Awesome: M*A*S*H

Original TV series

  • S1E1 - Pilot: The first demonstration of Radar's Spider-Sense:
    Radar: Here they come!
    Spearchucker: I don' hear nothin'.
    Radar: Wait for it...
    [Segues into the Intro Sequence, showing helicopters arriving]
    • Later in the same episode, Radar senses General Hammond's chopper arriving, while standing in a tent full of noisy, drunken revellers.
  • Even though he was the show's usually-deserving butt monkey, Frank Burns was allowed one undeniably awesome moment in a Season Five episode. Margaret has been acting so incredibly tactless and insensitive about her engagement to Donald Penobscot that even Hawkeye and BJ are giving him a break. At the end of the episode, after he's recovered from a mini-breakdown and she's still bragging, he gets her back:
    Frank Burns: Listen, Pierce, why don't you and I go out on the town tonight, hmm?
    Hawkeye: Well, this is so sudden, Frank, I don't have anything to wear.
    Burns: Well, I mean, get a couple of nurses, go over to Rosie's bar, have a little fun.
    Hawkeye: Sounds good to me.
    Burns: There's this little redheaded nurse who's had her eye on me. And tonight her wish will come true.
    Margaret: Do you mean that new girl with the freckles on her nose?
    Burns: Yes, that's the one.
    Margaret: She's a little young for you, isn't she, Major Burns?
    Burns: Oh, I don't know. I thought a little youth might be nice for a change.
It's also heartwarming, because then Hawkeye and BJ laugh, and for quite possibly the first and only time, they are genuinely laughing with Frank as opposed to at him.
  • Frank's first awesome moment came in season one's "Showtime" when he felt that Hawkeye had insulted him one too many times. Over the course of the episode he rigged the still to spray Hawk in the face, pulled the "bucket of water over the door" joke on him and somehow rigged the shower heads to spray in the stalls Hawkeye wasn't in.
  • Winchester gets one at the end of his introductory episode, "Fade Out, Fade In"; when he turns Hawkeye's joke (a snake in the bunk) back on the prankster himself, calmly listening to classical music during Hawkeye's freakout, and responding only:
    Winchester: Please...Mozart.
  • Another for Winchester that may also count as a Tear Jerker - the Season 8 episode "Morale Victory" where he convinces a concert pianist who's had one of his hands irreparably damaged that his musical career is not over, when Charles explains his own frustrated desire to be able to make music. Doubles as a Heartwarming Moment, as Winchester tracks down some piano scores that can be played one-handed - and makes a point of skipping a party that the rest of the unit is having to be with the soldier as he plays Maurice Ravel's Piano Concerto for the Left Hand.
    Charles: Don't you see? Your hand may be stilled, but your gift cannot be silenced if you refuse to let it be... The gift does not lie in your hands. I have hands, David. Hands that can make a scalpel sing. More than anything in my life I wanted to play, but I do not have the gift. I can play the notes, but I cannot make the music. You have performed Liszt, Rachmaninoff, Chopin. Even if you never do so again, you've already known a joy that I will never know as long as I live. Because the true gift is in your head and in your heart and in your soul. Now you can shut it off forever, or you can find new ways to share your gift with the world—through the baton, the classroom, or the pen. As to these works, they're for you, because you and the piano will always be as one.
  • And yet another episode-long one for Winchester that also counts as a Heartwarming Moment - "Sons and Bowlers" - being there for Hawkeye when he's worrying about his Dad going in for an operation (and even revealing that his own father-son relationship had always been strained) while teaming up with BJ to help their unit win the bowling match they had with a rival camp by sabotaging their star player.
    Charles: Where I have a father... you have a dad.
  • Winchester's crowning moment possible comes in season nine, in the episode "No Laughing Matter." The man who reassigned Winchester to the 4077th is visiting the camp, and Winchester has swallowed his pride to try to win the man over and get himself transferred back to Tokyo. Unfortunately, after a long series of mishaps, he offers Winchester a deal - he'll transfer Charles if he testifies against Margaret Houlihan. Winchester's pained expression when he's forced to decide is priceless, but what he does next is both awesome and heartwarming.
    Winchester: As painful as this is for me to say, I must nevertheless unequivocally state...that...(whimper) Colonel Baldwin is lying through his teeth. He offered to have me reassigned to Tokyo if I would bear false witness against Major Houlihan. (turns to Baldwin) I've groveled! I have endured your insufferable cribbage playing. I have kissed your brass. But I will not - even for a return to that pearl of the Orient Tokyo - lie to protect you while destroying a friend's career!
    • Everyone around him immediately applauds. It's also extremely noteworthy that this is literally the first time he's ever referred to anyone at the 4077th as a friend.
  • Yet another for Winchester: The Christmas episode in which he follows his family tradition of donating fancy chocolates to a deserving family.
    • In the same episode, Hawkeye, BJ, Houlihan and Mulcahy team up to keep a soldier from dying on Christmas Day proper, so that their family won't have to remember that as the day they lost their father. Counts as a MAJOR Tear Jerker and Crowning Moment of Heartwarming. They don't even make it on time; they falsify his report to show that he died at 12:30 AM, December 26th.
  • Potter also got one in his introductory episode when he gives Klinger the what for, not at all impressed by the later's Section 8 stunt.
    • And then of course, there was his putting together an elaborate Batman Gambit April Fool's prank on the entire senior staff of the 4077th. Even the prank-ees were applauding when they found out.
  • B.J. got two: being revealed as the prankster at the end of "Dear Sigmund" in the fifth season, and the elaborate prank he pulled on Hawkeye in "The Joker is Wild" in the eleventh.
  • Mulcahy had his when he performed an emergency tracheotomy on the back of a jeep while being shelled with only a skittish Radar for a nurse. Keep in mind Mulcahy is the unit chaplain.
    • He wasn't even doing it with surgical gear. He had a bottle of rubbing alcohol from the jeep's medical bag, a pocketknife, and an eyedropper.
    • He got a better one in "A Holy Mess." He held onto his religious principles against military law, and at the end disarms a soldier pointing a rifle in his face. This is what it means to be a man of God.
      Mulcahy: How dare you! You seek refuge in this house of the Lord when it serves your purpose. Then when it's no longer convenient, you desecrate it by pointing a deadly weapon at another human being.
    • Also when he races against the star runner from another camp, being the only one in good enough shape to even compete. During the race the guy toys with him the entire time letting him get close and then zooming away until Mulcahy pulls ahead at the last stretch. A foot from crossing the line he makes everyone swear to give the money that they were gambling with to the orphanage. Later on you find out that every time his opponent would get close, he would lament about how terrible the conditions were at the orphanage until the guy saw the orphanage for himself and took a dive. A man of God and a smart one too.
    • In another episode Mulcahy hears a confession from a young soldier who had taken a dead comrade's dog tags and discharge papers; his intent is to impersonate his buddy so that he can go home and he asserts that he isn't hurting anyone. Mulcahy arranges for the dead man's mail to be forwarded to the 4077th and reads the soldier a letter from "his" father to show the man that his actions affect more people than just him.
    • Mulcahy gets subtle ones throughout the series. Almost every time there's a betting pool of some sort, Mulcahy wins - and promptly gives the money to the orphanage.
    Hawkeye (to Mulcahy after the priest has won again): Get a little inside information?
    Mulcahy: (wordlessly looks upwards, implying God gave him the info he needed)
    Hawkeye: Name-dropper.
    • His best moment ever: during The Finale when he runs outside through an artillery barrage to rescue a group of PO Ws that are locked up in the middle of the compound.
    • In short, Mulcahy is a Badass Preacher who in the entire course of the Korean War, had a total of two violent moments - once where he kicked a stove after giving a What the Hell, Hero? to Hawkeye (and admitted that it was completely out of character for him), and once when punching a patient who had struck him while they were trying to give him medical aid (which he spent the entire episode angsting about). The man coached boxing and never once aimed to hurt anyone.
  • Even Klinger got one, when he dressed up as the Statue of Liberty, complete with flaming torch, for MacArthur's visit. MacArthur saluted him as he drove by.
    • Another favorite Klinger moment (shared with Mulcahy) was in "Tea and Empathy". Mulcahy heard a confession from a soldier who had helped black marketeers steal penicillin from the camp. Unable to break the seal of the confessional but wanting to help the camp deal with a penicillin shortage, Mulcahy takes Klinger to the site where he was told the black market was keeping the penicillin, under a heavy school bell at a bombed-out schoolhouse. Klinger and Mulcahy manage to retrieve the penicillin, although Klinger ends up losing his dress when it gets pinned by the bell.
    Houlihan: "Go cover yourself, you hairy fool!"
    Klinger: "I am covered! Covered in glory!"
    • Klinger had a bunch of awesome moments, usually coming through when nobody expected he would. This is the guy who walked guard duty in heels and a fur stole...and then one time, used said stole to take down someone who had managed to get his rifle away from him without really hurting the guy. Klinger is the corpsman who hauled litters in heels, set the MASH pole-sitting record in army boots and a nightie, sewed his own wardrobe from scratch, drove halfway across Korea and brought back crates of live crabs and a footlocker full of beach sand for the sake of unit morale, scrounged up everything the unit needed when it needed it most, and concocted endless plans to get himself discharged from the army. Granted, the plans never actually worked, but points for creativity.
    • A relatively small one at the end of "Your Retention Please," where he finds out that his ex-wife is getting his best friend. Klinger spends the entire episode just past the Despair Event Horizon, getting massively drunk, practically nonfunctional from depression, and feels that he has nothing to live for to the point that he reenlists. At the end of the episode, the song that he's been listening to ("their" song) comes on the jukebox in the Officer's Club.
    Klinger: [sits up straight] Would you excuse me for a moment? [gets up, yanks open the lid to the jukebox, and rips the record out of the player, before smashing it] [beat] Any requests? It's my nickel!
  • Radar went out with bang in "Good Bye, Radar: Part 2." Radar and Klinger have been unable to get a new generator for the 4077 when wounded arrive. Radar instead asks his contact for "every jeep and truck" he has and sets up an operating theater outdoors by the light of headlamps.
    • Radar also got a good one in "Out of Sight, Out of Mind", when Hawkeye was temporarily blinded by an exploding stove. Potter sent Radar to contact an eye-surgeon, which led to;
      Radar: Now listen, you dumb clerk, and this time get it right. This is General Walter O'Reilly, three stars and real mad! If Major Overman isn't here by the time they crack my powdered eggs for breakfast, I'll have you digging a latrine for every GI in Korea!!! You got that?! Good!
      • Made awesome by the delivery; Radar sounds just like a general and very unlike himself.
  • Hawkeye in "Goodbye, Farewell and Amen," the final episode of the series.
  • Every time they save someone that you become emotionally invested with through the course of the episode.
  • Moments before a "dead" soldier was about to be shipped out, Father Mulcahy goes to give him last rites, and sees a tear come from his eye...
  • Charles Winchester gets a Crowning Episode of Awesome, when he pulls a flawless The Plan on Colonel Flagg to divert Flagg from his usual fruitless hunts for spies, traitors and Communist sympathizers. Winchester actually nearly gets Flagg to arrest the Mayor and Police Chief of Uijongbu by convincing him that the two are actually North Korean agents. It gets more awesome when the Fridge Brilliance kicks in and you realize that Flagg didn't appear again after that.
  • In "Bug Out", under intelligence that the front is moving, the camp moves out to another site further south... except for Hawkeye, Margaret and Radar, who stick around because they have a patient who literally couldn't be moved in time to join the rest of them. Repeat: they risked their lives/becoming POWs to make sure a patient could walk again.
  • In the pilot, the team needs to come up with money to send the local teen who has been working for them to school; to do this, they concoct a plan by which they will auction off a trip with the hottest nurse in camp to Tokyo. One problem: she's engaged and faithful. They therefore rig it so that Father Mulcahy gets the trip, so that nothing will happen.
  • While away from camp, Margaret and Hawkeye are trapped in a hut by rain and shelling. Margaret has just received a letter from her husband that was meant for another woman (whom he was far more passionate with). After spending their own "passionate night" in the middle of nowhere, Margaret gets back by constructing her own letter describing the events with Hawkeye and mailing it to Penobscott.
  • Hawkeye is the only character to appear in every single episode of the show. Part of this is because Alda was the producer; another part of this is because he did one episode with just him and a Korean family, effectively having a 22-minute nigh-monologue (in the show to keep him from falling unconscious with a concussion).
  • Charles is listening to a USO accordion player perform in the Officer's Club. After Charles makes a few snide remarks, the accordion player walks over to the piano...and proceeds to blow Charles away with a flawless rendition of Beethoven's Pathetique Sonata in C Minor. Immediately afterwards, she pops Winchester's snob balloon by reminding him that the great composers of classical music also wrote dance songs and other ditties, not just grand concertos.
  • Margaret gets one in season 4: Frank's wife finds out about Margaret, so he lies and proceeds to insult Margaret's appearance and even call her a battle axe just to keep his money... Margaret happens to be listening, and is especially mad since Frank just won't leave his wife because he's too weak. He exits Potter's office, where he was making the call - and gets a chair flung at his head by Margaret.
  • Radar gets another in the season 4 premiere "Welcome to Korea": he, Hawkeye and BJ are on their way back to camp from Seoul they come across a Korean farmer making his daughters check a field for land mines to know that it will be safe for the ox. While Hawkeye is yelling at the farmer and trying to get the girls out a land mine goes off. Without hesitating Radar charges into the field, picks up the injured girl, then carries her and leads her sister safely to the jeep. Upon returning to the jeep, he seems almost surprised.
    Radar: I did that? [beat] Boy, that was brave!
  • The 4077th has been getting a lot of "business" from the colonel of a unit who sends his men out to retrieve their comrades who have died in battle, causing them to become casualties themselves. After said colonel visits the 4077th, Hawkeye gives him an "appropriate aloha" - he arranges for a helicopter to fly over the colonel's jeep while he is in it and drop a large amount of garbage all over him.
  • Hawkeye finally swallowing his claustrophobia enough to go inside the cave to help treat a patient during the bug-out in "C*A*V*E".
    • Margaret confronting her fear of thunder to go back to camp with him to perform emergency surgery also counts.
  • In one season 8 episode a Congressional aide comes to the 4077th and accuses Margaret of being a Communist sympathizer, and spends much of the episode harassing her to get her to give him the names of more suspected sympathizers. The aide pays Margaret a little social visit later in the evening and promises to "fix" things for her if she'll sleep with him - only for Klinger to pop out of Margaret's closet and photograph the two of them in a passionate embrace. He, Margaret, Hawkeye, Charles and BJ threaten to send the picture to the aide's wife if he doesn't leave Margaret alone. That would be crown enough, but at the end of the episode it turns out that the Congressional aide got his just desserts when a Stars and Stripes article reveals that his wife had been caught having an affair with the very congressman that he was aide to!
    Margaret: Well, that seems fair. He got the congressman's ear, and she got everything else!
  • Henry had one when he was being threatened with a court martial after Frank and Margaret ratted him out to the Army for giving Meg Cratty supplies for her civilian clinic. At first, Henry is overwhelmed and scared. Just when it looks like he's doomed, Hawkeye, Trapper, Meg and one of her patients walk into the hearing and speak up for him. Emboldened, Henry stands up and forcefully explains how he helped her:
    Henry: May I say something General? Before Meg Cratty set up shop, 7 out of 10 babies born to the hill people never made it past the first few days. My giving her penicillin and whatever just made her job a little easier. No money changed hands and I didn't deprive our own wounded kids of one thing! I'm guilty. That's my explanation. So you can hang my butt from a flagpole!
Henry is cleared moments later.
  • Doubling as a Heartwarming Moment, in a season 10 episode one of Hawkeye's patients is depressed after getting a "Dear John" Letter from his girl, including being asked to return his picture of her. Hawkeye, Margaret and BJ help cheer him up by collecting pictures of women from around the camp to send with a letter asking the corporal's ex to pick her picture out from the bunch and send the rest back to him. Hawkeye's patient adds the crown when he suggests to send the whole thing postage due.
  • When a racist CO is sending the black soldiers in his unit out to where the most intense fighting is so that they will either get killed or injured severely enough to earn a trip back home, Potter hatches a plan to force the man's resignation; he feigns agreement with the CO's racist beliefs and earns his trust. Then he invites the CO back to the Swamp for a drink, where a black major from the personnel office at I-CORPS is waiting inside. The major dresses down the CO and, along with Potter, Hawkeye and BJ, coerce the man into resigning his commission.
    • Doubles as a Funny Moment when the major, who is a actually a captain, is revealed by Potter to be a dentist much to the chagrin of Charles who had been suffering a toothache the whole episode.
    Potter: Doctor Charles Winchester, M.D., I'd like you to meet Doctor Quentin Rockingham, D.D.S.!
    Winchester: (horrified) Deeeeeeentist!
  • After getting his hands on a bottle of good wine Hawkeye places an advertisement on the camp bulletin board seeking a nurse to share it with. The nurses, who are bored and a bit disgusted with his attempts at flirting, decide to get even. They write two lukewarm responses to the ad along with one they know will catch his interest. Then on the night of the date one of the nurses goes into the supply room to meet with Hawkeye. After expressing concern that she won't be enough woman for him she summons the rest of the nursing staff into the room. The nurses split the bottle of wine between them, leaving next to nothing for Hawkeye.
    Margaret: Your wildest fantasy has come true: you've just been had by the whole nursing staff!
  • When Margaret loses her wedding ring and goes crazy trying to find it, Hawkeye, BJ and Klinger have a cheap copy made by a local merchant to replace it. Inevitably Margaret learns of the ruse after she discovers a typo in the ring's inscription and she screams at Klinger to tell Hawk and BJ that their joke failed. Klinger immediately responds that she's wrong: they didn't do it to play a joke on her, but because they just wanted her to have her wedding ring back.
    Klinger: You don't have to be grateful. But would it hurt to at least appreciate the effort?
  • In the second season episode "Dear Dad...Three" Hawkeye operates on a bigoted soldier who is worried about getting the "wrong color" blood. To teach him a lesson Hawkeye and Trapper darken the man's skin with makeup while he's sedated, then once he's awake he's treated as though he were African-American. When the soldier asks them if he received the wrong color blood Trapper and Hawkeye tell him there's no difference between "white blood" and "black blood". They follow up by telling him about how the doctor who pioneered the system for donating blood died after a car accident because the hospital wouldn't treat him because he was colored.note  At the end of the episode the soldier comes into the Swamp to thank Hawkeye. He then turns and offers Nurse Ginger a genuine salute.
  • A relatively subtle one. When Margaret needs a pregnancy test, Radar allows his rabbit to be used, provided the doctors not kill it. Hawkeye and Margaret manage to perform surgery on a rabbit despite having no experience in this field, no training for anesthetizing an animal, and only the vaguest idea of what they're doing.
  • After BJ learns that his wife has taken a job as a waitress in order to make ends meet back home he tries to use gambling to earn more money and turns into a complete jerk. Both Hawkeye and Margaret end up confronting him in the Officer's Club about his behavior, and Margaret gives him such a chewing out that when BJ turns to Hawkeye and tells him its his turn Hawk responds, "I don't think I can improve on that."
    Margaret: How dare you! How dare you stand there and act like your brand of suffering is worse than everybody else's! Well, I guess that's the only way you can justify treating the rest of us like dirt. Well let me tell you something, Sad Sack. If the worst thing that's happened to you is that your pretty little wife has to help pay the bills for a while, don't come to me for sympathy. Maybe you do have the most to lose, but that's only because you've got the most!
  • Hawkeye and an irritating visiting doctor head up to an aid station to temporarily replace a killed surgeon. The station is shelled, and Hawkeye and the visiting doctor each wind up with one arm or wrist broken. Their solution? Put aside their differences and essentially staple themselves together so they can each work as one half of a whole surgeon. And it works.
  • "Exorcism" has the camp experiencing a rash of bad luck after a traditional spirit post was moved from its place. When an elderly man throws himself in front of a jeep to cure his own Demonic Possession, his granddaughter enlists Radar to bring in a local exorcist. In brilliantly colored robes, a tall feathered headdress, a jingling sistrum and a fan, the exorcist dances and chants her way through the entire compound, lifting everyone's spirits. Everything starts working again, and Potter returns the spirit post to its proper place.
    Mulcahy. I wouldn't miss this for the world.
    Hawkeye. Why, you spiritual thrill seeker, you.
    Mulcahy. Wondrous is man and mysterious the ways of God. And I would have no one shield my eyes from the glory of His works.

After Mash

  • Klinger's monologue in the pilot episode.
    Klinger: If it pleases the court I'm a Korean Vet, in fact I'm a Korean Vet if it don't please the court, and things haven't been exactly how I thought they'd be when I was still over there before I came back here. I remember when the GIs came home after World War II, that was like a hit war you know, people threw flowers. A GI'd just open his mouth and somebody'd put a kiss in it. I didn't expect a round the clock parading but didn't think everyone would go into hiding either. It's like the biggest secret of the Korean War is that there was a Korean War. You know what kills me? Nobody calls it that Police Action, Korean Conflict - take it from me, it was a war, it was dirty, it stunk. At least call it what it was.
    Don't get me wrong, Your Honor, I'm no kinda hero, couldn't wait to get over there. First thing I did when I got my letter from my draft board, I tried to shoot my big toe off. I'd have done it, too, only my foot was too fast for me. I'd been a medic, a orderly, a clerk, and most of what they told me to do I couldn't unless I lied a little, stole a little. Somebody'd grab me and say "the ambulance is full Corporal, go get a truck." Only you ain't got a truck, so you run down the road and see a driver from some other outfit in the woods with a copy of Stars and Stripes and his pants are down and suddenly you got a truck. Gets you a laugh in the army, here that gets you two years.
    Judge: Or three.
    Klinger: Anyhow it's been no bowl of roses coming back, I married a wonderful girl overseas, wonderful but believe me Eva Braun wouldn't get the kinda looks she gets over here. We'll be all right though. All I need is time, Your Honor, and not the kind of time you give out. I need to stop taking shortcuts. I gotta put the war, the conflict, whatever the hell they tell me I went through, behind me.
    Judge: You think you can make that adjustment?
    Klinger: I once picked up a heart with my bare hands that slipped out on the table during a operation. I used to have to throw away arms and legs that weren't even twenty yet. In between, I was sleeping on a two inch thick mattress full of three inch bugs and eating food that was prebarfed before we got it. Your Honor, if I can adjust to that...