M*A*S*H episode
“Dear Uncle Abdul”
Dear Uncle Abdul
For Klinger, there's no contest about who is the funniest. With so many crazy goings on in the camp, all Hawkeye and B.J. can do is sit around telling jokes. What's so funny about that?
Season 8, Episode # 12
Number (#185) in series (256 episodes)
Guest star(s) Richard Lineback
Alexander Petale
Kelly Ward
Network: CBS-TV
Production code: S-613
Writer(s) John Rappaport & Jim Mulligan
Director William Jurgensen
Original airdate December 3, 1979
IMDb logo IMDB Dear Uncle Abdul
Episode chronology
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"Life Time" (S‑609) "Captains Outrageous" (S‑614)

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"Dreams" (S‑612) "Captains Outrageous" (S‑614)

(production order)

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Season 8 episodes
List of all M*A*S*H episodes

Dear Uncle Abdul is the twelfth episode of the eighth season of the CBS-TV series M*A*S*H, as well as the 185th overall series episode. Directed by William Jurgensen, the episode was co-written by John Rappaport and Jim Mulligan; it originally aired on December 3, 1979.

Plot synopsisEdit

Klinger writes a letter home to Toledo talking about his new duties as company clerk, as Hawkeye and B.J. discover that a soldier that has come through their unit is mentally challenged and unfit for duty. Father Mulcahy attempts to write a war song for the Korean conflict and Margaret attempts to have a defective foot locker replaced. {Only by Houilihan “borrowing” Winchester’s shotgun and shooting the footlocker can it be replaced}.

Full episode summaryEdit

Klinger is writing a letter home to his Uncle Abdul, telling him about recent events at the 4077th.

After a discussion in the OR about war songs of the past, Father Mulcahy is inspired to write one about the Korean War. Winchester drags Klinger out into the brush to use him to help flush out wild game (which abruptly ends when Winchester's quarry touches off a landmine after being shot down), and Margaret, enraged that Army Supply won't issue her a new footlocker "unless its damaged in combat", shoots up her old one, using Winchester's shotgun.

Meanwhile, Hawkeye and B.J. get into a debate about who's funnier. It gets kicked off when Hawkeye tells B.J. an old joke he learned from his Dad, but B.J. doesn't think its funny, walking away from Hawkeye dismissively with "See you later, Uncle Milty." Hawkeye is annoyed to no end when he later learns that B.J. is going around camp telling the exact same joke, getting all the laughs and the credit.

But the debate is tabled for the moment when a young soldier named Eddie (Richard Lineback) wanders into camp, looking for his pal Hank, who was wounded and recovering in the 4077's Post Op.

Another member of Eddie's unit mentions that he is what they call "a little slow"--not mentally retarded, but simply "not all that bright." Hawkeye and B.J. are shocked and disgusted that someone like that has been put in combat. There's an even bigger problem--Eddie's pal Hank is scheduled to be shipped home, leaving Eddie behind. Things get patched up when Hank reassures Eddie that he's tough, and a good solider. Their mutual friend Dave (Kelly Ward) steps in and promises to become Eddie's new buddy now that Hank is leaving.

In the Officers Club, the debate about who's funnier resumes, and Hawkeye and B.J. press Klinger for his opinion; Klinger regales them with his observations of all the other goings-on in camp, including Mulcahy's war ditties, his misadventure with Winchester, his argument with Margaret and also Potter's dressing him up in his class A uniform to paint a self-portrait on his horse Sophie. He then quips that Hawkeye and B.J.'s joke-telling battle doesn't hold a candle to everything else, and they wordlessly get up and walk away. Klinger ends his letter admitting to his Uncle Abdul that he now understands why he never got a Section 8--"There's nothing special about me; everybody here is crazy!"

Hawkeye asks Father Mulcahy how his songwriting quest is going, and he sings and plays what he has written:

"There's no one singing war songs now like people used to do; no 'over there', no 'praise the Lord', no 'glory hallelu'.. Perhaps as last we've asked ourselves what we should have asked before: With the pain and death this madness brings, what were we ever singing for?"

Hawkeye quietly responds with "amen".

Guest stars/Recurring castEdit

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