MASH once showcased the true horrors of war in a specific final moment with Hawkeye. There’s no doubt that war can have some serious effects on people, and MASH was great at showcasing how this works, specifically with Alan Alda’s Hawkeye. Although the show had both funny and serious moments, it was the show’s realistic, horror-littered moments that had us on the edge of our seats.
This scene comes in the final moments of the show, during the episode of “Goodbye, Farewell, and Amen.” Hawkeye is seen chatting with psychiatrist Sidney Freedman, played by Allan Arbus.
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In this scene, Hawkeye has a full-on breakdown, remembering how he ushered refugees out of Korea on a bus. In a flashback, Hawkeye does his best to quiet the passengers as they have a fear of being discovered by the North Korean patrol. Among the passengers included a woman who had to smother her squawking chicken to death, but instead, smothers her baby to death. Through tears, Hawkeye asks his psychiatrist, “Why did you make me remember that?”
Viewers young and old remember this scene with a lot of respect. One Reddit user wrote in a thread, “I watched it as a kid. It still haunts me today at 46.” Another says, “MASH might be viewed on the outside as a comedy. But it never, EVER glosses over the tragedy and futility and horror of war.”
Then, years later on 30 Rock, Alda was a guest star, and actually poked fun at the scene, saying, “A guy crying about a chicken and a baby? I thought this was a comedy show.” That same series finale episode drew in 105.97 million viewers, and at the time, became the most-watched television broadcast of all time