Was Hawkeye and Margaret's first kiss M*A*S*H’s most predictable moment?

M*A*S*H has a reputation for surprising audiences. Many fans saw this scene coming.

In the sixth season of M*A*S*H, a two-part episode called "Comrade in Arms" arrived that finally saw Margaret Houlihan and Hawkeye Pierce lock lips.

In prior seasons, these two characters had bickered so often, you might think this kiss was one of those times that M*A*S*H really shocked fans with a twist that came out of nowhere.

But perhaps because of that tension between them and Hawkeye’s wolfish nature, to many fans of the show, this moment could perhaps have been the most predictable scene on the whole show.

Because by the sixth season, M*A*S*H writers had discovered just how much Margaret’s romances drew audiences in.

Earlier in 1977, they decided to break up Margaret’s relationship with Frank Burns, and on the day they released the episode that introduced the new man Margaret set her eyes on, the show’s ratings shot to the top of the weekly Nielsen charts.

Writers saw that millions of fans were eager to find out who Margaret would marry. Why wouldn’t M*A*S*H writers capitalize on that intrigue by delivering a scene that they knew many fans also wanted to see: Hawkeye and Margaret in a passionate kiss?

Swit told the Tampa Bay Times in 1975 that an early episode where Hawkeye and Margaret fell asleep sharing a blanket had laid the groundwork for the kiss in "Comrade in Arms."

She said that moment showed audiences there was potential for the two to move beyond their combative relationship.

"You can’t be hostile when together you’ve spent 24 hours patching human bodies and shielding wounds from dust with your own body and seeing men die," Swit said of that episode’s role shifting Hawkeye and Margaret into more plausible romantic interests.

Of course, Swit said these evolutions of relationships were supposed to keep the audience guessing, not necessarily create a build-up to a kiss.

"We try different combinations of relationships so that you, the audience, won’t expect a given reaction," Swit said.

M*A*S*H producer Gene Reynolds told United Press International in 1977 that the decision to evolve the way characters relate on M*A*S*H was intentionally trying to change the existing formula of what made hit TV shows.

"We like to turn characters around. In the situation comedy of yore, relationships never changed," Reynolds said. "That’s been a thing about television for years – the roles never changed. Matt Dillon did not marry Kitty. They were sweethearts for 17 years – if they really were sweethearts. Characters in kind of fixed roles went on for an awful long time. Now I think it is progress and wisdom to see a certain amount of change in the relationships."

While many critics considered Margaret’s relationship with Frank ludicrous, once Burns was out of the picture, the critics all claimed to see right through how writers were steering Margaret into Hawkeye’s arms.

Did you see the kiss in "Comrade in Arms" coming? What do you think was M*A*S*H’s most predictable moment?

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JimmyD 25 months ago
I've seen all of the episodes so many times that I really can't stomach 90 percent of the series these days. I do like the later stuff after Linville left and the Margret character got some empathy. I also realized that Hawkeye is one of the most annoying characters in the history of TV.
RichLorn 26 months ago
I wonder if the scriptwriter predicted it, or was it a surprise?
JohnGibbons 26 months ago
What did Margaret ever see in Frank to begin with?
OldTVfanatic JohnGibbons 24 months ago
She was able to manipulate him because of his infatuation for her.
ttenchantr JohnGibbons 22 months ago
They were a lot a like to begin with,
rory49 26 months ago
A "jump the shark" moment for the series.
KevinButler 26 months ago
I don't know..if that scene..where"Margaret Hoolihan"kissing "Hawkeye Pierce"is predictable? but? it is a sweet and warm moment..and it shows that Ms.Swit's character is becoming a nicer person..she would eventually call him"Hawkeye"..not "Pierce'.
JohnStewart 26 months ago
Totally surprised when I saw them kissing
Zip 26 months ago
I felt it was not only predictable, but rather forced. The acting wasn't up to par, imo.
allgator 26 months ago
Hot lips is a damn bitch from hell
Zip allgator 26 months ago
C'mon, don't sugar coat it. Tell us how you really feel about her.
harlow1313 allgator 26 months ago
...and I like it, like it, yes I do...
CoreyC 26 months ago
The first noticeable change between Hawkeye and Margaret was Season 3 Aid Station where Hawkeye, Margaret and Klinger went to an Aid Station and had the beginning of a respectful relationship between each other. Margaret's marriage was temporary for Larry Linville's departure and the further evolution of Margaret.
CosmicCinnamonGirl CoreyC 23 months ago
Agree. I hate it when people say that the romantic tension between Hawkeye and Margaret was forced. There were many moments in the series where they connected on a deep level. Aid Station, Comrades in Arms, C*A*V*E, the finale, just to name a few. I definitely think they got married and adopted Korean War orphans after the events of the show.
WordsmithWorks 26 months ago
I think the "kiss" moment was awkward and just the writers giving the show's fans what they thought they wanted. Almost as awkward as the Hawkeye / Margaret kissing scene in the series finale. The truly cringeworthy part was the second part when they both wake up the next day and Margaret starts acting all domestic. Pass.
Sway 26 months ago
Off topic: RIP Estelle Harris (Estelle Costanza of Seinfeld) and Barrie Youngfellow of Its a Living. Thought MeTV would have posted something by now.
Michael Sway 26 months ago
She was also Mrs. Potatohead.
harlow1313 Sway 26 months ago
I used to fantasize using the old "stopping short" move with Estelle Costanza.
harlow1313 26 months ago
There are many cringe-worthy moments, but an episode I particularly dislike is when The M*A*S*H Eight, the only people who matter, arrange to have their relatives meet at a party in the states. Drivel.
Coldnorth 26 months ago
My user name is Coldnorth and no lie. Still got lots of snow. Anyone want it
Michael Coldnorth 26 months ago
Most of the snow is gone from the backyard. It's all gone from the front, which usually comes after the back.

And it was up to 12 degrees C yesterday. Warm weather is close. I'm in Montreal.
WhiskeyGirl Coldnorth 26 months ago
Please send any extra snow to Idaho. We can surely use it here!
Zip Coldnorth 26 months ago
Hard pass, sorry.
We got rid of our snow here in Wisconsin(though we are supposed to get a dusting tonight but I am sure that won't last long with the warmer temps coming) and I'd like to keep it that way.
Coldnorth Zip 26 months ago
I am a yooper, being from wisc you have a pretty good idea where I live
Coldnorth WhiskeyGirl 26 months ago
I would be more than happy to deliver the snow lol
Coldnorth Michael 26 months ago
It’s in the 30s here. It’s a heat wave
Andybandit 26 months ago
I thought the kiss was predictable. I am the only one that would of liked a Margaret and Hawkeye hookup.
bbMeTv Andybandit 26 months ago
I would've liked that too. In fact, I would like to be Hawkeye in that situation!
Margaret's * A * Sexy * Hottie! ...
DerekPeters 26 months ago
I personally thought it was one of the worst moments in the show. By this time, the show had become preachy and maudlin and one could see from a mile off what was to come. The show has many great moments but this was not one of them, not by a mile.
mjmossa1960 DerekPeters 26 months ago
For me the show went downhill after Henry & Trapper left. Radars character went backwards. He went from cool clerk to a whiny naive crybaby.
LoveMETV22 26 months ago
I think they lead up to the Hawkeye/ Margaret 1st kiss. When Radar left it was almost a given that Klinger would take his role. You could always count on a good Potterism like, "Horse hockey!" "Sufferin' saddle soap!" and others.
CoreyC LoveMETV22 26 months ago
The writers of M*A*S*H was wise in not advancing Hawkeye and Margaret to marrying each other. Most TV shows die cause they marry the main characters.
MrsPhilHarris 26 months ago
I never understood why the nurses thought Hawkeye was such a great guy when he was such a womanizer. 🤔
Michael MrsPhilHarris 26 months ago
It was a little hard to keep things quiet. A small camp, everyone knows each other, no place for privacy.
Coldnorth MrsPhilHarris 26 months ago
I think it’s because of the lengths he is willing go to be with him. The nurses would probably feel bad if he didn’t try. Remember the episode when nurse Kelley gets jealous when Hawkeye won’t dance with her in the beginning of the episode?
Coldnorth Coldnorth 26 months ago
Sorry first sentence didn’t come out right
MrsPhilHarris Coldnorth 26 months ago
Maybe but it’s not like he was a god. He was pretty ordinary looking.
Peter_Falk_Fan 26 months ago
It didn't surprise me. She kissed quite a few guys, maybe not passionately.

I thought Hawkeye going crazy was predictable. Colonel Henry Blake's death was probably the least predictable event for me.
mjmossa1960 Peter_Falk_Fan 26 months ago
You’re absolutely correct. After Henry died the show became very predictable
timothys71 Peter_Falk_Fan 26 months ago
Agreed about Col. Blake's death. I understand that it was even hidden from the other cast members until Radar read that message to them in the final scene of the "Abyssinia, Henry" episode in order to make it seem more realistic.
KellyTenace Peter_Falk_Fan 26 months ago
It would have been unpredictable...if it hadn't been promoted a week ahead of the show that that would happen (famously so). I don't know why they would do that. I guess it's hard to keep a secret.
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