Snap, Crackle, Plop was the 4th episode of Season 1 of the AfterMASH TV series, also the 4th episode overall. The episode was written by Dennis Koenig and was directed by Nick Havinga. The episode originally aired on CBS-TV on October 10, 1983.
Klinger is told that he must pass a civil service examination by the end of the day or be thrown out of his job. Meanwhile, Father Mulcahy deals with a patient who believes God wants him to die.
Full episode summaryEdit
(spoiler alert - click on expand to read)
Klinger is happy with the way things have been going. He has even saved enough money to buy a brand new used car. So he arrives for work at the hospital in a cheerful mood. That is, until he bumps into Alma Cox. Alma gleefully tells him that he needs to take a civil service exam within three months of taking on the job at the hospital. The time is up and he must take the exam by the end of the day! Klinger demands to know why she never warned him earlier. "I was too busy giving you enough rope...."
Potter tries to intercede with D'Angelo but he doesn't want to rock the boat with Alma. He doesn't even want to spend the money on a new autoclave for surgery. He is all preoccupied with setting up a canopy for the hospital entrance and tells Potter about the importance of image for the hospital. The canopy ceremony is scheduled for the evening and he tells Potter to be there.
Meanwhile, Father Mulcahy visits a newly arrived patient, Walter Hiller. Only, he is not a new arrival. Nicknamed "Hard luck Hiller," he sews shoes at the shoe factory and is highly accident-prone and has been in and out of the hospital many times. Later, Hiller meets Mulcahy in the corridor and tells him he has heard God calling him on the P.A., telling him, "You can't hide forever." He is convinced God wants him to die. Troubled, Mulcahy traces Hiller's former commanding officer to understand his service background.
Klinger turns up for the exam in Alma's office. There is another exam candidate, a young man named Rooney, who has been lined up to take Klinger's place. Klinger is not reassured to hear Rooney address the examiner as "Aunt Alma". The test is an unequal fight. Alma strictly enforces the time limits on Klinger which somehow doesn't leave her free to enforce the same time limits on her nephew.
Outside, the hospital staff, patients and invited guests (including the Mayor of River Bend) are gathered for the opening ceremony of the hospital doorway canopy. Potter and his old World War I mate, now a patient, Bob Scannell, listen skeptically to D'Angelo talk about the canopy, a symbol of the shelter the hospital gives to its patients. "Canopy and Compassion begin with a 'C'," he says.
Upstairs, Mulcahy finds Hiller and tells him he thinks he knows what's troubling the patient. it turns out he was a seaman and 80% of his ship's crew died in an explosion while he survived. According to his former C.O., Hiller felt immensely guilty about surviving and began exposing himself needlessly to danger. Hiller tells Mulcahy he had to but the Father tells him he does not need to die to atone for the deaths of others. It wasn't his fault. God wants him to live. "I'll ask him, face to face," he replies. Hiller opens the window and jumps ... straight into D'Angelo's canopy. He breaks through the canvas and crashes to the floor.
Potter dashes forward to Hiller, to be joined by Mulcahy. The canopy had broken his fall and he is not seriously injured. Mulcahy tells Hiller he sees that as proof God wants him to live. Of all the spots he chose to jump, this was the one spot which would break his fall! D'Angelo is none too happy. "Of all the windows, he had to pick that one!" Potter tells him to look at it as a blessing in disguise. "I can see the headlines now," he says sarcastically, "D'Angelo's canopy saves life!" D'Angelo is enthused. "Don't you pass out, we've got pictures to take!" he tells Hiller, and rushes off to find a reporter.
Inside the hospital, the exam is over and Alma announces the results. Rooney has scored 70 points, Klinger 66. It seems Rooney will take the job. But then Alma notices some fine print. Veterans get a bonus of 5 points. This means Klinger has won! "I can't believe it. The Army saved my bacon!" Alma is more upset about her useless nephew than Klinger and she throws the young man out of her office. Klinger tries to make it up to Alma but she tells him to forget it. They will always be like "mongoose and cobra to the death." Klinger walks her to her car, trading barbs all the way. "Can I drop you anywhere, like the elevator shaft?" she says. "No, thanks. Can I throw you to your car?" he replies. "I think I'm going to enjoy this," she concludes.
Research notes/Fun factsEdit
- The title is a play on the phrase "Snap, Crackle and Pop," a phrase used since 1933 to advertise the "Rice Crispies" breakfast cereal. Klinger eats a bowl of Rice Crispies at the beginning of the episode. It's his favorite breakfast. "The only cereal that has a bigger vocabulary than I do."
- Harry Morgan as Sherman T. Potter
- Jamie Farr as Maxwell Q. Klinger
- William Christopher as Father John Patrick Francis Mulcahy
- Rosalind Chao as Soon-Lee Klinger
- John Chappell as Michael D'Angelo
- Barbara Townsend as Mildred Potter
- Brandis Kemp as Alma Cox
Guest stars/Recurring castEdit
- Michael Huddleston as Walter Hiller
- Britt Leach as Ellery Gilbert
- Patrick Cranshaw as Bob Scannell (as Pat Cranshaw)
- Huck Liggett as Rooney
- Dave Adams as The Mayor
- Bob McClurg as Logan
- Ray Young as Worker
- Frank Birney as Reporter