Friday, July 13, 2012


In the new TNT series, 'Perception', Eric McCormack plays a neuro-science professor at a Chicago University; his character's name is Dr. Daniel Pierce.

On 'M*A*S*H', Dr. Benjamin Franklin "Hawkeye" Pierce would often write home to his father back in Crabapple Cove, Maine (just up the rocky coastline from Cabot Cove.)

The father's name? Dr. Daniel Pierce.

It would be so easy to invoke Occam's Razor and take the simplest splainin - that Hawkeye was the father of this new character and named him after his own father.

Toobworld note: We are only dealing with the televersion of Hawkeye Pierce. The characters from BookWorld and the Cineverse are not taken into account for this.

The timing would work. The Korean Conflict was from 1950 to 1953. Hawkeye could have gone home to Maine, eventually married, and fathered Daniel in 1964. (Unless otherwise stated, Toobworld Central always assumes that a TV character is the same age as the actor who plays the role.) My Dad served during that time and my sister was born in 1968.

And with 'M*A*S*H' LONG out of production, that cuts off any chance for there to be a contradiction to this theory from that source.

However, 'Perception' has only just begun. Based on the ratings figures from the debut episode and the popularity of Eric McCormack, I expect it will run for quite some time.

And so I also expect that it will eventually call upon the TV trope of the visiting parents, who will bring complications into the life of the main character during a case. We've seen that happen on other TNT shows like 'The Closer', 'Rizzoli & Isles', 'Franklin & Bash'... not to mention all the other shows on other networks!

I don't think the producers of 'Perception' could resist the opportunity to do an episode which introduces the parents of Dr. Pierce. And all the other characters would be curious as to who could have raised this eccentric genius.

So eventually we might see Daniel Pierce's parents. And once we do, there goes the Hawkeye Pierce theory. Unless of course they have Alan Alda to play dear old Dad.... Even if his first name was different we could come up with at least two different splainins to disable that Zonk.
(And as for the age difference between Alda and Hawkeye, we'll say the war aged him but since then he's gone for youth regneration measures like plastic surgery.)

But let's go with the theory that it won't be Alan Alda as Daniel's father. We can still pin our hopes for a link to 'M*A*S*H' on the mother. And we could even disable a 'M*A*S*H' Zonk in the process!

The sitcom was about the mobile military unit in Korea had several running themes during the series. One of these was the framing device of the letter home by one of the series regulars. Sometimes it was Hawkeye, sometimes Radar.... I think Klinger wrote one as well.

These could have been a great excuse to save money and do clip shows, but I think the writers created fresh material for the flashbacks in these letters.

In one of his earliest letters home to his Dad, Hawkeye mentioned having a sister.

So there we go! Hawkeye's sister was never seen on the show. If I'm not mistaken, she was never named or described, and her age was never mentioned. Whoever they might cast as Daniel's mother on 'Perception', she could just as easily be Hawkeye's sister.

Now here's where we can disable a Zonk......

I'm often surprised by the discrepancies that pop up in shows since the advent of syndication, followed by home video and now DVD collections. In the early days they had no clue that there was an audience out there who would one day be memorizing every detail, which is why the Ricardos apartment number kept changing and even worse - why so many Patrick Troughton episodes of 'Doctor Who' were lost to "wiping".

But I would have thought that after a few decades, the producers and show runners would have better continuity departments to make sure the show's "bible" was followed. (I suppose after a very long run, like the one enjoyed by 'M*A*S*H', there comes a time when there are too many details to keep track of.

Hawkeye's sister would fall into this category.

According to a very good 'M*A*S*H' wiki online, a few years after Hawkeye mentioned his sister, it was then revealed that he was an only child.

It could have been that his sister had since died. That's one way to splain it away. And if it wasn't for my desire to make this link, I'd go with that splainin to disable the Zonk.

But there could be a darker reason as to whey Hawkeye was considered an only child when he had a sister.....

Perhaps Hawkeye and his father had disowned her, treated her as if she didn't exist at all.

This is a splainin I've used before, when Chuck Cunningham was erased from the 'Happy Days' history. (After the character was written out of the show, Howard Cunningham gave thanks at dinner one night for having two wonderful children, not three.) Originally I claimed that Chuck was murdered by his little sister Joanie who then disposed of the body. Later, she made it look as though Chuck had run off - after he stole from his father, which is why Mr. C disowned him.

My new theory is that a crack in Time erased Chuck from all memory. But then again, just ask Barney Stinson - Joanie Cunningham had crazy eyes. How could I resist the idea that she used a claw hammer from her father's hardware store to bash in her brother's head. (Why would she do that? Probably his constant dribbling of the basketball sent her over the edge.)

"MOM!  Chuck gave me a basketball for Christmas!"
"I swear to God I'll kill you for that, brother or no brother!"
As for the Pierce family, it was also during the 1950's. Perhaps "Sis" Pierce abandoned her staid family life for the more bohemian lifestyle of the Beatniks - the dawn of sex. drugs, and rock - er, jazz.

I can see Dr. Daniel Pierce condemning his daughter for this public lack of morals, but Hawkeye?

I like my characters to have shades of grey, not be clear-cut examples of black or white. So what was good for the gander over in Korea, cutting a swath through the nurses' ranks, would not be permissible for the gosling sister. Besides, Hawkeye was getting far too sanctimonious on the show and those wordplay rants he had got repetitious. The speech about not carrying a gun - "I will carry a tune, cash and carry, Cary Grant! But I will not carry a gun!" - was fine. (I'm pretty sure that was the first one. But then it was "been there done that".)

I think he needed something to show he wasn't the perfect man, and the shunning of his sister would be a good option.

It couldn't be the birth of Daniel Pierce to have caused the rift in the family. The disowning of the sister would have happened before 1953, while McCormack's character would have been born in 1964. But it could be that he wasn't her first-born. She may have had a child earlier, perhaps even before she was of legal age, and then she gave it up for adoption. Maybe more than one child, by different fathers. (At least then this promiscuous lifestyle would give Toobworld Central plenty of splainins for other Eric McCormack characters in Toobworld.)

One of these half-siblings could be a year older than Daniel Pierce and who now lives in Chicago as well - advertising executive Mason McGuire from the short-lived series 'Trust Me.' (I think Will Truman's family background on 'Will & Grce' was too well-established to go messing around with adding him into the mix.)

Meanwhile, what if Daniel's father shows up on 'Perception'? His last name will probably be Pierce as well. Then I think we can add fuel to the fire concerning the sister's banishment from family consideration - she ran off and married a first cousin, bringing shame to Clan Pierce. It's definitely something that would never be brought up nowadays, for Daniel's sake (which would be convenient when the script doesn't go that way), plus it might serve as a splainin for his condition.....

Marrying a cousin with the same last name would certainly save on the cost of monogrammed towels....

I think I covered all the points that might have blocked this theory of relateeveety. Let me know what you think.

I've been imagining whom they might cast as Eric McCormack's mother on 'Perception', and I keep coming back to Blythe Danner. After all, she did a good job of it already on 'Will & Grace'. And she appeared in an episode of 'M*A*S*H' ("The More I See You") as Carlye Breslin Walton, the woman with whom Hawkeye lived when he was doing his residency in Boston (probably at St. Eligius?)

It's tempting to think she did get back together with Hawkeye in 1963, that once again she didn't "altogether leave", but there are just too many things to deal with - the difference in her names, the difference in husbands...... Not worth the hassle.

So that's my theory of relateeveety. It's just a waiting game now to see if Daniel's mother does show up on 'Perception' and then smoothing out the rough edges.....


No comments: