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Recap / M*A*S*H S4 E20: The Novocaine Mutiny

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Temporary C.O. Frank Burns places Hawkeye on trial for mutiny, and it's up to his friends to save him from possible execution.

Attention! Attention, all personnel! Capt. Pierce is charged with the following tropes:

  • Background Halo: During Frank's recollection of events, his surgical head mirror provides this effect.
  • Combat Medic: What Frank thinks he is, anyway...
  • Deadpan Snarker: Practically anyone not named Frank Burns is in full force in this episode when it comes to this, especially Hawkeye and B.J.
    • For example, when Burns is attempting to find "stolen" money, even when Hawkeye told him that someone won it gambling:
    B.J.: I can't argue with that kind of logic!
    Hawkeye: I wouldn't even try. My mother taught me two things - never argue with crazy people and always wear clean underwear in case you get run over by a tank and have to go to the hospital.
  • Insane Troll Logic:
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    • Because the M in M.A.S.H. stands for "mobile", Frank decides to have the entire 4077 moved across the road. He then proceeds to have the camp moved back the next day.
    Frank: The "M" stands for mobile!
    Hawkeye: Also for meshuggah'.
    • Likewise, his belief that the money won from gambling was "stolen." See Deadpan Snarker above.
  • Jerkass Woobie: It's hard not to feel at least a little sorry for Frank when Potter undermines him by joining the poker game at the end.
  • Laugh Track: While the laugh track has always been on the show (though, on DVD sets, you do have the option to turn it off), this episode is notable for being the only time the laughter can be heard in the O.R. Of course, that's because it's only happening in Frank's version of the events leading to the court martial. Considering the laughter is silent as usual in Hawkeye's story, this might clue one in that Frank's story is not true....
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  • The Neidermeyer: This episode is a showcase on why Frank Burns should never be in charge.
  • "Rashomon"-Style: Frank's and Hawkeye's recollection of the events in the O.R. are very different.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: Frank's version of events at the trial can be this. He's always on top of things doing everything that everyone else can't, even administering last rites to a patient after Father Mulcahy has passed out from exhaustion, then claiming that Hawkeye and B.J. outright refuse to do any other work because they've hit the Despair Event Horizon. One of the presiding officers at the trial proceeds to tell him that he wouldn't trust Frank to be a pastry chef.
  • Stealth Insult: When Frank busts in on a (now-taboo) poker game, Hawkeye covers it up by telling him they're holding a spelling bee, prompting B.J. to begin spelling the word "cretin".
    Radar: What's a cretin?
    Frank: A moron. A mental defective.
    Hawkeye: Let's hear it for the horse's mouth.
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  • Tyrant Takes the Helm: Frank is put in temporary charge of the 4077 while Potter is away on R&R. Needless to say, it does not go well.
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