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Recap / M*A*S*H S3 E9: Alcoholics Unanimous

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Upon learning information that a majority of the United States Army has developed a drinking problem and unamused with Hawkeye and Trapper's antics in both the treatment of the subject and their own drinking behaviour, Frank Burns institutes a ban on alcohol across the entire 4077, and that includes closing the Officers Club he once requested for the unit and confiscating the Swamp's distillery. Left with nothing, Hawkeye and Trapper scour the camp for any drop of alcohol left out of Frank's wrath, only to find help from an unexpected source.

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Attention, all hands! Because of Major Burns's orders of no alcohol, you'll just have to make do with these tropes:

  • The Alcoholic: Frank accuses Hawkeye and Trapper of constantly being this trope.
  • Alcohol-Induced Idiocy: Hawkeye, Margaret and Trapper when they have a small brandy-bingeing party between the three of them at the Swamp. Frank is left appalled.
  • Blatant Lies: When Hawkeye and Trapper catch Margaret in the act of replenishing her stock of brandy, she nervously claims she's just checking supplies.
  • Can't Hold His Liquor: Mulcahy takes a small "bracer" to steady his nerves prior to delivering the sermon, and...
  • Chekhov's Gun: Margaret's secret stash of brandy.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Hawkeye, throughout the opening movie night scene.
  • Determinator: This has to be Frank's strongest stand against the regular consumption of alcohol at the 4077. If it wasn't for Margaret having a secret stash and Father Mulcahy keeping a bottle of liquor as a gift, the whole camp would have been bone dry.
  • Dramatic Thunder: Used quite frequently throughout the first few scenes of the episode.
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    • Notably played for laughs and lampshaded when Frank decides to institute the ban.
      Frank: I hereby declare this unit dry. Total prohibition. And that is an official order.
      *thunderclap*
      Hawkeye: Boy, when you make it official, you make it official.
  • Dry Crusader: Guess who?
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Margaret is left stunned when Frank rejoices in how he had Hawkeye and Trapper's still confiscated.
  • Eye Take: Father Mulcahy asks Radar to open one of the stain-glass windows. Radar is happy to comply, and then the fact that they're in the mess tent hits him.
  • Groin Attack: Frank receives one of these when trying to break up a brawl between Hawkeye and Trapper.
  • Heel Realization: When Hawkeye and Trapper are arguing close to the end of the episode and said argument starts leading into a physical fight, it suddenly hits them that Frank may not have been wrong about the two of them being alcoholics.
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  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Frank and his ban are defeated when the major himself drinks brandy to cope with a recently-inflicted blow to the groin.
  • Is There a Doctor in the House?: Invoked by the now-inebriated Father Mulcahy during the sermon:
    Mulcahy: (slurring) I'd like to take a short sabbatical, or a cup of coffee. Or, I wonder, is there a doctor in the tent? (collapses)
  • Jerkass: Frank Burns. Aw, come on. You can at least act a little surprised.
  • Lesser of Two Evils: Comically discussed between Hawkeye and Trapper when the latter suggests it may be better to be down in Seoul listening to Henry Blake's lecture than to endure the rainstorm at the 4077. Hawkeye thinks otherwise.
    Trapper: It's eight thirty. It's pouring. No movie. No soft personnel. [beat] I'd rather be down in Seoul listening to Henry's lecture.
    Hawkeye: Colonel Blake reviews the military position on the haemorrhoid? I'd rather be here. On my own.
  • Musicalis Interruptus: In the beginning of the episode, the MASHers are watching a movie during a rainy night in the mess tent when the picture suddenly loses its audio as the female lead is singing.
    Hawkeye: Sound! What's with the sound?
    Trapper: Come on, let's hear it.
    Klinger: Hold your bloomers!
  • Noodle Incident:
    • Father Mulcahy recalls a time when he was asked to deliver a sex lecture, which he turned down.
    • A young Marine gifted Father Mulcahy a bottle of liquor as "a thank you for a very successful confession".
  • Not So Above It All: Maragert displays a fondness and reliance on alcohol that matches very much with Hawkeye and Trapper's level.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Trapper gives Hawkeye one of these when the two of them appear to be suffering from withdrawal symptoms.
    Trapper: Always the shot, always the needle. Mr Glib, never at a loss for words.
  • Written-In Absence: Henry Blake is handling a lecture down in Seoul, so he does not appear at all in the episode.
  • Yank the Dog's Chain: Klinger spends the entire first scene trying to repair the movie camera when the audio fails at Movie Night. He finally restores the sound, only to have the flashbulb explode when it gets wet from water leaking through a hole in the tent.
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