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The film

  • Award Snub: The film received five Academy Award nominations and won for Best Adapted Screenplay. Donald Sutherland and Elliott Gould's perfomances weren't nominated and "Suicide is Painless" wasn't up for Best Song.
  • Designated Villain: Margaret in the film doesn't really do much wrong aside from complain about a nickname, reject advances, chastise Hawkeye for his unmilitary behavior, have sex with Frank, file one report about the camp to headquarters, and generally be a no-nonsense woman in authority. The shower scene happens because the guys just wanted to see if she was a real blonde or not.
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  • Harsher in Hindsight: The surgeons' antics towards nurses, including exposing a naked Margaret to the entire camp, are a lot less amusing now that the rampant amount of unpunished sexual harassment and assault that goes on in the US military is publicly known. Particularly uncomfortable is the scene where Margaret rages about her treatment to an uncaring Colonel Blake, mirroring the ways in which superior officers often dismiss female soldiers' sexual assaults in real life.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: It's pretty funny watching Painless ask movie-Hawkeye if he wouldn't be upset if he discovered he'd "turned gay", knowing that TV-Hawkeye flirts with anyone that has a pulse.
  • Retroactive Recognition:
    • Sylvester Stallone says he was an extra in the film. One fan tentatively identified him as playing a soldier wearing a beret in the mess tent when Hawkeye and Duke first arrive at the 4077th, but he's only onscreen for a couple seconds and we can't see his face.
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    • René Auberjonois as Father Mulcahy, for fans of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
    • Robert Duvall had appeared in small parts in several films and television shows prior to M*A*S*H, but Frank Burns was one of his most high-profile roles to date and prefigured his more celebrated appearances in classics like The Godfather and Apocalypse Now.
  • Values Dissonance: A lot of the movie's hijinks can play as extremely misogynistic to modern audiences, most notoriously the shower scene with Hot Lips.

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The series

  • Acceptable Professional Targets: While soldiers in the front lines are treated respectfully, officers and rear-echelon troops are usually portrayed as incompetent, glory hounds, corrupt, petty bureaucrats, or actually insane- sometimes all of the above. Being that the setting was Viet Nam in thin disguise, this was not entirely inaccurate.
  • Adaptation Displacement: Most are aware that it's based on the 1970 film, but how many fans know of the novel that inspired the film? Loretta Swit didn't even watch the movie, asking “why would [she]?”. (Alan Alda did a Take That! too, calling the misogyny "brutal".)
  • Alternative Character Interpretation:
    • Apparently even LGBTQ people in the 70s wondered if Hawkeye was supposed to come off as bisexual.
    • There is some debate about whether or not Hawkeye is supposed to be an Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist or Sociopathic Hero who happened to share the writer's political beliefs, or an Author Avatar who swerved into Jerkass territory. Or any position inbetween.
    • There is also debate about how sympathetic or unsympathetic we are supposed to feel towards Frank. Is he just a stupid Jerkass? Or a Jerkass Woobie who, as much of a pain in the ass as he could be, nevertheless did not deserve to be bullied and tortured the way he was? A doctor who was cracking under pressure (Henry Blake described him as "a fair but competent" doctor in season one, suggesting that Frank wasn't necessarily a bad surgeon but merely an inferior one when compared to Hawkeye and Trapper, and later B.J.)? Or, a demented, deeply disturbed sociopathic Manchild who was actually dangerous (recall the time he tried to get Hawkeye hanged, and his many failures at gun safety)? Perhaps all of the above?
      • Pre-Flanderization, some episodes actually seem to portray Frank as the Only Sane Man (albeit a Jerkass version of one) at the 4077, given that he is the only one who actually acts like they are all in a war zone three miles from the front lines. Everyone else seems to think they are on vacation between OR sessions. If you watch the first five seasons with your focus on Frank, the show tells the tale of a man who is pushed over the Despair Event Horizon by his asshole roommates and eventually snaps when... the woman he's cheating on his wife with marries another man. Okay, he comes off as a Jerkass no matter how you slice it, unless you willfully ignore facts.
    • Did Frank really love Margaret, or was he just stringing her along? He seemed reluctant to leave his wife, even to the point of insulting Margaret when threatened with divorce, and sometimes would let loose a Freudian Slip that suggested he and Margaret were just having fun, and once the war was over, so were they. But any suggestion she's interested in someone else or thinking of leaving him turns him into a Crazy Jealous Guy, plus he spends almost all his time after their breakup trying to get her back. Lost the love of his life, or is this a case of If I Can't Have You… no one can? Of course, Frank was a giant hypocrite about most things, so it could be both at once.
    • Radar started off deceptively innocent but sneakier and more worldly than he let on, and he was not above stealing Col. Blake's cigars and brandy from time to time, then he seemed to get more childlike and naive as the show progressed, especially after Col. Potter came in and replaced Col. Blake as Radar's father figure and CO. It's actually debatable if Radar truly regressed or if he simply cleaned up his behavior because he knew the more stern Col. Potter wouldn't tolerate the kind of shenanigans Col. Blake overlooked.
      • In Season 4's "The Bus", we learn that Frank has reported Radar to Potter for selling tickets to the hole in the nurses' showers, so it's possibly the latter...
  • Americans Hate Tingle: The show is very much not popular in South Korea, where it's derided for portraying their country as a primitive hellhole, mixing up Korea and Vietnam, and being generally culturally insensitive.
  • Anvilicious: Once Alan Alda got creative control.
  • Author's Saving Throw:
    • Whatever the starting intentions with Hawkeye, his early season bi references were more along the lines of "I molest men too". Compare that with the later season constant references to queer authors and the finale’s “loved as many of you as I could” with happy reaction shots from both male and female characters.
    • The creators regretted the cavalier attitude towards rape in the first few seasons, especially in regards to Margaret getting attacked and the “heroes” not caring, and while there were still a few rape jokes scattered around (mostly by Hawkeye continuously sad clowning about past trauma), there are episodes like "No Laughing Matters" where her anger is treated as valid and the attacker is humiliated away, and "Are You Now, Margaret" where her friends are nearby to protect her from Sexual Extortion. Also in contrast to the movie shower scene, there were plenty of times where B.J. or Hawkeye got their clothes stolen and accidentally flashed a crowd watching.
    • Mclean Stevenson and Wayne Rogers left because Trapper and Henry had less to do than Hawkeye (though not blaming Alan Alda), so as a consolation, both characters got more depth in their last season, Henry not wanting to give up Korea because he's a better doctor there but dreaming about being with his wife again, and Trapper struggling on his repression, but still telling his daughters he’s trying to make the best of it.
  • Awesome Music: A special, more military version of the "Suicide Is Painless" theme was used for parts of "Bug Out", parts One and Two (Which, incidentally, was the series' first Cliffhanger episodes), including one point where the climax is hit during a shot of Potter and Houlihan on top of Sophie, Potter's horse. The music was never used for any other episode.
  • Badass Decay: Few fans remember that crazy CIA agent Colonel Flagg was a seriously dangerous character in his first appearance. He even breaks the cast Hawkeye put on his arm to increase his stay (it's suggested he crashed the helicopter and broke his arm himself just as an excuse to surveil the camp).
  • Base-Breaking Character: With the obvious exception of Frank Burns (whom fans and critics alike agree is a character we all love to hate), almost every other character is this for some fans out there:
    • B.J. probably gets hit with this the hardest out of all the characters, along with an element of Replacement Scrappy. While there's plenty of fans who prefer the arguably more well-rounded B.J. over the usually one-dimensional and constantly overshadowed Trapper, others feel that B.J. was the worst addition to the show, on the grounds that he spends too much time whining about being away from Peg and Erin. Then again, for a young man still in his twenties, fresh out of residency, to be torn away from the love of his life and his newborn daughter and thrown into a war he was barely prepared for, can you really blame him?
    • Radar probably gets more than his fair share as well (though nowhere near as B.J.), though he's split more down the middle. Although many people just adore Radar for his innocence, naivete, and willingness to help others, which has often been considered a breath of fresh air — not just for this show, but TV in general — many people also hate for those exact same reasons, seeing him more as a Cousin Oliver who grew more and more out of place with the shift in tone the series was taking (though, the show didn't really become too dramatic until the season he was discharged).
    • Klinger would qualify once he stopped wearing dresses, took over as company clerk for Radar, and pretty much turned into a regular guy, after spending a number of seasons running around in dresses and looking for other wild and Zany Schemes to get out of the Army. The debate is whether he's better as a regular clerk or wearing dresses to get discharged.
    • Hawkeye became the unofficial star of the show because of how popular he was with audiences, as helped by the chops and dedication from Alan Alda... though once Alda obtained more creative control of the show behind-the-scenes, and many facets of Hawkeye's personality (drinking, nurse chasing, wisecracking, scheming and plotting against Frank and later Charles, and just acting silly in general) were reduced tremendously, then fans weren't so fond of him.
    • Margaret, especially earlier seasons whenever she would run her mouth off about whatever it was Hawkeye and Trapper did to Frank, and threatening to go over Henry's head to a general (who, odds were, she had had a sexual relationship with that she leveraged to get her way). about whatever issues she had with the camp. When later seasons subject her to Break the Haughty and erode her status as a Satellite Character around Frank, she stops being the female equivalent of Frank and becomes a troubled Daddy's Girl who is hurt by the fact nobody seems to want to be around her, has her sexiness downplayed in favor of exploring the woman she really is, and finally lets her hair down and becomes a much kinder person who doesn't get nearly as angry as she did in the past.
  • Better on DVD: The general consensus. While there isn't much continuity to screw up, some stations tend to cut up episodes for time, or not air certain episodes for some reason or another. The DVD also gives the viewer the option of watching it without the Laugh Track.
  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment: Loudon Wainwright III as Captain Calvin Spauldingnote , singing Oh, Tokyo" in "Rainbow Bridge". The entire episode he sings about how great Tokyo is and seemingly serves only to remind the audience Hawkeye and Trapper had weekend passes. He never even interacts with any characters. He does, though, when he returns in "Big Mac" to sing a special song about Gen. Douglas MacArthur, and in "There Is Nothing Like A Nurse" to sing "When I Die" and "I Wonder If They Miss Us". Wainwright says in interviews that he was very excited about being on M*A*S*H and wishes he'd been in more episodes. The songs you heard were ones he wrote especially for those episodes.
  • Broken Base: The series seems firmly divided between fans who preferred the earlier seasons (which focused more on comedy) and the later seasons (that focused more on drama).
  • Crack Pairing: Ho Yay factor of Hawkeye and Trapper (and later B.J.) aside, a number of fans like to pair Charles with Klinger (and even more ironic, this precedes David Ogden Stiers's outing).
    • Radar/Henry has a fair bit of on-screen Ho Yay, too, (embracing shirtless in "The Sniper", anyone?), and that's a very, very, unequal pairing.
  • Creator's Pet:
    • Hawkeye can come off like this sometimes. Every good character seems to love or adore him, and while sometimes justified for The Ace characters, it may be overbearing.
    • Both creator Larry Gelbart, and series writer Ken Levine, have said that of all the characters on the show, Radar was their favorite to write for. It sometimes shows as nobody could think wrong of cute little Radar. Witness "Fallen Idol", in which Radar gets self-righteous about Hawkeye running out of surgery to throw up because he was still drunk. Granted it was a major screwup, but Potter dealt with it, and Radar basically acts like it was Hawkeye's job to live up to Radar's image of him. Hawkeye then justifiably tells him off for putting that on him, and everyone (including Hawkeye himself once he calms down) acts like he's a monster for doing this.
  • Creator Worship: It’s been a joke running for decades (with him even being called an honorary woman in the late seventies) that women and queer people love Alan Alda a lot more than straight men do. Helped along by Mike Farrell, who’s rather pointedly called him responsible for “every good thing that happened in the show”.
  • Dawson Casting: After seven years, Gary Burghoff was noticeably older than his character was supposed to be, to the point where the writers fought in vain with him to keep his hat on so viewers wouldn't see his receding hairline.
    • Even with his hat, the receding hairline was still noticeable: compare any episode from the first season, where Radar had tufts of hair sticking out from under the brim of his cap, to an episode from his last, where you see no hair whatsoever sticking out under the brim.
  • Draco in Leather Pants: Fans tend to overlook or justify a lot of Hawkeye's illegal, morally questionable, and downright treasonous antics. Hawkeye is intended to be a sympathetic protagonist, but not necessarily a perfectly admirable hero.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • Colonel Sam Flagg was one of the show's most memorable recurring characters despite by only appearing in seven episodesnote . Word of God (specifically Ken Levine) said that they really enjoyed writing Flagg but kept appearances to a minimum to avoid wearing out his welcome and turning him into The Scrappy.
    • Major Sidney Friedman, everybody's favorite shrink, was popular with viewers. Allan Arbus was offered a permanent role on the show, but he declined.
    • A lot of fans really love Ginger Bayliss and wish she’d stuck around for the Character Development years. She's even got an entry in Awesome Moments.
  • Fair for Its Day:
    • The episode "George" comes off today as extremely dated, handling the subject of homosexuality in the military poorly and misleadingly. However, in the 1970s, having an episode that portrayed a gay soldier as a sympathetic character and a courageous Marine was really quite amazing (and, given that the show takes place in the '50s with '50s sensitivities, you could argue that it should be dated).
    • Same can be said for the episode "Inga": it was written and directed by Alan Alda, who was very much an outspoken advocate for women's rights, and at the time this episode aired, was during the height of feminism. Today, however, the episode comes off as very clumsy, dated, and downright sexist, particular how Hawkeye and later Charles have their male egos bruised by Inga showing them up (though it was never her intention to do so; she was there, as a doctor, simply to help keep the 4077th up to date with the latest surgical techniques). The episode sees Hawkeye learning a lesson about his attitude toward women.
    • Hawkeye was apparently intentionally made “flamboyant” to tick off conservatives and changed from the book and movie versions for the same thing, and Alan Alda talked about how they weren’t allowed to show or have him touch other men’s underwear, but he gets away with a lot of queer references, and while he has trauma aplenty, he only ever gets punished for promiscuity when he’s arrogant or acting like a jerk because of it. (Margaret is allowed to have as much fun as she wants later on as well, after she’s done with Frank.)
    • There’s a lot of debate about Klinger being a trans-misogynistic stereotype, and the Laugh Track doesn’t help, but switching it off; every decent character either is fine with his wearing dresses, gives him compliments or advice, and middle seasons had him genuinely care about the upkeep of his wardrobe.
  • Fanon:
    • Ever since Archive of Our Own writer onekisstotakewithme gave her the middle name "Jane", Peg Hunnicutt has been Peggy Jane for the fandom. Many of its most prolific writers use it, to the point its origin is almost forgotten.
    • A popular headcanon with Hawkeye's Early Installment Weirdness family (mother, sister, living in Vermont) that considering his later Trauma-Induced Amnesia and canon Ambiguous Disorder (very close to bipolar, but never actually said), it was his brain sending out misfires, helped by the fact that he freely admits to making people up in Tuttle, and his voiceover in The Moose says he knows that his dad has always wanted a sister, giving off the impression he doesn’t have one.
    • That Hawkeye had a breakdown after Henry's death and that’s why he was on R+R. Mostly because it seems logical, as Frank is too stingy to give a week's worth for no reason, and it was impossible to reach him as he was going so wild.
  • Fanon Discontinuity: Fans of B.J. mostly agree there is no episode where he cheats on Peg.
  • Fan-Preferred Couple: B.J. Hunnicut is Happily Married to Peg in the show. However, while that does have its fans, most fans prefer to pair him with his best friend Hawkeye Pierce. This is not only because of the massive amount of Ho Yay between B.J. and Hawkeye and the chemistry between their actors, but because the audience never actually gets to meet Peg due to the show taking place during the Korean War and her being at home the entire time. Most of the fanfics for the show are B.J./Hawkeye, and it easily outranks B.J./Peg on almost every site.
  • Genius Bonus: In "Bombshells", Hawkeye is trying to telephone Marilyn Monroe by impersonating baseball great Ted Williams. Marilyn's assistant screens the call by asking "Ted" for his greatest thrill in sports. Hawkeye fudges that his greatest thrill is "just being out there in left field playing for you great fans." Marilyn's assistant promptly hangs up. As baseball aficionados will recall, Ted Williams was known for having a very contentious relationship with the left field fans (and most everyone else for that matter).
  • Growing the Beard: Though opinions may vary, the series became a good deal more thoughtful, sincere, and mature with the departure of Trapper and Colonel Blake and the arrival of B.J. and Colonel Potter. Among both fans and creators, "Sometimes You Hear The Bullet" is considered the episode where the show really found its voice, adding pinches of drama and tragedy to the comedy. Prior to that, the show struggled for stories that would be funny without veering into military slapstick. After, the tone of the show was clear: war is not funny, but the characters are trying to be funny so they can try to forget they're in the middle of a war.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • In-Universe: Margaret's replacement wedding ring accidentally has the inscription "Our love will EVER fail" instead of "NEVER fail". Turns out, Penobscot was emotionally abusive and controlling, and she eventually divorced him.
    • Hawkeye's main fear in "Hawk's Nightmare" is that people will realize he’s genuinely crazy and pity him. That’s exactly what happens in "Goodbye Farewell and Amen.
    • "Tuttle" has Hawkeye have an Imaginary Friend from childhood he used to get out of trouble, tells Trapper he may have made him up and makes jokes about being manic-depressive. All Played for Laughs, but nine seasons later his Trauma-Induced Amnesia and making things up to replace traumatic memories is very much not funny.
    • In "Private Charles Lamb", after the titular lamb has turned up missing:
      Henry: Everything in this country disappears but me. Boy, what I wouldn't give to wake up one morning, look down, and find myself gone.
      • In the "O.R." episode from Season 3, Hawkeye tells Henry he's getting arthritis and that it could be his ticket home. Henry expresses reluctance to leave Korea, where he's been able to "do more doctoring than I can do in a lifetime back in the world."
        Hawkeye: Wars don't last forever, Henry, only war does. One day you're gonna have to go back home and die in your bed in Bloomington.
      • The first-season episode "Showtime" has a running gag about a camp dentist named Kaplan, who's gotten his discharge orders and is waiting to be shipped home but paranoid about some accident befalling him before he's able to leave Korea (which sure enough happens, when he steps on the gas instead of the brake while driving out of camp, wrecking his jeep and breaking his leg, ironically because he didn't trust the driver). It's all Played for Laughs, and he does make it out alive, but it definitely takes on a different flavor once you've seen "Abyssinia, Henry".
      • In one early episode, following a night of hard partying, Hawkeye jokingly tells Radar, "There were no survivors". This is exactly what Radar himself eventually says in "Abyssinia, Henry".
    • Some lines post-retcon (and the fact that Hawkeye is canonically an Unreliable Narrator with Trauma-Induced Amnesia) make some sentences about his mom and sister sadder and more surreal, like Trapper’s enabling his mom’s protectiveness, or “Give Mom and sis a kiss from me”.
    • In another first-season episode, "Dear Dad, Again", Hawkeye says that he's surprised Father Mulcahy doesn't "go deaf from the sound of all the commandments breaking around him". In the series finale, Father Mulcahy's hearing is severely damaged (perhaps permanently) by a nearby mortar round (though Potter fixes it in the After Show). The episode also has Hawkeye telling his dad he’ll be glad to find out what they do without Henry Blake (Potter’s great but he really won’t), and that you need a thick skin or you’ll end up crazy (he would know).
    • When Margaret first gets engaged to Donald, Frank (in an obvious attempt to get into her pants) theorizes that Donald is no good. She (humorously and good-naturedly) turns him down. Several seasons later, we learn that Donald has been stealing Margaret's paychecks for himself and sleeping around behind her back while she has been faithful to him. This revelation leads to them divorcing. On that point, when Hawkeye and B.J. replace Margaret's engagement ring, the seller messes up the inscription to read, "Over hill, over dale, our love will ever fail."
    • "You know, one day, Pierce, he's going to throw the book at you, and I won't be there to help." Two seasons after Henry's aforementioned death, Frank finally brings Hawkeye up on mutiny charges (ironically false allegations considering the number of legitimate charges he could've leveled) and has zero compunctions about allowing a court to hang Hawkeye. Or worse. Ultimately subverted since the officer in charge of the court martial believed Frank's credibility to be shot, but it wasn't until Henry was gone that Frank actually got so far.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • "Yankee Doodle Doctor" has a few scenes of Hawkeye directing everyone else, a few seasons before Alan Alda started directing regularly.
    • This exchange from one episode:
      Hawkeye: Oh, wow. The Thompson twins in the buff. They don't look very much alike.
      B.J.: 'Course not. They're brother and sister. note 
    • In one episode, Radar says "You Talkin' to Me?", a few years before Taxi Driver.
    • Henry Blake was shipped to Korea for answering a general's prescription of a coffee enema for a patient by saying "With cream and sugar?". Fast forward to 2018...
    • He’s talking about her in a sexual context, but Hawkeye says in the early Dear Dad episode that if they got Margaret away from Frank she’d be better. Which is exactly what happens per her Character Development.
    • In “The Consultant”, Hawkeye muses that he loved a girl in San Francisco once, no, twice. In eight episodes, Mill Valley B.J. will come in for eight seasons of No Sense of Personal Space and longing looks.
    • When the series ended, a studio exec visited the set and warned the cast not to do an "end of war" episode, claiming it would kill the show in syndication. Nearly forty years in syndication later... Granted, the finale does only air rarely, but that's down to its length more than its content.
  • Hollywood Pudgy: Loretta Swit is curvy, but still skinny, and was told by Hawkeye to lose ten pounds. Even Hawkeye, a thin beanpole, pinches himself in a season 9 episode like he’s meant to come off overweight.
  • Ho Yay: Hawkeye and Trapper, big-time.
    • "Five O'Clock Charlie" has Frank's training of some Korean locals to defend themselves interrupted by Trapper, Hawkeye and Radar making fun of him with their own:
      Trapper: (imitating a CO) Count off!
      Radar: (after moments of silence, to Hawkeye) Are you "one"?
      Hawkeye: (mincing) Yes, are you?
    • In "Welcome to Korea", Hawkeye returns from R&R to discover that Trapper got discharged and went home while he was gone. While Trapper didn't leave a written note, he did have a "message" for Radar to give Hawkeye: a big kiss on the cheek.
    • Hawkeye and B.J. also had a lot. From the final episode:
      Hawkeye: Look, I know how tough it is for you to say goodbye, so I'll say it. Maybe you're right. Maybe we will see each other again. But just in case we don't, I want you to know how much you've meant to me. I'll never be able to shake you. Whenever I see a pair of big feet or a cheesy mustache, I'll think of you.
      B.J.: Whenever I smell month-old socks, I'll think of you.
      Hawkeye: Or the next time somebody nails my shoe to the floor...
      B.J.: Or when somebody gives me a martini that tastes like lighter fluid...
      Hawkeye: I'll miss you.
      B.J.: I'll miss you, a lot. I can't imagine what this place would've been like if I hadn't found you here.
      • "What if I were dying? Would you hold me and let me die in your arms, or leave me on the floor to bleed?"
      • Hawkeye also seems to enjoy having fantasies that involve B.J. in romantic situations.
      • B.J. actually starts to veer off into Crazy Jealous Guy territory when Hawkeye gets to reminiscing about "the good old days with Trapper". He once even remarks that he sometimes hates Trapper even though he never even met him, and looks crushed whenever Hawkeye implies he's a Replacement Goldfish.
      • The conversation in "The Novocaine Mutiny", turning Frank being fine with Hawkeye being executed (or worse) into, well, this…
      Hawkeye: Besides my life, Frank wants my virginity.
      B.J.: We all do.
      Hawkeye: [sounding genuinely surprised] If only if I’d known…
    • Hawkeye has No Sense of Personal Space with everyone, but seemed very fond of touching Henry whenever he wanted something, and kissed him on two cheeks when they said goodbye. The sex strike in Edwina has him staring at Henry’s legs, and Trapper looks annoyed.
    Henry: You fix that [Margaret’s report on him], sweetheart, and I’ll give you a bath.
    Hawkeye: That part of our relationship is over, Henry.
    • Then there's Klinger, who regularly wrote love letters to generals and tried to kiss or molest any high-ranking officer who visited the camp...all in the name of Obfuscating Insanity, of course.
    • Hawkeye and Klinger develop an Odd Friendship over ambiguous sanity and sexuality, and twice in season five they’re in arm and arm acting like a couple. Hawkeye’s also the only other character who considers crossdressing for both fun and to get out of the army.
    • It's not too hard to make something of Radar's hero-worship of Hawkeye, or Hawkeye's evident fondness of him. Radar is extremely embarrassed and uncomfortable about undressing in front of Hawkeye in "Officer Of The Day" when he's done it around other people with little issue, and if you add in the pregnant silences and Hawkeye's insistence on staring at him, the scene does take on a certain vibe.
    • This website has a list of every single slashy quote from the entire series. It's... extensive.
    • Literally Tommy from Sometimes You Hear The Bullet is introduced by saying he loves Hawkeye, grabs him like he’s aiming for a kiss, calls him beautiful and then kisses Henry. No wonder that nearly every slashy fic in existence has Tommy an old boyfriend of Hawkeye’s.
    • Hawkeye and Mulcahy flirt a lot, and when (in “Run For The Money”) Mulcahy asks what’s in it for him, Hawkeye gets close enough to kiss and asks what he wants. It then cuts to the next scene.
    • Lyle in Springtime has a blatant crush on Hawkeye, liking to do things for him, being overly protective, and giving him a smack on the ass that sends him flying.
    • Margaret gives a lot of repressed Ambiguously Gay vibes, having a total crush on Lil, “deciding” to fall in love with men, admitting to Lorraine that Donald is like a toy she plays with sometimes, talking about men being a distraction from her work, Helen being more important than the military (also kissing her on the head to calm her down) and telling Lorraine she loved her then hated her when she saw her again.
  • Idiot Plot:
    • "Operation Noselift", in which Radar pretends to be hit by a baseball to cover for another soldier's nose job, only to be seen without a bandage on his nose while everyone else has a bandaged nose. The soldier getting the nose job could have been "hit" by the baseball to explain getting operated on without the need for secrecy, to say nothing about having to explain the new nose when he comes back from leave.
    • "The Nurses", in which a nurse's husband is on leave for 24 hours, so Hawkeye and B.J. make up a fake diagnosis to keep him quarantined in Margaret's tent so the nurse can be with him... despite the VIP tent being vacant.
  • Informed Wrongness:
    • In "Fallen Idol", Hawkeye is treated as a monster for going off on Radar...who acted as if he was the victim of Hawkeye having to leave surgery because he was drunk/hungover, because the guy he looked up to was less than perfect. As Hawkeye pointed out, he was going through hell, and just trying to survive, not to be someone's role model. Though Hawkeye screwed up, it was unfair of Radar to put him on a pedestal and then demand he live up to it.
    • "Communication Breakdown" portrays Charles as being in the wrong for not wanting the entire camp to mooch off of the newspapers that were sent specifically for him, from home, and everyone treats him as being selfish when he refuses to share them.
  • It Was His Sled: Henry's death.
  • Jerkass Woobie: Frank could be considered one of these. While he often acts in a way that makes you want to see karma bite him in the ass, karma bites him so often and so mercilessly that it's easy to actually feel sorry for him. Particularly after Margaret left him and he became progressively more unhinged; even Hawkeye and B.J. eased up on him during that time.
    • He becomes much more sympathetic if you pay attention to the snatches of his backstory that he occasionally reveals (usually while drunk). If you had his home life, you'd probably be pretty messed up, too.
  • Launcher of a Thousand Ships: Margaret by virtue for being the only main woman in the cast, and Hawkeye because even in canon he liked to tease that he’d “loved as many” of the camp as he could, with both male and female characters reacting with approval.
  • LGBT Fanbase: While not ignoring its flaws (it's a 70's show after all), has a healthy one. Mainly because it's incredibly easy to read Hawkeye as bisexual.
  • Memetic Mutation: "I'm not as think as you drunk I am!" is possibly courtesy of a very drunk Margaret Houlihan from the episode "Hot Lips and Empty Arms".
    • That line dates from at least the 1920s and can be found in Bennett Cerf humor collections. However, there's no question that its use on the show re-popularized it.
    • "Aaaah, Bach!" comes from Radar's attempts to impress a cultured nurse in "Love Story".
    • "Jeep... tent... boom... kill... jeep... tent... boom... kill... jeep... tent... boom... kill..."
    • "A big red bird with fuzzy pink feet."
    • "Please, Mozart."
    • "Bottom Hawkeye". Coming from The Joker Is Wild's innuendos that B.J. was the top, tumblr fans went wild with evidence photosets that, along with being bi, Hawkeye's a bratty bottom.
  • More Popular Replacement: B.J. is better received than his predecessor Trapper, for being a more-rounded and fleshed-out, as well having a contrasting personality to Hawkeye, whereas Trapper was much like a mirror of Hawkeye though reduced to a sidekick.
  • Narm: Any time Trapper would dramatically declare his longing to be home with his wife and the horrors of being separated from his family by the war, since chances were almost 100% that the episode would also show him thoroughly enjoying her absence with whatever hot girl crossed his path. Possibly the same with Colonel Blake, though since he was often less brazen and smug about his conquests, it didn't cause quite so much dissonance.
    • While he had good comic timing, Alan Alda is practically dripping with Narm in his more dramatic moments. Just watch him scream about how much he hated his cousin Billy for playfully tossing him into a pond before Hawkeye himself knew how to swim (the same cousin pulled him out).
      • That same episode shows that, for all his other talents, Alda cannot do a fake sneeze, coming out as more of an aborted shout. Made worse when Alan Arbus delivers a perfect stage sneeze in The Stinger.
    • "The Billfold Syndrome" features an amnesiac soldier who is hypnotised in order to relive the traumatic event. This delicate procedure is aided by Hawkeye and B.J. banging books on a table and going wheee!-pshh to simulate the battle, while the patient stares vaguely into space. It's very sad, but probably not in the way intended.
  • Narm Charm:
    • Sometimes, the camera will zoom in anvilly on the actor's face when they talk. But usually the moments are so emotional (see B.J.'s breakdown in "Period of Adjustment") that you don't really mind.
    • The fact that the show is so aesthetically 70s yet supposedly set in the 50s just adds to the feel of it.
  • No Yay: Hawkeye flirts with everyone because that’s just what he does, but a lot of Sidney/Hawkeye fic takes place early on or handwaves that Sidney hasn’t come to be Hawkeye’s therapist for a while, to avoid the iffy ethics.
  • Older Than They Think:
  • Poor Man's Substitute: They generally didn't try to cast any of these for the TV show, but got lucky with Loretta Swit, who looked and acted a lot like Sally Kellerman (the film version's Houlihan).
  • Retroactive Recognition: Numerous actors who would go on to bigger and better fame appeared on the show.
    • Blythe Danner as Hawkeye's old girlfriend from med school.
    • Patrick Swayze as a soldier diagnosed with leukemia.
    • Ron Howard as a wounded soldier who is underage.
    • Laurence Fishburne as a wounded soldier.
    • Pat Morita, Mr. Miyagi himself, as Captain Sam Pak.
    • Brian Dennehy as an MP.
    • Alex Karras as a wounded soldier who's a little too thankful to Hawkeye for saving his life.
    • Susan Saint James as a war correspondent who B.J. falls for.
    • Leslie Nielsen as a colonel with a high casualty rate who gets gaslighted by Hawkeye and Trapper.
      • Though, in fairness, Nielsen was already well-known as a dramatic actor (having had his breakout role in Forbidden Planet), it's still this trope as the role allowed him to dip his toes into comedy, preparatory for his trope naming role in Airplane!
    • George Wendt, of Cheers fame, as a Marine with a pool ball stuck in his mouth.
    • Shelley Long as a nurse Hawkeye gets involved with.
    • Jeffrey Tambor as a PR flack.
    • James Cromwell as a practical joke-playing college friend of B.J.'s.
    • John Ritter as a soldier who flips out and holds Frank at gunpoint.
    • Younger viewers might recognize occasional guest star Mako as the voice of Uncle Iroh in Avatar: The Last Airbender. They also might recognize Sab Shimono as the voice of Monk Gyatso/Master Yu.
    • Jack Soo, later Detective Nick Yemana on Barney Miller, as a black marketeer.
    • Art LaFleur, a character actor who's been in quite a lot of stuff, as an MP who comes to bust the 4077th for stealing a general's steak but ends up joining them for dinner.
    • Ed Begley Jr., Dr. Victor Ehrlich on St. Elsewhere, as a young soldier who is clumsy in combat but turns out to be a fantastic cook.
    • Kevin Hagen, Little House on the Prairie's Dr. Baker, as a colonel who gets men killed to retrieve the bodies of American soldiers, then later as a major who shows up to deliver a warning with a wink and a nod to Hawkeye for disrupting the peace conference.
    • Barry Corbin, Whitey from One Tree Hill, as a retention officer who talks a despondent Klinger into reenlisting.
    • Edward Herrmann of Gilmore Girls as a fill-in doctor who seems to fit right in, but cracks under the pressure.
    • Mark L. Taylor, Mr. Fulton from High School Musical 2, as a young soldier named O'Malley in "C*A*V*E".
    • Dirk Blocker of Brooklyn Nine-Nine as a soldier whose girlfriend dumps him for a rich asshole in "Identity Crisis".
    • Two cast members of the Police Academy movies show up:
      • David Graf (Sgt. Tackleberry) guest stars as a MP seeking to arrest a soldier going AWOL
      • G.W. Bailey (Lt./Capt. Harris) was a cast member in the show's later years, playing supporting character Staff Sergeant Rizzo.
  • Seasonal Rot: Although exactly when it first set in is a matter of some dispute.
  • "Seinfeld" Is Unfunny:
    • Some younger viewers may wonder what the big deal is, but you can thank M*A*S*H for pretty much every Dramedy series that's come in its wake. It also pioneered the use of film-style pacing and Loads and Loads of Characters in an American sitcom.
    • Before M*A*S*H, if an actor left a show and a Suspiciously Similar Substitute came in, it wasn't the norm for the change to become an in-universe plot point. In an era when there were no DVD box sets but there were reruns, TV episodes were created so that they could be watched in any order and old characters were never mentioned again after their actors left. Because, you know, that might shock and confuse people. M*A*S*H is an early (and, by today's standards, primitive) example of long-running continuity in a television show.
  • Ship-to-Ship Combat: The Hawkeye/Trapper and Hawkeye/B.J. wars still rage. Not helped (or helped if you like the angst) that Hawkeye's bitter about being left by Trapper for the rest of the series, B.J. fears he's a Replacement Goldfish, and in the finale, Hawkeye is desperate to leave a goodbye, partly because Trapper didn't.
  • Special Effect Failure: "The Trial of Henry Blake" has a scene of Klinger attempting to escape the camp via hang-glider. This is shown with very obvious blue-screen usage. You can see his feet moving in a manner that shows he's actually running.
    • When Klinger and Hawkeye go around camp nude in different episodes (Klinger to convince a general that he's insane, Hawkeye to win a bet with Trapper), the underwear the actors are wearing is plainly visible.
      • By contrast, the blooper in "The Sniper" when Radar drops his towel as he runs back into the showers only serves to reveal that Gary Burghoff had not bothered with underwear.
    • The show's interior soundstage set includes some "outdoor" portions immediately surrounding the main tents and buildings (complete with painted mountains, plastic trees, etc.) which were used for some episodes when the actual outdoor set at the Malibu Ranch was unavailable. In certain episodes they'll cut between the interior and exterior sets in the very same scene! "Five O'Clock Charlie" is a glaring example as a sequence shows Frank, in an exterior scene, addressing Hawkeye and Trapper, then it cuts to Hawkeye and Trapper responding in what is clearly an interior scene.
    • In the episode where Radar rescues Sophie (at the time a stallion instead of a mare), B.J. and Hawkeye are trying to extract a piece of shrapnel from the horse's rump, leading it to kick through the wall of the supply building. The legs are obviously wooden models, and one of them breaks and is hanging from splinters after the second kick.
  • Squick: In "The Birthday Girls", B.J. has to relay phoned-in instructions from a vet to Potter and Hawkeye, who are in a stable out in the compound. His decision to use the PA system causes diners in the mess tent to push their trays away. Potter and especially Hawkeye are also visibly horrified by the measures they must take to ensure the live birth of a calf from an injured cow.
  • Strawman Has a Point: Sometimes even Frank Burns is right about various issues.
    • Frank is dismissed as a racist idiot for his paranoia about two locals burying a 'bomb' (really a pot containing kimchi, Korean sauerkraut) beside a road near the camp. In the wake of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, which saw makeshift roadside bombs used as a primary weapon against coalition troops, Frank is justified in being suspicious of an unknown object being buried next to a road. On the other hand, some of Hawkeye and B.J.'s scorn might have come from Frank being so unfamiliar with the locals that he didn't even know what a kimchi pot was, though that wouldn't prevent it from being a real bomb.
      • Similarly, any episode where Frank is suspicious of the locals who come into the camp and have largely unrestricted access to it. Arming such "trustees" with bombs or weapons isn't just something that's been seen a lot in more recent wars such as Iraq and Afghanistan, but was specifically something Korean and Vietnamese forces would do. Additionally, burying a kimchi pot would be an excellent cover story for planting a roadside bomb.
      • One episode has Radar realize too late that a North Korean soldier entered the camp — in full uniform, no less — and filled up a tray in the mess tent, without anyone else seeming to notice or care. The camp's security was abysmal and no one seemed to actually give a shit that they were in a war zone only a few miles from the front lines and were repeatedly targeted despite being a noncombatant medical facility.
    • In the same vein as the above, there's an episode where a South Korean soldier is waiting around to take away an injured female North Korean guerilla. The woman repeatedly states that she hates everyone, attempts to murder one of the other patients, and in general makes it very clear she hopes everyone in the 4077th is killed horribly. B.J. and Hawkeye treat her as if she were a poor maligned saint throughout, and the South Korean soldier as if he were a malicious villain just doing it For the Evulz... instead they both come off looking like naive, chauvinistic idiots trying to tell one of the people whose country has suffered the most from people like her what he should think. However, some fans argue that despite her crimes, it was the prospect of the guerrilla being brutally tortured that Hawkeye and B.J. objected to, as something that was beyond the pale regardless of what she was guilty of. On the other hand, the only evidence of torture comes from a rumor heard by a patient in Post-Op.
    • Then there's "Rainbow Bridge". Frank in this episode comes across much more Properly Paranoid about potential Chinese intentions as opposed to the Yellow Peril-addled buffoon they probably intended. He brought along a (admittedly dinky) pistol along since the Chinese counterparts to the prisoner exchange stipulated "no weapons", suspecting a double-cross. He was halfway correct as the Chinese side brought along at least four men armed with submachine guns. Nobody in the episode calls them out for their hypocrisy (the closest is Radar having a brief Oh, Crap! moment seeing the guns), Hawkeye even praises them for what they're doing but Frank is treated as a breaker of trust for bringing his popgun? Fortunately, Dr. Lin Tam truly wanted to see the exchange through without any betrayal, but if he had had other ideas, Team MASH would have been sitting ducks and practically PO Ws or worse the moment they stepped off the bus.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character:
    • Colonel Flagg. He appears in only seven episodes, eight if you count Captain Halloran as an alias. The writers have said they eventually had to phase him out of the show, because he was too silly and one-dimensional due to Flanderization and Badass Decay, and thus would have been out of place with the direction the show took in tone. He does, however, make an appearance in a two-parter episode of the After Show.
    • Sidney Freedman is arguably another example of this, showing up in just 12 episodes. Indeed, the creators offered Allan Arbus a full-time cast slot, and he turned it down. However, as with Flagg it could be argued that the very rarity of his appearances made the character more effective and memorable.
    • Pat Morita as Captain Sam Pak, the visiting ROK surgeon who turns up in Season 2's "Deal Me Out" and "The Chosen People". Morita brought a lot of humor to the role and had excellent chemistry with the regular cast, and one can't help wishing he'd been used for more than just two episodes.
    • The nurses. Any of them. Most only appeared for a handful of episodes at most, with only Nurse Kellye lasting for multiple seasons. Aside from a couple of "A Day in the Limelight" episodes, none received any focus or character development except in relation to one of the main characters.
  • Unintentional Period Piece: As an allegory for Vietnam, it loses something after the Paris Peace Accord (ending the Vietnam War) and the repeal of the draft in 1973 and the Fall of Saigon in 1975. The film was unambiguously about Vietnam (to the point the producers forced a text crawl at the beginning stating it took place in Korea), while the producers of the show claimed it was about war in general, though the various subtle references to Vietnam make it inexorable with Vietnam.
  • Unintentionally Sympathetic: Much like, for example, Arnold J. Rimmer, Frank Burns is supposed to be the most obnoxious, annoying and awful member of the cast, but his Freudian Excuse and the sheer quantity of hate directed at him In-Universe often leads to people sympathizing with him in reality.
  • Unintentionally Unsympathetic:
    • In one episode, Trapper is talking about how much he misses his wife, which rings rather hollow considering he's been cheating on her with various nurses and appears not to feel even slightly bad about it.
    • Margaret feeling shunned by the nurses which is treated as unfair to her. Thing is she acts very unnecessarily mean towards many of the nurses, which is why they never hang with her.
    • B.J. got hit with this, especially in season 7's "The Party". Sure, he's allowed to be disappointed that nobody's enthusiastic about his plan for a family party back home - but not while everyone is focusing on the camp bugging out!
  • Values Dissonance: While the TV series doesn't have quite as much of this as the movie or especially the novel, there's still a number of things that would probably raise the eyebrows of modern audiences:
    • The episode where Hawkeye, B.J., and Col. Potter arrive at camp driving drunk in celebration of making a general look ridiculous may have been a standard comedy business in the late 1970s, but now a typical viewer, well aware of the dangers of drinking and driving, would be alarmed that they could have killed someone, or themselves.
    • There's also the fact that Trapper is considered to be a positively-viewed character, despite his nickname coming from the fact that he was accused of raping a girl, though it's kind of implied that it was a reputation-saving False Rape Accusation on the part of the young woman in question. This was acknowledged in the Larry Gelbart written interview, him seeing it as an Embarrassing Nickname.
    • "House Arrest" features a shockingly cavalier attitude toward rape, which Larry Gelbart has said is one of his biggest regrets about the show.
    • "Bananas, Crackers, and Nuts" and "Operation Noselift" both have a visiting character coming on to Margaret and eventually trying to force himself on her, and both times the near-assault is Played for Laughs. Oddly enough, in both episodes the would-be rapist is played by Stuart Margolin, although they're entirely different characters. In the former, Hawkeye, Trapper, and Radar set up the whole thing, and then stood by as she screamed for help.
      • In the latter, the visiting surgeon is a friend of Hawkeye's, and Hawkeye still appears to be on the best of terms with him at the end of the episode and in no way concerned that he tried to rape one of the female officers, which makes it more distasteful still.
    • A lot of the more sexual jabs that Hawkeye and Trapper took at Margaret, especially referencing her breasts and sex life, would be looked upon as sexual harassment today.
    • "Margaret's Engagement" is one where we’re meant to be sympathetic to Frank, and see Margaret as a bitch for finally getting out of a relationship (and bragging about it) where she was tired of being the sidepiece. Except he captures a Korean family on the way, and tries to attack Margaret, and with more knowledge on feminism and racism, it’s easy to feel confused about why you should feel sympathetic at all.
    • A running gag for a large part of his stint on the series is Radar spying on the nurses in the showers and actually selling tickets to the hole in the tent. Anyone who calls him on or reports him for it (usually Frank) is treated as a killjoy.
  • Values Resonance:
    • Hawkeye is incredibly popular with (especially LGBTQ) millennials, being one of the first characters in television to be an attractive man who gets increasingly whumped/put through hell as the series goes on, have socialist values with canonical mental illness and is commonly referred to as a "bicon" (with even gay viewers at the time thinking something was up). An old article gave mention to the 80s hating Hawkeye, as it was a more macho era and he/Alan Alda were symbols of being "wimpy", but he regained popularity in the 90s for being a man who learned to not sexually harass.
    • While still getting that it's a progressive "man in a dress" joke at heart, a lot of trans and nonbinary fans appreciate Klinger a lot, as every decent character is accepting of him and anyone disgusted gets mocked, Hawkeye gives him clothes advice and they act like a couple sometimes, and Sidney tells him it's okay if he continues to crossdress after the war.
    • While he's told off for getting on his soapbox, Hawkeye’s season two complaint about girls having to be blonde blue eyed cheerleader vanilla pie types or they're considered slutty is still widely talked about as a Double Standard years on.
    • While there's plenty of underage attraction jokes (thinking sixteen year old babysitters are hot, though Hawkeye’s Sad Clown cracks about his own past are always met with disgust), 44 year old Henry in love with a 21 year old is meant to be pathetic and neither Hawkeye or Trapper let up on him for it.
  • We're Still Relevant, Dammit!: As a Vietnam allegory, it loses something after the Paris Peace Accord and repeal of the draft in 1973 and the Fall of Saigon in 1975. The show's producers insist that it's a commentary on war in general rather than Vietnam (or Korea) in particular. Whatever the intentions of the TV show, the original movie was unmistakably about Vietnam.
  • What Do You Mean, It Wasn't Made on Drugs?: Some of the jokes seem like they were written by someone who was high and couldn't stop laughing. For instance, "Bug Out Part 2", Radar runs through the frame of a dismantled tent, then runs back through it and runs out the door. Although this could be a bit of Fridge Brilliance, showing how thoroughly indoctrinated Radar was to army life that he even made sure to use proper exits and entrances when it wasn't necessary.
  • The Woobie: Pretty much everyone was this at least once. Yes, including Frank.

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