Yes. I watched every episode I don’t even know how many times–many as they first aired, and then in reruns in high school. But I’ve shown my kids nearly the entire series, with a handful skipped for various reasons, twice now–first my older kids and then a few years later, when they were old enough, my younger kids. And the reputation the show has for getting soft later is absolute nonsense. As you said, for all Alan Alda is thought of as a paragon of the sensitive male of the 70s (I seem to remember MAD Magazine using him as shorthand), the sexual politics of the earliest seasons are fucking horrifying. (And, for that matter, the fact that Margaret was really the only female character–sure, Nurse Kelleye finally got her own episode, a single one, towards the end…but come on.) Meanwhile, episodes like the one where they’re all having nightmares is crazy, and crazy good.
Except for that episode where he wanted to see “the moment of dying”. That was a bit ghoulish. But that can be forgiven. He had come close to dying without realizing it at the time early in the episode.
The other chicken episode:
“yeah, he helped me into the water”
The “chicken episode” was actually part of the finale. As he later retells it to the Army shrink (Sydney Friedman), Hawkeye was on a bus with a number of Korean villagers, hiding in silence while North Korean troops are searching nearby. A chicken starts squawking and Hawkeye tells the peasant woman to shut the bird up, so she strangles it. Later during Hawkeye’s therapy session, he realizes it was actually a crying baby.
ETA to add character’s name, thanks @blondie
MASH was must-see TV in our house when i was growing up, and i still love it to this day. there are many, MANY moments of tears (i can’t even watch the opening scene of “Abyssinia Henry” without losing it to tears), and i had forgotten about this incredibly moving scene with Potter toasting his old buddies. omg, it hits harder the older you get… as for Winchester, the episode that immediately came to mind was the second clip you posted, @leicester, where the soldier who plays piano loses his right hand and despairs. David Ogden Stiers brings such depth to Winchester when he tells the soldier how much he WISHES he could play even a note, and urges him not to give up hope by giving him music written for only the left hand.
what a show MASH was… sure, there’s humor that just doesn’t sit right any more, but it was one of the first shows i know of (along with All In The Family) that had really serious episodes defending LGBTQ rights waaaaaay before other shows did. (I’ll add Soap to the list too because even though Billy Crystal’s character was played as a stereotype sometimes, he was still a regular, major character, and all the family clearly loved him.)
It’s because of this MASH episode that I knew what a tontine was in this episode.
There’s also an episode in MASH where Col. Potter mentions “lollapalooza” as well, so when the music festival of the same name was created it made sense to me.
Sydney Friedman. Great character.
The show really got maudlin in later seasons. I loved the episodes that pointed out the absurdities (both mundane and horrific) of the military and war. Col. Flagg and Cpl. Klinger were two of my favorite characters.
Sounds like we’re about the same age given that I have the same memories and I also agree with everything you said.
That second clip was the first thing I thought of after seeing the Col. Potter one in the OP.
When Soap was on, my brother and I were staying the weekend at my grandparent’s house one time and my grandpa jumped up and turned the channel during a scene with Crystal. He said “if someone comes on my TV and says they’re gay, they don’t stay on my TV”.
He was not really on board with 60’s and 70’s culture, etc… As a little kid I don’t know how many times I heard “goddamned hippies”.
One time we were in their Buick going somewhere and I was in the front seat as we drove by a couple hippies walking somewhere. I glanced out the window and gave my usual peace sign and said something along the lines of “they look like they’re having a good day” or whatever a kid would say and he SLAMMED on the brakes and launched into a tirade about how lazy they were and all that.
FWIW, I otherwise had a very good relationship with my grandparents…
It wasn’t Altman who hated the show but Richard Hooker, the original author of the novel the movie and then the show was based on. It was semi-autobiographical, and he especially hated how Alan Alda changed Hawkeye Pierce.
That is a wonderful scene. One of my favorites.
My all-time favorite episode is the one in which Radar gives Col Potter the horse. When he brings the horse into his office, it makes me cry. It happens again when we see him at the end of the ep, riding his new horse ahead of the crew on the way to the choppers.
Today I learned that horse actually belonged to Mr Morgan
Disclaimer: I am a horsewoman.
Sort of related to Col Potter’s horse, the scene where Frank Burns steals a tank and flattens Potter’s jeep, whereupon he (Potter) pulls out his sidearm and shoots the jeep. Classic.
Oh, shit hahahaha, I forgot about that scene. Classic.
I saw the movie AFTER I saw many many episodes of the show as a kid. When I watched the movie, I was like, talk about the dichotomy of the two actors who played Frank Burns, Robert Duvall and Larry Linville. Which I guess is also reflected in the characters themselves as well.
My favorite interaction between Frank and Hawkeye. Frank walks into the Swamp and Hawkeye starts saying something about Hitler and Frank says:
“I know that old trick, when you’re talking about Hitler, you’re really talking about me”
Hawkeye: “That’s not true, Frank. When we’re talking about you we’re really talking about Hitler.”
Most people will hate Robert Altman’s 1970 movie if they see it nowadays; I watched it recently and could not believe how dated it was (from the movie I had remembered it as).
As for the TV show, I mean, the laugh track… that is, for me, a pretty high bar to watchability. I can barely tolerate it on Seinfeld reruns.
Just a warning for anyone thinking about reading the original book, it’s evidently even more sexist and rapey and cringy than the movie.
I totally forgot about this episode. The writers must have expected us to ignore the goof, nevertheless it still adds to Harry Morgan’s massive presence on the show. I wonder if the producers cast Morgan as Potter because they loved him here.
Yeah that’s what i’ve read, everyone thought he was great and when they needed a replacement for MacLean Stevenson (off to Hello Larry fame) they looked to Harry Morgan immediately. His General Steele was clearly a 1-off so I doubt they worried about any confusion.
Which was precisely why I had never seen it. It looks like it’s on Hulu so I might need to give it a watch.
I always saw it as the somewhat funnier remake of