Recap / M*A*S*H S1 E18: Dear Dad...Again

Hawkeye writes another letter to his father about the recent events at MASH 4077. Unlike the first time where it had a particular plot and a Christmas setting, the events here just seem to randomly come out of the woodwork. This episode is most well-known for Hawkeye's daring bet that because the camp mood has gotten so monotonous, he could walk from the Swamp to the mess tent and order lunch stark naked and nobody would take any notice.

A set of tropes to go with the episode... again

  • And Now For Something Completely Different: The first Dear Dad episode had an ongoing plot set at Christmastime. Here, the story is almost entirely random and the time setting ambiguous.
  • Bait-and-Switch:
    • In the first lines of Hawkeye's letter, he describes something in such a way you would think he's talking about the war.
      Hawkeye: Korea's pretty much the same story. The fighting goes on; the hatred, the violence, the senseless brutality, men behaving like animals. Then of course there's the war.
    • Henry gives Radar his father's pen... to get the coffee out of it after he had accidentally placed it in his mug.
  • Big "NO!": Trapper is getting very tired of listening to Hawkeye's terrible knock-knock jokes.
  • The Cast Showoff: William Christopher displays his piano skills for the first time as Father Mulcahy.
  • Confessional: Captain Casey admits to Father Mulcahy he's not a certified doctor.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: It turns out Frank had one in his childhood; it's what made him the person he is.
  • Deadpan Snarker:
    • The O.R. scene, early on in the episode:
      Trapper: [in disgusted shock] Oh, wow, what a mess. Stomach, kidney, liver...
      Hawkeye: What is this? An organ recital?
      Frank: Keep it down. I'm doing something very difficult here.
      Hawkeye: Trying to tie your shoe again, Frank?
      Frank: Colonel Blake, could we have some measure of military discipline?
      Trapper: Good idea. Everybody up for callisthenics.
      Hawkeye: Care to join me for some push-ups, Hot Lips?
      Margaret: [offended] Oh really!
      Henry: KNOCK IT OFF!
    • Henry, in response to Frank's hysteria.
      Henry: How the hell did you get in the army, Frank?!
    • Frank practically invites another from Hawkeye at the end of the O.R. scene.
      Frank: Can't you ever be serious?
      Hawkeye: I tried it once. Everybody laughed.
    • When Hawkeye loses a bet to Trapper, who demands his winnings right there and then
      Trapper: Fifty dollars.
      Hawkeye: I left my pockets back at the Swamp.
    • Radar mentions it's final week at the school he's doing a correspondence course with.
      Henry: And you want me to take you to the senior prom, right?
    • Hawkeye (and Trapper) are being kept up at night due to Frank's drunken singing. Every time they tell him to shut up, he manages to remember a song with the particular words they used, driving Hawkeye to do this.
      Hawkeye: I sure hope that's not a song.
  • Determinator: Hawkeye states that Klinger will stop at nothing in trying to get out of the army.
  • Distinction Without a Difference: This is how Henry replies to Radar asking if his performance at his test so far is a problem. It's also how he reveals he knows Radar's cheating.
    Henry: No, no. No. No, your answers are right. You just memorised them in the wrong order.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: Frank gets really drunk after a severe breakup with Margaret.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: As with the first Dear Dad episode, there are inconsistencies with Hawkeye's life back home that conflict with the later and more well known one he has in Crabapple Cove. This time, his mother is alive and he has a sister.
  • Fanservice: Hawkeye's fifty dollar bet with Trapper results in this.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: Hawkeye briefly wonders why Father Mulcahy hasn't gone deaf from the sound of all the commandments being broken around him. Fast forward to the Series Finale.
  • I Need a Freaking Drink: Hawkeye and Trapper are stunned stupid when Frank says he wants a martini.
    Trapper: A drink? You, Frank?
    Frank: A double.
    Hawkeye: Frank, if you have a drink, you'll loosen up. You might even smile. Frank, you could break your face!
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: In the letter to his dad, Hawkeye questions his belief in ESP and how it concerns Radar's ability to sense things and read people's thoughts.
  • Naked People Are Funny: Hawkeye bets that he can walk into the mess tent and order lunch stark naked and nobody in the camp would notice.
  • Narrating the Present
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: Frank wants a martini double. Hawkeye and Trapper are gobsmacked.
  • Primal Fear: Frank panics when shells hit the compound, take out the power generator, and the lights in the O.R. switch off.
  • Scenery Censor: Played to full effect in the episode's most well-known scene.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Signature Scene: Hawkeye walking through the camp and into the mess tent wearing only his officers' cap and army boots.
  • So Unfunny, It's Funny: Hawkeye's knock-knock jokes.
  • Sudden Musical Ending: Not the ending per se, but before The Stinger, much of the main cast put on a performance of My Blue Heaven.
  • That Reminds Me of a Song: Frank becomes this when he's in a drunken mood.