I just read your essay & found it an interesting summary of the relevance to pop
culture of that show. However, I thought that since you pointed up Houlihan & Hawkeye
as metaphors for the two opposing societies of life & destruction (the military),
& then later set forth Season Six as the turning point of the series, you might have
gone further in your analysis. It's no doubt way beyond what was intended when the episode
was written, but in the context of your analysis, the episode "Comrades in Arms"
could serve as an exploration of what happens when those two societies try to merge &
understand each other. Or perhaps that is another essay entirely....
Enjoyed your essay (I hope my commentary above does not give the opposite impression).
I assume that is the episode in which the two spend a harrowing and somewhat intimate
night together. Yes, I would say that your analysis is correct and when you think about
it, it is clear that that is what the creators of the episode intended -- people from two
different worlds coming together. The title obviously conveys the idea that they are
comrades in arms both literally and in the sense that they are now more like a team.
As MASH became more sophisticated, it kept bringing characters together, including
military characters, into its larger society. To do that, it had to make the military
characters more likeable and nuanced. It still hated the war but stopped hating some of
the main military characters (It hated the sin but loved some of the sinners.)
That is one of the best episodes. Another, which is art of a different level from the rest
(dramatic poetry), is the one in which a soldier dies but he is still around and trying to
communicate with people at the MASH. Neither he nor Houlihan can get anyone to listen to
them or acknowledge their presence. They both sit there talking about that fact and
neither is paying attention to the other.