M*A*S*H and Grey’s Anatomy

M*A*S*H and Grey’s Anatomy are the same show. WAIT NO hear me out.

There are some very obvious on-the-surface similarities, like the fact that they both star doctors and that those doctors are always trying to get busy.

The patients in both Grey’s and M*A*S*H don’t really have their own stories. Not real lives. They have small plots that tie into the doctors plots, while they represent a stereotype, show an idea, or make a point, based on the plot of the episode overall. There might be a war hero one day, a child the next, but they aren’t the important part.

Just picture it:

Patient A almost gives up on life so that Dr. Grey/Hawkeye can learn or articulate a moral lesson about the value of life, but in a conflicted way, tracing back to their own issues with death. Patient B brings a gun in so that we can see who is truly heroic, the doctor who is always making a scene, or the one who cares.

Here is some more of my evidence:

  • Dr. Sloan, aka McSteamy, is exactly the same character as Trapper John. They even look slightly similar, if you cover your eyes a little.
  • In both shows, the doctors save everyone over security or police, as if guns are powerless in the face of love.
  • The nurses are nameless and faceless, except as the plot dictates, so usually we know one in each. Olivia Harper and “Hotlips” Houlihan. Otherwise they have masks on or are in the background.
  • Each show does a short B plot in 1-2 episodes about how the nurses are nameless and faceless.
  • I’m sure I can compare the military food to the hospital cafeteria food in the shows somehow but that’s not very imaginative. But, since both are shows that take place at “work” (or “the death sentence of war”), they spend a lot of time in those boring cafeterias, eating food out of trays.

I will leave you with my theory that Radar O’Reilly is exactly George O’Malley, and not just because of the names. They are both shy, stuttery virgins. They are friends of the in-crowd but made fun of by others. Both are favorites of the chief. Everyone takes care of them, like a pathetic friend that nobody wants to actually date.

George O’Malley’s character dies in Grey’s Anatomy, just after enlisting. Accidental tribute or insane fan theory? You decide.


  1. I just started watching Grey’s a couple of week’s ago (I’m just starting season 3) and I had this same though. Grey’s is a modern MASH. Since I’m a little late to this party, I searched online assuming someone would have already done the due diligence of writing a comparison – and here it is. Good to know I wasn’t alone in thinking it.

  2. Margaret Pierce, Meredith Grey’s half sister, coulda been named after Margaret Houlihan and Hawkeye Pierce. Shonda Rimes was clearly influenced by M*A*S*H.

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