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Recap / M*A*S*H S1 E6: Yankee Doodle Doctor

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A filming crew headed by Lieutenant Bricker of Special Services arrive at the 4077 on General Clayton's recommendation to shoot a documentary about M*A*S*H units. The doctors initially go along with it, until filming is just about wrapped and Hawkeye and Trapper learn that the documentary won't be an accurate portrayal of the unit's work, but instead will be a propaganda film giving false confidence to potential volunteer soldiers that the surgeons at M*A*S*H will always save them. Incensed at it all, Hawkeye and Trapper destroy Bricker's version by exposing the film reels to light.


Unable to get the two punished and to get the film going again in his direction, Bricker leaves the 4077. Hawkeye and Trapper consider the matter settled, until Henry tells them that if they don't do it, then another M*A*S*H unit will. With this in mind, Hawkeye volunteers to direct the film, albeit completely in his own way.

Attention, all personnel! Due to circumstances beyond our control, Captain Pierce's film contains the following:

  • Actually Pretty Funny: General Clayton orders everything about the movie removed aside from his introduction and Hawkeye's Mood Whiplash monologue listed below. He does ask to have a private cut with those elements intact saved for himself so he can have something to laugh at.
  • Alliterative Name: General Crandall Clayton, in his first ever episode
  • Deadpan Snarker: Hawkeye really goes on a roll with this trope during the episode.
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  • Description Cut: General Clayton discusses with Lieutenant Bricker about the 4077's capability and suitability as a filming location.
    Gen. Clayton: I thin I know just the outfit you need - the 4077. Very high fitness record. Commanded by a dear friend of mine, Lieutenant Colonel Henry Blake. He heads up the best surgical team in the whole damn war. Real soldiers.
    cuts to Hawkeye and Trapper dancing
  • Documentary Episode: The first of several of these produced by the show. Season four's "The Interview" would prove to be a more famous example.
  • Happy Ending Override: A previous episode, "Requiem for a Lightweight," concluded with Nurse Cutler becoming romantically interested in Trapper. Here, she transfers that interest to Hawkeye, and it remains there.
  • Mood Whiplash: For the most part, the film of Yankee Doodle Doctor as done by Hawkeye and the gang is outrageously comedic until it reaches the coda.
    Hawkeye: Three hours ago, this man was in a battle. Two hours ago, we operated on him. He's got a fifty-fifty chance. We win some, we lose some. That's what it's all about. No promises. No guaranteed survival. No saints in surgical garb. Our willingness, our experience, our technique are not enough. Guns and bombs and antipersonnel mines have more power to take life than we have to preserve it. Not a very happy ending for a movie, but then no war is a movie.
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  • No-Sell: Frank tries to get noticed by Lieutenant Bricker. Between his obvious sucking up and Hawkeye's quips, he fails immeasurably.
  • Plot Hole: Hawkeye and Trapper are said to have destroyed all of Bricker's version of the film, and yet the opening scene featuring General Clayton still appears intact when the movie premieres.
  • "Reason You Suck" Speech: At first, Hawkeye seems to be taking his anger about the original film production out on Frank Burns, but then expands it to include the film and Lieutenant Bricker.
    Hawkeye: Oh, you want a constructive criticism? You're right. How about you stink?! And so does this little movie show and Lieutenant Bricker!
  • Shout-Out:
    • When Bricker asks Frank, Hawkeye and Trapper if any of them have done any acting, Hawkeye does a brief imitation of James Cagney. Trapper hilariously follows it up by "mistaking" it as Carmen Miranda, inspiring Hawkeye to then channel Jack Benny.
      Bricker: Now, any of you done any acting?
      Hawkeye: Mmm! Mmm! You dirty rat. You come in here and ask if we've ever - you dirty rat - if we've ever done any acting. Why you dirty - that's not too bad is it?
      Trapper: I never saw Carmen Miranda done any better.
      Hawkeye: Now cut that out!
    • Much of the Yankee Doodle Doctor film as done by Hawkeye seems to have been inspired by the Marx Brothers.
    • When ensuring all of Bricker's film has been ruined, Hawkeye confirms it by quoting Porky Pig.
      Hawkeye: Th-th-th-th-tha- Th-th-th-th-tha That's all, folks!
  • Take That!: To the war propaganda films made in real life not only at that time, but also for World War II, that painted war as an adventurous and glorious thing.
  • Title Drop: Given that the name of the movie being filmed is the same name as the episode, this was bound to come up. Several times.
  • Troll: Hawkeye and Trapper usually bully Frank for a reason, but when they tease Frank for his narration, it comes off as a bit too much.

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