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Recap / M*A*S*H S2 E20: As You Were

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MASH 4077 has been experiencing an unusually long period of quiet, with no patients coming in and no signs of the war nearby. The members of the camp take this time to enjoy themselves, getting up to a slew of activities both fun and crazy. Frank Burns, in particular, has been trying to get his mind off a hernia that has been causing him some grief because asking for a hernia operation would mean he has to entrust his life to either Hawkeye or Trapper or worse both. Margaret convinces him to pluck up the courage and ask the two doctors to handle the operation. Then, all of a sudden, things turn out to be too good to last, as wounded are brought in and the battlefront is fast on the approach towards the campsite.


Attention, all hands! No casualties expected. All personnel except these tropes are to stand by:

  • Always Someone Better: Frank thinks this trope is coming into play when Margaret praises Hawkeye and Trapper's surgical skills but not his own.
    Frank: Oh, really? Well where do you stand on yours truly?
    Margaret: Oh, Frank.
    Frank: No, no. Let's have it out as professionals. Nurse to doctor. How do I rate with you as a surgeon?
    Margaret: [sweetly] Frank, don't you have enough pain?
  • Book-Ends: The episode begins and ends with a period of rest and relaxation for all of the 4077 with no casualties expected in for a long while.
  • Brick Joke: "Lining things up, according to height and popularity".
  • Continuity Nod: Henry Blake tries his hand at giving another monthly orientation lecture.
  • *Crack!* "Oh, My Back!": At the worst possible time, Frank's hernia gets strangulated while he's performing surgery.
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  • Dreadful Musician: Radar seems to be horrible at piano playing as much as he is at bugle blowing.
  • Forgets to Eat: Averted. Father Mulcahy takes meal orders for the medical staff while they're working.
  • Friendly Enemy: Margaret proclaims to Frank that despite everything she hates about them, she considers Hawkeye and Trapper as two of the best doctors she has ever known.
    Margaret: It's true they're incorrigible. They're also two of the very best surgeons I've ever seen.
  • From Bad to Worse: The 4077 is getting shelled, the hospital is being swamped with wounded, Frank is taken out of action due to his hernia, and a pregnant Korean civilian is in labour. And this episode had started out so nice.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: Henry's lecture. All of it.
  • Large Ham:
    • Hawkeye and Trapper while they're dressed in their gorilla costumes.
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    • Frank Burns after he's been given a sedative for his hernia.
      Frank: [high-pitched] Hi gang. Shall we open our presents now?
  • Little "No": Frank's panicked reaction when he's in the OR expecting surgery for his hernia and Trapper enters the room and speaks as if he's introducing the next entertainer at a show.
    Trapper: Evenin', chillun.
    Frank: [whimpering] Oh lord.
  • Motor Mouth: Frank explains to Hawkeye why he is having the ketchup and condiments measured.
    Frank: Well, if you kneel at the end of the tent and get the tabletop at eye level, you will see that each bottle of ketchup lines up behind the other, unless there's only one bottle of ketchup. Now the same is true of your condiments which, if you will note, are arranged according to height and popularity. There's your ketchup, your mustard, your relish, your mayonnaise, your oil and vinegar, your salt and pepper, and your sweet and sour gherkins all in a row.
  • Noodle Incident: Frank says to Margaret that he doesn't tell her half of the stunts Hawkeye and Trapper play on him. The list has now expanded to include them putting oatmeal in his gas mask and stapling a roll of his toilet paper.
  • Oh, No... Not Again!: One of a darker nature. Throughout the first half of the episode, the MASHers are having a long break from treating and saving wounded. Then at the halfway point, it's business as usual as they are flooded with a heavy amount of casualties and the combat arrives right outside their doorstep.
  • Random Events Plot
  • Reality Ensues: Henry overdoes his tan, leading to a sunburn.
    Hawkeye: You got a pretty good tan, Henry.
    Henry: Well I'm paying for it now.
  • Running Gag: As the 4077 endures round after round of military attack, Radar attempts going up the ladder to get the fighting diverted away from the hospital, labelling himself with a superior rank the higher he goes.
    Radar: Regimental Headquarters? This is MASH 4077, Major O'Reilly speaking. We're getting a mess of artillery fire here, and I'm told you ordered it. I want it stopped right now, and that's an order.
    Radar: That's what I said, soldier. Lieutenant Colonel O'Reilly. I want to know where you Division people come off shelling so close to a hospital.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: After hearing why Frank is measuring the lineup of condiments at the mess tent tables, Hawkeye quietly withdraws back to Trapper's side.
    Hawkeye: I think we should do something to Frank's head and mail it back to him.
    Trapper: In a jar.
    • Father Mulcahy realises at the last moment that Henry's lecture will be of a sexual topic and he chooses to leave.
      Father Mulcahy: I think I'll check on my candle shipment.
  • Signature Scene: Hawkeye and Trapper dressed up in hair black gorilla costumes.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: When the 4077 starts getting bombed, Radar is on the phone to the 789th Artillery to find out who's behind it. They are.
    Radar: You're doing it? Listen buddy, we're a hospital. How would you like it if we fired patients at you?! What? Those are your orders? To knock the enamel off of 500 bedpans? Who gave you those orders?
  • When All You Have Is a Hammer...: Henry Blake uses two silver trays to give himself a natural suntan.

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