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June 19, 2006



Damn, I clearly remember that episode. Huzzahs and thanks to you and David too.

Tom Dougherty

One of my favorites of that series. You're right about Morgan, too. He was fantastic. He could really bring on the waterworks. Thanks for your amazing work.


It's a wonderful episode, Ken. And, if the IMDB is correct, you wrote it when you were only 28. Wow.By the way, did you have anything to do with the DREAMS episode? It blew me away when I first saw it. A sitcom having the guts to be that gravely serious is still shocking.

Paul Duca

Imagine...there's one degree of separation between M*A*S*H and THE TURKEY HOUR.


I saw this episode on rerun when I was in primary school. Didn't understand then what was going on, but I entralled. Wonderful epidode.


This has always been my favorite episode, it is still very powerful. I loved how you gave all the characters, or rather their portrayers, a chance to shine individually. Particularly seeing Margaret and Charles as they reacted normally and kindly to the patient. A marked difference from their usual caustic manner when relating to Hawkeye and BJ. By the way, love your blog.


I rememember that episode and it was great. But I always wondered what happened to the show over the years. It was so sharp and so irreverent and so hysterical and then the characters lost all their edges, it got all sanctimonious, everyone from Nurse Kelly to Potter semed saddled with the same glib dialog. In reruns, the oldies stand out, the early Radar, sharp, cigar-smoking and subversive, Hot Lips all tousled and real... as the show rolled along, the Burns character began to look out of place but that Linville was a comic genuis, for my money he was in place and the rest of the show went off the rails in increasing spasms of earnestness. FWIW as good as that episode was, IMO it doesn't hold a candle to the Captain Tuttle ep from the early days, that was pure comic genius, great blog, thx.

The Master

That was truely an unforgettable episode. One of the greatest half-hours of episodic TV.There's a Hitchcock episode or Tales From the Crypt or some such that uses the device for horror, in fact at least two since I recall a black and white one with 50s actors (Van Heflin?), and a color one with Tony Goldwyn and Beau Bridges, where the first person perspective is someone believed dead, and the viewer hears their thoughts as they try to communicate they're alive before they are buried or autopsied. But yours was a very moving show. I haven't seen it in maybe 15 years, yet I can remember line readings, it's so vivid.And Harry Morgan is so underrated. For decades such a great actor.


As much as I liked this MASH episode, it still reminded me of this advice you gave in another of your columns...Don’t view the show from the perspective of a fly. I once read a WINGS spec as seen by a buzzing fly. I offer this as the first example because I know so many young writers fall into this same trap. Not exactly a buzzing fly, but a character who cant move and cant talk, not much different.I guess when one is an established writer on an established show, some of the conventional wisdom no longer applies... ;-)

Dave Williams

If all the characters addressed the fly it could work. If you cared about the fly.I think the lesson to be learned here is essentially the same lesson we all learn in our chosen careers: first you learn all the rules of your craft, then you learn how and why you can break the rules.We should be paying for this stuff, Ken.

Robert Hogan

Hands down my favorite episode of MASH and possibly my favorite episode of anything. I first saw this during my impressionable younger years and I remember rushing out with my grandfather's 8mm and trying to recreate the shots of the show.


Have fond memories of that episode, too. But your story regarding Bobby Rich was cool. I remember listening to him as one of the Rich Brothers on "KFM...BFM...San Diego's FM" Always loved that legal ID.Also, Ken...as many others have posted before me...Thanks for the blog. I can't count the number of times I laugh outloud hard. And in this day and age, there's not enough of that in our lives. Thanks!

The Minstrel Boy

i absolutely remember that episode. it was brilliant. morgan superb, alan alda doing the "groucho rounds" hilarious and touching. mad props.


I remember watching that episode when i was a kid and thought it was so unique. I work as a tv writer here in Singapore, and everytime i feel like I need an adrenaline shot in the writing muscle, or I feel an attack of cynicism come on regarding the industry, I watch Mash, and particularly episodes like the POV, and I would feel greatly inspired and recharged.thanks for writing such a great blog. Keep writing about your experiences in Mash and cheers and frasier, especially with regard to story telling.nuggets like these can't be found in any writing books!thanks again!andrew


Wow, I remember M*A*S*H* in syndication weekday afternoons on my living room floor. I remember this episode very well. You are like some sort of ancient prophet from my childhood returned in blog form.


Ditto. We should be paying for this. Thank you Ken...this is truly a gift.I remember when that episode aired. And Potter's confession...Today when I watch the back to back Mash's I simply marvel at Harry Morgan's A-to-Z acting. He can turn a crumb into a catering truck.And for the previous mention re: Dreams? That one leveled me.Ken: You rock.Mark


Hi Kencan i ask something about writing craft? You mentioned SUSPENSE in your writing of POV. I was wondering, is that something you always ask yourself when you break a story?Also, are there any rules you follow when you try and make a premise CREDIBLE in a sitcom episode.do you recall any episode you wrote which was particularly difficult in finding a way to break into the story, like how you mentioned making the soldier get wounded in the throat?

Beth Ciotta

I remember that episode very well. Powerful and moving, clever. I found this post inspiring on many levels. Thank you for sharing, Ken, and for writing so many wonderful scripts.


Not a dry....SEAT in the house?I don't recall it being a piss-your-pants funny episode.:)


POV is a great episode. My father used to teach film history. He always referenced this episode to try to get his students POV. I also always admired the episode with the clock in the bottom corner and no laugh track. It was quite an eye opener.I'm watching MASH right now. I continue to enjoy the show. Thanks for your great work, Ken.

The Dreamer

Ken,I have to thank you. M*A*S*H* has been such a big part of my life since I can remember. I grew up in Washington DC and when my parents decided to move to California (in the early 80's), they would only move to an area that M*A*S*H* aired at 11pm. We ended up in Mission Viejo, CA. To this day, M*A*S*H* is the last thing I see before I close my eyes at night. I bet I have seen every episode at least twice. Thank you for this show.

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    Ken Levine is an Emmy winning writer/director/producer/major league baseball announcer. In a career that has spanned over 30 years Ken has worked on MASH, CHEERS, FRASIER, THE SIMPSONS, WINGS, EVERYBODY LOVES RAYMOND, BECKER, DHARMA & GREG, and has co-created his own series including ALMOST PERFECT starring Nancy Travis. He and his partner wrote the feature VOLUNTEERS. Ken has also been the radio/TV play-by-play voice of the Baltimore Orioles, Seattle Mariners, San Diego Padres.
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