M*A*S*H- a season by season discussion!

Discussion in 'Visual Arts' started by ohnothimagen, Dec 1, 2017.

  1. smilin ed

    smilin ed Forum Resident

    Location:
    Durham
    There was often a dramatic thread interwoven with the comedy and, for me, that's what made the show. There are, to be honest, some 'hi jinx at the front' early episodes that are too silly to enjoy; like the OP, the episodes that I find harder to take are those later shows that descend into hyper-sentimentality, which are mostly from season 8 onwards; however, I also dislike those where bad-punning and shouting (noticeably by Margaret, Potter, Klinger and Mulcahy) replace the wit and character interplay of the earlier shows - something which seems to be down to a handful of writers and is especially in the last three seasons. The finale aside, I struggle to enjoy the last series. There's an interview with Reynolds(?) where he says that you can't say war is hell forever, which should have been their cue to stop while the going was good or get in some better writers.
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2017
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  2. ohnothimagen

    ohnothimagen PORKCHOPS! Productions Thread Starter

    Now THERE'S yer drinking game: never mind taking a shot every time somebody yells at somebody in the later seasons (you might as well build a still in yer living room for that:laugh:) but take a shot every time a character mutters "This damn war!" or "I hate this place..." or a variant thereof.
     
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  3. HGN2001

    HGN2001 Mystery Picture Member

    When I first read this, I misunderstood which episode was being referred to, thinking it was one that I too really dislike. The one I thought it was, was "The Price", the one with the old Korean and Potter's horse. That is probably one of the first M*A*S*H episodes that I came to dislike as it seemed to be the one that was on every time I turned on a TV showing M*A*S*H. To me, that episode was nothing but sentimentality - and it missed the mark.

    "Old Soldiers" I always liked and still do. From what I've read, I'm fairly alone in that thinking, but that's OK. I don't usually fall in line with common thinking. Wondering what was wrong with Potter, especially initially, was quite a mystery, and the theories espoused were quite thought-provoking. The final scene in Potter's tent had my cheeks wet, and to this day, it still can.

    Back to Season Four though, the only one that has worn itself thin for me is "Hawkeye". Initially, this was quite a daring episode, again going against the grain. No-one else had ever attempted such an episode, and some of the stream-of-consciousness that came forth in Hawkeye's haze provided a bit of a window into his character's soul. But after once or twice, the episode has little repeat value and is one we'll often skip.
     
  4. czeskleba

    czeskleba Forum Resident

    Location:
    Seattle
    Yeah. Moreso than the melodrama and sentimentality, the problem with the last few seasons is that the writers did not know how to be funny when they did try. After Levine and Isaacs left, there was no one on staff who could write good comedy.
     
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  5. RayS

    RayS Forum Resident

    Horse hockey!!!

    :)
     
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  6. JozefK

    JozefK Forum Resident

    Location:
    Dixie
    Both the DVDS (where Rob goes to a mountain cabin to write a novel) and AITF (Archie is trapped in the basement) had essentially done the same idea, solo "monologue" shows. And they were both much better than "Hawkeye"
     
  7. JozefK

    JozefK Forum Resident

    Location:
    Dixie
    It's basically my belief that arguing about MASH is arguing about two different shows. There's the show I love, the first three seasons, maybe the greatest run any sitcom ever had..

    And there's MASH Mark II.

    A lost of people seem to like this series. For me, something seems off even in the best episodes: no Stevenson, Farrell instead of Rogers, Hot Lips transformed into one-of-the-boys "Margaret", Frank is a pathetic clown instead of a dangerous authority figure, Radar gets wimpier and wimpier, occasional comedy interrupting the schmaltz instead of the other way around.

    I once read that you could spot when MASH changed. Not the season, or even the episode, or even scene, but the exact shot: in "The Late Captain Pierce" when Hawkeye gets on the bus. He's making a Yossarian move, true to what Trapper had threatened earlier. But boring ole BJ comes along and gives him a lot of talk about responsibility. And you can watch the show change as Hawkeye slowly gets off the bus. The old Hawkeye is dead. The old MASH is only a memory.
     
  8. RayS

    RayS Forum Resident

    Frank was "a dangerous authority figure"? Come on.
     
  9. HGN2001

    HGN2001 Mystery Picture Member

    Forgot about those, but yes, they both preceded "Hawkeye".
     
  10. HGN2001

    HGN2001 Mystery Picture Member

    And some of us do like both. I can appreciate the wild and wacky humor of the early episodes, as I can the more dramatic moments in the latter series.
     
  11. JozefK

    JozefK Forum Resident

    Location:
    Dixie
    Remember when he was going to send "poor, sick Hawkeye" away for mental observation? He may have usually been neutralized by Blake, but there was sometimes an actual threat posed by Frank.

    But by the 4th and especially the 5th season, I actually feel sorry for Frank. Isolated by the "Margaret" decision, humiliated by all the stupid "ferret face" insults (the kind of comedy I'd expect from The Jeffersons).
     
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  12. czeskleba

    czeskleba Forum Resident

    Location:
    Seattle
    I look forward to finding out (when the discussion reaches it) which season 9 and 10 episodes you think contain well-written, thoughtful, or witty comedy. And I look forward to disagreeing with you...
     
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  13. czeskleba

    czeskleba Forum Resident

    Location:
    Seattle
    "Dangerous" may be overstating it, but he was an authority figure who had the power to create real problems for Hawkeye and Trapper. With Potter's arrival, that was gone.
     
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  14. RayS

    RayS Forum Resident

    This thread inspired me to get the box but I am only 6 episodes into season 2. I doubt I will ever catch up to the thread.
     
  15. RayS

    RayS Forum Resident

    I’m in full agreement about feeling sorry for Frank. But in the first 30 episodes (the ones I’ve recently rewatched) he has no teeth as an authority figure at all. Zip.
     
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  16. Grand_Ennui

    Grand_Ennui Forum Resident

    Location:
    WI
    This question applies to a lot of the episodes: Just who was the announcer on the PA supposed to be? As C.O. of the camp, shouldn't Blake (or later, Potter) or Radar (or later, Klinger) as company clerk be doing the announcements over the PA?

    Just who was that anonymous announcer, and what was his position within the camp supposed to be?
     
  17. Jay_Z

    Jay_Z Well-Known Member

    Blake needs to announce what the movie of the night is?

    Even for important stuff, like incoming wounded, Blake can delegate the actual speaking of the words. Radar occasionally used the PA, but a real camp would have had multiple people that could cover a task like that. Enough stuff was piled on the few regular characters, did we really need more?
     
  18. JozefK

    JozefK Forum Resident

    Location:
    Dixie
    Your guess is as good as mine as to what character it's supposed to be.

    At least three actors did the PA announcements: Todd Sussman (IMHO the best), Sal Viscuso, and IIRC in at least one of the very first episodes there is a standard, "Ted Baxter"-type announcer doing it.

    Note that by having an anonymous character do it, it doesn't affect the script in any way. If it was always Radar and he was on leave/injured etc, the script would have to be changed.
     
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  19. JozefK

    JozefK Forum Resident

    Location:
    Dixie
    Hawk and Trap must gave disagreed, as they went all the way to Tokyo to get Henry back
    This
     
  20. RayS

    RayS Forum Resident

    [​IMG]

    McLean, Todd, and Todd's nose.
     
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  21. HGN2001

    HGN2001 Mystery Picture Member

    There were episodes that referred to a PX, but we never saw one.

    There were episodes that referred to a burn ward, but we never saw one.

    There were only eight beds in the hospital, except for the one time they built bunk beds.
     
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  22. RayS

    RayS Forum Resident

    Yes, Frank takes away their still. And if I remember correctly, he'll later outlaw alcohol on the post, temporarily.

    That's two instances, versus the 117 times Hot Lips is shown to be the decision maker in the pair, and the one who has connections higher up to go over Henry's head, while Frank wields no power, and is in fact cuckolded when General Clayton (or whatever other higher up) arrives. Add in the 623 times that Hawkeye and Trapper ignore an order from Frank, plus the 217 times they play "pranks" on him (including sedating him, stealing his blood, putting him in a cast) that have absolutely no consequences. And add in the fact that Frank is pushed aside as the ranking surgeon in, what, the third-ever episode?

    He was a straw man from Day 1.
     
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  23. smilin ed

    smilin ed Forum Resident

    Location:
    Durham
    Now put Alda or Linville in profile next to him! No wonder Klinger was missing that episode. That this came as late as season two surprises me.

    Interesting thing about this thread is that we all have our own narratives about this, some more obsessive than others. I can't/won't dismiss ALL the later episodes; there are still good ones; the show is still trying BUT there are a lot of weaker shows from this period and I rather like the development of Charles into - almost - one of the guys.
     
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  24. stereoguy

    stereoguy Forum Resident

    Location:
    Brooklyn
    I thought the series was at its best with Trapper and Henry in their respective roles. BJ and Col Potter didnt have the same "fun" aspect.


    Yo me, the best episode is the "Adams Ribs" episode.

    I especially liked when they were bargaining with the Sgt at the supply depo, and he says "You sent all the way to Chicago for Adams Ribs and You Didnt get Coleslaw?" Classic.
     
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  25. Grand_Ennui

    Grand_Ennui Forum Resident

    Location:
    WI

    Agreed...
     

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