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All About Christmas Eve (AfterMASH)

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"All About Christmas Eve" is the Christmas episode of the M*A*S*H spin-off AfterMASH.

Synopsis

Bob Scannell oversees the delivery of one of many Christmas trees to adorn the halls of General Pershing Veterans General Hospital. Doctor Pfeifer seems to react with disdain, both to this and to the annual "ulcer-flaring" of a man named Barrett, who staff and patients alike seem delighted to see. Potter has a nearly "Who's On First?" encounter with Bob concerning the exchange of gifts. Father Mulcahy takes a phone call about a mystery delivery to the hospital, having just cleaned up mistletoe in the confessional. In the gift shop, Klinger attempts to get cheap gifts and has his efforts at a Christmas truce with Alma Cox firmly rejected by a cackling Alma. Mulcahy delivers gifts from various sources to the patient wards, but finds the small gift he purchased for Pfeifer rejected by a young Doctor who recalls his family being the "project" of well-meaning folk in his hometown. Alma Cox finds her romantic feelings towards Mike DeAngelo seemingly returned when he invites her for a Christmas Eve eggnog later that day. DeAngelo records a message hoping he can continue a successful relationship--with his mother.

Pfeifer confirms what he already suspected about Barrett. The man's ulcer has no sudden annual flare-up. He merely wants to be around people he cares about at Christmas, since he has no family. Pfiefer, angry at anyone who accepts outsiders' help at Christmas, all but vows to medical test Barret out of his bed by Christmas Day.

Proving he is no Radar, Father Mulcahy makes a clumsy attempt at an announcement over the PA, inviting all to see his mystery delivery at that time, and promising no ambush sermon, though he still adverts his Midnight Mass for Christmas Day. After he is done, a visiting Soon-Lee for some reason does not want her husband Max Klinger to know she is in the hospital. She gives a gift of a jar of kimchi, a noticeably pungent Korean cabbage dish, to the hospital receptionist.

Potter oversees the reluctant admittance of Flannery, a vet who is also a local police officer, who has tonsillitis and a set of raw nerves from not being able to contact his wife. Leaving him, Potter enters his office and gives Soon-Lee confirmation that she and Max are set to have a baby. An overjoyed Soon-Lee hugs Potter and asks that he serve as the doctor when she comes to term. Potter is at first reluctant, but decides he has seen enough death during his service in Korea, so a new life would be a nice change of pace. She soon tells a delighted---if somewhat dense at first--Max that he is to be a father.

The Padre has an un-Heavenly time trying to talk the jealous Officer Flannery down; a phone call to his house only makes the suspicions worse. Alma Cox's suspicions about Mike DeAngelo's party soon fall flat, as she is made aware that DeAngelo invited the entire staff, and is clueless as ever about her amorous intentions towards him. As Flannery decides to sneak home and surprise his possibly unfaithful wife, a bitter Alma gets drunker still on egg nog, and her bitterness reaches a fever pitch when Max and Soon-Lee announce their happy news. On the advice of Bonnie Hornbeck, Alma ditches the party to go do 'something just for herself'. The Klingers, acknowledging the positive role Potter has played in their lives, ask the Potters to serve as godparents. Mildred makes an awkward comment about pregnancy, and the Potters agree to the request.

In the patients' common area, Mulcahy unveils his mystery delivery--a television set, the first the hospital and many of its residents have ever seen. To the Padre's dismay, his high-minded speech about TV's possibilities is met by midget wrestling and soap operas onscreen. As the soap is watched, its plot about marital infidelity drives Officer Flannery to distraction, and finally, to a jealous rage as he shoots and destroys the TV. Bob comments that he'd heard TV would never last.

In Klinger's office, Alma Cox seeks to drive out her nemesis once and for all by finding errors in Klinger's work sufficient to get him fired, only to pass out from all the egg nog during her search. Mister Barrett offers Doctor Pfeifer a Christmas gift, but Pfeifer is still in a mood over gift-giving-and-getting. A medical emergency forces the two together, as former medic Barrett joins Pfeifer in reviving a collapsed patient with no pulse; Barrett ignores his flaring ulcer, revealing that it was the reason he had to stop being a medic. Pfeifer seems to have lost a little of his inner Scrooge by the time all is done.

Klinger enters his office to call his parents in Toledo with the news of Soon-Lee's pregnancy. He finds Alma Cox and quickly reasons out why she is there, sparing no non-expletive insult to the passed-out drunk as he vents on her doing such a thing on Christmas Eve. After once more turning back the flirty Bonnie Hornbeck's advances, Max holds in his hands a very important report whose mishandling could get Alma fired. But in the spirit of the season, Max forges her signature to spare her what she intended for him. As he tells his parents over the phone that they're to be grandparents, he grins and waves at a rousing Alma, at least gloating in the fact that he is a better person than her. Alma sneers before the egg nog takes her once more into a bitter winter's nap.

As the episode closes, no less than Doctor Pfeifer sits with the patients and staff and plays a guitar-based rendition of "Silver Bells". In Potter's office, the Padre offers father-to-be Max congratulations while Sherman pours them egg nog--buttermilk for Mulcahy, owing to his drinking problem. The trio offer up a Christmas Eve toast to family, home, and life.

Trivia

  • The subplot with Officer Flannery and his suspicions is never resolved; The possible consequences of his actions, whether his wife had actually been unfaithful, are never addressed. His raspy throat from tonsillitis seems to vanish instantly. Only Bob Scannell looking through the ruined TV set as the story ends even acknowledges the subplot.
  • Soon-Lee Han Klinger, Max's Korean War bride, is played by Rosalind Chao, an actress of Chinese descent. She later became better known as Keiko Ishikawa O'Brien (who was Japanese), wife of Miles O'Brien, and both were regular characters on two different Star Trek shows. Ms. Chao also played Peter Parker's girlfriend in the last episodes of the short-lived 70's Spider-Man live-action TV-series, giving her interesting fictional relationships across time and space. Ms. Chao is a noted activist for Asian-American causes, and was one of the first to publicly discourage the use of the word 'Oriental' in favor of 'Asian'.
20th Century Fox
Movies
Miracle on 34th Street (1955 remake) (1973 remake) (1994 remake) • Die HardDie Hard 2Home AloneHome Alone 2: Lost in New YorkTrapped in ParadiseJingle All the WayHome Alone 4The Family StoneDeck the Halls12 Men of ChristmasHome Alone: The Holiday HeistJingle All the Way 2
Television episodes and specials
Live-action shows
"Dear Dad" • "Dear Sis" • "Death Takes a Holiday" • "All About Christmas Eve" • "Christmas Story" • "Santa Baby" • "Kay's Gift" • "Merry Catnip" • "Christmas Carol" • "How the Ghosts Stole Christmas" • "Amends" • "Cookies for Santa" • "The Santa In The Slush" • "A Very Glee Christmas" • "Extraordinary Merry Christmas" • "The 23rd" • "Glee, Actually" • "Santa"
Animated shows and specials
The Simpsons "Simpson Christmas" • "Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire" • "Marge Be Not Proud" • "Miracle on Evergreen Terrace" • "Grift of the Magi" • "Skinner's Sense of Snow" • "She of Little Faith" • "'Tis the Fifteenth Season" • "Simpson Christmas Stories" • "Kill Gil, Volumes I & II" • "The Fight Before Christmas" • "Holidays of Future Passed" • "White Christmas Blues" • "I Won't Be Home for Christmas • "The Nightmare After Krustmas"
King of the Hill "The Unbearable Blindness of Laying" • "Pretty, Pretty Dresses" • "Hillennium" • "'Twas the Nut Before Christmas" • "The Father, the Son, and J.C." • "Livin' on Reds, Vitamin C and Propane" • "Ms. Wakefield"
Family Guy, American Dad!, and The Cleveland Show "A Very Special Family Guy Freakin' Christmas" • "The Best Christmas Story Never" • "The Most Adequate Christmas Ever" • "Rapture's Delight" • "A Cleveland Brown Christmas" • "Road to the North Pole" • "For Whom the Sleigh Bell Tolls" • "Murray Christmas" • "Season's Beatings" • "Die Semi-Hard" • "Jesus, Mary and Joseph!" • "'Tis the Cleveland To Be Sorry" • "Minstrel Krampus" • "Christmas Guy" • "Dreaming of a White Porsche Christmas" • "The 2000-Year-Old Virgin" • "How the Griffin Stole Christmas"
Bob's Burgers "God Rest Ye Merry Gentle-Mannequins" • "Christmas in the Car" • "Father of the Bob" • "Nice-Capades" • "The Last Gingerbread House on the Left"
Other cartoons "A Christmas Surprise for Mrs. Stillman" • Olive, the Other Reindeer • "Xmas Story" • "A Tale of Two Santas" • "The Futurama Holiday Spectacular" • Ice Age: A Mammoth ChristmasDiary of a Wimpy Kid: Cabin Fever

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