M*A*S*H 4X01 (Welcome to Korea) is prolly the best character relationship building episode.
We get to know BJ, we get to see Hawk missing Trap and hurting, we get to see (what I interpret as) the boys flirting with one another, we get to see BJ getting all of the experiences of Korea in mere hours, and we get to see Hawk comforting him, holding his head while he gets sick saying (I know, and I’m sorry. I know it’s not my fault but I’m sorry. Sorry that good people with families like you are here, sorry that you have to see this, sorry that all of this is happening) and we get to see a connection, a friendship between a man who’s scared and confused and in need of someone to hold his hand and a man who’s angry and lonely a hurt and in need of someone to fix that.
Frank never stood a chance with BJ. From the moment he and Hawk brought Radar into that officer’s club and bounced off of each other so beautifully BJ was hooked, you could see it. And from the moment Hawk took his hand and helped him through that field, BJ’s loyalty would only ever be to Hawkeye.
So I wrote this thing for a local LGBTQ ‘zine and now the ‘zine has been published so I can post it here. It’s US-centric because it’s a local publication.
The Importance of M*A*S*H in LGBTQ Representation on Television
Set during the Korean War, which was waged from 1950 to 1953, the television show M*A*S*H was a groundbreaking eleven season series airing from 1972 to 1983. The show tackled issues such as racism, sexism, feminism, and in one episode, sexual orientation in a time when those issues were barely discussed and often did not pass television censorship. The episode “George” originally aired in M*A*S*H’s second season on February 16, 1974.
George Weston, a decorated Army private and a patient at the 4077 MASH unit, approached the chief surgeon Captain Benjamin Franklin “Hawkeye” Pierce regarding bruises and contusions that did not appear to be caused by combat. “Doc, two guys got beat up in my outfit: One colored and one homosexual,” Private Weston confessed. Weston inadvertently admitted he was gay during a drunken evening on leave with some of the men in his unit. As a result, he was assaulted.
Hawkeye responded, “Funny, you don’t look like a Negro.” The comment was delivered in comedic fashion and intended to be a statement of one who is supportive.
It’s important to note that many fans believe Hawkeye Pierce was a bisexually coded character, although neither the creators, actor Alan Alda who played Hawkeye, nor the studios have confirmed that belief. Hawkeye was often seen interacting with both male and female characters in a mannerism that could be interpreted as flirting. In one scene, he neither confirmed nor denied accusations that he might be “one of those” and was called a “Mary,” a gay-coded word.
While Private Weston was not the first depiction of a gay character on primetime television, he was one of the first gay characters treated as sympathetic and even heroic. In 1970’s television, gays and lesbians were often portrayed as murderers, pedophiles, sexual assailants, or people suffering from mental illness.
An example is the 1973 episode of Marcus Welby, MD entitled “The Other Martin Loring.” Loring, a patient of title character, was diagnosed with depression and alcoholism. As the episode progressed, Loring later admitted he may be gay. Welby tells Loring that he was in fact not gay, but the fear of being gay led to his depression and alcoholism. In addition, Welby assured Loring that with treatment he could go on to lead a “normal” life. This episode drew the ire of the Gay Activists Alliance, who advised the portrayal of homosexuality in the episode was negative.
When asked about the episode “George” in 2004, M*A*S*H creator and producer Larry Gelbart said, “CBS was extremely nervous about this episode. The subject [of homosexuality] was more to be avoided than confronted in those days. The network demanded certain changes and it was a challenge to place them while maintaining the integrity of the idea.” The episode opened doors for CBS and other networks to begin portraying LGBT characters in more positive roles.
In 1976, the second episode of Alice introduced Jack, a gay man who befriended Alice and her preteen son Tommy. Jack invited Tommy on a fishing trip, which Alice initially balked at. She later realized Jack’s sexual orientation didn’t matter. An All In the Family episode in 1977 dealt with the death of Edith Bunker’s cousin Liz and the revelation that Liz and her roommate Veronica had a relationship “like a marriage.” Although her husband Archie disapproved of it, Edith immediately accepted the relationship.
Forty-five years later, LGBTQ representation on television is still problematic and producers often use minor characters to gay bait or as expendable. M*A*S*H’s positive episode “George,” though, paved the way for LGBTQ representation such as Billy Crystal’s character Jodie, an openly gay main character on the sitcom Soap; the first lesbian kiss on television between CJ Lamb and Abby on the drama LA Law; and David Duchovny’s portrayal of transwoman Agent Denise Bryson on Twin Peaks.
Maybe an odd grouping of photos, but it’s the internet there’s definitely weirder out there.
It’s Lucifer(Mark Pellegrino), Loki(Tom Hiddleston), Hawkeye(Jeremy renner), Sean Bean(Boromir LOTR/Sharpe/Legends), Norman Reedus(Boondock Saints), Viggo Mortensen(Aragorn LOTR/History of Violence/Eastern Promises), Adam Fergus(Mick Davies), Jeffrey Dean Morgan (John Winchester), David Haydn-Jones (Arthur Ketch), and lastly the late Wayne Rogers as ‘Trapper’ John Francis Xavier McIntyre (the blonde one on the left) and Alan Alda as Benjamin Franklin 'Hawkeye’ Pierce(he’s the dark haired one on the right) in a photo from M*A*S*H
Description: Trapper is cold and grumpy, so Hawkeye uses their alone time to warm him up.
Pairing: Benjamin Franklin “Hawkeye” Pierce/“Trapper” John McIntyre
The Swamp, 9:36 am, Thursday Morning
Trapper was cold and it put him in a bad mood. It was winter on the 4077th, and he couldn’t find enough warmth anywhere. At least there weren’t any wounded yet.
Trapper pouted unhappily from his spot on his bed, taking a sip of the cold coffee in his mug. He had a blanket draped over his shoulders and messy hair from a failed attempt at sleeping. It was just too damn cold for him to get any sleep.
Trapper looked up when Hawkeye entered, all bundled up with his hat and scarf and coat. He must have just gotten out of his shift in OR. Trapper groaned as he felt the gust of wind rush into the tent, practically chilling him to the bone. He shivered, wrapping the thin but soft blanket that he had around him further. It didn’t help much
“Hey Trap, you warm under there?” Hawkeye asked as he took off his coat and scarf. He found it amusing that Trapper liked to hide in his blankets. It made him look like an army drab caterpillar.
“Not warm enough,” Trapper grumbled. He placed his cup of coffee on the ground by his bed and then he wrapped the blanket the rest of the way around himself, so only his face remained visible. “I hate winter.” He mumbled into the fabric.
Hawkeye chuckled as Trapper disappeared under his covers. “Okay, that’s it. I’m coming over there to warm you up.” Hawk suddenly declared, grabbing his own blanket to wrap himself in and climbing on to Trapper’s cot. He crawled up underneath the blanket that was hiding his boyfriend. There wasn’t really enough room on the small bed for both of them, but neither of them minded much.
“Mmm, that’s better.” Trapper murmured, nestling himself closer to the warmth of Hawkeye’s body heat. Trapper ’s chest was now against Hawkeye’s back and his long arms found their way around Hawk’s waist almost effortlessly. It was clear that they had been in this position before.
“I couldn’t agree more.” Hawkeye replied with a smile. He turned himself around so that he could bury his face into the crook of Trapper’s neck. He took in a slow breath, and sighed through his nose. He loved Trapper’s subtle musky smell.
Trapper hummed in response, loving the way that Hawkeye felt nestled in his arms. The blankets wrapped around them created a little “nest” of comfort and Trap had a hard time remembering the last time he had been so comfortable.
Hawk smiled, and he couldn’t help but let his hands roam up under Trapper’s shirt, his fingers tracing lazy trails across his ribcage and stomach. The skin was very soft and warm there, and Hawkeye reveled in the feeling.
Trapper shivered, flinching away from Hawkeye’s trailing fingers. The sensation they caused raised goosebumps along Trap’s arms. “That tickles,” Trapper said with a soft chuckle and a smile.
Hawkeye’s eyes sparkled with mischief. “Oh, does it now?” Hawk asked, gently raking his fingers down Trapper’s torso in a deliberately ticklish way. He couldn’t help but grin at Trap’s reaction
Trapper let out a quiet stream of giggles, and he squirmed gently in Hawkeye’s arms. “Mmhm, hahah, it feheheels good though,” he admitted without an ounce of shame. Trapper had always been quite clear about what he liked. He was grinning fully now, his eyes crinkling at the edges and his teeth showing in a crooked display of his happiness.
“That’s so fucking cute,” Hawkeye said happily. He let his gentle hands come to rest on Trapper’s hips, giving them a playful squeeze for good measure. He was utterly delighted at the snort and bout of laughter that got him.
Trapper actually blushed when Hawkeye praised him, placing his hands over Hawk’s to block out the sensations. He laced their fingers together in an attempt to stop Hawk from tickling him anymore. “Oh shut up,” he said, clearly a bit flustered. He was still smiling though.
“But I want to hear you laugh, Trap!” Hawkeye teased playfully. Hawk decided that he didn’t need his hands after all, and he gently nipped at Trapper’s ear lobe. He began kissing a slow and ticklish trail down Trapper’s neck, which awarded him with a fresh burst of giggles.
“Thahahat’s it,” Trapper declared vaguely. He gently rolled over onto Hawkeye, effectively pinning him face up on the mattress. “I’m gonna getcha’!” Trap taunted with a grin, using his nimble fingers to seek out all of Hawkeye’s ticklish spots.
Hawkeye cackled uproariously, as was his trademark laugh. He flailed and shrieked too, but no amount of wriggling got him out of Trapper’s strong hold. Trap was built like a brick shithouse, after all.
Trapper managed to get both of Hawkeye’s wrists pinned down, and he was finally able to dig into Hawk’s belly with no mercy.
“I gihihive, I give! Hahahaha!!” Hawkeye pleaded after a few minutes. He was laughing too hard to think straight. Even though he loved it, it was getting hard to breathe.
Trapper chuckled at Hawkeye’s wild reactions, tickling him until his need for revenge subside. Once he was satisfied, he rolled off of his boyfriend and they sat in silence for a few moments while Hawkeye caught his breath.
Their eyes met a moment later, and they both grinned at each other.
“Phew, that was fun.” Hawkeye said, finally breaking the silence. Normally he would pounce back on Trapper immediately and continue the tickle fight, but he was too tired this time.
“Everythin’s fun with you,” Trapper agreed, silently drawing Hawkeye back into his arms. He let his eyes close without a word, content to just bask in this comfortable moment.
“What a sap,” Hawkeye muttered with a smile, curling up in Trapper’s arms. He let his head rest against Trap’s chest and a relaxed sigh left him.
Trapper just smiled, his arms squeezing a little more snugly around Hawkeye’s waist. Then he planted a gentle kiss on the top of his boyfriend’s head. Trapper knew that Hawk liked to get the last word in, and he was happy to let him.