M*A*S*H episode
“Dear Sigmund”
MASH episode Dear Sigmund.gif
While visiting the 4077th, in a brief respite to relieve stress from dealing with problem patients, Sidney Freedman writes a "letter" to Sigmund Freud in the so-titled "Dear Sigmund".
Season 5, Episode # 8
Number (#105) in series (256 episodes)
Guest star(s) Allan Arbus
Charles Frank
Bart Braverman
Sal Viscuso
J. Andrew Kenny
Jennifer Davis Westmore
Network: CBS-TV
Production code: U810
Writer(s) Alan Alda
Director Alan Alda
Original airdate November 9, 1976
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Episode chronology
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"The Abduction of Margaret Houlihan" (U808) "Mulcahy's War" (U812)

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(broadcast order)

"The Nurses" (U809) "The Colonel's Horse" (U811)

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Season 5 episodes
List of all M*A*S*H episodes

Dear Sigmund is the 105th episode of M*A*S*H, the eighth in the fifth season of the show, which originally aired on CBS-TV on November 9, 1976. It was written and directed by Alan Alda.

Storyline[edit | edit source]

Psychiatrist Sidney Freedman (Allan Arbus) makes a return visit to the 4077th and composes a letter to Sigmund Freud during a visit to the camp, while the rest of the camp endures the hi-jinks of a mystery prankster, which turns out to be Captain B.J. Hunnicutt (Mike Farrell).

Full episode summary[edit | edit source]

Sidney has come to visit again, and he seems to be staying longer than usual - so long that he has time to write a letter "to" Sigmund Freud, where he tells the world-famous psychiatrist about what he calls "a kind of spa" - the 4077th.

He describes each member of the 4077th, and shares stories about them - like the time Hawkeye came to do rounds in Post-Op dressed in a tuxedo and swim fins, delivering one-liners like Groucho Marx. Klinger, pretending to be hit in the head with a chopper blade, all of a sudden speaks only Arabic (with a Private Habib translating). Someone else is perpetrating a rash of practical jokes, and no one is safe - not even Col. Potter.

Meanwhile, a bomber pilot named Captain Hathaway (Charles Frank) arrives in camp, oblivious to the destruction he's causing - and the innocent people he's hurting - by keeping himself above the war, both physically and emotionally.

Sidney comes back to the Swamp one day to find Hawkeye and B.J. reading his letter to Freud, which gets Sidney to open up about what's troubling him. He's been having a very difficult time with his patients lately - he missed the signals one "sweet, innocent, troubled kid" gave him, and the boy ended up killing himself. Depressed and unfocused, he's come to the 4077th to feel better: "There's something special about this place - you give life here."

Later that night, he has a drink with Hot Lips in the Swamp. A nice chat turns into a debacle when the self-described "unflappable" Hot Lips gets insulted when she sees an athletic supporter laying nearby. She gets so worked up Sidney has to put his hat over it so she doesn't have to look at it.

During surgery, the bomb pilot - who is helping out in triage, thanks to Hawkeye - sees that one of the wounded is a little girl, about six years old. He is horrified to learn that she was hit by an overhead bomb, and rushes out of the O.R. Hawkeye follows him out, and the pilot breaks down, realizing what he's been doing and that this isn't, as he calls it, "a clean war."

Sidney talks with Frank about Frank's wife. Frank's worried that she's changing and won't be "the same girl [he] married". Sidney attempts to reassure him that everything will be fine, but Frank isn't having it.

Sidney, in his letter, talks about Radar, who seems as childlike as the Korean children he plays with, and yet keeps the chaos of the 4077th running smoothly. We also see that he gently handles the task of writing a letter for Col. Potter to the parents of his friend, an ambulance driver who crashed his vehicle due to careless and rushed driving and was killed.

The one person Sidney can't figure out is B.J. - he seems so calm, so serene, yet he figures there must be something bubbling underneath his calm demeanor. Sidney's suspicions are confirmed when he sees that B.J. is, in fact, the mad practical joker as he's filling Frank's air raid bunker with water. He offers to help, so B.J. asks him to shout "Air raid!" at the top of his lungs. Frank runs out in a panic yelling "Air raid!" and heads to the bunker, tripping over the low wall and SPLASH.

Sidney finally starts to feel better and heads back to work, but not before noticing all the gasoline cans Hawkeye and B.J. have tied to his jeep's bumper. He pauses for a moment, sees what's making all that racket, and smiles as he drives on.

In a final scene usually cut from syndicated airings, Potter is operating with both his bare feet soaking in a tub of water, as Sidney narrates to "Sigmund" that the staff at the 4077th "may look like other doctors, but underneath..."

Fun facts/Trivia[edit | edit source]

  • Klinger makes a reference to "Hula Hoops", but these were not a craze in the USA until later in the 1950s - the modern version wasn't invented until 1958. Coincidentally, Klinger would try to convince Major Charles Emerson Winchester III to invest in the hula hoop when he discovers Korean children playing with them in the Season 11 episode "Who Knew?" It is entirely possible that Korean children would play with hoops in such a manner, as children have for hundreds of years, but they obviously weren't referred to as "hula hoops" until after they were marketed in the United States.
  • Sal Viscuso, who took over the recurring role of the unseen P.A. announcer beginning this season, is seen on camera as Patient John. The P.A. announcer is not heard during this episode.
  • Most syndicated airings omit the part where Klinger speaks Arabic and the joker gets Col. Potter with the binoculars--it usually cuts from Hawkeye in Post Op wearing the tuxedo to the bomber pilot arriving at Rosie's by oxcart and running into Hawkeye.

Guest stars/Recurring cast[edit | edit source]

Uncredited (extras, no lines):

External links[edit | edit source]

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