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Recap / M*A*S*H S2 E19: The Chosen People

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A Korean family moves into the 4077th with its patriarch stubbornly insisting that the United States Army is on his land and wants them to shove off. As members of the camp at both amused and irritated by this current predicament, Henry's issues are compounded by the arrival of a young girl who claims that one of his doctors is the father of her newborn baby. Will the camp ever get back to being run as a hospital?


The Chosen Tropes:

  • Actually Pretty Funny: Trapper and a nurse find Hawkeye's Blind Idiot Translations to be cause for laughter.
  • Adult Fear: Radar gets concerned about a blood test possibly harming Su Yong.
  • Ask a Stupid Question...: Frank Burns interrupts and continues to ask Henry questions as the colonel is trying to tell the Korean family to leave.
    Frank: What the deuce is going on here, Colonel? What are these people doing?
    Henry: Oh Frank, will you, for Pete's sake, for heaven's sake... I'm up to my navel in locals. Exactly why I'm not sure, but the only thing I am sure of is I don't need you.
    Frank: Why are they building a house?
  • Bait-and-Switch: Henry tells whoever is knocking at his door to come in. The ox does just that.
  • Berserk Button:
    • Radar does not take kindly to the insinuation Trapper makes that why a girl like Choon Hi would choose him over any other man.
    Hawkeye: Why would she pick on you?
    Trapper: Of all people.
    Radar: Now what is that crack?!
    • A really big one of Frank's. Do not ever imply to him that he is homosexual.
  • Black Comedy: Implied during Frank's third complaint about the Korean family lodging at the 4077.
    Frank: It's outrageous! Cooking, sewing, farming.
    Henry: It's called staying alive, Frank.
    Frank: They can't do that . . . not on a US American military outpost.
  • Blatant Lies: Radar falsely and heartwarmingly confesses to being Su Yong's father near the conclusion of the episode, unaware that the others have already discovered that he is not.
  • "Blind Idiot" Translation / Bilingual Bonus: Both these tropes are Played For Laughs with Hawkeye trying to say particular phrases in Korean to Sam Pak, only for the latter to reply to those phrases and subsequently inform him he's using the wrong ones.
    Sam Pak: Um, give him a bicarbonate and tell him to stay on his feet.
    Hawkeye: Isn't that "You are welcome at our camp"?
    Sam Pak: Nope. It's "Your uncle has gas from eating cabbage".
    Hawkeye: I know, Sam. [speaks in Korean]
    Sam Pak: I'm sorry to hear that.
    Hawkeye: What?
    Sam Pak: Your uncle with the gas is now pregnant.
    Hawkeye: What's Korean for quack?
    Sam Pak: Quack? That's my father-in-law's name.
  • Brick Joke: Radar gets an egg in the face during the first scene. In the climax, Hawkeye refers to radar's "egg-encrusted dog tags".
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  • Character Development: At the end, Hawkeye asks Radar that one ultimate question after the latter tried to falsely confess he was Su Yong's father: Why?
    Hawkeye: Why, Radar?
    Radar: Do you remember when she first came around and I said that I do but I didn't?
    Hawkeye: Mm.
    Radar: Well, I didn't because I don't and I never. [sighs] But I sure liked the way it felt when everybody thought I did.
    Hawkeye: You will.
    Radar: You think?
    Hawkeye nods
  • Continuity Nod: Sam Pak appears fond of using a clichéd accent from Western movies, much like he did in Deal Me Out.
    Sam Pak: Well, Sheriff, looks like you got troubles right here in Pregnant City.
    Henry: Thanks a lot.
  • Curse of the Ancients / Gosh Dang It to Heck!: Both are utilised quite frequently throughout the episode.
  • Deadpan Snarker: When Frank Burns barges into Henry's office to lodge another complaint against the Korean family and their settlement, Trapper, Hawkeye and Sam Pak all share a delivery of this trope to him.
    Frank: Colonel.
    Trapper: Frank, this is no time to re-enlist.
    Frank: [ignores Trapper] You have no idea how it disgusts me to find myself here.
    Hawkeye: We all share your disgust, Frank.
    Frank: That farmer and his family are making a shambles out of the compound.
    Sam Pak: How can you make a shambles out of a shambles?
    Frank: These people are your people. They ought to get down on the ground and kiss their lucky stars above that we are here, spilling our blood to keep them safe from democracy!
    Sam Pak: And doing a hell of a job.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: Henry Blake falls into this again when trying to explain to the Korean family they cannot stay because of the war.
    Henry: Uh, folks. You picked a very busy spot. The war comes through here. Not war in your war-fighting sense, but, uh, rather in your aftermath sense, which is still war-war.
  • The Door Slams You: When Hawkeye and Trapper burst into Henry's office with the blood test results (and Radar a moment later), Henry gets stuck behind it.
  • Entertainingly Wrong: When Choon Hi informs Henry that the father of her baby, Su Yong, is one of his doctors, he immediately suspects Hawkeye and Trapper.
    Henry: Captain Pierce, Captain McIntyre, I believe one of you knows Miss Choon Hi just a little bit better than the other one of you knows Miss Choon Hi. Miss Hi claims that she and one of our doctors committed parenthood. Any volunteers?
  • Failed a Spot Check: After ranting about how he finds the presence of the Korean family damaging to the medical unit's reputation, Frank does a Double Take when he realises that he had only just noticed that there is a young girl nursing a baby in Henry's office.
  • Friend to All Children: Radar O'Reilly
  • Fun with Acronyms: Henry introduces Sam Pak and Father Mulcahy to Lieutenant Harper as being from R.O.K. and G.O.D.
  • Funny Background Event: Henry Blake is in his office on the phone, arguing with someone from Headquarters about their seeming reluctance to resolve the issue of the Korean family. Outside his window, Radar is spending quality time with one of the family's kids.
  • I'm a Doctor, Not a Placeholder: Frank reprimands Sam in the OR with this.
    Frank: Captain Pak! You are here as a medical observer, not to give us language lessons.
  • Jaw Drop:
    • Radar is shocked, to say the least, to find an ox standing in Henry Blake's tent.
      Radar: Holy cow!
      Henry: Never mind his religion, Radar. Just get him outta here.
    • Henry Blake does this after the person Choon Hi is claiming to be the father of her baby walks right through the door.
  • Language Barrier: A main roadblock in dealing with the Korean family, but not the major one.
  • Mistaken for Gay: Frank is on the phone with another Major from the Civilian Affairs office. After bitching about the slipshod way things are being run at the 4077th, Frank tells the other officer, "You're my kinda fella... Hey, maybe we can get together sometime? I have a feeling that we're very much alike." While we only see/hear Frank's side of the conversation, it's clear from his subsequent, horrified reaction that the guy propositioned him.
  • Oh, Crap!: Henry has this when he understands that Choon Hi is claiming that the father of her baby is one of the doctors stationed at the 4077.
  • Produce Pelting: The episode opens with Radar blowing his bugle to signal morning reveille, again in a very erratic tune. Someone offscreen puts a stop to it by throwing an egg in his face.
  • Role Reprisal: Pat Morita as Captain Sam Pak.
  • Truth in Television: The tearjerking true story about Choon Hi and Su Yong.
    Sam Pak: That same sad story, fellas. The real GI father left her, she's now ostracized by her family. Radar was kind enough to give her a lift one day and instead of a thank you note, she gave him the baby.
  • Values Dissonance: Frank absolutely refuses and denies the fact that because he is in Korea, it would be a good idea to have a basic understanding of the Korean language, along with claiming the Koreans should be kissing the ground the Americans walk on for them being over there.
    Hawkeye: Frank, by a strange coincidence, the inhabitants of Korea communicate in Korean. It wouldn't hurt us to speak their language.
    Frank: I speak American. And I can go anyplace in the world.
    Trapper: We could have you packed in twenty minutes.
    Hawkeye: We're living in Korea, Frank.
    Frank: Not me, fella. I'm part of the American military establishment. I eat in an American mess. I shop in an American PX. All I want to do is save these people and go home.
  • Violence Is the Only Option: Frank's immediate suggestion to getting rid of the Korean family is by firing a few gunshots over their heads.

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