There is a scene in the first series of M*A*S*H where, while Hawkeye is complaining about the food, he tells a joke: "Did you hear how one MASH unit halves their casualty rate? They shot the chef."
Now, in Fawlty towers, there is a running gag on how Mr. Fawlty was in the Korean War and how he "killed four men". One time Sybel tells a customer "he was in the catering core, he used to poison them." and Mr. Fawlty often complains of painful shrapnel in his leg...
There are multiple MASH universes
Think about it, the show starts in 1952. Later on it is 1950. An explanation for this is that the show is actually multiple alternate universes. Each universe has differences. In one universe Colonel Potter didn't show up until 1953. In another universe Henry Blake was sent home very early in the war. This would also explain why in some episodes Hawkeye is from Vermont, his mother is still alive, and he has a sister. Several MASH universes exist.
Colonel Flagg appeared in disguise in the episode Deal Me Out
Colonel Flagg was a self proclaimed master of disguise and CID man. In the episode Deal Me Out a CID man, played by Edward Winter, appeared and played Poker with several people including Sydney Freedman. In the episode Quo Vadis, Captain Chandler, Flagg asked Freedman, "Didn't we play poker once?" Flagg wanted to survey the 4077 in Deal Me Out, hence the disguise.
The 4077th is a 1970s zone in 1950s Korea.
Think of The Brady Bunch Movie
and how the Bradys were still stuck in the '70s during the '90s. Well, M*A*S*H
is the same thing, but in reverse. It's the 1970s at the 4077th, but everywhere else it's still the 1950s.
Think about it. If people stayed at the 4077th long enough, they developed '70s sensibilities, '70s hairstyles and a supply of pop culture references that postdated the Korean War. For instance, patients regularly went into the camp with '50s views and left it converted to a '70s way of thinking. In the case of Frank Burns, he attempted to maintain his '50s views while constantly living in the '70s zone and naturally went mad. Also, consider B.J.'s look when he first arrived and how his look changed after he absorbed enough of the '70s atmosphere.
Meanwhile, military officials outside the '70s zone were totally baffled by the 4077th since they could only relate to its members with a '50s mindset. As for Dr. Freedman, he only started to fit in at the 4077th because he hung out there so much. Remember he was actually a bit of an ass when he was first introduced on the show.
- Except Sidney really wasn't that much of an ass, he got along well with Hawkeye, Trapper, and the rest of the crew, he's such a nice guy he can even be nice to Frank. At worst he was mildly surprised and privately amused at the shenanigans going on at the 4077th, which never really changes. The worst thing he did was he took Klinger's own schtick and turned it against him to get him to (temporarily) drop his request for a section eight, which was exactly what Henry wanted anyway because the fact of the matter is no matter how much trouble Klinger causes he's still a good soldier and medic who doesn't allow his antics to get in the way of his duties.
- Sidney's only real offensive moment was when he found out that the 'psycho case' he was supposed to be interviewing for a recommendation for a Section 8 was Klinger. Sidney was okay, he was just upset that he'd been dragged away from patients who really needed help.
- Also, this area is still 20 years ahead, and suffers from a high rate of car theft due to the South Korean auto industry stealing specimens of their own future products to reverse-engineer. This explains why Korean cars improve by leaps and bounds with each new generation but never quite catch up to Japan and Europe.
This explains why years keep repeating. It also provides an explanation for the above theory: the 4077th went through so many permutations that they advanced onwards to the 1970s, leaving the rest of the world back in the 1950s.
- Except in this loop, the people keep aging, a condition that's unknown to them. That's why they continued to refer to Radar as a kid when he was already 37 years old. This would also explain why the patients that were treated at the 4077th got older as the season wore on, too.
All the temporal continuity issues in M*A*S*H and any disfavored episodes can be attributed to Hawkeye's delusional mind.
Technically, this could go as far as it needs to, in order to fit the series into the time frame of the Korean War.
- It also explains why the later episodes became more and more about him, as he descended further into self-absorbed madness.
- It would also explain the increasing darkness and intensity of his breakdowns, from just making one up in a Season One episode to being bent and broken for good in the grand finale.
- Or... He is in fact in a 1970s mental hospital, reliving distorted memories of his Korean War experiences. This would explain both the numerous anachronisms and the inconsistent time-looping.
- And the glimpse of the mental hospital we get in the last episode is actually the only thing that is real, it's an actual 1970's mental hospital. Sidney Freedman is Hawkeye's 1970's doctor, whom Hawkeye retroactively inserted into his memories as Sidney questioned him about them. The therapy was obviously unsuccessful, as instead of being released into normal life Hawkeye descends even further into hallucinatory madness and fantasizes that he has returned to the 4077th.
- But in the end Sidney himself sends Hawkeye back, suggesting that even if it is a hallucination of his delusional mind he still has business there he must take care of before he can ever leave and move on with his life, most likely the repressed memory and the final operations he performed on people who very likely never made it. He had to confront the fact that he couldn't save everyone and the fact that peace doesn't mean people stop dying. Sidney leaves the O.R., realizing that this is something Hawkeye must confront alone if he's ever to have any kind of closure. In the end Hawkeye not only leaves the 4077th, but Korea, which would suggest that he's made his peace with all he experienced there and can finally start to pursue a normal life.
- Or, instead of being sent home, he still has issues resulting in a second breakdown, and is sent to a mental institution shortly after the events of the finale. Sidney was real and was his doctor in the Korea, he just remembers Sidney well into the '70s.
- Or, everything, including his final breakdown and war's end, are memories. He just inserted his current doctor-Sidney- into his memories.
- Alternately, an aging Grandpa Pierce is telling these stories to his grandkids as wartime anecdotes, and he's long since lost track of when their events took place and which of the accounts he just made up. The 1970s or post-70s attitudes are a result of him adjusting the stories to suit, first his kids' tastes, then his grandkids'.
It's all a psych test
After the war ended, the American government made a deal with Korea, or had them bug out to a neutral zone, because the group had been chosen as a test group to see how long a bunch of people could be kept in a hostile combat zone before they would be more sad to leave than happy to go. The characters who were removed without being pronounced dead, such as Trapper John, had either figured it out or were throwing off the statistics. There were multiple groups subject to this test, and they happened to be one of the groups that were told the war was over after an extra 12 years, and had a bunch of stuff happen that would test the remains of their sanity (The "chicken" on the bus was a final way of hitting the most upbeat person where it would most hurt their spirit, and why do you think Father Mulcahy wasn't hit by any shrapnel, just a shock wave?) This is, of course, entirely justified by the idea that American government agents are allowed to be sadistic psychologists, if it's in the name of "science"
(or at least with a decent excuse).
- Alternately, it's not the 70s at all: it's actually a test being done in the future, far enough ahead that they don't actually know the difference between '70s culture and '50s culture. They were (will be) using different sets of clones with the same sets of memories, and the same "title" for each character- Hawkeye for the happy-go-lucky manic-not-depressive surgeon, BJ for his Put on a Bus partner and BJ for his replacement, Burns for the belligerent thinks-he-knows-it-all, Houlihan for the snarky love interest. Two of the same O'Reilly series clones (Radar) happened to be used for the groups of the movie and the television series.
- For this theory to work, it would have to explain the source of the hundreds of wounded soldiers that the 4077 treats. Researchers could be remorseless sociopaths back in the day, but it seems unlikely that they'd intentionally critically wound hundreds of people just to maintain the illusion.
and The X-Files
are set in the same continuity, and either Bill Mulder or the CSM was Major Flagg (Ed Winter's character) from M*A*S*H
This theory depends on how much of the Cigarette Smoking Man's back story (as shown in "Musings of a CSM") we accept. The theory depends on the similar characteristics and back stories of X-Files characters Bill Mulder and the Cigarette Smoking Man (CSM) and M*A*S*H's Colonel Flagg. Bill Mulder was an agent of the Cigarette Smoking Man who worked with the Conspiracy. If we accept CSM's early back story from "Musings," we also have the fact that both CSM and Bill Mulder knew each other when they served in the Army in the late fifties/early sixties. Earlier in his career as an MIB, Bill Mulder had hunted communists in the State Department. Flagg was a mysterious military MIB who impersonated other officers, carried out secretive and sometimes self-contradictory missions, spoke in hyperbole and threats, and was obsessed with hunting communists. He came with loads of fake IDs, so we can safely guess that Flagg wasn't his real name. It was either (Bill) Mulder or the nameless CSM.
Also, it is common knowledge that M*A*S*H
and The X-Files take place in the same universe.
Further similarities between the X-Files and M*A*S*H include:
- Paranormal activity: both shows frequently featured near-death experiences, one episode of M*A*S*H featured the disembodied, self-aware ghost of a dead soldier and suggested the existence of an afterlife. Father Mulcahy often pulls off miracles. And Klinger once ATE A JEEP. The 4077th is located in the Korean version of the Bermuda Triangle where the camp is unstuck in time, fluctuating between the fifties and the seventies, for eleven years throughout a two-year long war.
- Don't forget Radar's ability to hear things long before anyone else could and how he knew what everyone was going to say before they said it, even to the point that they would have to come up with something else to try to trick him.
- Flagg is a Colonel.
Problem is, his usual methods of sowing chaos for The Red King only work on people who take themselves too seriously, like the weaker minds in The Stand
and The Dark Tower
, or Frank Burns. He was forced to resort to the oft-cited temporal whammy on the medics, but it left his form in the MASH universe in a state of growing increasingly caricature-like. Like faith for those in The Stand
, and like ka for those in The Dark Tower
, the 4077th's sense of humor broke the Walkin' Dude's power there.
He was secretly evaluating Pierce for recruitment in the 1950s Suicide Squad
Klinger doesn't want to get out on a Section 8. He just wants to be the center of attention.
With all the talented people in the unit, Klinger needed a gimmick to get attention. Compared to the doctors, nurses, and even Radar who was a gifted clerk with a kind of clairvoyance, Klinger could have faded into the background if he didn't have something to get everyone's attention, so he started wearing dresses and pretended he was trying to get out for being crazy. Any time one of his stunts came close to working, Klinger would sabotage himself. When Radar left, Klinger became the clerk and suddenly everybody needed him. With his need for attention satisfied by his job, he was able to stop wearing dresses and stopped pretended to try to get out of the Army.
- More evidence of this appears when the doctors are about to go make a swap of wounded prisoners. When Klinger finds out, he volunteers to drive the bus even though Radar was already going.
- Sidney Freedman actually offered Klinger a discharge at one point, and Klinger refused it ostensibly because he would be labeled a homosexual in the discharge papers—after he had spent his entire military career trying to convince everyone he met that he was a transvestite.
- This troper figured that if he was pronounced "crazy" under a general Section 8, Klinger could still find good work in Toledo's Grey Market economy, with the transvestite thing waved off as stress or acknowledged as a dodge. Being labeled as a homosexual, especially in the 50s and in (what I assume to be) a family of Lebanese Catholics, would mean instant ostracism at best.
- Klinger implies a few times that his family is Muslim (various refereces to Allah stand out), although Mulcahey once references him as an athiest.
- He also mentions he gave it up for Lent when Mulcahey says that.
M*A*S*H takes place in an alternate universe where the Korean War lasted for almost 9 years longer than it did in the is reality.
The proof? The overly lengthy war...the even lengthier hairstyles not in fashion in this universes' 1950's...the surprisingly modern views towards women and minorities...the lack of smoking in later episodes....the lack of military discipline or order...and the relative lack of friction between the Korean population and the characters.
Clearly this show was not set in this universe....
Or at least has ESP and/or some kind of psychic abilities. Both the former
and the latter
have been explored in Fan Fiction
Radar is autistic or possibly retarded.
This would explain how he was seemingly wise for a kid in early episodes, but then regresses in later episodes. He's also fairly good at complex problems at times, but then can't accomplish everyday tasks.
Despite being in his 30s, he thinks of himself as a 15-year-old kid. That's why he gets shy around women and can't drink alcohol.
- That's ridiculous. Radar was just a socially awkward, developmentally stunted young man who possessed unusually strong organizational talents and had almost supernatural auditory perception. That doesn't mean—holy crap, you're right! Radar had Asperger's!
Radar is a chameleon-arched timelord
He detects future events subconsciously because of it. This is how he knows the choppers are coming before anyone else can here them. He also foresaw Henry Blakes' death. He wasn't just sad to see him go at the scene where he's leaving the 4077th, he's seen him die, but knows there's nothing he can do about it.
The 4077th is purgatory for army medics
Just like Life On Mars
and Ashes to Ashes
provide purgatory for Coppers, so the 4077th gives a place for those army doctors and corpsmen who have seen too much to work out their issues and move on. That is why it is a mishmash of 50s-70s stuff.
Hawkeye and Trapper pretend to be opposed to the war, but in reality, they're communist sympathizers.
I think Frank was onto something
when he accused Hawkeye of mutiny and attempted to have him court-martialed. Examples:
- When Frank gets an anti-aircraft gun, Hawkeye sabotages it to keep Frank from shooting down a North Korean plane that has been dropping (by hand) small bombs near the camp.
- Wasn't there a regulation against MASH units having weaponry on base? And the NK pilot was some nutcase thinking he could be a hero.
- No, there's no such regulation prohibiting medical personnel from keeping or using weaponry, then or now. They are permitted to carry rifles, their sidearms (as officers, it is an entitlement), and even grenades. There is a regulation against chaplains from having weapons, but that only dates to about 1980 - in Korea, they were encouraged to carry sidearms because the KPA singled them out for execution. Charlie's plane has communist markings, something a civilian nutcase wouldn't have.
- As a medical unit, the 4077 wasn't supposed to have heavy weapons like that (this was referenced later on when Hawkeye 'won' a Howitzer). Also, if a medical unit was reported to have shot down a NK pilot, then the 4077 would be hit in full force, more than the small number of troops stationed there for protection would be able to handle.
- Gee, it's not like they could, you know, move to a different location. This is supposed to be early in the war, when M*A*S*H units were exceptionally adept at mobilisation and could move at practically a moment's notice. It was only after the battlelines stablised and the need to bugging out decreased, resulting near disasterous attempts in late 1952-53 (the comments in earlier seasons about spending considerable amounts of time in one location, and acting as though moving to a new location was completely foreign to the camp are totally inaccurate).
- After sabotaging Frank's efforts to shoot down the enemy plane, Hawkeye and Trapper guide his AA crew to aim for the ammo dump, resulting in its destruction. They have no concept of what the lost ammo would mean to US troops in the sector.
- They are more concerned with the attacks on the hospital at that time. Besides, the general responsible for positioning the ammo dump near the hospital acknowledges that his actions are barely legal (at best) under international law).
- No, he never says any such thing. He mentions its proximity to a MASH unit means it couldn't be bombed without also attacking a protected unit, which isn't illegal.
- However, placing an ammo dump in such close proximity to a medical unit would strip the medical unit of its protected status, which is what led to the bombings in the first place.
- An ammo dump located in the vicinity of a medical unit does not stip that unit of its protected status. Charlie was bombing the dump regardless of what collateral damage he caused, and the DPRK was not concerned with international regulation (they executed chaplains on capture and their snipers used the Red Cross painted on medics' helmets to aim).
- When a soldier pays off a gambling debt with a piece of artillery, Hawkeye sabotages it. He claims he did it because the gun's presence was drawing North Korean fire, but sabotaging the gun doesn't change its presence. It just keeps it from being used later to kill North Korean soldiers.
- It was drawing fire, and see above re: anti-weapon regs.
- Yet Hawkeye does nothing to actually remove it from the camp, he just prevents it from being used again, despite being given a list of artillery units who would be more than happy to accept it. And, despite it be his gun, he for some reason feels the need to sneak around at night to disable it, as if he weren't allowed to do anything with it or if it was actively being used by an artillery unit. And Hawkeye didn't want to remove it from the camp in the first place; Potter had to order him to get rid of it, and Hawkeye fought him the entire time.
- When a lone North Korean sniper shoots at the camp, Hawkeye comes up with a plan to surrender, and he and Trapper attempt to surrender the entire camp to the lone soldier.
- Because if they issue a surrender, they can at least get their wounded into OR safely. Hawk's a doctor first, a soldier twenty-eighth.
- How does surrendering to a single sniper allow them to treat wounded? And Henry was ordered specifically not to surrender. And how, exactly, were they supposed to know it was just a single soldier with a captured rifle, and not a larger force ready to attack the camp? And the sniper fired at Hawkeye when he tried to surrender (against orders), so again, how does surrendering help?
- Hawkeye refuses to fire his weapon at the enemy even when the enemy is firing at him.
- It's called "conscientious objector" status, and it's still recognized now.
- Yet many of his actions go beyond objector and are downright treasonous.
- Hawkeye and Trapper operate on North Koreans and Chinese before operating on Americans, sometimes using valuable supplies on North Koreans instead of using them on Americans.
- Again, doctor first. His triage decisions ignore that pesky nationality business.
- They falsify documents to get willing, effective soldiers sent home, but send cowards, homosexuals, and racists back to the front, probably to sabotage the units, knowing the presence of cowards, homosexuals, and racists is bad for morale.
- They get overeager kids who signed up for stupid reasons sent home. Glory seekers can be more dangerous in the field than "cowards, homosexuals, and racists".
- Most of the willing soldiers that they send home are not capable of being effective in the army anymore, i.e. the soldier who lied about his age to get into the army or those who had been too badly injured to continue serving in the military. The brand 'coward' was shown more often than not to be situational or caused by battle fatigue, and rarely was it demonstrated that it was an inherent personality trait of the individual i.e. the soldier who starved himself after his buddies were killed on Thanksgiving. The homosexual was willing and able to serve, just not legally. The doctors were willing to pull strings to help him thanks to their anachronistic sense of morality. The two most racist characters they encountered were the soldier who wanted his own color blood and the CO who was intentionally putting his black soldiers into harms way. The first one got an Aesop delivered intravenously, and the other they managed to get out of the army.
- Hawkeye helps a North Korean doctor slip into character and assume an identity as a South Korean doctor, then helps him get transferred to a South Korean unit.
- Helping a doctor be a doctor under better conditions? Le gasp! The evil!
- Hawkeye recognized the man's skill and helped a defector get in place to assist allied troops. No real issue there.
- They replace Frank's weapon with various other items, including a toy pistol, possibly in an attempt to get Frank killed.
- More like to keep Frank from getting killed. Frank was an idiot and possibly a glory seeker.
- Even more likely to keep Frank from killing the people around him. His tendency to pull the trigger while aiming at random people has been expounded above, and he even managed to shoot BJ one time.
- When the doctors go to do a prisoner swap at Rainbow Bridge, Hawkeye and Trapper try to befriend the enemy and seem at-ease with the North Koreans and chastise Frank for disliking them. This gives the impression that Americans with guns are bad, but North Koreans with guns are okay.
- Frank was the one who broke the terms of the agreement of the patient exchange, no matter how ridiculous his gun was. He jeopardized a chance to get their patients back safely.
- They were trying to establish a connection with the North Korean officer in hopes of making these exchanges a semi-regular event, and because they were outgunned roughly 20-1. That's a bad time to be throwing around attitude.
- When Trapper's friend (an intelligence officer) visits the camp, Trapper and Hawkeye get him into conflicts with Colonel Flagg, wasting the time of two intelligence assets that could be working on the war instead of wild goose chases created by two doctors.
- Oh yeah, Flagg was clearly competent at his job. Methinks you're protesting too much.
- Trapper's friend seemed competent at his job, or at least more competent than Flagg. Plus, this was back when Flagg was a serious threat and reasonably competent.
- Hawkeye stands by his Hippocratic oath when he doesn't want to do something, but dismisses it if it lets him do something he wanted to do, like drugging Frank so he can throw a party.
- Wait, how does drugging Frank do him harm? All Hawkeye did was get the reg-happy idiot out of the way painlessly.
- Or when he performs unnecessary appendectomy on Colonel Flagg and the colonel in "Preventative Medicine". In the latter, BJ calls him out for it, but this doesn't stop him.
- Hawkeye removing the appendix (both times that he did it) was his attempt at invoking the Zeroth Law, meaning he sought to do the least damage to the least number. He was able to rationalize breaking his Oath by reasoning that he was saving that many more lives. The rationalization was blown up in his face shortly thereafter when BJ informs him of incoming wounded.
- On their second run-in with Flagg, Hawkeye and Trapper stop Flagg from taking a North Korean prisoner to Seoul by putting Klinger in a stretcher in the prisoner's place. What happens to the prisoner after that is not revealed in the episode, but knowing Hawkeye, they probably fixed him up in a South Korean uniform and got him a job in a South Korean unit.
- Assumptions do not a solid case make.
- The more valid question in this case is how they kept Klinger from getting put in front of a firing squad for taking the prisoner's place.
- When Hawkeye is the pay clerk in Payday, soldiers approach his table and salute him. Instead of returning the salute, Hawkeye raises his right hand in a limp attempt to wave, but this actually looks more like the Nazi indoor heil.
- I don't think I understand what this last point has to do with him being a Communist sympathizer? I suppose that he is associating the U.S. army with fascists? I realize this is all in good fun, but I find it odd and troubling that the implication that being critical of the U.S. military means one should be suspected of being a traitor. Isn't it interesting that, in the 70s, a popular sitcom could have a conscientious objector as its key protagonist? Would this fly today?
- I think it would fly today as long as Hawkeye was anti-war and didn't use so many anti-American statements.
- Yes, many of Hawkeye's actions are not just in opposition to the politics of the war. He goes beyond the definition of an objector or protester and commits several subversive and traitorous acts.
- This is actually a common trait amongst staff officers even in the modern military. Medical officers (more often than not) see themselves as doctors first and soldiers second, so they are more lax on military protocol than career soldiers. Flimsy salutes, failure to show proper military regard, and other similar things are commonplace (and would have been even more so amongst draftees) in a war that they disagreed with).
- When a wounded female guerrilla is treated at the camp, a South Korean officer known for torturing prisoners (played by Mako!) comes to the camp to take her when she is ready to travel, Hawkeye refuses to believe she could possibly be a guerrilla, even after she tries to kill a wounded US soldier (albeit found by the staff collapsed by his bed, with the unit of blood smashed on the floor) and when the officer spells it out that her life meant more to Hawkeye than it is to her, he still refuses to believe him, even attempting to evacuate her, disobeying orders from both Potter and I-Corps that he was not to interfere, yet he identified a group of Koreans as guerrillas in Welcome to Korea when they vanished into the woods and started firing on him, BJ and Radar.
- For part one, do I really have to raise the "doctor first" flag again? For the second, let's see, combatants who apparently know the woods like the backs of their hands and are firing on people in American uniforms. Plainly this is a US platoon we're talking about here.
- Just watched the episode in question, "Guerrilla My Dreams", and some of the facts are wrong. Hawkeye never insisted that the woman couldn't be a guerrilla, simply that he didn't care whether she was or wasn't. The incident where she tried to kill a soldier was misinterpreted as her being disorientated by the entire camp, not just Hawkeye. At the time Hawkeye tried to evacuate the woman, there was still room to believe she might be innocent and the line about Hawkeye caring more about her life than she did came after that. On the other hand, the episode does rely on a False Dichotomy, where the only options are torturing her to death or letting her go scot-free. And Hawkeye does seem to be opposed to her being interrogated on principle, even before he finds out torture would be involved.
- The woman, guerrilla or not, was his patient. He simply refused to allow his patient to be handed over to torture and certain death on the assumption that she was an enemy. The guerrillas he identified in the other episode were more an example of pattern recognition, as he had heard stories about that very same time of incident happening and had likely had it happen to him before. Also, Radar backed him up on that one.
- Hawkeye seems vehemenly opposed to releasing her before interrogation is even mentioned, and the only proof we get that Mako tortures prisoners is a rumour and hearsay at best by someone with the 4077, and we never get any real confirmation.
- If someone says something bad about the United States, Hawkeye will join in on the bashing, but if you say something bad about the Chinese, like Frank did when he called them the Yellow Horde, Hawkeye will threaten you with bodily harm despite claiming to be a pacifist.
- Referring to China as the "Yellow Horde" is racist. You don't have to be a supporter of China's communist government to think that's wrong.
- When Colonel Flagg appears after black marketeers attempt to steal some penicillin, Flagg tries to steal the penicillin himself, explaining to Hawkeye that he can barter the penicillin for information that will end battles sooner and help American troops avoid deadly ambushes. Hawkeye doesn't even bat an eye at this, even though he's supposed to be more interested in saving lives and preventing bloodshed. I can't help but think that if a North Korean was stealing supplies for the same reason, Hawkeye would have even helped him load the truck and would have helped him forge a pass to make it past checkpoints.
- See above re: Flagg and assumptions.
- The thing about Hawkeye is that he ignores the politics surrounding a patient and focuses on those who are wounded. He doesn't care so much about hypothetical patients next week as he does about the person who is dying of an infection right in front of him. To him, the war isn't about millions of soldiers fighting, it's one patient that he treats and, when they are taken care of, he moves on to the next one.
Hawkeye is in fact a reality warper with very little control.
This has more to do with some of the odder events in the camp. Hawkeye comes to a mostly functioning MASH unit and it ends up becoming rather anarchic, but also ends up having one of the most effective survival ratings of any other unit. As a side note, it is assumed that Hawkeye is only barely aware of these abilities if he is aware of them at all. Hawkeye's abilities might only be tied to that area of Korea however, seeing as they seem to not work when he's in other locations, examples as follows:
- Early on he could get nearly any woman he wanted with a relative minimum of effort. Women seemed to fall over themselves for him, now later on it got harder and harder to the point where he was getting shot down heavily, could be his charm expired or maybe they had become immune to his ability to shift how things worked.
- More likely, he simply spread his powers too thin, as he was trying to bed all the women all the time.
- Colonel Blake was a friend to Hawkeye, and you'll notice that even when he could (and possibly should) have had the weight of the army's bureaucracy land on him something would bail him out. Hawkeye's abilities though likely have a bit of a snapback effect once you leave their aura, his protection had build up a big debt which was paid over the sea of Japan.
- Also explains Franks Flanderization, in the beginning he was a mediocre surgeon but was still at least mildly capable and while not the hero he imagined himself showed a willingness to risk himself to save a child. Hawkeye's dislike for him began to shift Franks personality and caused him ill fortune. (When Frank got home there was a backlash effect on it, in essence all of the 'bad' caused to him by Hawkeye's power was now counterbalanced, hence his being cleared of charges, promoted, etc.)
- Radar started off as much more canny and cunning, perhaps initially shaped that way, Hawkeye saw his youth and knew he was a farmboy, hence Radars gradual shift to being a more naive kid that hadn't ever drunk anything stronger than a grape nehi.
- Might also explain why the army tried to keep weapons or other strategic supplies near the 4077, they weren't aware of Hawkeyes abilities but knew that SOMETHING was off about the camp.
- Might also explain some of Margaret's character shifts. Initially she might have simply been caught in the effect of what happened to Frank, but as more things went wrong for her he felt sympathy and things changed.
- It might also explain why the war seemed to go so much longer, in this case Hawkeye's thoughts that the war would never end actually kept drawing it out, meaning that in their world the Korean war lasted several more years.
- Also could explain people like Flagg, assuming that he was mildly competent outside of the camp in it he was more or less subject to Hawkeye's views on the military system and this his disguises failed and his plans often backfired.
Trapper died on the way home
When Henry was killed, Hawkeye had an off-screen Heroic BSOD
(similar to the one he had prior to the finale), which is why he was on R&R when Trapper was sent home. However, Radar got word that Trapper had also died en route to the States, or shortly after arrival. Instead of telling Hawkeye, he kept that information from him for fear of triggering another episode. Any letters that might have arrived from Trapper's widow were intercepted by Radar, which is why he became so much more compulsive about keeping people out of the incoming mail as the series went on. When Radar left, he confided the truth to Klinger, who agreed to maintain the charade. Any letters and telegrams that Hawkeye sent were intercepted by Radar/Klinger, and anytime that Hawkeye might have tried to call Trapper's house, the channels were conveniently 'down'.
The prostitute in "Bug Out" became Rosie.
"Bug Out" is the first appearence of Eileen Saki, who plays a prostitute before playing Rosie.
The real Rosie went south ahead of the offensive and never came back. The prostitute played by Eileen Saki sees an opportunity and takes over Rosie's Bar, becoming Rosie in the process.
Klinger lost his faith after he was drafted
But regained it later. He claims to be an Atheist in one episode, but later he is seen praying. Father Mulcahy commented on the peculiarity of this and Klinger sardonically responded he "Gave[Atheism] up for Lent". My guess is that when he was drafted, Klinger Prayed desperately not to be sent to Korea but was denied this. Thus, he lost faith. But after accepting his life and becoming friends with Mulcahy, he eventually regained it which is why it was never mentioned after the first few seasons.
- At one point, however, he converted to Muslim, as in the pilot episode of After M*A*S*H, he tells Mulcahy that he kept praying to Allah that his hearing would be restored, and it was.
Radar put up a front when he first came to Korea
This explains why in the earlier seasons, he's a lot more worldly and sneaky: he doesn't want to come across as being immature, and doesn't want people to think of him as a little kid (though he's just barely 18). With the unit forming it's own little close-knit family, Radar is eventually able to let his guard down and just be himself with everyone in camp.
A MASH unit runs in a similar fashion to any other business
And not only that, but MASH units aren't recession-proof either: so much money went to the Korean War effort, that the 4077th fell on hard times, and like any other business that falls on hard times, had to lay off a number of personnel. This is why Ugly John, Boone, Lt. Dish, Ho-Jon, Spearchucker Jones, Margie Cutler, Captain Kaplan, and Barbara Bannerman all disappeared after the first season - none of them had any kind of position or seniority among the camp personnel, and as such, Henry had to let them go. He kept Leslie Scorch a little longer since she was his mistress, and Ginger Bayliss was an efficient nurse and also remained a little longer; Henry laid off Leslie because word of his affair with her was started to spread, and his didn't want it on his military record, while Ginger was later laid off because of too many complaints from Frank. Since the military was Potter's career, the 4077th began to pick back up while under his command, and as such, due to a shortage of help in the O.R., hired a slew of new nurses, including Able (Judy Farrell), Baker (Jan Jorden), Bigelow, Shari, and others.
Henry Blake was an enabler
Hence why Hawkeye and Trapper never
get in trouble for their crap. Sure, Henry may weakly threaten them from time to time, but he never punishes them or reprimands them for their behavior (he even confesses in one episode he can't think of a punishment for them when they cause trouble in trying to obtain an incubator), and in fact, seems to egg it on at times. If Potter had been in command from the beginning, Hawkeye and Trapper probably would've been court-martialed long before (and much to Margaret and Frank's delight too).