religions, Asian actors, and Korean influences in MASH! Please come back again soon, Bryan!

    Although I am an “expert” on Japan, I actually majored in East Asian Studies, and my room-mate in college for two years was Korean. So I know enough to know that the Korean Shaman was real, and that the story-line is legit (I bet it was suggested by one of those old Korean War veterans the MASH creators talked to; the whole thing has a ring of truth to it IMO.) Unlike Catholic priests and nuns, who must wear black, clerics in traditional Korean religions wear red and rainbows. And big hats. 🙂

    Also, I don’t know what idiots on the internet say the spirit pole is in Japanese, but they are absolutely wrong. It is clearly in Chinese characters, which are used everywhere in China, Japan, and, yes, Korea. It’s like the alphabet is used all over Europe, even for different languages like French and Spanish. It’s NOT Japanese. Regardless, the spirit pole goes by too quickly for me to read all of it, but my best guess is that it says something that can be loosely translated as “good tidings for the whole world from above, ” ie not from Hell (hence the devilish face).

    My favorite bit has to be when Hawkeye waves the bells at the OR and then Frank walks out. It makes me laugh every single time.

  4. Thanks for a great episode, chaps!
    When we’re training doctors, we encourage them to ask about and understand a patient’s Ideas, Concerns & Expectations – these often hold the key to why a patient is consulting in the first place, even if the main symptoms might first appear to be fairly minor. For the doctor to put themselves in the patient’s situation builds empathy and means that we suggest treatment plans which will be more appropriate and better received. By recognising and including the beliefs of the native Korean patients, the 4077 doctors make it easier for their sick patient to accept medical care. Good work by the team!

    Hawkeye’s incantation is definitely an odd one:
    *] Acetylsalicylic (acid) is Aspirin.
    *] Phenobarb(ital) is a barbiturate, and works as a short term sedative and anti-seizure medication. Discovered in 1912, it’s use would be a been fairly common in the ‘50’s, but isn’t used much now due to concerns about abuse and side effects in long term use.
    *] Arsphenamine is probably the most obscure to modern medicine – it’s an artificial arsenic-like compound which was the first drug found to be effective against infective microbes, specifically used in the treatment of syphilis. It’s use died out in the 1940s due to the discovery and roll-out of penicillin. However it would be reasonable to think that it would be known to doctors in the 1950s.

    I’ve never used this particular combination of drugs, especially not as a magic spell! If it works (and assuming I don’t get struck off!), I’ll let you know!

  5. As doc says, you need to understand not only the symptoms and physical exam findings but also the patients culture and belief to fully grasp what’s going on. Many times that can start with what is usually my last questions when I talk to a family … ‘what are you worried about and how can I help?’

    But I also love that the staff honors this man’s decisions about his own care. Patients need to consent to treatment!

    I do wonder about the injuries to the man though. How long would it take to find the woman to break the curse? God knows the dance takes long enough! Was this man unstable that whole time? We’re resources used to keep him alive until the curse was broken? And you’d think Hawkeye would be scrubbed and ready to cut rather than sitting in the front row??

    It’s funny. I never thought about these medicine questions when I watched the show as a kid. But watching these again for this show has made me really dissect the medicine more than I ever have. Fascinating.

    Thanks again for a great episode!

    1. The more I listen to MASHcast, the more I envisage a whole other podcast, examining the wider medical issues alluded to in the episode; (interesting pathology, consultation techniques, ethics etc)!

  6. Glad to hear the producers went out and hired a real Korean to do a real ceremony. Gave it some authenticity when they could easily just had some random Asian person dance around and say some made up chants.

  7. MASH always did a wonderful job of highlighting the humanity of individual Korean characters, but this is the first episode (that I can recall), which sought to explore and honor the larger Korean culture. I’ve long wondered how authentic the cleansing ceremony was, and was pleased to learn that they brought in an actual Korean shaman to conduct it.

    Thanks for another remarkable episode.

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