March 21, 2010

Gimme some more sour M*A*S*H

I don't actively search it out, but MASH is a timeless show. The issues they brought to the screen are just as relevant today as they were when the show was originally on the air. The actors created an intimate look into the lives of their characters based on amazing scripts that just aren't written today. Comedy shows are largely a cliché and rarely if ever bring true issues to public consciousness as MASH did for many years, week after week.

As in real life, comedy and tragedy often fall hand in hand in an episode of MASH. When Henry Blake left the show, Hawkeye suggested he full on kiss Hotlips for a fantastic OMG moment on television followed shortly after with the scene when Radar enters the Operating Room to tell everyone that Lt. Col. Henry Blake's plane was shot down over the Sea of Japan and 'there weren't no survivors' which is as heart wrenching now as it was the first time I saw it 20+ years ago. Even dearly loved shows like Cheers do not elicit the emotional response that MASH could, they never did. Doesn't your throat get a little ache in it, just thinking of Henry's death? If you say no, you either never saw the entire series or you are lying. His character became a part of our lives and when he died, a piece of us went with him. When the casting director replaced him with Sherman Potter, they did the brilliant move of creating an entirely different kind of character, as would happen in real life, people are never replaced with the same entity, and the show created all new plot lines that helped you fall in love with the replacement. Who wouldn't want to spend an afternoon or an evening with a glass of scotch listening to that kindly old man as he reminisced about the old days in the saddle?

I'd beg and plead with Hollywood to bring out a show as funny, touching, heart ache filled as MASH was, but I doubt it could ever happen on the budget of a TV show today. Will Grey's Anatomy have the longevity of a show like MASH? Will I still be interested in Richard's bout with alcoholism as I am in watching Hawkeye Pierce try to quit drinking gin from the still in his tent and the madness that envelops him in the process? Doubtful. Even ER which I watched religiously for years finally lost it's appeal (somewhere around the time they had a helicopter fall on a character) to not only keep me entertained, but to get me thinking. We don't need to go further visually, we need to go further with the story. Dig deep writers and tell it like it is.


At 12:41 PM, Blogger Buffalo said...

It was a good show and I still watch it now and then. It's on the History Channel daily. Some of the episodes are difficult for me to watch.

At 6:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

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At 9:20 PM, Blogger Jill said...

It's been a long time since I saw MASH but each scene you mentioned came through with crystal clarity because of the emotional connection behind it. So true, so true...

At 7:19 PM, Blogger rosepel said...

I only started watching MASH recently, but it is clear to me that you are spot on about the script. The modern sitcom consists of outrageous stunts or analogies between the characters and "I" that give us the idea we can identify with them, rather than merely relate to them. This brings on a shot of strength to the ego. MASH however - the interactions and relationships have a casual realness to them, the jokes bring innocent smiles and laughter irrelative to the downfall of others. MASH is a diamond, shining still.
I stumbled upon this blog.. the universe has a way of showing us what we need to see.
Thanks for a good read.


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