Hawkeye Pierce’s Family Changed Drastically Over the Course of M*A*S*H
Today, we look at how Hawkeye Pierce’s family history changed dramatically over the course of M*A*S*H.
In Abandoned an’ Forsaked, we examine stories and ideas that were not only abandoned, but also had the stories/plots specifically “overturned” by a later writer (as if they were a legal precedent) with a retcon (retcon stands for “retroactive continuity,” but we’re specifically talking about retcons that contradict earlier stories).
One of the key themes of the hit TV sitcom, M*A*S*H, was the role that family played in the lives of the doctors and nurses and staffers who were all so far away from their loved ones.
Hawkeye Pierce, the lead character of the series, would often write letters to his father throughout the course of the series. In Season 1’s “Dear Dad,” he ends his letter by telling his father to give a kiss to “mom and sis.”
Hawkeye’s sister sends him a sweater in Season 2’s “Mail Call”…
In Season 3’s “Springtime,” there’s a GI who won’t let go of a cat. Hawkeye jokes “My mother was the same way at my induction.”
However, later in the series, Hawkeye is an only child and his mother died when he was 10. I think the fact that his father is a widower home alone works better for the pathos of the series, so I get the change, but it’s still interesting (the Pierces also moved from Vermont to Maine over the course of the series).
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4 thoughts on “Hawkeye Pierce’s Family Changed Drastically Over the Course of M*A*S*H”
Another maybe change is in Hawkeye’s father’s occupation. In an earlyish episode, Hawkeye calls Last of the Mohicans (from which he got his nickname) the only book his father ever read. By the later seasons, it had been established that Hawkeye’s dad was also a physician, which kinda makes it unlikely that he only read one book ever. But even if the only-book-my-father-ever-read thing was not to be taken literally, it does seem there was some evolution to Hawkeye’s dad’s occupation over the series.
I think they actually went back and forth on his dad being a physician, Tommy. Sometimes they definitely did say he was a doctor, but other times, he talked to him like he clearly wasn’t (you know, like explaining really basic medical terms to him).
That’s nothing. Hot Lip’s father died in one episode and left her a riding crop and then came to visit her some seasons later.
Yeah, the show definitely had a lot of changes to the backstories of the characters as the series went on!