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Recap / M*A*S*H S3 E14: Private Charles Lamb

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Attention, all personnel. Could Private Charles Lamb please present these tropes?

  • Actually Pretty Funny: Hawkeye and Trapper are amused with laughter upon hearing that Private Chapman mistook Frank Burns for a priest.
    • They also treat the answer as to why the lamb disappeared in the same manner.
  • Attack! Attack... Retreat! Retreat!: Frank helps to guide in the truck delivering the shipment of food for the Greek Easter celebration. He reverts to his usual self when the driver comes a bit too close to hitting him.
    Frank: Right. Right. Right, come on. Keep bringing it. Keep bringing it. Back. Back, back. Back. Ok, stop. STOP! Numbskull! You almost ran over me! You understand that, you boob?
    Hawkeye: Watch Frank blow Greece out of the UN.
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  • Berserk Button: One of the quickest ways for Frank Burns to fly into a rage is discovering a United States soldier has wounded himself in a bid to get sent home safely.
    Frank: Why, you little scum, you. Shooting yourself?! You ought to be shot for that!
  • Big Eater: Played for laughs when Radar makes a cover story for the amount of vegetables he has on his platter by saying he's going to enjoy a little salad.
    Frank: A little salad? You could hide in there 'til the war was over and nobody'd find you.
  • Bilingual Bonus: Colonel Andropolis gives Henry a friendly farewell in Greek.
    • When Frank demands the delivery truck driver's name and serial number, the driver reciprocates Greek.
  • Blackmail: Hawkeye and Trapper protect Private Chapman this way when Frank refuses to let the guy off. Hilarity Ensues.
  • Continuity Snarl: Radar deigns to save the title character from being slaughtered for the Sunday feast after he listens with horror to Trapper telling of how his neighbour would cook a lamb for Easter. While this fits in with Radar's friendliness to animals, it does not fit in with the many earlier and later depictions of him eating meat. This especially clashes with him being a farmboy and likely grew up with animals being slaughtered regularly.
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  • Dance Party Ending: The episode concludes with the Easter feast. The Tag features the morning after the party; Henry wakes up with a very drowsy hangover, Radar is drunkenly dancing with a pole, Trapper is whistling and strumming a guitar, Hawkeye is dancing while half-asleep, and Frank falls unconscious. Then the camera moves back to Henry who is watching everybody else and passes out again, landing facefirst in the platter of Spam lamb.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Hawkeye and Trapper complain in this way about having just come off of a shift when the PA issues another incoming wounded alert.
    Hawkeye: I feel like an embalmer's practice dummy. You know how easily I could live without anymore wounded?
    Trapper: It's called peace.
    Hawkeye: Well, we certainly can't have any more of that.
  • Digging Yourself Deeper: Radar should have realised his efforts to save the lamb would not just go away without consequence.
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  • Eagleland: When Private Chapman, a soldier with a self-inflicted wound, accidentally confesses to him about the nature of his injury, Frank Burns sees it as his automatic duty to report him.
  • Flat "What": Henry's first, non-verbal reaction when he finds out what happened to the lamb. An Et Tu, Brute? to Radar comes next.
  • Friend to All Living Things: Taken Up to Eleven here with Radar.
  • Gallows Humor: Frank goes to Father Mulcahy to register a complaint about the planned Easter event, but when he enters the chaplain's tent, he finds that Mulcahy is currently unavailable.
    Frank: Good thing I don't need the last rites.
  • Innocently Insensitive: Hawkeye and Trapper fail to recognise that their casual conversation about the soon-to-come slaughter of the lamb for dinner along with stories about previous lamb dinners is sending Radar into a state of appalled shock.
    Radar: What's he gonna do with that lamb?
    Hawkeye: If I know our cook, he's gonna make pork chops out of it.
    Radar: [horrified] He isn't gonna kill it, is he?
    Hawkeye: Radar, how's he gonna put the pants on the lamb chops if the legs keep moving.
    Radar: Aren't you gonna stop him?!
    Hawkeye: Not until the skin is roasted a crispy brown and there's a suggestion of pink inside.
    Trapper: My neighbour would put a lamb on a rack over charcoal every Easter.
    Hawkeye: Hm.
    Trapper: And they'd turn it slowly on a spit for hours, and then they would baste it with lots of lemon and tons of butter.
  • Jump Scare: A Greek soldier isn't anaesthetized enough and he suddenly and painfully wakes up during surgery.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: Henry, in his office, calls for Radar, turns around and is caught by surprise when he finds the clerk is already present. This leads to a discussion between him and Radar about Radar's ability to know when he's needed ahead of time.
    Henry: I will never understand how you can hear me before I ever call you.
    Radar: I guess it's the same as cows lying down on all fours just before it rains.
    Henry: Do cows lay down before it rains?
    Radar: Yes sir.
    Henry: I wonder why.
  • Misplaced Wildlife: Among the animals Radar has in his menagerie, there is a racoon and a skunk, neither of which are native to Korea.
  • Nobody's That Dumb: Frank does not fall for the first two of Radar's lies about the platter of vegetables.
    Frank: What kind of a jackass do you think I am?
    Radar: You'd know that better than me, sir.
  • Noodle Incident: The last time Henry drank ouzo, he ended up trying to go to sleep in a wastebasket.
  • Only Sane Man: Besides Radar, only Frank Burns takes issue with the planned Easter celebration.
    Frank: Wild music? Dancing? Barbecuing live animals? It's paganism, that's what it is. It'll turn into a bacchanal.
    Henry: You think so, Frank?
    Frank: I can see it, Colonel. Wine pouring over supple bodies. Everyone engaged in debauchery and degradation.
    Frank: Well, I'm certainly glad Major Houlihan's in Tokyo and not here to witness this.
    Henry: I'm glad she's not here too, Frank.
    Frank: This is just the first step, you know. Today it's a lamb, tomorrow you'll sacrifice a virgin.
    Frank: It is really difficult for me to serve under these conditions and to remain as decent as I am.
    Henry: Let go, Frank. Rotten up, like the rest of us.
    Frank: You leave me no choice but to register a formal complaint with Father Mulcahy about the looseness around here. The immorality!
    Henry: Will that make you happy?
    Frank: Yes!
    Henry: Then go.
    • Frank reiterates this trope again when it is announced the lamb has gone missing.
      Frank: This whole place is off its rocker.
  • Overused Running Gag: The "signing of papers" gag makes a brief return, only for a Henry to be a bit more wise about it this time around.
    Henry: What was all that I just signed?
    Henry: What kind of papers were the papers?
    Radar: Uh, well... Uh, uh, one paper was to complain that we haven't received the additional paper we asked for a month ago, when we sent in a paper paper. And like that.
    Henry: Like what that?
    Radar: You also signed an emergency leave.
    Henry: Oh.
    Radar: For one of the men.
    Henry: Which one of the men?
  • Perplexing Plurals: Henry has a little bit of trouble finding the right plural for the last name Andropolis.
    Henry: Do we know any Andropolises? Andropoli?
  • Refuge in Audacity: After failing twice, Radar manages to convince Frank Burns that he will be eating all of the vegetables he has on a platter later at Movie Night. A bewildered Frank asks who in their right mind would eat salad at the movies. Radar provides a further spin on his story, stating that because he's a vegetarian, he won't touch popcorn.
  • Self-Deprecation: In thanking Colonel Andropolis for the food being supplied for the feast, Henry does a Take That! towards the food the unit regularly gets.
    Henry: Oh, it fills you up. If you can keep it down.
  • Serious Business: Frank ignores Hawkeye's wisecracks as he urgently wants to see Colonel Blake so he can report Private Chapman.
  • Voiceover Letter: The episode uses this through Hawkeye writing another letter to his dad to summarise the arrival of the wounded Greek soldiers.
  • Written-In Absence: Margaret Houlihan is stated to be in Tokyo during these events.

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