Can’t talk about Hot Lips and not follow it up with Major Frank Burns. Why you ask? Because they were a pair at the 4077th. Although Frank was married to his girl back home, that did not prevent him from having a lengthy tryst with Hot Lips. During the beginning of the M*A*S*H series, these two walked around daily spewing scorn for their peers at the camp. Their sanctimonious attitude was ironic in that they were cheating yet they judged everybody’s else’s behavior, they preached the Army manual but broke the rules, and in Frank’s case, pulled rank when all of his fellow doctors were much better doctors than he. And while over time Margaret evolved into one of the boys, Frank continued to be a low life who caused trouble. Once Margaret broke up with Frank, he went AWOL and assault some fellow soldiers. He got sent home and for some unexplained reason, was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel and assigned to a Veteran’s hospital in Fort Wayne.
So here is where my projections pick up. First, relationships: Even though Frank was quite a philanderer while overseas, at home he remained under the watchful eye of his wife Louise. She never found out about his shenanigans with Margaret and he never told her. Louise micro-managed every aspect of Frank’s life including any hobbies and friendships. They had three great kids and Frank was a surprisingly good father – perhaps because he was so immature himself. As for work, Frank did not last long at the Veteran’s hospital as he really never liked being around sick people. Once the war ended, he did not stay in the Army nor did he stay a doctor. You see, in Korea, he could get away with mediocre spaghetti surgery skills since in wartime, all the rules are different. However, back home, he was simply not a competent surgeon and the hospital administrators quickly picked up on that. Nonetheless, once again fortune smiled upon Frank Burns and his father-in-law hooked him up with a large pharmaceutical company and he became a fairly successful heart drug salesman. This profession was more up his alley and he took full advantage of any opportunity to schmooze and wine and dine his clients.
Frank retired from his job at the age of 65 and has been playing golf ever since. Frank tells his wife that he is very much looking forward to coming to the memorial dedication to see his “old Army buddies” – and that is actually how he recalls them. But if he is being honest with himself, he is going for one reason and one reason only: to check out Margaret.