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M*A*S*H Memories

Discussion in 'Visual Arts' started by Wildest cat from montana, Oct 11, 2019.

  1. Wildest cat from montana

    Wildest cat from montana Humble Reader Thread Starter

    My local library has all the box set seasons of MASH and over the past couple of months I' ve been watching them.
    Great show. Not every episode's a zinger but the good outweighs the bad.
    When these are shown on TV I find large chunks have been edited out to make room for more commercials but they are uncut in DVD form.
    A very good feature with these sets is you can watch the episodes without the always annoying canned laughter
    Please share your thoughts and memories on this classic program
  2. The Hermit

    The Hermit Wavin' that magick glowstick since 1976

    It's probably tantamount to heresy in saying so, but I personally prefer the post-Trapper/Henry Blake era... Charles was always my favourite character and Col Potter I felt was much less of a caricature. Plus, every episode without Frank Burns is a plus... an insufferable character if ever there was one, but God bless Larry Linville (R.I.P.) for playing that part so effectively.

    Man, I love that show... a wittier show before it's first commercial break (on any given episode) than most shows during their entire run.

    We won't see it's like again, alas...
  3. Wildest cat from montana

    Wildest cat from montana Humble Reader Thread Starter

    I agree with a lot of what you said.
    Frank Burns and Henry Blake were funny characters but a bit too broad perhaps.
    But , for me , Klinger was way over the top in that regard.

    Charles Emerson Winchester III was a good ' replacement' for Burns because he gave as good as he got.

    Potter was more believeable as the person in charge than Blake who sometimes seemed overly buffoonish.

    But!that's not to say I don't enjoy those earlier shows because I most certainly do.
    Hazelmullins and GLENN like this.
  4. Chip TRG

    Chip TRG Senior Member

    The middle years were the best.....after the show escaped its wacky sitcom beginnings, and before it became "The Alan Alda Show".

    And don't get me wrong...I love the whole run...but those middle seasons were the ones where everything was just working beautifully. They had found the perfect mix of comedy and drama.
  5. Wildest cat from montana

    Wildest cat from montana Humble Reader Thread Starter

    There are a few episodes that I don't enjoy at all ( more on this later ) but one I particularly dislike is the one where Hawkeye has a jeep accident and is taken in by a Korean family where he babbles at length. The family members barely have a line of dialogue and it is a one man Alan Alda show. I may be mistaken but I think it was also written and directed by him as well. Maybe he even catered the shooting , who knows?
    thestereofan likes this.
  6. Obtuse1

    Obtuse1 Forum Resident

    "It was a baby!"
    Frozensoda, Mr.Sean and Chip TRG like this.
  7. Wildest cat from montana

    Wildest cat from montana Humble Reader Thread Starter

    Ah, yes...the final episode. I know the show had to end, everything does. But overall a disappointment. And , again, too much emphasis on Hawkeye.
  8. mikem60

    mikem60 Forum Resident

    Drinkers by Trade

    We Only became Surgeons to work on each other’s Liver
  9. polchik

    polchik Forum Resident

    i think both MASH (and WKRP) effected what my life was to become ..... working w groups of wackos in the film industry ..... the comraderie, the practical jokes, the stress, the teamwork, the anti-authoritarian spirit, along w the underlying respect and tolerance, we all had for each others' .... quirks, at the end of the day lol

    MASH is part of my DNA ...

    one of my favourites memories is that episode where hawkeye picks up a square looking BJ and by episodes' end, brings him back to camp completely wasted, to the horror of margaret and frank LMAO

    i first collected all the trapper years on dvd, then went on to collect all the frank years, then gave in and went all in lmao .....
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2019
    GillyT and smilin ed like this.
  10. smilin ed

    smilin ed Forum Resident

    The Sunburnt Fool!
  11. Scooterpiety

    Scooterpiety Current operator of the Freedonia peanut stand

    I totally agree with you, I love the show, but that episode I can't watch, I change the channel whenever it's on.
    There are several episodes I don't care for throughout the entire series, but most of them are in the later years.
    Check out some of the earlier MASH threads; There are several! :)
  12. unclefred

    unclefred Coastie with the Moastie

    Oregon Coast
    I felt the longer it ran the worse it got, eventually it was basically preaching and feelings, heavy with the Alda.
  13. smilin ed

    smilin ed Forum Resident

    My argument is less with the preaching and more with the quality of writing in those later years where all the characters punned (often badly), too many shouted at each other and the wit of the earlier years was replaced by much broader - and sometimes more sentimental - humour. Still remains one of my favourite shows and, yeah, it's probably in my DNA too.
  14. JakeKlas

    JakeKlas Impatiently waiting for an 8-track revival

    United States
    One of my all-time favorite shows. I did have friends who felt it got too preachy toward the end and I’d have to agree. But I still enjoyed most of those later episodes.

    What I always found kind of interesting was the idea of what might have happened if the Blake/Burns/Trapper characters had stayed. I believe Linville said he left because he didn’t see the character going anywhere... Burns would always be a somewhat cartoonish character. As an actor, what more could he do with it if they continued to write the character the same way?

    Yet later on in the series, they did a good job of showing growth in what could have been a somewhat one-dimensional character. Winchester was a great example... know-it-all, boorish, superior, etc. But then you had great episodes where Winchester was trying to help a pianist who had lost the use of a hand, or the kid who stuttered because his sister stuttered. Even the final episode had a memorable moment where Winchester status how the music he used to listen to as a refuge would forever serve as a reminder. Those helped create a more well-rounded character, in my opinion.

    Margaret managed to grow. Trapper certainly could have. But were the Burns and Blake characters too far gone into buffoonery to add that sort of depth? Would it have failed miserably if they tried? I liked those initial characters and was sorry to see them go. I think it would have been interesting to see if they writers could have evolved those characters... kept their essence, but added some depth.

    And a +1 for the WKRP mention. I used to work in radio and there were definitely relatable things in that show.

    Thumbs down to both After M*A*S*H and The New WKRP. I’m hoping that if I start losing bits of memory as I grow older, brain cells with visions of those two shows are the first to fizzle out.
  15. JozefK

    JozefK Forum Resident

    MASH in its first three seasons may have been the greatest run any sitcom ever had. But Maclean Stevenson (Henry Blake) and Wayne Rogers (Trapper) left after the third season, replaced by Harry Morgan as Potter and Mike Farrell as BJ. The show's creator, the brilliant comedy writer Larry Gelbart, left soon afterward, allowing Alan Alda to take over creative control of the series.

    So not only were the cast replacements inferior (Stevenson was absolutely perfect as Blake; Rogers was better than Farrell, but the real difference is the Trapper character was much more interesting than dull BJ) but Alda was able to smother the show in 70s liberalism. Few great shows have gone so far downhill (MASH's only real rival in this department is All In The Family).

    So whenever you're talking about MASH, you're really talking about two different shows -- First three seasons (Great) and everything afterward (Blecch)
  16. Wildest cat from montana

    Wildest cat from montana Humble Reader Thread Starter

    " Hello , ferret-face!"

    One of my favourite Hawkeye moments is in this episode. He and Radar have just picked up BJ and are having a drink at the club. BJ is relating how only a few weeks earlier he and his wife had been out dancing back in the states and he mentions the babysitter they had for their daughter:

    BJ : " So we went out for the night and left our daughter with Betty Jean the babysitter "
    Hawkeye:" Wait a minute. Betty Jean? Sixteen? "
    BJ: " Fifteen."
    Hawkeye: " Ooo.."
    Knightrider7007 likes this.
  17. davidarob

    davidarob Forum Resident

    Portland, OR USA
    For what it's worth, I think what ultimately trips up M*A*S*H in its final years isn't political or Alda-esque, rather it's that all the characters "like" each other. Whether as drama or comedy, without conflict its simply a bunch of friends disagreeing with each other. So in it's place "the war" becomes the conflict, and you can only watch Hawkeye or BJ compete to over-emote about that so much before it loses it's punch.

    Henry may have been a broad character, but his nonchalance about running the camp gave Frank and Margaret the motivation to go over his head (and give him athlete's scalp in the process). Hawkeye and Trapper (and Radar, etc...) work to stop them and there you go. Having said that, even if Stevenson and Rogers had not left the show, that dynamic itself would have worn thin eventually. In return Frank is powerless against Potter and BJ is just....nice.

    Loretta Switt succeeded, to her credit, to turn the 2-dimensional Hot Lips character into Margaret. That left Linville's Frank Burns with little or nowhere to go, as Hot Lips was the only thing propping him up and nobody else liked or respected him. He's replaced by Charles who is boorish but talented and actually displays empathy. All of which deepens the avenues for drama but changes where the comedy can go. The same can be said for Potter and BJ.

    I recall the cringe-worthy late season episode (for me) where Trapper is referenced as the ultimate practical joker but it just doesn't work because the show is so fundamentally different by that point that such a forced comparison and subsequent plot is strained to say the least.

    With 11 seasons to examine M*A*S*H is a great way to see how a long-running show can evolve. They could have played it safe and replaced its departing characters with the same soup but they took chances. Personally I do enjoy seasons 2-6 the best, and much prefer to view the last seasons without the laugh track.
    Dudley Morris and Tristero like this.
  18. polchik

    polchik Forum Resident

    another fun memory is that episode where margaret and frank are at each other cuz margaret is to marry donald pinopscot .... and by the end hawkeye and BJ are siding w frank due to M's insensitivity, and frank gets in a great jab at her, at the end of the episode .... a very rare occasion of comraderie between those 3 doctors, laughing together ....
  19. JakeKlas

    JakeKlas Impatiently waiting for an 8-track revival

    United States
    I love that scene and that’s what I was getting at in my earlier post... could there not have been a chance for Burns to evolve a bit just Margaret? To me, that would have been up to the writers to say, “Yeah, we can see something different in Burns and let’s take him in a slightly different direction.” They did that with a lot of the long-term characters... Radar, Hawkeye, etc. They were allowed to grow a bit as time went on.
  20. Wildest cat from montana

    Wildest cat from montana Humble Reader Thread Starter

    Good commentary and I agree with a lot of what you say.
  21. AKA

    AKA 86451103

    All the living main cast members (Alan Alda, Loretta Swit, Gary Burghoff, Jamie Farr and Mike Farrell) got together about a year ago and reminisced on Alda’s podcast. It was a great listen.
  22. Jay_Z

    Jay_Z Forum Resident

    To me, Burns had more emotional realism than Winchester.

    Let's face it, in real life things aren't tidy and happiness can be fleeting. Burns was a character who was never going to solve his main issues. To me, that is more realistic than the later seasons, when everyone could always articulate their emotions perfectly by the end of the episode.
  23. rediffusion

    rediffusion Forum Resident

    Fortunately when broadcast in the UK on the BBC it was shown uncut, without adverts and no laugh track. When I moved to the US I couldn't get over the canned laughter. I just couldn't watch it, something so witty and often moral seemed to have turned into a sitcom. Why did they ever think it was a good idea?
  24. Wildest cat from montana

    Wildest cat from montana Humble Reader Thread Starter

    Watching it without the canned laughter is so much better. That is an annoying contrivance that should in itself have been canned.
  25. slowhand1964

    slowhand1964 A Tadpole in a Jar

    Temecula, CA
    Colonel Flagg, he was hilarious


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