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The Classic Sitcoms Guide to...
Season Eight: 1979-80

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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Year-End Rating: 25.3 (4th place)

Radar O'Reilly's decampment near the top of the eighth season sets the stage for Klinger's emergence as a more believable, three-dimensional central figure. The now fully balanced ensemble is poised for the series of rich character studies that will comprise the best episodes of the show's final seasons.

Burt Metcalfe is executive producer for the final four seasons, and Stanford Tischler is the associate producer. John Rappaport and Jim Mulligan sign on as producers, and Dennis Koenig is the season's story editor. Thad Mumford and Dan Wilcox are the executive story editors. Ronny Graham continues as program consultant, and Charles S. Dubin is the staff director in season eight.

170 Too Many Cooks    First Aired: September 17, 1979
Writer: Dennis Koenig
Director: Charles S. Dubin
Guest Stars: John Randolph, Ed Begley, Jr.

The staff is forced to reevaluate their opinion of a bumbling foot soldier after he works wonders in the mess tent kitchen.

171 Are You Now, Margaret?    First Aired: September 24, 1979
Writers: Thad Mumford, Dan Wilcox
Director: Charles S. Dubin
Guest Stars: Lawrence Pressman, Jennifer Davis, Jeff Maxwell

A witch-hunting Congressional investigator tries to uncover Communist sympathies in Margaret's youthful past.

Thad Mumford and Dan Wilcox had written scripts, together and separately, for Maude, Alice, The Electric Company, America 2-Night, as well as the miniseries Roots II. The hardworking story editors would eventually become producers during the show's final two seasons.

172 Guerrilla My Dreams    First Aired: October 1, 1979
Writer: Bob Colleary
Director: Alan Alda
Guest Stars: Mako, Joshua Bryant, Huanani Minn, George Kee Cheung, Marcus Mukai, Connie Izay

Hawkeye tries to prevent a South Korean officer from interrogating a wounded woman being held at the 4077th as an enemy guerrilla.

173 Good-Bye, Radar (Part 1)    First Aired: October 8, 1979
Writers: Ken Levine, David Isaacs
Director: Charles S. Dubin
Guest Stars: Marilyn Jones, Johnny Haymer, Michael O'Dwyer, Richard Lee-Sung, Tony Cristino, Arell Blanton

Radar returns from furlough to discover that he's been discharged to help out at home after a family crisis.

Gary Burghoff decided to leave the series at the end of the seventh year, complaining that the monotony of the series had taken its toll. Though few tears were shed when the hotheaded actor finally left, CBS coerced him to return for this two-part farewell episode that was scheduled to take advantage of the November ratings sweeps period.

174 Good-Bye, Radar (Part 2)    First Aired: October 15, 1979
Writers: Ken Levine, David Isaacs
Director: Charles S. Dubin
Guest Stars: Lee de Broux, Whitney Rydbeck, David Dozer

Radar's gala farewell party is upstaged by the unexpected arrival of incoming wounded, leaving the corporal to say his good-byes in silence to an empty camp.

Writers Levine and Isaacs successfully avoid the mawkish in their approach to Radar's farewell scene by opting for a more compelling treatment that allows the little corporal only a muted last hurrah. The war arrives--an uninvited guest at his good-bye party--and suddenly everyone is back to the business of battle, with not a single tear shed. The character's final moments at the 4077th are moving, yet refreshingly devoid of gushing sentiment. If only they hadn't dragged out that teddy bear for the final coda . . .

175 Period of Adjustment    First Aired: October 22, 1979
Writers: Jim Mulligan, John Rappaport
Director: Charles S. Dubin
Guest Stars: Jeff Maxwell, Eileen Saki, Gwen Farrell

B.J. feels the pangs of homesickness when he hears how his toddler daughter mistook Radar for her soldier daddy; and Klinger finds it rough going when he takes over as company clerk.

176 Nurse Doctor    First Aired: October 29, 1979
Writers: Sy Rosen, Thad Mumford, Dan Wilcox
Story: Sy Rosen
Director: Charles S. Dubin
Guest Star: Alexandra Stoddart

The camp is in the midst of a drought, but Father Mulcahy finds himself in plenty of hot water after he rebuffs the affections of a young nurse.

177 Private Finance    First Aired: November 5, 1979
Writer: Dennis Koenig
Director: Charles S. Dubin
Guest Stars: Shizuko Hoshi, Denice Kumagi, Mark Kologi, Joey Pento, Philip Simma, Art Evans

Hawkeye debates whether to send a dead soldier's black-market profits home to the boy's parents; and Klinger's offer of financial support to a young Korean girl is misinterpreted by her mother.

178 Mr. and Mrs. Who?    First Aired: November 12, 1979
Writer: Ronny Graham
Director: Burt Metcalfe
Guest Stars: Charlotte Nevins, James Keane

Charles returns from a lost weekend in Tokyo, stinging from a hangover--and the possibility that he may have gotten married.

179 The Yalu Brick Road    First Aired: November 19, 1979
Writer: Mike Farrell
Director: Charles S. Dubin
Guest Stars: Soon Teck Oh, G.W. Bailey

After Klinger's Thanksgiving feast yields a harvest of food poisoning, Hawkeye and B.J. are sidetracked on their way to retrieve an antibiotic antidote.

180 Life Time    First Aired: November 26, 1979
Writers: Alan Alda, Walter D. Dishell, M.D.
Director: Alan Alda
Guest Star: Kevin Brophy

The surgeons race the clock when a soldier's medical complications force them to complete his delicate heart operation within twenty minutes.

An onscreen clock creates arresting suspense as it ticks off in real time as the half-hour progresses.

The episode's script was co-written by Alda and Walter Dishell, the show's medical adviser. The story is 100 percent medically plausible--one of the more remarkable examples of the painstaking research that went into almost every script. Dishell actually kept a 1953 medical textbook in his office to ensure that the surgeons' procedures were never anachronistic, and a registered Army nurse was always on the set to oversee the accuracy of triage and O. R. sequences.

181 Dear Uncle Abdul    First Aired: December 3, 1979
Writers: John Rappaport, Jim Mulligan
Director: William Jurgensen
Guest Stars: Kelly Ward, Richard Lineback, Alexander Petale

With all his new responsibilities, Klinger barely has time to write a letter home to his family in Toledo.

182 Captains Outrageous    First Aired: December 10, 1979
Writers: Thad Mumford, Dan Wilcox
Director: Burt Metcalfe
Guest Stars: Eileen Saki, John Orchard, Sirri Murad, G.W. Bailey, Paul Cavonis, Momo Yashima, Jo Ann Thompson

Members of the staff tend bar after Rosie gets hurt during one of their brawls; and Father Mulcahy skeptically awaits news of his long-awaited promotion.

183 Stars and Stripe    First Aired: December 17, 1979
Writer: Dennis Koenig
Director: Harry Morgan
Guest Star: Joshua Bryant

B.J. and Winchester form a tempestuous partnership to write an article for a medical journal; and Hot Lips is reunited with a macho front-line boyfriend.

184 Yessir, That's Our Baby    First Aired: December 31, 1979
Writer: Jim Mulligan
Director: Alan Alda
Guest Stars: Howard Platt, William Bogert, Yuki Shimoda, Elizabeth Farley

The 4077th plays adoption agency when the staff tries to find a home for an unwanted Amer-Asian baby abandoned on their doorstep.

185 Bottle Fatigue    First Aired: January 7, 1980
Writers: Thad Mumford, Dan Wilcox
Director: Burt Metcalfe
Guest Stars: Shelley Long, David Hirokane, Shari Saba

Hawkeye's huge bar bill convinces him to go on the wagon; and Charles frets when his sister plans to marry beneath her station.

As he struggles to release his grip on demon rum, Hawkeye examines his last boisterous, irredeemable, and purely selfish habit--and completes the final stages of his character's transformation. The lusty, hard-drinking, quick-witted, and fallibly human doctor who'd been drafted eight seasons earlier has finally emerged as the Jiminy Cricket of the Korean War: the walking, talking embodiment of all human conscience in wartime.

186 Heal Thyself    First Aired: January 14, 1980
Writer: Dennis Koenig
Story: Dennis Koenig, Gene Reynolds
Director: Mike Farrell
Guest Star: Edward Herrman

Hawkeye and B.J. are delighted with a temporary surgeon who fills in for the ailing Winchester, until the new medic begins to crack under the strain.

187 Old Soldiers    First Aired: January 21, 1980
Writer: Dennis Koenig
Director: Charles S. Dubin
Guest Stars: Jane Connell, Sally Imamura, Jason Autajay

Colonel Potter toasts his old Army buddies after he discover that he's the last survivor of his World War I battalion.

188 Morale Victory    First Aired: January 28, 1980
Writer: John Rappaport
Director: Charles S. Dubin
Guest Stars: James Stephens, G.W. Bailey, Connie Izay

Potter challenges B.J. and Hawkeye to boost camp morale; and Winchester tries to lift the spirits of a pianist who has a paralyzed hand.

189 Lend a Hand    First Aired: February 4, 1980
Writer: Alan Alda
Director: Alan Alda
Guest Stars: Robert Alda, Anthony Alda, Daren Kelly, Shari Saba

Hawkeye volunteers for an emergency mission on the front lines, only to fid himself paired up with an abrasive medical consultant with whom he'd locked horns earlier.

Robert Alda returns to reprise his role as the medical consultant Dr. Borelli, who previously appeared in the third year. Alan's brother, Anthony, completes the family portrait in a small role as the medic who referees the bickering physicians.

190 Good-Bye, Cruel World    First Aired: February 11, 1980
Writers: Thad Mumford, Dan Wilcox
Director: Charles S. Dubin
Guest Stars: Clyde Kusatsu, Allan Arbus, Philip Bruns, James Lough, David Cramer

Dr. Freedman treats a wounded Asian-American war hero who would rather commit suicide than return home.

191 Dreams    First Aired: February 18, 1980
Writer: Alan Alda
Story: Alan Alda, James Jay Rubinfier
Director: Alan Alda
Guest Stars: Ford Rainey, Robin Haynes, Catherine Bergstrom, Fred Stuthman, Kurtis Sanders, Ray Lynch, Connie Izay

The staff's worst fears and most desperate frustrations are explored as they daydream during short catnaps away from the rigors of surgery.

B.J.'s dream features the first appearance of his wife, Peg, played by Catherine Bergstrom.

192 War Co-Respondent    First Aired: March 3, 1980
Writer: Mike Farrell
Director: Mike Farrell
Guest Stars: Susan Saint James, Brad Wilkin, Calvin Levels

B.J. wrestles with his conscience when he nearly forsakes his marriage for an infatuation with an attractive war correspondent.

Actress Susan Saint James plays the reporter who tempts B.J. She'd been Rock Hudson's TV wife for six seasons of NBC's McMillan and Wife when she eventually joined the sitcom camp as one half of Kate and Allie on CBS in 1984.

193 Back Pay    First Aired: March 10, 1980
Writers: Thad Mumford, Dan Wilcox, Dennis Koenig
Director: Burt Metcalfe
Guest Stars: Sab Shimono, Peter Kim, Jerry Fujikawa, G.W. Bailey, Richard Herd, Roy Goldman

Hawkeye bills the Army $38,000 for his services to protest the profits that civilian doctors are reaping from their own contributions to the war effort.

194 April Fools    First Aired: March 24, 1980
Writer: Dennis Koenig
Director: Charles S. Dubin
Guest Stars: Pat Hingle, G.W. Bailey, Roy Goldman, Jennifer Davis

Potter warns the camp to be on their best behavior when a hard-boiled colonel schedules his inspection during the 4077th's April Fool's Day festivities.

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