karaokegal (karaokegal) wrote,

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100 TV shows #81-M*A*S*H


One fic only-written for Yuletide: Lots of angst. Goodbye Means Goodbye

A MEME answer to "Saddest Character Death Ever!"

Still determined to finish this thing.

One of the specific quotes I remember from One Day At a Time, was from an episode where the older daughter was trying to get her mom to pay for a private school and was trying to make the case that she would get a better education than in the public school she was going to. One of her arguments was, “If it weren’t for M*A*S*H, I would never have heard of the Korean War.”

Of course we all know that M*A*S*H wasn’t really about the Korean war, but in 1972, I didn’t know that. I hadn’t read the book or seen the movie, which was way too grown up for me. In retrospect, the show was pretty “grown-up” as well, and a lot of it went over my head…although I was a pretty savvy kid, so I might have gotten a lot of the historical references ahead of learning any of it in school. It was one of my parent’s shows, probably my mom.

It’s definitely one of my earliest examples of me hating changes in a show, although I didn’t come close to the level of breath holding and bitching I would later perfect. As young as I would have been, MY M*A*S*H was definitely the original cast, especially Wayne Rogers (RIP) as Trapper. He’s the only one of the cast that I can remember having a crush on, which carried through to City of Angels. When Mr. Rogers passed on---at the end of the last year, before we knew how many great ones this year was planning to take from us---it definitely reminded me how much I loved Trapper (as played by Mr. Rogers…Sorry to say that when I did see the movie Elliot Gould didn’t do much for me.) I never warmed up to BJ as a replacement. Wayne Rogers was a major crush for young K-gal. The curls, the dimples and the fact that Trapper screwed everything and didn’t seem terribly emotionally involved. One of my earliest charming bastards.

Speaking of bastards...I also had a very hot thing for Colonel Flagg. However I think the character I personally related to and thought was the most decent of the lot was Sidney Freedman.

One of the few times I know I cried over a TV show was the announcement of Henry Blake’s death. I didn’t mind Colonel Potter, mostly because I liked Henry Gannon from Dragnet, but I still felt the dynamic of Hawkeye, Trapper, Henry, Klinger and Radar vs Hot Lips and Frank was best.

RE: Hot Lips and Frank…I reallyreallyreally hated what the show did to them as a couple and to their individual characters. I didn’t have the shipping concept at the time, but they were actually hot together and their dynamic of forbidden lust, even with all the hypocrisy involved, was one I would later glom onto. I get that in the initial concept they were the bad guys, because they were trying to get our heroes in trouble. (And presumably because they actually thought there was value in the war.)

I had not particular interest in Larry Linville…didn’t find him or the character attractive. I’m sure I hated him as much as the show told me I was supposed to, but they were the only couple on the show (aside from the slash ships that I was too young to fully be aware of and that of course were all subtext) that had overt passion for each other and that definitely came across to my younger self.

As the show progressed and I grew up, I feel it definitely screwed Frank over to make Hot Lips (excuse me, Margaret) look better. And I hated them for it. Really hated it. So much that I felt sorry for Frank when he was utterly destroyed. In my memory, they basically drove him crazy, had him committed and never gave any indication that he survived, got home, got his life back etc. I’m sure Wiki could tell me otherwise, but that’s what I was left with…and to keep it going and redeem Margaret, they had to make him so much worse. I know he was always supposed to not as good a doctor as Hawkeye et al, but they then went on to make him a very bad doctor and I resented that as well.

The more they tried to make me like Margaret and hate Frank, the more it had exactly the opposite effect. I’m even getting angry as I write this and I haven’t thought about it for a long time. These are some pretty dormant feels, but there they are.

Another change that pissed me off was the fact that Hawkeye was originally portrayed as being as big a pussyhound as Trapper, but that was diminished in the later seasons, presumably as Alan Alda took control of the show and wanted to be seen as the “nice guy.”

These are all impressions from my original watching of the show. I went through a brief re-watch period of the early first season when it was being shown on TV LAND years ago, mostly marveling at the original edge and the number of Hey, It’s That Guy types who showed up.

In spite of the aggro and the feels and the fact that I grew up enough to realize what was bugging me, I was still home and watching on February 28, 1983, when the finale aired, so I was part of what is still the largest viewing audience for a single television episode…at least in the days when you actually had to watch a TV show to watch a TV show.

I remember being annoyed by the plot, the manipulation, the pathos etc, but if I recall correctly I still cried at the end. Maybe more the for the “end of an era” feeling than the show itself. I never had any interest in Aftermash or Trapper John MD. (In spite of having a mega-crush on Pernell Roberts as Adam Cartwright.)

I’ll still get a little emotional when I hear the theme song, one of the most beautiful for any TV show ever, imported, of course, directly from the movie. Music written by Johnny Mandel and lyrics by Mike Altman, the son of the original film’s director, Robert Altman. Mike Altman, and was 15 years old when he wrote the song’s lyrics. Robert Altman once said that while he only made $70,000 for having directed the movie, his son had earned more than $1 million for having co-written the song.

Tags: 100 things, 100 tv shows, mash

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