The Party was the 26th and finale episode of Season 7 of the M*A*S*H TV series, also the 173rd overall series episode. The episode was written by Alan Alda and Burt Metcalfe, who also directed, and also made an uncredited cameo appearance as an ambulance driver. The episode originally aired on CBS-TV on March 12, 1979.
Talk of a post-war reunion gives B.J. an idea-planning a present-day stateside gathering of 4077th families. He continues to obsess with the idea even under the duress of bug-out instigated by a Chinese breakthrough.
Detailed episode summaryEdit
After a long session in OR, B.J. reads a letter from Peg where she mentions her difficulties making jam. Radar mentions that his mother has a good recipe for jam, as does Mrs. Potter. B.J. offers to round up the advice of Mrs. Potter and Mother O'Reilly, but Potter has a better idea: why not have Mildred write Peg directly?
Back at the Swamp, B.J. gets the idea to have a party back in the states, featuring the family members of the everyone at the 4077th. This energizes him, and it's all he can talk about, even during a bug-out after I-Corps tells them that the Chinese army is headed their way.
He tries to get Hawkeye, Margaret, Winchester, and Klinger to participate too, but they all seem skeptical, for various reasons.
By the time they arrive at the new location for the 4077th, B.J. is demoralized - the party seems like it's not going to happen, and a patient of his might be permanently paralyzed due to the unexpected trip.
The next morning, Hawkeye tells everyone how much this party means to B.J., and insists they all write their relatives and ask them if they want to go.
About three weeks later, just as the mail starts arriving at the new location, Gen. Embry calls and says the 4077th has to move back to their original location.
On the ride, everyone opens up mail from their relatives about the party. To everyone's shock and/or delight, they all plan on attending - the Klingers, the Houlihans, the O'Reillys, and even the Winchesters - everyone.
B.J. is over the moon excited about the party; the only problem is finding a date that will work for everyone. With date after date getting rejected for one reason after another, they finally settle on March 28.
They propose taking a picture out on the compound in front of the signpost to be displayed at the party, but Klinger has a problem: his mother doesn't know he's in Korea. He reveals that since his mother doesn't speak English, everyone else has kept Klinger's true location secret for fear that she would worry every day he was going to die. B.J. finds a way around it - see above picture.
A week or so after the party, during a session in OR, Radar reads a letter from Peg about the party. Everyone got along amazingly well: Margaret's parents (who are going through a separation) spent the whole evening dancing together, Mrs. Potter and Dr. Pierce took a real shine to one another, and Klinger's mother revealed she always knew her son was in Korea, but didn't let on because she didn't want him to worry about her.
The biggest news is that the Winchesters were completely taken with the O'Reillys, so much so that they invited them to their home in Cape Cod during Radar's first summer back after the war.
After OR, B.J. is all smiles after hearing how well the party went. Radar comes in, eager to discuss his potential visit with the Winchesters. Winchester himself says Radar can bring anyone or anything he would like - even his goat - because he plans to turn himself over to the Chinese.
The notion of Klinger's mother not knowing he's in Korea presents an anachronism with a past episode. In the final episode of Season 4, "The Interview", Klinger says "hello" to, among others, his mother, while on camera.
Fort Dix, N.J. is a permanent Military installation...unlikely they would have the metal Quonsent Huts seen in the background of the picture...likewise during the Korean war Conflict Fort Dix was the army base of the 9th Infantry Division...which was never deployed to Korea!
Charles, on hearing B.J.'s proposed date for the party: "Valentine's day? Delightful. They can all meet in a garage in Chicago."