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Discussion in 'Now Playing - TV Show Talk' started by sharkster, Nov 28, 2019.
"It was October 3rd, Nineteen Fifty Something..."
I remember the "chicken" as well. It was quite disturbing and haunted me for a long time after I watched the show.
I don't remember the music. I think I was too traumatized by the "chicken".
I'd forgotten that the message was 'Goodbye', not 'Farewell'. D'oh!
Also, I don't remember if I caught the whole 'goodbye note' thing between the two of them initially and, when Hawkeye left, he left Hawkeye that 'goodbye note' that was huge and, definitely, meaningful. I thought that was very cool that he got his goodbye note in that way.
I had forgotten about the whole chicken/baby thing, since I had not seen this since 30-some years ago when it originally aired. Actually, I believe I taped it on VHS (probably less than watchable) and still have it.
I also did not realize the MeTV does this every year. What a bonehead, as I sometimes watch shows on that channel fro the 60s and 70s. I'm glad they do that.
It was such a brilliant show. I did get burned out on watching the episodes, several years ago, but lately I've caught an ep here and there. One fav of mine was that one when that guy came on post calling Houlihan a communist and how they got him in the end. I probably have a few favs but that is the first one that comes to mind.
Wow. I thought that Winchester was a FAR better character than Burns as far as a foil for Hawkeye and Hunnicutt. Better character in every way, really. Burns was just a whiney jerk and not funny to me. I also liked Hunnicutt better than Trapper too. Potter was a good replacement for Blake, but they're so different it's like apples and oranges.
As far as the laugh track goes it's never bothered me because as pointed out it was SOP at the time and expected. But I would like to see it without the laugh track without buying the DVDs. I wish some streaming service offered that.
Which is why we all have different tastes. Winchester to me was annoying to the point where I just couldn't stand to watch him. There are some TV characters that are like that. Burns was such a fool, and everyone loves to watch a fool be made to look more foolish. He was such a stickler for the rules and order, yet, he cheated on his wife. It was an interesting contradiction. As far as BJ, to me, his character was too bland. I get they were trying to give Hawkeye a partner in crime, that was different to what Trapper was, but i could never buy him as anything but a family man. But i still liked the character, just not as much as Trapper. I agree, Henry and Potter were much different characters and that was fine with me. Of course, speaking of continuity, Harry Morgan was in an earlier episode of the show as a General who flipped out and made a black man do a jig.
Plus the first 3 seasons were before M*A*S*H got too serious and were more in the spirit of the movie.
I still recall the B.J. episode in which he had been tempted to stray in Korea from his wife. A masterful performance.
The first three seasons are my least favorite. Which is not to say I dislike them, but when they come up on my TiVo (MeTV just restarted with season one here this week) I find them easier to skip over. The tone was, overall, too arch -- it was more of a snide workplace comedy than a human comedy set in a war. Which was still funny, but I don't think the show would have lasted so long if they didn't humanize it somewhat, and lean more into the themes of its setting.
Yes, my viewpoint as well. I did think Burns was funny, and I admire Larry Linville's commitment to playing the pathetic martinet to the hilt. But Burns was a cartoon. With only two brief exceptions, he was never, ever allowed to be a recognizable human being. It's no wonder Linville chose to leave the show. There just wasn't anyplace to take that character, because Burns was barely a character in the first place. Winchester, by contrast, was -- both a full character and a plausible person. It did take a season or more for the show to calibrate the character properly -- in the early going, they were even having him and Margaret sniff around a relationship! -- but they got him there. Some of my favorite moments of the series, actually, involve Winchester and the depth with which David Ogden Stiers played him.
Sure, I get it. Maybe they didn't know, or maybe it was a deliberate continuity break to allow them to tell the story they wanted to tell. On a long-running show like that, it's hard to keep everything straight all the time anyway. MASH waffled on all kinds of things. Potter originally was from Oklahoma. Similarly, it took a little while for Hawkeye to hail from Crabapple Cove. Erin Hunnicutt alternated being being born and not born when BJ left for Korea. The names of Potter's kids and grandkids varied. There are lots more examples.
Yep, Henry's wife was Mildred early on and Lorraine later on. I think Hawkeye was from Vermont and then later Maine. The show was filled with continuity issues. As I said, normally this type of thing doesn't bother me, but some of them we so egregious that it made them hard to ignore.
I'm old school, comedies are supposed to be funny, and the show got much less funny as it went along. A lot of that was Larry Gelbart and his team not sticking around. Gelbart, like Mel Brooks, Woody Allen and others developed his chops on the old Sid Caeser show (Your Show of Shows), a factory of funny. But, they never mixed in serious stuff. In the early days they absolutely did mix in some seriousness (but unlike the later seasons, they never forgot the show was a comedy). Early episodes where Hawkeye's friend comes to visit and later gets wounded and dies on Hawkeye's operating table. Or the one where Trapper was going to adopt a Koren child but in the last second the child's mom shows up. They were still very funny episodes without losing the seriousness of war tone. Later on they tried to have funny episodes and very serious episodes. it didn't work for me. Obviously, I'm in the minority here.
Continuity errors of this type are interesting, as I would have thought hat the actors involved would have caught them.
They probably just didn't care.
I might be wrong, but I would think that most actors do, with their own characters. My guess is, they just forgot.
I liked to joke that there were so many continuity problems with the show that the last episode would deal with the beginning of the war rather than the end of it.
September 1952 - Colonel Potter takes command; Margaret has not been married yet, and Frank is still there
July 1952 - Helsinki Olympics; Margaret is married, and her husband shows up at the camp
1951 - the aforementioned 1951 episode (which starts on 12/31/1950); Margaret is divorced and seeing someone else, and Major Winchester is now there
There were some other smaller ones; for example, in an early episode, Margaret comments that Henry reminds her of "my late father," but in a later episode, her father shows up.
None of MASH's plethora of continuity errors has ever really bothered me. None of them affected the story being told in any given episode, and only someone who watched the reruns on a regular basis would even notice most of them.
Some of them actually make me smile, like the one or two times Hawkeye's mother is mentioned in present tense. Or how he starts out with a sister, but later is an only child, with his father having been a widower for many years. The changing number, and sex, of Colonel Potter's children is another, as is the number of his grandchildren. There are many, many more but like I said, none really affect any individual episode.
Like you, I liked the show less after Frank left. David Odgen Stiers had his moments, but he was no Larry Linville. I remained a fan, but the first 5 seasons were definitely my favorite.
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Interesting, the Stiers and Linville camps.
I guess I probably fall more in the Stiers camp. Yeah, the character was a dick but I felt like he had more complexity and possibilities than Frank. For me, Frank was pretty one note. I found neither character likable, however, so I guess it was, for me anyway, more about which one had more to offer. Of course Charles was smart and Frank was a complete idiot, so that might be why I had less dislike for Charles. I don't do well with idiots. Of course, I don't do well with aholes either, so I would not have had either of them as a friend. heh
He wasn't one, but he often acted like one, especially early on. He was too loyal to the sort of person his upbringing told him he was to ever admit he was friends with Hawkeye and BJ, and that manifested itself in a near-constant stiffness, but over time they definitely were all friends. Once the show got past the Winchester archetype there was real emotional depth to him, which resulted in some of my favorite moments and episodes. That palette simply didn't exist when all they had was Frank to paint with.
Oh, yes, they definitely humanized Winchester over the years and Stiers was such an amazing actor he was able to convey this. Frank Burns was a clown. One note. I agree, well played, but there was no "there" there. Winchester was a deep well.
I should also mention that I worked with Larry's wife for awhile on non showbiz related stuff. Nice lady, but I only knew her after Larry had passed.