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Recap / M*A*S*H S1 E12: Dear Dad

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The first Voiceover Letter episode in the series, as well as its first Christmas Episode.

As Christmas approaches the 4077, Hawkeye writes a letter to his father noting all the recent events going on at the camp and the people working with him in there, Naturally, because it's MASH, hilarity ensues.


Dear Dad, these tropes also happened...

  • Amusing Injuries: In trying to stop a fight between Frank Burns and Klinger, Father Mulcahy is tackled to the floor and headbutted in the stomach.
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  • Blatant Lies: Frank telling Trapper he's going out just to stretch his legs. 'cough Date cough with cough Margaret cough
  • Brick Joke: Radar is mailing a Jeep home to Iowa, piece by piece.
  • Cannot Spit It Out: Henry struggles this way with the monthly lecture.
  • Characterization Marches On: Klinger is portrayed as being genuinely mentally unstable, with his threat to suicide bomb the camp over his bandana being treated with dead seriousness. It's quite jarring with his later portrayal as entirely faking his Sanity Slippage.
  • The Casanova: Hawkeye
  • Christmas Episode
  • Deadpan Snarker:
    • Trapper, to Frank saying he's trying to concentrate.
      Trapper: Try the library.
    • Henry gets a snarking reply each from Hawkeye and Trapper at his lecture when he says that only enlisted personnel are required to attend and officers are not.
      Hawkeye: Why should they know more than we do?
      Trapper: Yeah, I got a date tonight. I wanna learn as much as I can.
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    • Frank tells Hawkeye to shave. Even Hawkeye found it funny, for a brief moment.
      Frank: Well, whatever you do, I want to see you shaved next time I see you.
      Hawkeye: I shaved this morning.
      Frank: Well, shave again. And this time take one step closer to the razor.
    • Trapper again, when Frank tells him the cologne is French.
      Trapper: No wonder you smell like a snail.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Attempted by Klinger. After his altercation with Frank in the post-op ward, he wants to blow the major to kingdom come with a grenade. Father Mulcahy manages to talk him down.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: This is one of those episodes where Hawkeye says his home is in Vermont before it is firmly established in the series continuity that it is in Crabapple Cove, Maine.
  • Fight Scene: Frank and Klinger go for the Good Old Fisticuffs variation in the post-op.
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  • Friend to All Children: Trapper
  • Funny Background Event: The situation in the foreground of Klinger threatening to blow a grenade? Not so funny. An extra opening a door, seeing the grenade and darting back inside? Hilarious.
    • Another extra walks by, stops in fright, and dives fro cover behind a tent.
    • Two more are shown once the situation is resolved; one is cowering behind a stack of crates, and the other had jumped underneath a stationary ambulance.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: Henry's monthly lecture. Today's topic: marital sex and the family.
    • Margaret's stunned amorous reaction to Hawkeye kissing her.
      Frank: Margaret, are...are you alright?
      Margaret: I'm fine, Frank. Fine.
      Frank: Oh, the man's a beast! An animal!
      Margaret: (sighing) Yeah. Every bit of him.
  • Good Samaritan: Trapper
  • I'll Get Them For This: Frank swears revenge on Hawkeye and Trapper for ruining his and Margaret's romantic evening.
  • Narrating the Present: Hawkeye writes about the events as they happen.
  • Never My Fault: Frank grips Klinger hard by the shoulder while trying to reprimand him for being out of uniform, which causes Klinger to drop some medical equipment he was taking to a nurse. Frank immediately blames it on him.
  • Role Reprisal: Jamie Farr returns as Klinger, the first sign of greater things to come for both actor and character.
  • Ship Tease: Hawkeye shares a Christmas kiss with Margaret.
  • Shout-Out: Hawkeye compares the way Henry runs the outfit as follows:
    Hawkeye: As a commanding officer, it's like being on a sinking liner, running to the bridge and finding out the captain is Daffy Duck.
  • Subbing for Santa: Hawkeye intends to do this at a party thrown for the local Korean kids. It's too bad he doesn't get to do it for them when he is called for emergency surgery at the front...in full costume.
  • Troll: Hawkeye and Trapper go out of their way to humiliate Henry at the lecture.
  • Voiceover Letter
  • When All You Have Is Medical Supplies: There aren't any appropriate decorations for the Christmas tree. Father Mulcahy makes do with medical equipment and supplies.
    • He does this again in the post-op ward by decorating the room with strings of popcorn in place of tinsel.
  • Why Don't You Marry It?: "I wouldn't marry you for five dollars"
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