Author Topic: M.A.S.H.  (Read 2112 times)

Fambo Number Mive

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M.A.S.H.
« on: November 02, 2020, 06:02:57 PM »
Started watching MASH. The ridiculousness of life as a doctor in the Korean War is a good distraction from the ridiculousness of the last ten months.

Certainly a passionate sitcom with something to say, but I hate how the two main doctors are sex pests who harass the female medical staff working under them. As with Are You Being Serve, it would be a far better comedy without the horrible sexual harassment. The first series has a racist nickname for a BAME character which is grim. I feel sorry for Major Hoolihan.

Aside from that, its some nice dark comedy about how ordinary people act in a bizarre situation. Obviously meant to be about Vietnam more than Korea. Halfway through Series 2 at the moment, I understand MacIntyre leaves in a few series?

Re: M.A.S.H.
« Reply #1 on: November 02, 2020, 06:57:31 PM »
I loved it as a kid. I remember sobbing my little eyes out watching the last episode.

I'm glad I did watch it as a child and in the 70s/80s as, like you, I think watching it now the non stop sex pestery would make it a tougher viewing. Back then, I was naive to such things, and it was seen as boys being boys.

Tony Tony Tony

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Re: M.A.S.H.
« Reply #2 on: November 02, 2020, 07:06:46 PM »
McIntyre is replaced by BJ Hunnicutt who is almost as indistinguishable a character from the former.

It is a show that ages quite well, IMHO MASH  goes up a gear after the departure of Frank Burns. The arrival of Major Charles Emerson Winchester III marks the arrival of a character almost the equal of BJ and Hawkeye which leads to some great sparring matches. 

The finale (though some time away in your timescale) was for a while the most watched show in US TV history. Some folks might find some episodes a tad mawkish (especially the ones written/directed by Alan Alda) though I say what the heck, sit back and enjoy the ride.

Apparently the author of the original MASH books, Richard Hooker, hated the show, then again he was a real surgeon in the Korean war so maybe the TV version wasn't visceral enough for him.         

Re: M.A.S.H.
« Reply #3 on: November 02, 2020, 07:19:56 PM »
Definitely agree that the show got better with Major Winchester.

The episodes Death Takes A Holiday and Run for the Money leave me in bits. The first one is one of those mawkish ones. Honestly I don't think it was a problem when they did a more serious episode. If anything it was a nice change of pace when they stopped and did a more sombre story as a counterpoint to the normal slapstick/silly episodes.

Re: M.A.S.H.
« Reply #4 on: November 02, 2020, 07:24:08 PM »
I remember one episode when the Beeb forgot to remove the canned laughter track. Points Of View letter writers were apoplectic the following week.

Re: M.A.S.H.
« Reply #5 on: November 02, 2020, 07:35:22 PM »
Just watching now on the Sony channel, later episode without the laughter track, much better

Re: M.A.S.H.
« Reply #6 on: November 02, 2020, 07:43:28 PM »
I remember one episode when the Beeb forgot to remove the canned laughter track. Points Of View letter writers were apoplectic the following week.

I watched that one. It wasn't just that there was a laughter track, but it seemed like it had been lifted from The Banana Splits or a Hanna Barbera cartoon.

Glebe

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Re: M.A.S.H.
« Reply #7 on: November 02, 2020, 07:44:58 PM »
Remember this and Quincy being on when I had to go to bed.

Re: M.A.S.H.
« Reply #8 on: November 02, 2020, 07:45:53 PM »
Just watching now on the Sony channel, later episode without the laughter track, much better

None of them should have the laugh track.

I've got the DVDs which thankfully allow it to be switched off.

Re: M.A.S.H.
« Reply #9 on: November 02, 2020, 07:48:42 PM »
Not many sitcoms have something as powerful in them as:
"When the doctors cut into a patient and it’s cold, you know the way it is now, today, steam rises from the body and the doctor will will warm himself over the open wound.   Could anyone look on that and not feel changed?"
M*A*S*H was great.

Re: M.A.S.H.
« Reply #10 on: November 02, 2020, 08:02:24 PM »
I only found out about 'AfterMASH' pretty recently, never made it here i don't think..

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AfterMASH

Re: M.A.S.H.
« Reply #11 on: November 02, 2020, 08:11:00 PM »
I'd love to see AfterMASH. It can't have been that bad to go on for two seasons. Doesn't seem to be available anywhere.

Re: M.A.S.H.
« Reply #12 on: November 02, 2020, 08:32:53 PM »
I only found out about 'AfterMASH' pretty recently, never made it here i don't think..

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AfterMASH
It's a bit of a weird cast/choice of characters, obviously taking the characters that were available (there was Trapper John, MD as well, and I guess Alan Alda was up to other things). All individually funny, but how would they work together?

I remember the film as being appallingly misogynistic, but don't remember the series as being so bad. But it's a long time since I saw more than the occasional episode. One of those shows which could be brilliant but could also be formulaic and mawkish (I remember a lot of cute Korean kids); still, repeating a good formula is more allowable.

Re: M.A.S.H.
« Reply #13 on: November 02, 2020, 08:41:39 PM »
I preferred the early series with Henry Blake in charge.It was more eccentric.

Ballad of Ballard Berkley

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Re: M.A.S.H.
« Reply #14 on: November 02, 2020, 09:26:10 PM »
I watched that one. It wasn't just that there was a laughter track, but it seemed like it had been lifted from The Banana Splits or a Hanna Barbera cartoon.

Yes. For anyone who grew up watching M*A*S*H on BBC Two, the first time you encounter it with a canned laughter* track is such a strange experience. It just doesn't fit, it's not that sort of show.

What makes it even stranger is the way they'd switch off the laugh track during the surgery scenes, despite those scenes often featuring lots of funny lines. The network's rationale was that the sound of people laughing during scenes of severely injured soldiers being operated on was in poor taste, which is such an arse-backwards way of thinking. You either get behind your darkly comic Vietnam allegory, or you don't. The halfway house compromise they made was bizarre.

*  Actual canned laughed in this case, as studpuppet says. I'm not pulling a Wollaston.

Re: M.A.S.H.
« Reply #15 on: November 02, 2020, 09:30:24 PM »
It's a bit of a weird cast/choice of characters, obviously taking the characters that were available (there was Trapper John, MD as well, and I guess Alan Alda was up to other things). All individually funny, but how would they work together?


Trapper John MD was nothing to do with anyone involved in MASH, completely different actor and everything. They claimed it wasn't a spin-off from the show, but the film. Yeah, whatever.

There was also a pilot for a solo Radar spin-off, didn't get commissioned obviously. It's up on youtube but it's not great unfortunately.

Shit Good Nose

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Re: M.A.S.H.
« Reply #16 on: November 02, 2020, 09:43:10 PM »
Was never a fan of the series - always preferred the film - but watched it growing up as my dad absolutely loved it (and conversely wasn't keen on the film).  I remember him telling me about BBC2's canned laughter cockup like it was a personal affront.  I don't think he ever forgave them and I'm sure he took that anger to the grave.

Petey Pate

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Re: M.A.S.H.
« Reply #17 on: November 02, 2020, 09:50:41 PM »
I can't watch M.A.S.H. without thinking of this Futurama bit.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DdhveixpV24

Shaky

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Re: M.A.S.H.
« Reply #18 on: November 03, 2020, 04:24:47 AM »
Apparently the author of the original MASH books, Richard Hooker, hated the show, then again he was a real surgeon in the Korean war so maybe the TV version wasn't visceral enough for him.         

Both Hooker and the books are conservative, whereas the TV show took on an increasing liberal edge. He also sold the rights for only a few hundred dollars so I'm sure that rankled.

Fambo Number Mive

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Re: M.A.S.H.
« Reply #19 on: November 04, 2020, 07:50:59 PM »
On series 4. BJ Hunnicut is a nice character, he is more subtle and laid back than Hawkeye but clearly despises Frank Burns just as much as has the same view as him about the war. Hunnicut isnt a sex pest either, which is nice.

Fambo Number Mive

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Re: M.A.S.H.
« Reply #20 on: November 04, 2020, 09:24:56 PM »
Just found this really good review of MASH on Youtube (1 hour or so long): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1a8l1QFHj5Q

Re: M.A.S.H.
« Reply #21 on: November 08, 2020, 01:16:15 AM »
I watched this sometimes, ages ago. I much prefer the film. I can't remember much about the TV series, but for some reason one, single line that Alan Alda's character said has stuck in my mind for years. Commenting on some other, presumably right-wing character, he says "He's a dedicated swallower of fascism". Or does that come from somewhere else, and it's a false memory? Weird how that happens.

The Cloud of Unknowing

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Re: M.A.S.H.
« Reply #22 on: November 08, 2020, 01:45:33 AM »
I watched this sometimes, ages ago. I much prefer the film. I can't remember much about the TV series, but for some reason one, single line that Alan Alda's character said has stuck in my mind for years. Commenting on some other, presumably right-wing character, he says "He's a dedicated swallower of fascism". Or does that come from somewhere else, and it's a false memory? Weird how that happens.

From a Billy Bragg EP, but maybe he borrowed it. He also sang about "me and Corporal Klinger out on a spree, damned from here to eternity."

Jockice

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Re: M.A.S.H.
« Reply #23 on: November 08, 2020, 08:58:09 AM »
my dad absolutely loved it.

Mine did too. But I hated it as a kid. I used to sneer at it saying nobody laughed at it because it wasn't funny.

Now in those days believe it or not families tended to only have one television so whatever the head of the household wanted to watch went on. When I was in my early teens I had a huge argument with my dad. I can't remember what it was about now* but in a bid to say something that would really hurt him I blurted out: "And Hotlips is ugly!" Which led my mum quite understandably to ask exactly who this Hotlips was...

*It may have been about viewing choices but I really can't remember. The epic Blockbusters v Mr Ed one was a good few years later.

timebug

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Re: M.A.S.H.
« Reply #24 on: November 08, 2020, 09:08:27 AM »
I tried a rewatch recently, but failed. I just found it too cloyingly sentimental for some reason. Every episode had to have some sort of moral to the story and after a couple of series, it got extremely tedious. Plus anyone as relentlessly cheerful as Alan Aldas 'Hawkeye' needed a good punch in the face,at least daily!

Re: M.A.S.H.
« Reply #25 on: November 08, 2020, 10:20:14 AM »
In 1992 I was holidaying in that there America, and on a day out at whichever Disney park it is on the west coast, I saw Gary Burghoff having his handprints immortalised in cement outside their replica Grauman's Chinese Theatre.

I didn't go for that purpose, it was just happening when I was wandering around. I like to think he tried the old 'do you know who I am?' to get free tickets, and they agreed as long as he did the hand prints thing.

Re: M.A.S.H.
« Reply #26 on: November 08, 2020, 11:54:09 AM »
Loretta Swit was the original choice for Cagney in 'Cagney and Lacey', and played her in the pilot. In MASH I think she has an impossible task - to humanize a misogynistic stereotype - but there are episodes where she almost manages it.

Re: M.A.S.H.
« Reply #27 on: November 08, 2020, 04:22:53 PM »
I only vaguely remember watching it when I was younger and quite liked it, quite an odd show really with the setting and general vibe. I did watch the episode "Love Story" not long ago after finding out my friend Indira is in it, playing Lt. O'Brien.

JesusAndYourBush

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Re: M.A.S.H.
« Reply #28 on: November 08, 2020, 07:14:49 PM »
I was a bit young to appreciate it when it was first on, although I remember seeing one or two episodes.
I watched the entire series last year and thoroughly enjoyed it.  There didn't seem to be too many mawkish episodes for me but when they came they were a good counterpoint to the usual episodes.  I never even thought about the 'sex pestery' - it was filmed in the 70's and set in the 50's and if you view old shows with todays sensibilities you're just ruining TV for yourself.

Ballad of Ballard Berkley

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Re: M.A.S.H.
« Reply #29 on: November 08, 2020, 08:24:22 PM »
I watched this sometimes, ages ago. I much prefer the film. I can't remember much about the TV series, but for some reason one, single line that Alan Alda's character said has stuck in my mind for years. Commenting on some other, presumably right-wing character, he says "He's a dedicated swallower of fascism". Or does that come from somewhere else, and it's a false memory? Weird how that happens.

Ray Davies wrote Dedicated Follower of Fashion in 1966, 13 years after the Korean War ended, so if the writers did include that bit of wordplay in an episode of M*A*S*H then, well, what a bunch of silly billies they were. As The Cloud of Unknowing says, it's definitely a Billy Bragg lyric. I'm assuming Bill coined it.

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