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Season Two: 1973-74

SEASON ONE: 1972-73
SEASON TWO: 1973-74
SEASON FOUR: 1975-76
SEASON FIVE: 1976-77
SEASON SIX: 1977-78
SEASON NINE: 1980-81
SEASON TEN: 1981-82

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"M*A*S*H" on Video or DVD


Year-End Rating: 25.7 (4th place)

The comedy's ratings skyrocket after CBS sandwiches it between All in the Family and The Mary Tyler Moore Show on their Saturday-evening lineup, and the show swiftly rises to the challenge set by such sterling company. Hawkeye continues to anchor the comic drama, but other characters also emerge as distinct and complex personalities in second-year scripts that reveal unexpected depth of feeling in Trapper John, Colonel Blake, and, perhaps most surprising of all, Hot Lips.

Producer Gene Reynolds is officially joined by Larry Gelbart as co-producer. Gelbart also continues to write or polish every script, along with the equally prolific story editor, Laurence Marks. Together and separately, the pair write the majority of the season's episodes, most of which are directed by Jackie Cooper, William Wiard, Don Weis, or Gene Reynolds.

25 Divided We Stand    First Aired: September 15, 1973
Writer: Larry Gelbart
Director: Jackie Cooper
Guest Star: Anthony Holland

The personnel of the 4077th are on their best behavior when they're visited by an Army observer intent on reassigning the unit.

Gelbart and Reynolds designed this first episode of the new season to serve as an unofficial second pilot; the idea was to reintroduce the show's major characters for the benefit of all the new viewers who would presumably be joining the series in its improved time slot.

26 Five O'Clock Charlie    First Aired: September 22, 1973
Writer: Larry Gelbart, Laurence Marks
Story: Keith Walker
Director: Norman Tokar

Frank is not amused when the camp starts placing bets on a bumbling enemy pilot's attempts to bomb an ammunitions facility near the 4077th.

Director Norman Tokar had previously helmed Leave It to Beaver from 1957 to 1963.

27 Radar's Report    First Aired: September 29, 1973
Writer: Laurence Marks
Story: Sheldon Keller
Director: Jackie Cooper
Guest Stars: Joan Van Ark, Allan Arbus, Tom Dever

There's a raving POW loose in the O.R., and an Army psychiatrist tries to determine whether or not Klinger is certifiably nuts.

This is Allan Arbus's first appearance as Army psychiatrist Major Freedman, who would be a frequent guest at the 4077th over the next decade.

28 For the Good of the Outfit    First Aired: October 6, 1973
Writer: Jerry Mayer
Director: Jackie Cooper
Guest Star: Frank Aletter

After the Army accidentally bombs a local village, Hawkeye and Trapper buck heads with a general when they refuse to cooperate in the military cover-up.

29 Dr. Pierce and Mr. Hyde    First Aired: October 13, 1973
Writers: Alan Alda, Robert Klane
Director: Jackie Cooper

Hawkeye's behavior is unrestrained, even by his standards, when he refuses to slow his pace after a three-day marathon in the O.R.

30 Kim    First Aired: October 20, 1973
Writers: Marc Mandel, Larry Gelbart, Laurence Marks
Director: William Wiard
Guest Stars: Leslie Evans, Edgar Raymond Miller, Ray Poss, Maggie Roswell, Momo Yashima

Trapper John decides to adopt an orphaned Korean refugee.

31 L.I.P. (Local Indigenous Personnel)    First Aired: October 27, 1973
Writer: Carl Kleinschmitt
Director: William Wiard
Guest Stars: Corinne Camacho, Burt Young, Jerry Zaks

The doctors resort to blackmail to persuade a stubborn official who refuses to okay a young GI's marriage to a South Korean woman.

32 The Trial of Henry Blake    First Aired: November 3, 1973
Writers: McLean Stevenson, Larry Gelbart, Laurence Marks
Director: Don Weis
Guest Stars: Hope Summers, Robert F. Simon, Jack Aaron

The hijinks of the 4077th fall under scrutiny when Colonel Blake faces a military hearing to determine whether he's fit for command.

Flashback sequences depict the 4077th in the throes of near-bacchanalian abandon that serve as a reminder of what a randy bunch the doctors and nurses of the 4077th were in the show's early years, when their libidinous shenanigans afforded them a temporary refuge from the grim realities all around. It's a pity that the medics' carnal urges were tamed as the series developed--their earthier desires often provided the setting for some of the crew's funniest, and most authentic, wartime escapades.

33 Dear Dad . . . Three    First Aired: November 10, 1973
Writers: Larry Gelbart, Laurence Marks
Director: Don Weis
Guest Stars: Mills Watson, Sivi Aberg, Arthur Abelson

In another letter home, Hawkeye describes his efforts to remove a live grenade from a wounded soldier's chest; and the staff gathers for an impromptu screening of Henry's home movies.

A masterful piece of storytelling begins when the doctors assemble in Blake's office, all prepared to snicker at his quaint home movies. We're encouraged to laugh along with the wisecracking doctors as we watch Henry onscreen--a Midwestern rube posturing and clowning for the shaky camera.

Then we see the screen through Henry Blake's eyes. We see the clumsy shadows of a child's birthday celebration as he does--a sweet and poignant vision of a simple time that suddenly seems so far away.

Blake fights back a tear, as do we. He's come to realize, as we have, that the carefree man dancing up there on the screen is already dead, an early casualty of war. In this short, elegiac sequence, writers Gelbart and Marks eloquently describe the worst war crime of all--the Army's dreadful capacity to smother a man's spirit . . . very, very slowly.

34 The Sniper    First Aired: November 17, 1973
Writer: Richard M. Powell
Director: Jackie Cooper
Guest Stars: Teri Garr, Marcia Gelman, Dennis Troy

The sanctuary of the compound is threatened when the 4077th is besieged by a lone sniper.

Film actress Teri Garr has a pre-stardom role as one of the nurses in this episode.

35 Carry On, Hawkeye    First Aired: November 24, 1973
Writers: Bernard Dilbert, Larry Gelbart, Laurence Marks
Story: Bernard Dilbert
Director: Jackie Cooper
Guest Stars: Lynnette Mettey, Gwen Farrell, Marcia Gelman

Hawkeye and Hot Lips are the only medical personnel left standing after a flu epidemic hits the hospital.

The shortage of qualified doctors requires the head nurse to perform surgical duties far beyond her training or abilities, all of which she tackles with patience and stamina. Before the day is done, she has saved a boy's life with her own hands--and gained the first shreds of self-respect that would soon spur major changes for Hot Lips Houlihan.

36 The Incubator    First Aired: December 1, 1973
Writers: Larry Gelbart, Laurence Marks
Director: Jackie Cooper
Guest Stars: Robert F. Simon, Logan Ramsey, Vic Tayback

Hawkeye and Trapper follow the military chain of command to the very top in their determination to secure an incubator for the compound.

37 Deal Me Out    First Aired: December 8, 1973
Writers: Larry Gelbart, Laurence Marks
Director: Gene Reynolds
Guest Stars: Pat Morita, Allan Arbus, Edward Winter, John Ritter

Frank tries to prevent the doctors from operating on a wounded military intelligence officer for fear that he'll leak classified information while under sedation.

Edward Winter plays Captain Halloran, a prototype for Colonel Flagg, the malevolent patriot who would be a frequent visitor to the 4077th throughout the first five seasons.

38 Hot Lips and Empty Arms    First Aired: December 15, 1973
Writers: Linda Bloodworth, Mary Kay Place
Director: Jackie Cooper

Fed up with the limited horizons of her life at the 4077th, Hot Lips requests a transfer to another unit.

Gelbart and Reynolds commissioned a pair of twenty-five-year-old novice writers to script what they'd slated as "Loretta's show." Linda Bloodworth and Mary Kay Place interviewed Loretta Swit for hours before they finally wrote a story that sees Margaret questioning her life, her career, and perhaps most of all, her barren relationship with Frank Burns. By the end of the episode, the first stage of Margaret's evolution is complete. The strident, two-dimensional Army strumpet of the early shows has grown into a thinking, feeling, independent-minded woman.

Mary Kay Place would become better known as an actress, though Linda Bloodworth continued as a scripter for M*A*S*H and other television comedies. In 1986, as Linda Bloodworth Thomason, the writer would create and write Designing Women for CBS, a series that bore distinct echoes of her work on this early script.

39 Officers Only    First Aired: December 22, 1973
Writer: Ed Jurist
Director: Jackie Cooper
Guest Stars: Robert F. Simon, Robert Weaver, Clyde Kusatsu

Trapper and Hawkeye disagree with General Mitchell's restricted admissions policy for the new officer's club he's opened at the 4077th.

40 Henry in Love    First Aired: January 5, 1974
Writers: Larry Gelbart, Laurence Marks
Director: Don Weis
Guest Stars: Katharine Baumann, Odessa Cleveland, Sheila Lauritsen

Henry returns from Tokyo smitten by a cheerleader half his age, convinced that it's the real thing.

41 For Want of a Boot    First Aired: January 12, 1974
Writer: Sheldon Keller
Director: Don Weis
Guest Stars: Michael Lerner, Suzanne Zenor, Johnny Haymer

Hawkeye exchanges favors with everyone in camp in his efforts to get a new pair of boots.

A classic episode that shows the 4077th as one big, happy family--except that in this clan, everyone's out for himself. The supply sergeant wants his teeth fixed in exchange for the precious boots; the dentist demands a weekend pass for his services; and Radar barters his cooperation for a night with Nurse Murphy! Obviously, this episode occurred before Radar became a virgin. The refreshing lack of sentiment in this cynical roundelay typifies the sardonic humor that informed much of the show's comedy in the early seasons.

42 Operation Noselift    First Aired: January 19, 1974
Writer: Erik Tarloff
Story: Paul Richards, Erik Tarloff
Director: Hy Averback
Guest Star: Stuart Margolin

Hawkeye and Trapper enlist the aid of an Army plastic surgeon to perform a nose job on a deserving GI.

43 The Chosen People    First Aired: January 26, 1974
Writers: Laurence Marks, Sheldon Keller, Larry Gelbart
Story: Gerry Renert, Jeff Wilheim
Director: Jackie Cooper
Guest Stars: Pat Morita, Clare Nono, Dennis Robertson, Jay Jay Jue, Jerry Fujikawa

A Korean family tries to reclaim the land under the 4077th as their own; and a young woman from the village declares Radar the father of her child.

44 As You Were    First Aired: February 2, 1974
Writers: Larry Gelbart, Laurence Marks
Story: Gene Reynolds
Director: Hy Averback
Guest Star: Patricia Stevens

The doctors agree to treat Frank's hernia during a lull in the action, only to face a new deluge of wounded while Burns lies incapacitated in post-op.

45 Crisis    First Aired: February 9, 1974
Writers: Larry Gelbart, Laurence Marks
Director: Don Weis
Guest Stars: Jeff Maxwell, Alberta Jay

Tempers flare when the 4077th faces a supply shortage of food and fuel during a frigid cold spell.

46 George    First Aired: February 16, 1974
Writers: John Regier, Gary Markowitz
Director: Gene Reynolds
Guest Stars: Richard Ely, George Simmons

Hawkeye and Trapper scheme to prevent Frank from having a homosexual private drummed out of the corps.

47 Mail Call    First Aired: February 23, 1974
Writers: Larry Gelbart, Laurence Marks
Director: Alan Alda
Guest Stars: Dennis Troy, Sheila Lauritsen

Hawkeye can't resist teasing Frank with bogus stock-market tips after the major brags about his keen investments.

48 A Smattering of Intelligence    First Aired: March 2, 1974
Writers: Larry Gelbart, Laurence Marks
Director: Larry Gelbart
Guest Stars: Edward Winter, Bill Fletcher

It's spy versus spy when the CIA's Colonel Flagg decides to get the goods on an Army intelligence agent who's been snooping around the 4077th.


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