Saturday, February 16, 2013

A Look Back at the Classic TV Show M*A*S*H


 
 
A Look Back at the Classic TV Show M*A*S*H

When looking back on the history of American comedies, there few that have truly stood the test of time.  Comedies such as I Love Lucy and The Beverly Hillbillies are a couple that would make that list.  However, no comedy in American history has stayed as relevant as the military comedy known as M*A*S*H.

 
M*A*S*H originally was a 1970 film based during the Korean War depicting day to day life at the 4077 Mobile Army Surgical Hospital.  The critical success of the film prompted the creation of the TV series, which aired on CBS from 1972 to 1983.

 
M*A*S*H is truly an ensemble cast primarily highlighted by Alan Alda as Hawkeye Pierce.  With the exception of Margaret Houlihan (Loretta Swit) and Father Mulcahy (William Christopher), the cast did undergo some changes through the years.  However, whether viewers were fans of the Henry Blake era or the Colonel Potter era of the show, they still agree that the cast worked perfectly together.

 
The reason why M*A*S*H worked so well was that it was like many of the comedies of that time such as All In the Family, the Jeffersons, and others.  It put the characters in comedic scenarios but also had room for high drama.  The difference between M*A*S*H and other comedies is that it was based on the real life events of the Korean War.

 
Everyday life at the 4077 was often the storyboard for the show, including something as simple as a game of poker.  Many times the game of poker was used to further a plot line or even a character.  The gang discovered that Major Winchester was horrible at bluffing because they picked up on his poker tell of whistling when he was nervous.  Other times, you could even pick up on a person's character during a game of poker.

 
M*A*S*H also had a knack of bringing the war down to a human level that was also realistic.  The characters were in everyday situations during the war but at the same time dealt with serious situations such as the death of a close comrade, post traumatic stress disorder, and even interracial marriage. 

 
Ultimately, M*A*S*H became the most successful comedy in the history of American television.  The final episode of the series is still the top rated non-sports program in American history.  Also, the show is still shown nearly every day in syndication although the show went off the air in 1983.  The show is a testament to not just the spirit of American, but also a testament to the drive and will of the human spirit and that is one reason why it will remain a popular comedy for many years to come.
 
 
 
This post is written in cooperation with PokerListings.com.

12 comments:

Medeia Sharif said...

As a child I didn't get M.A.S.H. I remember it was always playing in syndication, but I would watch a few minutes and skip over it. It wasn't until my teen and adult years that I came to appreciate it. I watched many episodes, but I know I didn't watch them all. Maybe in the future I can watch a marathon.

Bookworm1858 said...

Oh I love MASH-definitely a Colonel Potter girl though I waver between Frank and Winchester.

Still my favorite episode of all time is when Ron Howard lands there as an underage kid and Hawkeye wishes him a long and healthy hate-I'm tearing up just thinking about it.

Vegan YA Nerds said...

I've never really sat down and watched an episode as an adult, but I remember it was always on tv, even here in Aus, when I was little. It's amazing that these days, a show like this is still so well loved and remembered, because nothing lasts that long on tv anymore!

Sam said...

I'm not sure if this aired in the UK around the same time (probably), but I've never seen any of the episodes. It's sounds interesting though, especially as it bought the Korean War to a more accessible level.

Erika said...

Haha! I used to watch reruns of this show when I was really little. :P

Rachel said...

Mash is definitely a classic. It was always on in my home, it was a favorite of my parents and grandparents. I just remember that cross-dresser guy making me laugh, that must have been a controversial addition back then. :)

Eileen said...

I actually never saw M.A.S.H but I've always played that game with like the "Mansion, Apartment, Shack, House" thing where you do your profession and your husband and all of those! It was really fun though and I guess now I know where the idea came from!

Krysten @ Why Girls Are Weird said...

I remember catching a few episodes of this but never really sat down to pay a ton of attention.

Giselle said...

Omg my parents used to watch this all the time! I never really watched it myself though.

Brandi Kosiner said...

I actually have never sat down and watched, but it sounds like I need to.
Brandi @ Blkosiner’s Book Blog

Heidi@Rainy Day Ramblings said...

This will totally date me, but I always remember MASH being on when I was little, I was nine during the final episode and I watched it but I never got this show, I need to watch it as an adult now.

L-Diggitty said...

MASH was always a show that my dad watched, and it seemed boring to me. It wasn't until I was in my late 20s that I realized how amazing it is!


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