Thursday, December 17, 2015

Life After M*A*S*H -- Part 3

All right, I’ve talked a lot about the men of M*A*S*H.  Now it’s time to talk about the women of M*A*S*H – specifically, Major Margaret “Hot Lips” Houlihan, a Registered Nurse.  Of all the women in the cast, Hot Lips is the only one that is a major character; she is considered one of the boys: she plays poker with them, confidently and comfortably lusts after the opposite sex, and goes toe to toe with them in the operating room. She is a career soldier and even outranks some of the boys.  I think her character evolved the most throughout the series – from screechy-voiced mistress to one of the doctors, to leader and respected friend of her fellow camp members.   

At the end of the series/war, Margaret was very excited to learn that she was headed back to the states to work in an Army hospital.  Given that she was an Army brat before she became an Army Major, she continued to put her career first, rising to the level of Colonel.  She married two more times (the first being during the war to Colonel Donald Penobscot).  Her second husband was a doctor in the same hospital in which she worked.  They were together for only a few years but he had trouble relating to a woman soldier and couldn’t quite accept her priorities.  After several years, Margaret requested transfer to Walter Reed National Medical Center.  It was there that she met her third husband, a Brigadier General who had been injured during combat and was being nursed back to health.  The now-Colonel and the Brigadier General each understood where the other came from and had an instant bond.  They really enjoy each other’s company, spend a great deal of time in the Army social circle, and have no children.  From time to time, Margaret questions this choice, but the Army is so ingrained in her that she is not comfortable any other way.  Periodically, she contents herself with being a doting aunt to her sister’s kids.   

Over the years, Margaret has wanted to track down her 4077th M*A*S*H dear friend and confidant, Hawkeye Pierce, but somehow she just couldn’t bring herself to do it. Their bond was very strong and she is not sure what would happen if they saw each other again.  She does, however, periodically communicate with Charles Winchester up in Massachusetts.  Although they were always at odds in the camp in Korea, they did respect each other on a professional level.  As such, they occasionally consulted each other about techniques each other used during the war.  Margaret is very excited to see her old Army buddies and is bringing her husband along to meet all of the people she has been talking about all these years.

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