M*A*S*HCAST #114 – Hanky Panky

M*A*S*HCast -  Season 5, Episode 18: Hanky Panky

Special Guest Star: Stefan Van Schaick

Air Date: February 1, 1977

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10 responses to “M*A*S*HCAST #114 – Hanky Panky

  1. Thank you for this week’s episode, i enjoyed it!

    “Hanky Panky” is on my skip-list to be honest, it’s just not for me. BJ is one of my least favorite characters (no disrespect to Mike Farrell or to anyone who likes BJ, of course!). Where this episode fails for me is that I simply don’t care about the cheating storyline. I do like that it is considered a problem here and not just played for laughs like on many other occasions, but it just seems like the most obvious plot to go with. I get that you make bad decisions sometimes, but it just felt unnecessary. Throughout the series we see other ways BJ is worried about his marriage that I think works better, it doesn’t have to be because of another woman. I also don’t think that we see a change in BJ after this episode, it doesn’t really affect him from here on.
    Also, for me – I don’t really see any passion between these two characters (no disrespect to the actors!). I just don’t buy that he would “fall off the wagon” with this particular person. There is that episode in a later season where he falls for that reporter, but says no. I can see why he would be attracted to that character, but the whole thing here just feels a bit… meh.

    I am really repeating myself when it comes to Margaret’s storyline, but I often see her Donald-obsession as more sad than annoying, it is just something so sad about how much she wants this relationship to work, how she wants something (someone) that is just hers. How much she wants that stability.
    With that said – I do think the writers took it too far and repeated it too often. Most viewers won’t see it as sad; they will just see Margaret being loud, bitchy and annoying again, and I think that is a shame.
    As much as I love her character, I wouldn’t have minded seeing it cut for more BJ-focus.
    However, I don’t think it’s really that out of character for her to have this reaction. Remember – we are not that far away from the “Oh Frank”-Margaret, who played their weird games and made googly eyes at every general that passed by. At this point, she is still very much concerned with being with a man, and I am sure being someone’s fiancée made her feel more worthy as a woman. We are still quite far away from the strong, independent “Here’s to me”-Margaret we will see later on.
    Like Sidney says – she is a woman of six kinds of passions looking for a way out, and so far – she lets them out in strange ways.
    But at least she shows some passion, which is more than I can say for BJ and the nurse.
    I also really dislike how they use the storyline of someone trying to force himself on Margaret again and again. It’s not funny, but what is even worse is that I think most viewers will somehow feel bad for Frank – again – and just see Margaret as annoying and mean once again.

    So, not one of the greatest MASH-episodes in my opinion, but I really enjoyed your conversation about it!

  2. Great discussion gents. I’m not sure how I feel about BJ’s infidelity. It does seem kind of random, which lessens the impact and makes it seem more frivolous. Had it been with a recurring character, as Rob suggested, I think it would have had more weight and consequences.

    I don’t know where I quite fall on these “character-busting” episodes like this. I give the creators points for streching the characters, and giving the actors something more to work with. But there’s nothing wrong with BJ being the “good” guy who juxtaposes against everyone else’s raging hormones and lack of fidelity.

  3. Rob, that is a great point about how cool it would have been to see Alan Alda and Mike Farrell act together again following M*A*S*H. They seemed so believable as best friends and it would have been fun to see them again. Your comment reminded me of Alda interacting on screen with another M*A*S*H actor in the Woody Allen musical film called “Everyone Says I Love You” in 1996. The very large and impressive star-studded cast included Alan Alda and David Ogden Stiers. I haven’t seen the movie in years, but I recall their characters very briefly met and said hello to each other at one point, and I remember thinking, wow, Hawkeye and Charles are together again!

  4. Several characters in MASH were dumped via email. In the early season, Radar receives a “Dear John record”. Klinger loses his wife via the mail. A patient has his girl dump him and ask for her picture back to which Hawkeye gathers lots of random photos of women for the patient to send back home. And now Carrie.

    I never cared for the Margaret character after Henry left. She turned shrill, abusive, and completely self centered. Her immediate cruelty to Frank Burns, her comrade through 3.75 seasons, is stomach churning in this season. She reaches her shrill and egotistical peak next year in “Comrades in Arms”. I really wish that when she got married at the end of this season that they would have written her out.

    I don’t remember the source but I seem to recall that this episode was written at the request of Mike Farrell. He didn’t like a line that he had to deliver in “The More I See You” (Have you ever been tempted? No, but it’s another subject) because it made him look like a “goody two shoes”. So he requested an episode to show that he could be tempted.

    Beauty (both physical and internal) is in the eyes of the beholder. I have met several couples who are head over heels in love with each other but I have not seen the physical beauty and being around them for a small amount of time I did not see the inner beauty either. But they found each other captivating. So I have no problems believing that BJ could have a thing for Carrie.

  5. Incidentally, I was in a drugstore today and saw a magazine on the racks: One of those “special edition” magazines titled “The Ultimate Guide to M*A*S*H”, in honor of the series’ 50th anniversary. I don’t know whether you’ll be able to find it on the racks in your area, or how helpful/informative it actually is, but I just thought I’d mention it.

  6. It’s weird, I’m not sure if I’ve seen this episode before. Sadly, I haven’t done a dedicated watch thru before, so it’s entirely possible it’s new to me. But boy, I love Mike Farrell’s performance. There’s a lot of emotions to wrestle with, and he does a masterful job. Pretty amazing.

    In regards to BJ’s attraction to Carrie, I take it to show what BJ’s type is, and thus give us a little clue when Peg is like. They don’t have to say it on screen, and it’s one of the unwritten things about the characters at the 4077th, far from home and loved ones, and perhaps being grateful to find the next best thing. Anyway, just my silly take on it.

    Loved the discussion with Stefan. So many great guest hosts this season!

  7. Howard: Oh! Bob, that’s a stunning setback for a promising young athlete here in the Adultery Avoidance Olympics.

    Bob: it sure is, Howard. So many people had high expectations for this young man. He was undefeated up to this point! And to fall to such a rookie mistake!

    Howard: Yes, going to a distraught young nurse’s private tent to console her over her rocky marriage — at night. Did I mention they were alone? I know his coaching team was in agony on the sidelines.

    Bob: Well, now his mettle will really be tested as we see how well he bounces back from the loss.

    Believe it or not, we had a civilian liaison from our local US consulate on the camp, and she had marriage issues, and I talked with her about it. But not in her pre-fab little barracks room, and not in mine, because that’s against the rules (See? The military CAN learn.). In fact, we had our talks on the picnic table out in front of the Green Bean® (best coffee shop chain in any combat zone), where everybody could see us. There’s a good chance we both remembered this episode, and we didn’t even want raised eyebrows, much less regrets.

    Comedy bits and banal war stories aside, this was a great podcast on a painful episode. Great job to you both! Please have Stefan return!

  8. Not a fan of this one, either. He seemed to fall into bed pretty quickly for being such a devoted husband. If he kissed her and then recoiled in horror for what he did, that would have been better.

    Klinger was seen at the movies with a nurse but I don’t think he ever said he was dating or fooling around.

    Igor mentioned having a wife and a girlfriend.

    Rizzo was always loyal to his wife. Was Zale married?

      1. Forgot that one. Zale even got a talking to about his infidelity from BJ.

        The episode you mentioned was after his divorce.

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