When people ask - as they often seem to- ‘What is your favourite TV show of all time?’ I always answer with MAS*H!!!
It was the first “sit-com” (for use of a better word) NOT to contain canned laughter.
It was full of political no-no’s in reference to the war (although set during the Korean War, it was obviously sticking it to Vietnam), which constantly had the censors in a spin.
The final episode “Good-bye Farewell Amen” was for almost 20 years (and may still be?) the most watched single episode of all time.
It wasn’t afraid to break the mold in comparison to the other popular shows of the time #Bewitched #I Dream of Jeanie #Gilligans Bloody Island etc.
Plus it was funny, thoughtful, and interesting. The script was brilliantly written, and the casting was spot-on. Even the original movie was ahead of it’s time. I could laugh AND cry in the same episode!
Yet I am still to find another soul who feels the same way.
Mash seems kind of dated now. It became a “We all love each other so much!” series. Once Trapper John left and Mr. Family Man “Mike Farrel” came onboard it lost a lot of its edge. It just went further down hill as more cast members left and they replaced them with boring “family values” type characters. The first season was a sophmoric fraternity romp, it jumped the shark right after Trapper left.
Of the four shows you listed, none were really contemporaries of MASH, which ran from 1972 to 1983:
I Dream of Jeannie (1965-1970)
Gilligan’s Island (1964-1967)
Only Bewitched was even on, and that was during MASH’s first year and Bewitched’s final year. Gilligan had been off the air for five years, and Jeannie had been gone for two.
You’re right, though, it was groundbreaking in many ways - war comedies previously had leaned heavily on slapstick, whereas MASH was a lot more intellectually driven and didn’t mind being dramatic from time to time. It was innovative and inspiring.
Nope, the final episode of Seinfeld now holds that record.
Um. Well, I guess so, kinda, but not really. Bewitched [1964-1972] only overlapped MASH [1972-1983] by one year. And I dream of Jeanie [1965-1970] and Gilligan [1964-1967] not at all. I would expect them to be much different. The times changed rapidly. It would be more accurate to compare them to shows of the same time period. All In the Family [1971-1979] broke “the mold in comparison to the other popular shows of the time” and it also “constantly had the censors in a spin.”
MASH was OK, but lost its fun when Alda took creative control and turned it into a soapbox for his political agenda.
MAS*H did have a laugh track, but they deliberately turned it off during the operating room scenes. And, of course, it wasn’t the first – some early TV comedies aired before the laugh track was invented.
When the BBC transmitted this series back in the 70’s they did not play the laugh track at all and it was a much better series for that. The Paramount Comedy channel have just broadcast it with the laughter track and I did not enjoy it as much.
Yes, it did have a laugh track. Do you think that they could have filmed MAS*H in front of a live audience? Perish forbid!
The show did evolve over the years, mostly in good directions, although after Radar left, it kinda stagnated. The last three seasons could probably be done away with and only lose a half-dozen good episodes.
I always thought this was particularly unfair to Korean veterans. Korea was a different war and they deserve to remain distinct from Viet-Nam. Every time I see Hawkeye complain about the US Army I just want to slap him silly. Would he rather the war ended and S. Korean lived under N. Korean rule?
The original movie was ok. I hated how the director had so much dialogue doing on at the same time that it was difficult to figure out who was saying what.
I liked MAS*H a lot, even though its comedy wasn’t as black as the movie which wasn’t as black as the original novel. But the show went though so many phases that most people don’t like them all. There are partisans for the Trapper John/Frank Burns/Henry Blake era and there are those who think it improved when B.J./Col. Potter/Charles Emerson Winchester replaced them. Some people hate Alda’s preachiness, some hate Klinger, some hate the last few years.
It took more chances and broke the mold of standard sitcoms more than just about any earlier show. The characters did grow, once Burns left, and they became more and more human instead of joke machines.
Overall, there’s no doubt it’s among the best sitcoms ever. But it’s just not many peoples’ number one.
In 1969, Room 222 debuted. Except for the pilot episode, it did not use a laugh track. It dealt with some topical ideas as women’s rights, the ecology, and teacher’s strikes. And it’s star was black. All this three years before MAS*H.