Impressions: M*A*S*H- The Young and the Restless

The Young and the Restless is the 19th episode of the 7th season of M*A*S*H. It gives a look at both Potter and Charles’ characters and is a rather amusing episode. I have only one real issue with it, but I am getting ahead of myself.

The episode kicks off, showing us that Potter is hurting, then we move to a lecture with the doctors. The doctor giving the lecture is very young, and Charles feels the need to show off his ego, only to be put in his place by the young Captain Simmons. When it comes time to operate, Potter’s injured leg is too much, and they tell him to take a seat and let Simmons fill in. Charles once again attempts to embarrass Simmons, only for it to fail spectacularly. Meanwhile, Potter tries to keep working, but Radar sends him to bed, saying that “we just don’t need you,” to which finally Potter agrees to rest. Charles begins drinking heavily, believing his career to be over after being shown up by the young doctor, and Potter refuses to get out of bed because he is not needed. Even Hawkeye and BJ are not immune to young Captain Simmons, though their reaction is much more reasonable.

When wounded come in, Potter is forced out of bed and then goads (whether intentional or not) hungover Charles out of his request to sit surgery out. During surgery, Charles finally compliments Potter and shows him the respect he often doesn’t. Although this gesture is not reciprocated.

We, of course, have our Klinger side bit, as is often the case. This time he is acting as though he is back in Ohio. He meets the guys at a “diner” and identifies Charles as a doorman, which gets just a lovely reaction. He tries to sell Potter aluminum siding, talks about the crazy “camera” when bringing in X-Rays, and all that fun stuff. It is one of Klinger’s more amusing bits, but it actually pales in comparison to Charles throughout.

I enjoy this episode. Seeing Charles put in his place is always a bit enjoyable. Not only that, but drunk Charles is pretty darn hilarious in most episodes. His various reactions to Simmons show us a good snapshot of his character. His ego, the fact that his ego hides pride that can easily be wounded and a bit of insecurity – this is probably the episode that taps into his well-hidden insecurity the most – and that he is able to admit he is wrong and show deference to those around him.

I also enjoy the look at Potter. We often get fatherly Potter, but this is one of the few episodes that shows us another side to him. Potter wants to be needed, and fear that he is not, wounds him greatly. That being said, I am not a huge fan of him not returning Charles’ olive branch. Charles is a decent character; if you follow my Patreon, I wrote about him vs. Frank, and one of the key features I highlighted is that Charles is rarely, if ever, as bad as Frank was. Charles showing respect to Potter is a nice moment, and while it shows that Potter is foulable, I didn’t appreciate Potter giving nothing back. He kind of comes off as a jerk…

Honestly, aside from that moment, it’s a pretty solid episode, though. It manages to have a pretty interesting story, the doctors fearing their skills being trumped by younger people, but it is presented in a funny way. There are different directions this plotline could have been dealt with, and I actually enjoyed that they went more humorous. It’s one of the more “laugh out loud” episodes and less “heavy and about the war.” It also manages to escape what I feel is an overall problem with M*A*S*H, that not every plotline feels fleshed out. This one didn’t suffer that issue, really.

So bottom line? Give this one a watch. I like the look at both Potter and Charles, although Charles steals the limelight for me. It’s a solidly funny episode, again, with only one standout thing that disappointed me, but is not a deal-breaker.

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