Jeff & Ryan open up the MASH Matters mailbag for another round of listener questions. Topics include Radar’s headgear, military haircuts, background music, the chopper pad, Private Rich’s familiar voice, Igor’s long-lost line, and that one time M*A*S*H popped up on St. Elsewhere. Also, we make a surprise phone call!
Hot Cher-O-Kees! That was supposed to be Igor’s line! (photo courtesy of Eric White)
Click here for more information about the CD of M*A*S*H background music composed by Johnny Mandel
Do you agree with Rolling Stone’s ranking of the top 100 sitcoms of all time?
RIP Nathan Jung
How did Alan Alda get revenge on high school bullies?
Noisy, dusty, and messy
“Paging Doctor Igor” – A Treatment by Philip Raven
The character arc that will be explored is that Private Igor prefers things as they are. Theme emerges in the conversation about how little he enjoyed Tokyo and pays off in the climax.
As we begin: Igor and Hawkeye both independently returned from Tokyo(R&R) and Klinger picked them up from the airport. Klinger is dressed in full nurse’s garb and explains it by saying this helps him get waved through checkpoints (the wardrobe is important later).
Opening: In the jeep ride there’s a bit of banter about how Igor wishes he’d known the captain was in Tokyo at the same time so they could have gone out together which Hawkeye shrugs off with a comical excuse (Igor misses the nuance).
Inciting Incident: Their jeep comes upon a farmer tending to his injured child (perhaps a broken leg). The injury requires Hawkeye’s attention. They are only a few miles from the 4077 and he sends Klinger to go get a medical bag and bring it back. Hawkeye figures he can splint the boy’s leg here, then bring him back to the 4077 to properly treat him.
Rising Actions: Igor asks if it’s ok to be dismissed along with Klinger; “Gee sir, I don’t suppose it’d be ok if I head back too? It’s getting on to be lunch time and someone’s gotta open those cans of bread”. Hawkeye is rather dismissive to Igor and sends them both away. All things being equal, Igor would rather be at the 4077.
The action leaves Hawkeye and follows Igor and Klinger. A short while down the road they hear the beeping from a jeep behind them. BJ pulls alongside and they all stop to have a conversation. BJ is coming back from the 8063rd where he was lending a hand for a day or so and is going back to the 4077 as well. Klinger and Igor explain the situation about needing a medical bag. Amiable BJ reaches into the backseat and produces a bag, tosses it towards Igor’s lap, and says they are welcome to his. He checks one more time with Klinger that he’s sure Hawkeye has the medical situation under control, assured by Klinger’s assessment he roars off.
Klinger swings the jeep into a U-turn and Igor springs into pleadings of ‘wait, let me go with BJ’ before quieting down and realizing it’s too late and he missed his chance to get out of the hassle.
On their way back to Hawkeye and the broken leg, Igor and Klinger’s jeep is intercepted by a North Korean soldier who rushes out from the bushes when they are forced to slow down for a turn. The North Korean needs help with a soldier friend of his who is under duress (note: I realize how similar this situation is to a situation in ‘Best of Enemies’).
Things are quite tense and Klinger and Igor are both faltering under the pressure of the rifle and language barrier. The North Korean is able to use the word “doctor” and Igor steps up. He grabs the doctor bag and proclaims himself to in fact be a doctor and Klinger is his nurse. The North Korean is a bit skeptical, but the bag and uniform are good convincers (insert obvious jokes about a baritone nurse who needs a shave).
Climax: There is a bit of side talk with Klinger and Igor as they approach the situation. Igor assures Klinger that this is the best and seemingly only way to proceed. Thankfully the medical situation is one which appears serious but is relatively manageable for Igor’s abilities. Another soldier has passed out and is laying in the sun.
Igor looks the soldier over and has his eureka-moment. He steps aside to have a ‘medical consult’ with his nurse. Igor excitedly explains that this is just like the lettuce in the mess tent; sometimes it gets too close to the heat lamps and gets all saggy. Klinger is a bit sarcastic and asks “Ok, Dr. Igor, what steps would you recommend in those similar cases?” With some convincing pantomiming, Igor replies that he would move the lettuce away from the heat lamp and spray it with water and add a bit of salt. Klinger is on board and together they drag the soldier out of the sun and into shade. Igor orders Klinger to grab a canteen from the jeep. While Igor is administering the water, he asks Klinger to find some salt tablets in the doctor bag, which they also administer.
The tense situation diffuses quickly when the soldier comes to. He starts conversing with his comrade and Igor and Klinger slink back towards the jeep unnoticed. As they speed away, they have a bit of light-hearted banter about “their next patient” and the medical bag is off to the proper destination.
Every story needs a B-Plot: Charles has never had a hamburger. When Margaret and Mulcahy find this out they make efforts to ensure that he has one for dinner that evening. This could connect to the A-Plot upon Igor’s return in the episode stinger (“you be the doctor; I’ll cook the burgers”). Stinger also gives opportunity to close the episodes arc/theme.
Radar, sans beanie
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