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M*A*S*H episode
“Cementing Relationships”
Cementing relationships
All the 4077th MASH personnel chip in to lay a cement floor for their O.R. Well, almost all.
Season 9, Episode # 3
Number (#201) in series (256 episodes)
Guest star(s) Andrew Duggan
Jeffrey Kramer
Art LaFluer
Network: CBS-TV
Production code: Z-401
Writer(s) David Pollock & Elias Davis
Director Alan Alda
Original airdate December 1, 1980
IMDb logo IMDB Cementing Relationships
Episode chronology
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"Letters" (Z‑403) "Father's Day" (Z‑405)

(broadcast order)

(broadcast order)

"Back Pay" (S‑625) "No Sweat" (Z‑402)

(production order)

(production order)

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

Cementing Relationships was the 3rd episode of Season 9 of the CBS-TV series M*A*S*H, also the 201st overall series episode. Written by David Polloc and Elias Davis and directed by Alan Alda, it originally aired on December 1, 1980.

SynopsisEdit

The surgeons are concerned because several patients have contracted staph infections, most likely because of the unsanitary wood floor of the OR, and plot to obtain a concrete one. Meanwhile, an Italian soldier who's girl back home has dumped him takes an unrequited liking to Margaret.

Full episode summaryEdit

After a number of patients come down with staph infections, the doctors determine who--or rather what--the culprit is: the wood floor in OR, which, after years of use, is loaded with germs in its cracks and can never be completely sterlized.

They turn to the Army Corps of Engineers to put in a cement floor, which would solve the problem. But the engineers say no, because that kind of floor would not be able to be packed up in the case of a bug-out.

Klinger gets an idea to get around that: after telling them a totally made-up story, he gets the engineers to deliver enough cement ingredients to make the floor. The only problem is, the doctors are going to have to mix the cement and put in the floor themselves.

Meanwhile, Margaret comforts a wounded Italian Corpsman Ignazio DeSimone, who has just received a "Dear Giovanni letter" (as he puts it) from his girlfriend. Her well-meaning words of encouragement strike a chord with Ignazio, who falls head over heels in love with the Major, vowing to "romance" her.

Hawkeye, B.J., and the rest hunker down and spend a day of backbreaking labor mixing the cement to the proper proportions. After laying it all down in the OR, they realize they've made a fatal error: following Klinger's cement recipe, which has too much water in it, they've just laid down "240 cubic feet of oatmeal."

Everyone, exhausted, prepares to just lay down the old wood floor and call it a day. But Hawkeye reminds them all that, if they do that, some future patient will die from an infection. Can they live with that?

Of course, they can't, so they redouble their efforts, using the correct recipe this time, leaving them with a perfectly seamless cement floor.

Late at night, Margaret is confronted by Ignazio, who has left his unit to be with her. She tries to explain that she is not interested and was only trying to make him feel better, but Ignazio assumes that Margaret is seeing someone else. In desperation, Margaret declares that she is already in love, and names Major Winchester as the other man. Ignazio confronts Winchester and threatens him not to harm Margaret or else not be worthy of her love. The exchange utterly baffles Charles.

Next day, the cement crew brings one of the patients that inspired all this to cut a ceremonial ribbon on the new floor. Mulcahy offers a special blessing: "May it be used as little as possible."

Research notes/Fun factsEdit

  • Early in the episode, Hawkeye mentions that a patient with fever is "into the FM dial". In fact, FM radio is broadcast between 87.8 MHz to 108.0 MHz. If Hawkeye was using the numbers as a metaphor, even the normal body temperature would be "into the FM dial".
  • Klinger's many uncles: Uncle Amos ran a birdbath building business. Klinger worked for him for two summers and learned all about mixing cement.

Guest stars/recurring castEdit