A M*A*S*H moment to remember

Originally published at: A M*A*S*H moment to remember | Boing Boing


We’ve been catching some OTA episodes late and every one of them delivers. I’d forgotten how damn good they were, consistently.



I grew up with the show. A lot of people thought it became too maudlin as the seasons wore on, but that’s because the earliest episodes were mostly pretty raw comedy (for the era anyway.)

I believe Robert Altman hated the show.


We haven’t watched any lately, but worked through the first couple seasons a while back. It comes across to both of us as shockingly rapey when viewed through postmodern eyes, and even though I keep telling myself they were just depicting things as they were, I still find it very jarring. Especially since I grew up watching the show with my mom, and viewed Hawkeye as a role model of sorts.

But yeah, their farewell episodes were guaranteed tearjerkers. I still remember my mom and I bawling our eyes out when Col. Blake died, and definitely during the last episode. Which, considering that I was an eleven year old boy, is really saying something.

I’m kinda dreading getting to the Chicken episode with my missus. She also watched it with her mom growing up, but less so due my propensity for younger women. (Thanks, Hawkeye!) I asked her about it obliquely and I’m pretty sure she’s never seen that one. Kinda not even looking forward to rewatching it myself.


Finally caught the film recently.
A whole lot of objectification of women and toxic masculinity.
Either that kind of nihilism is born from being in a senseless war or it’s just a typical product of the 70s.


I believe they were trying to depict the wartime culture of the mid fifties.

I got literally nauseous watching the first couple episodes of Mad Men with all the over the top smoking scenes, so I guess if something crappy is depicted well enough, you can feel the crappiness right through the screen.


Oh for sure.
Love that journalistic voyeuristic style… but after all the pranks played on woman, with a finale that would appeal to a college sports fan, it was hard to discern if it was just the director’s personal take on life (which allegedly was up in smoke a lot of the time… much like my teens). Similar to reading Hemingway’s most whaaaa moments.
Gotta say that is an incredible TV MASH Moment though.


MAS*H was the very best TV, ever. This clip brought me to tears. The final episode left me weeping. Bless all of the creators and actors who shared their gifts with us. Harry Morgan left us in 2011 and he was a fine actor. Bless him for his authenticity and generosity that he shared in this role.

Thank you for sharing this moving clip.


Which episode is this? I only ever saw the show as a teenager in the 90s when it was in syndication (and absolutely loved it). While I thought I had seen most episodes some were never aired (most notably the finale).


It’s best if you don’t google anything on it, and just watch it without knowing what’s coming up. It’s towards the end of the show when Hawkeye is dealing with some really serious PTSD, and the psychiatrist that helps him work through it.


The movie was based on a book, and the TV series was based on the movie IIRC.


Yeah, I think Altman used it all the written material as a blueprint and just played around more and improvised. But I haven’t read the book… will check it out!


I know that some of their material came from Korean war veterans, along with some other procedural things to make the show more realistic, but yeah. hard to keep a show fed with fresh material for that long.


Richard Hooker, the guy who wrote the original M * A * S * H books really hated the show, especially Alan Alda’s portrayal of Hawkeye. The first novel was semi-autobiographical and Hawkeye there was kinda an idealised author avatar, and Hooker was far more reactionary than Alda and the show’s writers and producers. IIRC he even said that the cast of the book would beat the shit out of their TV counterparts.


There’s an outtake (somewhere) that showed the whole scene. After all that high-drama, they toast and Harry Morgan tosses the glass down on the cot and, after a pause, proclaims… “Shitty!” The tension was broken and they all get a good laugh.


Specifically, it’s the feature length finale.


There are two moments which always stick out with me. Both involving Charles Winchester

  1. When Charles goes from righteous indignation to begging for forgiveness when he learns his gift of chocolates to orphans was sold to provide food for the children

  2. From the finale, after the Chinese POW band is accidentally killed by artillery. He goes to his tent, plays a record of a song the band had played, then smashes the record. The war ruining his ability to enjoy that tune. Destroying his sole solace from it


Which is not in cable TV syndication packages. Since it is 2 hours and was never broken up into episode length bits, it just gets dropped. They go from the Time Capsule episode right back to the pilot.


Winchester, for his outward pompousness, always was a moral and empathetic center:


We had a large contingent of MAS*H fans when I was in boarding school, so much so that the administration cancelled evening study session for students to watch the finale.

I was holding it together pretty well until Potter rode off on his horse.