I LOVE LUCY
DICK VAN DYKE
MARY TYLER MOORE
ALL IN THE FAMILY
The Classic Sitcoms Guide to...
Season Three: 1974-75
THE THIRD SEASON
Year-End Rating: 27.4 (5th place)
Larry Gelbart and Laurence Marks share third-season scripting chores
with Jim Fritzell and Everett Greenbaum, notable additions to an over-worked
stable of writers that also includes Sid Dorfman and Simon Muntner,
among others. Producers Gene Reynolds and Larry Gelbart bolster their
third-year story sessions with anecdotes they've gathered during a tour
of Korea's 43rd Army Surgical Hospital.
The doctors suspect their new spit-and-polish commander is missing
a few marbles after he threatens to move the 4077th out onto the battlefield.
When Harry Morgan's crazed general was shipped off to the Pentagon
at the end of this episode, no one guessed that the accomplished character
actor would return to the series as Henry Blake's replacement the very
McIntyre and Pierce abandon their planned furlough when they travel
into enemy territory to retrieve a group of wounded GIs.
While Henry vacations in Seoul, Hawkeye protects a wounded North Korean
prisoner from Colonel Flagg, who wants to see the alleged spy executed.
A visiting general suffers a fatal heart attack in the throes of passion
on Hot Lips' bed, and his loyal aide schemes to give the commander a
From the general's entrance--pearl-handled pistols at his side--to
his final send-off in an ambulance packed with prostitutes, this first-rate
effort from Glebart and Dorfman ranks among the season's best: a sardonic
black comedy that employs the medium of laughter to deliver a trenchant
statement on the folly of those who seek glory in war.
The staff faces an unrelenting day in the operating theater as casualties
continue to mount, with no end in sight.
Set entirely in the O.R., the story builds on the stark drama of life
and death as the doctors struggle to save those who can be saved and
move the rest out as quickly as possible. It's an uncompromising episode,
and though it's not without humor, it was one of the earliest episodes
of the series to be aired minus a laugh track. Despite the network's
early objection to scenes set in the O.R., the producers steadfastly
refused to compromise the impact of those sequences by dubbing in canned
laughter. "It's hard to imagine the audience belly laughing at bowel
surgery," quipped Gelbart.
In spring, even an enlisted man's fancy turns to romance--a maxim that's
borne out when Radar and Klinger are both stung by Cupid's arrow.
Writer Mary Kay Place scripted herself into this episode in the role
of Louise, the willing object of Radar's affection. Two years later,
the actress would achieve considerable acclaim for her portrayal of
Loretta Haggers on Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman.
The camp throws a teary farewell party for Trapper John when he discovers
that his ulcer guarantees him a one-way ticket home.
Though a last-minute technicality spoils Trapper's clean break this
time, Hawkeye's stirring--if premature--farewell speech would have to
do. There would be no time for more formal good-byes a few months later
when Wayne Rogers' leave-taking forced his character's equally abrupt
departure at the end of the season.
Henry suspects his wife may be having an affair; and Father Mulcahy
officiates at an infant's circumcision.
This was the second M*A*S*H script from Everett Greenbaum and
Jim Fritzell, a veteran comedy team with impeccable credits--they'd
scripted Mr. Peepers in the 1950s and written some of the finest
early episodes of The Andy Griffith Show in the 1960s.
In Henry's absence, Frank uses his executive powers to declare a prohibition
at the 4077th.
The compound becomes more hellish than usual when the threat of enemy
invasion forces the nurses to evacuate the 4077th.
Fed up with Army rations, Hawkeye places an order by shortwave to his
favorite Chicago barbecue joint: forty pounds of ribs . . . to go.
Hawkeye's latest letter home describes a typical day at the 4077th:
There's a mad Turk in the operating room, and the doctors have misplaced
the body of an officer who may, or may not, be dead.
Radar tries to find the potentially rabid dog who bit him; and the
surgeons treat a corporal suffering from psychosomatic paralysis.
Radar almost sparks an international incident when he rescues a lamb
from the skewer of a Greek regiment's Easter feast.
The medics continue to operate on incoming wounded, despite a steady
barrage that threatens to blow the camp apart at the seams.
Posted camp activities include a picnic and a Shirley Temple movie.
Hawkeye is deeply disappointed when a visiting specialist gets too
drunk to perform a vital operation to save a soldier's leg.
Alan Alda's father joins him in this episode, a dramatic vehicle tailor-made
for both generations of the acting clan.
Hawkeye nearly faces a court-martial after he gets carried away during
one of his petty squabbles with Frank Burns.
Margaret and Hawkeye provide emergency aid at the front lines when
they're sent into battle with Corporal Klinger.
Klinger suits up in regular Army fatigues when the chips are down,
prefiguring the character's eventual position of responsibility much
later in the series. Hot Lips, too, undergoes a change when she earns
the men's respect with her cool performance under battle conditions.
By the end of the episode, she and Hawkeye raise their mugs in a silent
toast that only hints at the major changes yet to come.
Trapper and Hawkeye attempt to unite one enlisted man with his pregnant
wife and try to prevent another from marrying a Korean prostitute.
The camp prepares for a visit from Commanding General Douglas MacArthur.
Hawkeye is surprised when a military oversight nets him an extra $3000
When valuable supplies of penicillin begin to disappear, the doctors
suspect the involvement of CIA operative Colonel Flagg.
With the memory of Colonel Blake's gala farewell party still fresh
in their minds, the 4077th is shocked to learn that the commanding officer's
plane has just been shot down over the Sea of Japan.
The producers weren't content to simply write Blake out of the series
after the actor voluntarily left the show. "Faced with the show-business
reality of one of the star players wanting out," Larry Gelbart explained
in The New York Times, "we looked for a bold solution to his
disappearance consistent with the series's view of the wastefulness
of war. Angry viewers [later] accused us of trying to make them unhappy,
as if the warranty that came with their sets promised them only happy
moments of viewing."