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... that day in 1975, when we were watching our favourite TV
"M*A*S*H", "we" being big brother -- that's me! -- and little brother.
"M*A*S*H" had always been our favourite, probably because it seemed so
grown-up, but also because it was so irreverent (a word we wouldn't have
used back then) and smart-alecky (a word we would have). And so funny. It
was tough to say which was the top episode. The one with the wounded
Luxembourg soldier? (And the crazy Turk, of course.) One of the ones
mentioning our very own Canadian troops? Maybe the one about Capt. Tuttle,
graduate of the Berlinisches Polyteschnicum, and the best friend Maj.
Burns had ever had? Or possibly any episode even alluding to the
Anyway, this was an important day because Col. Henry Blake had received orders to ship back home to the States. We were feeling pretty sad; we really loved Henry. Hawkeye and Trapper were always putting things over on poor Henry, but Henry always took it with good humour. And probably a little wisdom, and common sense. So Henry had been sent home. The show went to commercial. We were both feeling a little glum. We were sitting quite close to the television; you had to adjust the controls by hand in those days. The show came back from commercial. Radar came into the operating room. "The plane containing Col. Henry Blake", if I may paraphrase from memory, "was shot down over the Sea of Japan. There were no survivors." My brother was to my left. We just sat there with our mouths open. Then we ran to tell our parents what had just happened. I can still get a little choked up thinking about it 25 years later. That was the first death I ever experienced in my "family"; the show seemed that real to us at the time.
I've found many of the comments about this series to be quite amusing,
particularly the ones bashing it for "shoving" a liberal agenda down viewers
throats. Given it's success for 11 years, I don't think the audience seemed
to agree with that assessment. Quite simply, the show was one of the best
written, best acted, and most entertaining shows in television history.
Yes, it wore out its welcome in the end; but, it is a masterpiece that later
shows rarely measured up to.
I have no great preference for one season's cast over another. Each character was unique and had something to contribute. When we lost the bumbling, but loveable Henry Blake, we got the stern but loving Sherman Potter. Both were the C.O., but each was a different person, a smart move by the creators. The same is true for Frank Burns and Charles Emerson Winchester III. Burns was a neurotic, vindictive, childish fool; while Winchester was an arrogant blowhard, but one who could hold his own with Hawkeye. Burns was incompetent, while Winchester was an outstanding surgeon; just ask him. Characters were missed when they left; but, they were not replaced with doppelgangers. That is part of the reason this show lasted so long.
The show did take on a more serious tone in the later seasons, but not entirely. There are plenty of laughs right up to the end. Those serious shows were often some of the most memorable, and they kept the series from becoming stale. With that said, they did tend to resort to Hawkeye's mental problems a bit too much, especially in the farewell. You can argue that a character like Hawkeye, with his passion for preserving life, was ripe for mental breakdowns; but, in reality, he probably would have been shipped home by the second breakdown.
The show is not perfect (it lasted 8 years longer than the actual war) but it comes far closer than most. It seems to be fashionable to bash popular shows and movies after their days is over. Part of this is a new generation trying to establish their own identity and dominance. Well, I didn't like my parent's movies, shows and music when I was younger; until I actually watched them and listened to them. Some of it turned out to be quite good, some not. Real quality stands the test of time. MASH will be around far longer than most of what I see on tv today.
Without any doubt, this is the best show ever made. The writing is
incredible, and the plots are very relevant to any society. Showing the
worst of man to the very best of man, this show very well described the
human condition. With deep drama, and good comedy, this show takes the
audience through the ups and downs of life, while showing us the horror of
war, yet leaving us with hope, knowing that there is good in humanity after
all. The interaction between the characters is amazing, everyone becoming
family, and something wonderful being birthed in the midst of something
horrible: war. Yet, even with the anti-war message, they refrain from
bashing on soldiers (as most anti-war people tend to do) and they express
pride in the bravery of them, while hating the need to
All in all, this is the best show ever made, and I am deeply sorry that it did not run a few years longer.
In the UK the MASH series has been released on DVD.
I know that this is just opionon but I think that the show was and still is just amazing. So many times people in the UK think that Amercian comedy is to sweet and syrupy.
If that is the case MASH is the one that proves them all wrong. I used to watch the show as a teenager and loved it. At the end of series 3 Henry leaves and that is just so well written and well acted. That is one of the best testaments I could ever give to a TV show, you grow to love the character and personally I cried the first time and I cried again when I say it today.
It is a totaly fantastic show and it is clear why it ran for so long. I doubt that anything like this will ever be seen again.
Of all the sitcoms made, this still stands out as the greatest. Maybe it's because it's so different from every other comedy that makes it so awesome. Instead being stupid to get it's laughs, it instead uses black humor and sarcasm, but it also showed the effects of war not only on those fighting, but those that repaired the ones who were fighting. The whole cast, even after the cast changes, was simply wonderful, something to be marveled at. As good as "The Drew Carey Show" is, every sitcom pales in comparison to this. One thing that makes it really great was the casting of Jamie Farr, who was from Ohio, both in real life and the show, and always talked about going home to Toledo, so it also hits close to home. Our local FOX station currently shows re-runs at midnight, and watching it alone, the experience is stunning. An added bonus is it isn't like modern sitcoms one bit. This show tries and does get a point across about how horrible war is, which is something modern sitcoms wouldn't even come close to doing as effectively even if they tried. This is the greatest sitcom of all time, there will never be another like it, ever.
This is still one of the funniest shows on television, especially the first four seasons when they still had a broad sense of humor. To me the glory days of M*A*S*H ended with the departure of Larry Linville (Major Frank Burns). After his departure, especially in the final three years, the show became more and more issue oriented and pretty much lost me until the classic finale. Other than that, it was still a great show.
M*A*S*H is truly a one of a kind show. It combines both comedy and drama to form a rare type of show that comes along maybe once or twice every decade. You know, the ironic thing is that the series itself lasted more than three times as long as the actual war. M*A*S*H will always have a life in reruns.
This review comes straight from the heart. I first got into the show when I was about 13 years old. A lot of things weren't going very well for me then and I was clinically depressed for a long time. It was an effort then to even imagine laughing at anything. It was during this time that I found this show. For the first time in months, I cracked a smile and then a belly laugh watching the antics in "Edwina." Needless to say, I kept coming back to see this show and for at least half an hour everyday, I was happy. This show taught me a lot, about life, about myself, about the kind of person I wanted to be. In fact, because of this show, I am what I am today - a doctor. This show helped me during a time when the future was something I didn't want to think about. Today, I'm happy and successful, all thanks to M*A*S*H. I can never thank the cast, crew, writers, directors, etc. enough for saving me. It occupies a very special place in my heart and I'll never stop loving it.
The TV show M*A*S*H proves that laughter really is the best medicine to cure any wounds. This movie provided humorous insight to an otherwise overlooked time in American society. Every character provided a different perspective on the evils of war with their uses of satire. The script writers use satire to provide a look at the evils of war. I have seen the re-runs of this American classic series and I still find them hilarious to this day. I am so pleased that television stations decided to re air this otherwise forgotten show. I am glad that the directors and producers of this show depicted an otherwise forgotten time in American history. And I am sure that the veterans of the Korean War are happy that this show was made to show their experiences in this war and made their trials known to the public.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
My comments are borderline spoilers, so I thought I would put that in
there for safety's sake.
It gets *better* with age.
M.A.S.H. was spectacular, in part, because it did come in on the tails of the factual war the show's fictional setting was supposed to precede...but, there was more to it.
The characters were, in fact a good mix overall. Of course, this is where the scotch point gets brought up. It got better the longer it went.
I liked Larry Linville, and I'm sure it was a blast to work with him, but as far as replacements go, I preferred Stiers overall. Mostly because of the differences in the characters. Frank was funny mostly because he was such a loser (and his play with Loretta Swit) and he made us laugh with that idiocy. Stiers created a whole different dynamic with the group. He was something Hawkeye and B.J. could play with -- because he would play back in his own way. Frank could never do that. He would just come back with some stupid comment in which he would mix his metaphors and Hawkeye and Trapper (or B.J.) would laugh at him.
This, of course, brings us to the changeover from Wayne Rogers to Mike Farrell. It, admittedly, wasn't a very smooth transition and was rather obvious but...Trapper and Hawkeye were too much alike (in my opinion) so there really wasn't a straight man, per se. B.J. provided a kind of balance that Trapper never could. Of course, B.J. had his own kind of fun, but in a much more subtle (and in my opinion, fun) way. Whenever Hawk would play a prank, you would *know* it was him. Whenever B.J. would prank it would start out as Hawkeye's fault, but then he would get pranked and suddenly everything was thrown out of whack. Which made life fun.
I have no complaints of either McLean Stevenson or Harry Morgan -- I liked them both and they both fit in -- I didn't see either as a mistake, nor did I particularly prefer one over the other. They were too different to even begin to compare.
And Radar...I'm not sure how to feel about Radar. It was funny that, when you watch the reruns, in the beginning Radar would get a lot of the jokes that Hawkeye and Trapper would pass back and forth. He just ignored them or acted offended...and then it seemed that, as time moved forward, he seemed to get *more* naive, not less. You didn't really notice it when it was running but when you watch the reruns...it becomes far more clear.
In the end, my general rule of thumb is...watch 'em and figure it out for yourself who and what you like best. I happen to like Farrell better than Rogers, and Stiers better than Linville...and I have a penchant for Morgan, for now. Tomorrow, I might like Stevenson better, so I reserve judgment.
I like them, all eleven great years of it. Some were better than others...some were funnier, some touched you more. In addition, I didn't know a lot about the Korean War, like most people, I brushed it off as a non-war; a 'Police Action.' Then, when I first started watching M.A.S.H. it made me look deeper and I started to research it. It was a war; people died, countries fought, men were lost. It was a war. I never would have ever done that had it not been for this show.
But mostly, I watched (and still do watch) this show because it made me laugh.
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