M*A*S*H episode
“Bottoms Up”
Bottoms Up
Margaret angrily confronts Capt. Helen Whitfield about her alcoholism in the Season 9 episode "Bottoms Up".
Season 9, Episode # 15
Number (#213) in series (256 episodes)
Guest star(s) Kellye Nakahara
Jeff Maxwell
Gail Strickland
Shari Saba
Laurie Bates
Bill Snider
Jimmy Baron
Network: CBS-TV
Production code: Z415
Writer(s) Dennis Koenig
Director Alan Alda
Original airdate March 2, 1981
IMDb logo IMDB Bottoms Up
Episode chronology
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"Oh, How We Danced" (Z‑414) "The Red/White Blues" (Z‑416)

(broadcast order)

(broadcast order)

"Oh, How We Danced" (Z‑414) "The Red/White Blues" (Z‑416)

(production order)

(production order)

Season 9 episodes
List of all M*A*S*H episodes

Bottoms Up was the 15th episode of Season 9 of the CBS-TV series M*A*S*H, also the 213th overall series episode. Written by Dennis Koenig and directed by Alan Alda, it originally aired on March 2, 1981.


Margaret's good friend Captain Helen Whitfield visits the 4077th, and it seems like old times again, but what the Major doesn't know is that Whitfield is still a raging closet-alcoholic; Meanwhile, Hawkeye pulls one prank that goes too far when he drops Charles' pants in O.R.

Full episode summaryEdit

An old friend of Margaret's, Capt. Helen Whitfield (Gail Strickland), is serving out her final weeks in the Army at the 4077th. Margaret and her are spending time playing cards, and Helen keeps winning. Margaret wants to keep playing, but Helen begs off and says she has to write a letter to her brother.

The next morning, wounded arrive, and Helen seems a little under the weather. Nurse Kellye offers to cover for her, but Helen insists she's fine.

During the session, Margaret asks Helen for a bottle of AB+, but she grabs AB- instead. Klinger notices, and points out her mistake.

Near the end of the session, Hawkeye and B.J. pull a prank on Winchester, faking a wounded patient and dropping Charles' pants in front of everyone. It goes over like a lead balloon, and when it comes time to fess up, B.J. leaves Hawkeye holding the bag. Later, in the Mess Tent, Hawkeye is greeted with jeers and Winchester is treated like a hero. Hawkeye can't stand it.

Later that night, Margaret and Helen have drinks in the Officer's Club, and once again before the evening is over, Helen takes off, claiming she has to write a letter to her brother. When Margaret comments that she just wrote him the other night, Helen claims that was a letter to her father.

Also in the Officer's Club, Hawkeye and B.J. plan a prank where Hawkeye will purposely be the victim, to get the camp back on his side--he applies glue to a chair that he will sit in, thereby loosing his pants. Except that, it doesn't work; Winchester sits in the glue chair and has to be cut out of it by Klinger. B.J., acting like he doesn't know what's going on, tells Hawkeye "Enough is enough!"

When Klinger goes to the Supply Shed to get Winchester some new pants, he stumbles on Helen, alone and drunk in the dark.

The next morning, Klinger tells Col. Potter about it and the incident in OR, so the Colonel goes to Margaret to ask her about it. Margaret is vehement in her defense of her friend, accusing Col. Potter of a double standard--its okay for the men to drink, but when a woman does it...

Col. Potter gets Margaret to calm down, and she assures him it's not a problem. But immediately after that, Margaret confronts Helen in the Nurses' tent, demanding to know if she's back on the booze. Helen defends herself, saying it's not a problem. Margaret is adamant--she's transferring Helen to the lab.

Hawkeye plans on pulling another prank on himself for redemption, but then learns the truth of the failed prank in the Officers' Club from Klinger. Turns out that B.J. has been working against both Hawkeye and Winchester, so they come up with a prank of revenge. The next morning, B.J. wakes up, naked, in his cot--except it's in the Nurses' Tent, and his blanket is nailed to the cot. When an announcement about incoming wounded is heard, B.J. has to get up covered by a pillow--and is laughed at by the whole camp (the announcement being fake).

Days later, in the Mess Tent, Helen starts to freak out when she gets her tray of food. She starts screaming and convulsing, and Col. Potter and Margaret grab her, trying to calm her down. Potter says she's suffering from the DTs (delirium tremens)--which can happen when someone is trying to "dry out."

Weeks later, Margaret reads a letter from Helen, saying she's back home, getting help with her problem. She and Col. Potter toast her with two Scotch and waters--holding the Scotch.

B.J. is furious to find Hawkeye and Winchester laughing over photos of him running out of the Nurses tent--but is mortified to learn of the 8 x 10 glossy tacked to the camp bulletin board.

Guests stars/Recurring castEdit