M*A*S*H episode
“The Joker is Wild”
MASH episode - The Joker is Wild - Hawkeye gets even
Hawkeye, the victim of B.J.'s practical jokes, gets even by shaving off half of his mustache while he was sleeping in "The Joker is Wild" in Season 11.
Season 11, Episode # 4
Number (#244) in series (256 episodes)
Guest star(s) Clyde Kusatsu
David Haid
Jeff Maxwell
Jin-Taek Yi
Terry Moyer
Production code: 1-G24
Writer(s) John Rappaport & Dennis Koenig
Director Burt Metcalfe
Original airdate November 15, 1982
IMDb logo IMDB The Joker is Wild
Episode chronology
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List of all M*A*S*H episodes

The Joker is Wild is the 244th episode of the CBS-TV series M*A*S*H, also the fourth episode of Season 11 of the series. Written by John Rappaport and Dennis Koenig, and directed by Burt Metcalfe, it originally aired on November 15, 1982.


It's another M*A*S*H prank-a-thon. This time, Hawkeye appears to be the marked man after menial practical jokes happen to everyone in camp, but him. Will they get him too? Or is Hawkeye already the victim of an even larger practical joke?

Full episode summaryEdit

B.J. pulls a prank on Hawkeye in the Swamp, which Hawkeye thinks is utterly lame. He's not bothered by being the butt of a joke, just its tired premise. He brags about the classic jokes he and Trapper pulled, which seems to make B.J. a tad jealous.

B.J. pulls another tired gag on Margaret in the Mess Tent, and the discussion again turns to "the good old days", which inspires B.J. to surmise that Trapper was such a genius that he could pull a gag on everyone in the next 24 hours, with each victim having to do a striptease on top of a table while singing "You're The Tops."

Everyone wonders when B.J. is going to kick it off, but he demurs, saying he doesn't go in for that sort of thing--it's only something the "legendary Trapper" could pull off.

The next day starts off with a prank being pulled on Winchester (who wakes up to find a live snake in his cot), followed quickly by one on Potter (whose toothpaste has been replaced with soap). This sets Hawkeye on edge, convinced that if he keeps his eye on B.J. he won't get gotten.

Soon after, Margaret (has a section of her bathrobe cut away at the back), Father Mulcahy (poisoned food), and Klinger (explosive planted in the file cabinet) fall victim to B.J., too. The build-up of suspense drives Hawkeye nuts--he treats everyone he encounters like they are part of B.J.'s elaborate prank, even a visiting doctor from the 8063rd (Clyde Kusatsu), who thinks Hawkeye is completely insane.

It gets so bad that Hawkeye can't even sleep, spending the night surrounded by a fence made of barbed wire, golf club in hand, twitching at every sound.

The next morning, everyone reconvenes in the Mess Tent, and a weathered, tired-looking Hawkeye is smug about not having been pranked by B.J.

Hawkeye lords it over B.J. so much that it inspires the rest of them to admit the real truth--none of them were actually pranked. It was all an elaborate ruse by B.J., designed to drive Hawkeye crazy--every single joke perpetrated on Winchester, Potter, et al, were all phony. As B.J. calls it, "The best joke was the joke that never came."

Hawkeye, admitting when he's been bested, climbs atop the Mess Tent table, drops his pants, and sings "You're The Tops" at full blast. The doctor from the 8063rd happens by, and walks away shaking his head, utterly convinced Hawkeye is crazy.

The next morning, B.J. makes sure there are no hard feelings. Hawkeye says of course not, promising he'll "never tangle with the master again." The joke master, B.J., wakes up and we see Hawkeye has indeed gotten revenge--by shaving half of B.J.'s mustache off.


  • The premise of this episode plays with continuity quite a bit; Trapper was never really seen performing solo pranks, just ones in concert with Hawkeye and Radar. Also, the prank mainly works because the 4077th staff is now a settled, united group. In the early days when Trapper was there, Frank Burns and Margaret Houlihan would themselves had to have been fooled, being apt to try and stop any fun not their own, and Henry Blake was either kept out of the loop or chose not to know what was going on. Finally, B.J. must have consulted Potter on casualty expectations, since an already-exhausted Chief Surgeon was something he would want to avoid.
  • B.J. should have lost his bet with Hawkeye. If the entire gang was in on his prank against Hawkeye, then he clearly did not prank everyone in the camp (as was the terms of the bet). He got Hawkeye, but not everyone else.

Recurring/Guest castEdit

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