M*A*S*HCast #120 – Margaret’s Marriage

M*A*S*HCast -  Season 5, Episode 24: Margaret's Marriage

Special Guest Star: Scott X

Air Date: March 15, 1977

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15 responses to “M*A*S*HCast #120 – Margaret’s Marriage

  1. I really enjoyed listening to this, thank you for the episode and for a great season! And congratulations on getting married!

    However, I don’t really agree with you on “Margaret’s Marriage”…
    I am not a fan of the episode for several reasons. First of all – I can’t stand Beeson Carroll’s portrayal of Donald. I really hate talking badly about an actor and I’m sure he was a lovely person and is great in other things, but here, it just doesn’t work for me at all. He is tall, handsome and a bit older – like you point out – but there is nothing about his charisma that says strong military guy, West Pointer, the kind of guy who has hot, curtain-ripping shower sex. He gives me accountant-wibes. (Not that accountants can’t have hot shower sex, but you know what I mean 🙂 )
    Just the way he carries himself feels so over the top, and he does this weird thing with his chin. Loretta Swit can have chemistry with a stone from the mine field, but he doesn’t work for me at all.

    I also really dislike the scene where Donald chases Frank down, that feels way too silly. If it had been season 1 or 2 – fine, but not in season 5. The whole way Frank reacts is just way too over the top for my taste too.

    Then there is the whole putting Donald in a cast-joke, I hate it. Way too mean! BJ and Hawkeye were not exactly best friends with Margaret at this point, but they still knew she had a lot of good sides too, that she was a caring person who did not choose to do the best things a lot of the time, but still – they knew there was a lot of good in her. So they couldn’t let her have one moment of happiness, a perfect wedding in a very un-perfect place? No, they had to be the funny, cool guys, making it all about them. This is one of the reasons I never really warmed to BJ, he has this mean side to him, and never really evolves from it.
    Margaret can be quite mean and problematic too, but she would never pull a prank like this, just for the hell of it.

    I do really like the scene with Margaret in the OR, working in her wedding gown, though. Sure, she could have changed, but it’s a very nice visual, and a nice little foreshadowing to “Dreams”.

    I do really like the Klinger-scene too, he is just so sweet. I love how Margaret is so moved by his gesture, her default setting is that everyone is out to hurt or make fun of her (and when you think about BJ and Hawkeye – can you blame her?) and it’s so lovely when she realizes what he has given her. Beautiful!

    I will also say that at this point, I don’t feel sorry for Frank at all. His “goodbye Margaret” is nice, I always enjoy the more serious sides of him we see way too little of, but he had every chance to be with her if he would have wanted. He was never gonna leave his wife, he knew it and Margaret came to understand that too.

    Oh, how I wish they had ended the episode there. I really dislike the very last scene. I like to think of it like the rest of the men simply follows Frank to the showers to make sure that he is okay, they mere thought of everyone – including sweet, fatherly Potter – getting all hot and bothered by what Margaret might be up to with her husband is just too gross. Yuck!

    Being on an episode of the podcast sounds really cool! But sadly, I can be quite eloquent (and longwinded 😉 ) in writing, but when it comes to talking I get incredibly uncomfortable and just starts to babble incoherently… I would probably also forget every work of English I have ever learned, so I would babble incoherently in Swedish. That’s not fun for anyone! By the time “Inga” comes along, maybe my confidence will have grown though, if anyone is interested to hear a Swedish woman’s thoughts on a Swedish female character. 🙂

    Thanks for a great podcast, I truly enjoy it!

    1. MarieKristina, I won’t say you’re wrong, just that there are manly men in the armed forces (a few, anyway) who give off accountant vibes. It may be unsatisfying, but it isn’t unrealistic.

      1. Ah, interesting! I was actually thinking that maybe they did it on purpose. The way Margaret has been talking about Donald all season, you were expecting the love child of Brad Pitt and George Clooney to step out of that jeep, and instead we got… an accountant I actually find that interesting. Prince Charming, hunky, hunky Donald was mostly in her head, and the real life version was much more ordinary. She just really wanted him to be the perfect man, so she saw what she wanted to see.

        1. Agreed. He filled enough of the squares that she was able to mentally fill in the rest. If you think about it, she had to do a lot more wishful thinking with Frank. Donald probably wasn’t as heavy a lift for her imagination.

  2. Can’t believe we’re here, at the end of season 5! Can’t help but feel emotional, nay wistful, as we come to the end of the FRANK YEARS and stand on the precipice of the WINCHESTER ERA. Love this episode, love the podcast in general and can’t wait to dive deeper into the character of Charles Emerson Winchester and his time on the show. Congratulations on your coming nuptials and will be waiting (hopefully) patiently for season 6! That is all!

  3. Did Scott X say “The Ghost and Mr. Chicken”?

    What are the chances that film gets mentioned twice within just a handful of weeks? Stay tuned to this network! More Fritzell and Greenbaum during the hiatus!

  4. What a great talk about such a great episode. Scott X did a great job, no wonder he’s a Brigadier General!

    I have to agree with MarieKristina, though, on her comments about Beeson Carroll. I just don’t see him as this manly man type that Margaret was drooling over all year. I much preferred Mike Henry, who shows up next year. I do wish Donald as a character had shown up a few more times, overall.

    I thought the practical joke that BJ and Hawkeye pulled with the body cast was mean, too. Wouldn’t it have been just as funny if they had only done one leg? Or an arm? It just seemed TOO much, ya know what I mean?

    I agree that Frank was at his best when he says, “Bye, Margaret.” But I kinda like the idea of the guys bonding over thinking about Margaret on her honeymoon, too. It seemed….crass, yeah, but sorta real, too.

    My favorite bits are when BJ and Hawkeye “sub-title” the conversation between Margaret and Donald from across the compound, and later when Potter asks Radar what needs to be done to get married, and Radar rattles off a whole rigamarole of regulations such-and-such what-have-yous, back-slash 35, in triplicate. Makes me laugh every time. Probably was quite the mouthful for Gary Burghoff!

    As for when Larry Linville made his plan to leave known, according to the book THE COMPLETE BOOK OF MASH, Mr. Linville writes that he made it clear that he was not going to sign a new contract *after* season 5 had started. Traditionally contracts are signed and casts are lined up before the half-way mark of the season, say at the winter break or whatever. So it always sounded to me like the producers knew Frank would not be coming back before the end of the season, and that it wasn’t suddenly sprung on them (refusing a contract extension would suggest at the very least the possibility that Larry wanted out.) Also, producer Burt Metcalfe has said that he saw David Ogden Stiers on the Mary Tyler Moore show as her boss and knew then that HE was the actor he wanted to cast. So I think it was a well-known thing. Rob, when you’re visiting Mike Farrell in Mill Valley, why don’t you ask him? 😉

    1. Thank you, Corporal Captain, happy to hear I’m not alone in this! 🙂 Yes, Mike Henry has much more natural charisma than Donald number 1, he brings a great energy to the part in my opinion.

  5. Congrats to you Rob for getting done with 5 seasons of MASHCast! Quite the accomplishment. And kudos to Scott X as well for being such a solid guest for this episode.

    I also have never quite understood what Margaret saw in Donald outside of his classic, lantern-jawed good looks. There isn’t anywhere near the chemistry we saw with Frank in the early seasons. And I agree the body cast is a bit over the line for a ‘prank’. I’m surprised Margaret didn’t bash them on return.

    I agree with you Rob that in reality, Margaret would have put on scrubs before tending to the wounded. If only for easy of movement for her and the people buzzing around her. But it is a perfect visual image to show how medicine is Margaret’s vocation. Above all else, she is going to selflessly provide tremendous care.

    This is the end for Frank Burns and the ‘Goodbye Margaret’ line is ready with all the weight that it needs given his arc with her. Just a wonderful read by Larry Linville. As you (and I and others) have said, this season is a tough one on Frank where he is just overwhelmingly odious. There isn’t much to like and nowhere to really go. And you feel it in that last scene. The only thing that was good for him at any time in the camp was Margaret and now she is literally flying away.

    You probably could have done a season where BJ and Hawkeye try to befriend Frank to help him with his sadness. The problem is there have already been several episodes where people have truly tried to be friends with Frank and it failed. So you can’t really go there. I guess that means it was time for him to leave.

    I freely admit that I like the Frank years way more than the Winchester years. Still a fan of the show. But this episode is the end of my sweet spot.

    Looking forward to season 6 and hoping I snag an episode.

  6. Congrats on finishing Season Five of M*A*S*HCast! Since this is a major turning point in the series, allow me to reflect on the fact that, by pure luck I learned of this podcast right before you released the first episode of Season One, and I have listened to each episode of the podcast on the day it came out. And through this podcast I learned of the entire Fire and Water podcast network, on which I now listen to many shows, given that I am also a Cheers fan and a Bronze Age DC Comics fan.

    Of all the different eras and cast changes in the history of M*A*S*H, I think this episode marks the most definitive turning point in the entire series. It is true that there were more significant cast changes between Seasons Three and Four. But with Frank leaving as well as the change of executive producer, Season Six begins a more dramatic turn. And when Frank delivers what is perhaps his only dignified line in the entire series, I feel that we are all saying goodbye to the era of the first five years.

    I can’t help but feel sympathy for Larry Linville. I found him incredibly talented and funny, and by all accounts he was beloved by his costars. In fact, on the very day I am writing this, it would have been his birthday, and on social media Loretta Swit has shared many photos of the two of them and written about her fond memories of him. I wish he could have continued on the show longer, but I entirely understand his reason for leaving.

    Finally, I have to say I agree that the syndicated version of this episode is better. In my head canon, the button scene does not exist. Frank’s final line of the series is, “Bye Margaret.”

  7. Rob, first and foremost, CONGRATULATIONS! I know some of the wedding guests probably needed the diktat, “No pants, no champagne” (looking at you, Shag). And to Rob and Scott X, thanks for a terrific bow on Season 5.

  8. Charles was a needed chracter hawkeye is like PETER PARKER. it’s his story. We know him we like him. Charles meets this guy named “hawkeye who calls him “Charlie” You would’nt like that guy

  9. Bye, Frank.

    I always saw the button scene in my syndication package. I wasn’t a fan of it, either. Maybe a more poignant scene would have worked better than a high school locker room sex joke.

    I saw the Olympics episode recently and liked Donald II better. He was able to hold his own against Hawkeye in getting to be in the games. I wonder why they didn’t bring the original one back. Maybe he was busy but it seems like they’d have told him to keep his schedule open in case they needed him again. I wonder if they had any intention of making him a recurring character.

    I’ve said this before but they could have done more with Frank but that’s another story. I saw the time capsule episode last week. Kind of neat that literally the last joke ever filmed was on him.

    Agreed on the body cast being rather mean. Her wedding day and her husband isn’t in his dress blues.

    Congratulations again on your wedding. Hope you are happier than Margaret and Donald but I suspect you aren’t a cad so you should be fine.

    Looking forward to mail call for S5.

  10. I guess I’m in the minority on this, but never having seen this episode’s button scene until now, I actually like it. It shows the others having compassion for Frank at a difficult moment for him. And while they may not like him personally, this scene acknowledges that he is very much a part of their wartime family…albeit the idiot child of the bunch. But I thought it was a nice moment.

    I also liked that during the closing credits, the final still shot from the episode is of Frank looking on in quiet resignation as Margaret flies away.

    And I wonder if it was intentional that Larry Linville’s last scene on the series has him going off to take a cold shower, and when the show returns, Frank is gone (off-camera) and in trouble because he jumped into a hot steam bath? Nice little bookends there. 🙂

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