MAS*H is one of the greatest comedy series of all time. Set during the Korean War, the series focused on United States Mobile Army Surgical Hospital. To manage the horrors of war they dealt with every day, the doctors and staff frequently leaned into a lot of drinking, partying and pranks on everyone within reach.
It was the best way to get by. But over the course of 11 seasons and 256 episodes of this TV show that was based on a movie (that, in turn, was based on a book), some of the jokes the gang played on each other did more damage than intended.
Sometimes pranks go too far, which is why it’s a good idea to make sure to minimize the collateral damage as much as possible. Unfortunately, the entire camp got caught up in it this time. As a prank on Klinger, Hawkeye and Winchester decided to start a rumor that Marilyn Monroe was coming to visit. But like most rumors, this one started gaining a life of its own and everyone started believing it. This left Hawkeye and Winchester in a bind, having to fake a telegram of regret from Monroe saying she wasn’t going to make it. They covered their butts, but the camp was still disappointed.
9BJ Tricks Hawkeye
One of the main doctors in the MASH unit, Hawkeye was a charming ladies man who did everything in his power to not let the war get to him. No matter how dark things got, he used humor as a coping mechanism in an attempt to stay sane. As such, Hawkeye was known as a master of pranks.
But in one episode, someone returned the favor. BJ started pulling pranks on everyone else, leaving Hawkeye for last and driving him into a paranoid frenzy. What was eventually revealed was that all pranks were staged as part of an elaborate prank on Hawkeye that everyone else was in on.
Colonel Sherman T. Potter had the dubious honor of trying to keep the members of the MASH unit in line. When Colonel Tucker was coming for an inspection, Potter asked his doctors to act professional or they might get in trouble. They did not and they did. As an act of revenge on Tucker, Hawkeye and friends organized a prank on him. The only problem was that it caused Tucker to have a heart attack. When Hawkeye went to check on him, he whispered “April Fool’s” in Hawkeye’s ear. That’s when the unit found out Tucker and Potter were old friends who were pranking them.
During one episode, BJ was visited by an old friend by the name of Leo Bardonaro. The man wass one of the most elaborate pranksters around, announcing his visit by making Potter think BJ was in trouble. Bardonaro orchestrated an incredibly elaborate prank that resulted in BJ being dragged all the way to Seoul on trumped up charges.
Potter and Hawkeye exonerated him, then headed back to camp. BJ wanted revenge but Hawkeye was two steps ahead. He had already stolen the travel papers that would have taken Bardonaro home and away from the war.
6Turning The Tables
Charles Winchester was known for being a good doctor but also for not particularly like the rest of the unit. He started egging Margaret Houlihan into getting back at Hawkeye and BJ for all the jokes they had played on her over the years. Normally one to stay above juvenile prank wars, she got down in the muck on this one. Winchester then pushed Hawkeye and BJ to up the ante with Margaret. This went on until things went way too far, and it looked like BJ’s marriage might be ruined. That’s when the trio revealed they were on to Winchester and devised the plan to jerk him around.
5Don’t Turn Your Back On Frank
Frank spent most of his time in Korea as the butt of Hawkeye’s jokes. But when the mood struck him, Frank could give as good as he got. On a day the USO stopped by the camp, Frank arranged a series of pranks on Hawkeye. He rigged the showerheads to malfunction. He set up a bucket of water to fall on Hawkeye’s head, a classic prank. He even doctored Hawkeye’s still to spray him with his own ill gotten booze.
Hawkeye naturally gets his revenge on Frank but it didn’t change the reality that for once, even if it was only briefly, Frank was on top.
4Rizzo’s Dummy Grenade
Sgt. Rizzo was sleeping in the Officer’s Club when BJ walked in. He saw Rizzo there and loudly asked if the general’s Jeep is ready to go. This brutally startled Rizzo into consciousness, which amused BJ endlessly. Rizzo vowed to get back at BJ though he might have taken things a little too far. He got his hands on a dummy hand grenade, took it to the communal shower and used it to scare the living hell out of BJ while he was showering. At the sight of the pin being pulled, BJ tore out of the showers at high speed, and without clothes.
3Too Wide A Shot
For the first half of the series, Frank Burns was the thorn in the side of Hawkeye and friends. It worked the other way on that one, too. Finally having enough of Hawkeye’s antics, Burns put in for a transfer away from the 4077. For the rest of the unit, this was a cause for celebration.
Hawkeye and Trapper, his sidekick at that time, decided to throw one last prank to celebrate. Unfortunately, the prank caught Margaret in it’s grasp, as well, driving her to ask for a transfer. Hawkeye and Trapper worked hard to earn their forgiveness.
Tormenting Frank was a great pass time for Hawkeye and Trapper. When Trapper left the series and BJ replaced him, there was some overlap before Frank left giving BJ a chance to get a few licks in. One day, BJ stood out front of Frank’s bunk and got another man to scream, “Air Raid” at the top of his lungs. This caused Frank to wake up in a state of abject horror. He flew out of the tent, into the light and ran for cover. Clad in his sleeping attire, he dove into a nearby dugout filled with dirty water. That’s not the best part of waking up.
A lonely Frank was being more annoying than usual so B.J and Hawkeye tried being nice to him for a change and brought him into the their fun. It didn’t help, and the duo just ended up caring for a drunk, unconscious Frank. As a drunken joke of their own, B.J. and Hawkeye placed a toe tag on Frank and left him behind. Unfortunately, Frank drunkenly stumbled across camp and blacked out in the back of an ambulance. Still unconscious, Frank was taken to a completely different camp. Potter sent B.J. and Hawkeye to retrieve him given it was their fault he was there.