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PartyOfOne

04-21-2010, 12:57 PM

Why was MASH so constantly anti-American and anti-South Korean? :confused: Why were 90% of the American military stereotyped as stupid (Blake) or evil (Burns) or often both? Why was there no mention of the fact that the War was started by North Korea?
I think perhaps the worst episode of bias was when Hawkeye took out the appendix of an American officer for no other reason but the fact that he did like what the American officer was planning to do. BJ criticized Hawkeye for doing this, but tellingly, he never turned Hawkeye in. That was way over the top IMHO.

Dr. Thong

04-21-2010, 03:27 PM

Why was MASH so constantly anti-American and South Korean? :confused: Why were 90% of the American military stereotyped as stupid (Blake) or evil (Burns) or often both? Why was there no mention of the fact that the War was started by North Korea?
I think perhaps the worst episode of bias was when Hawkeye took out the appendix of an American officer for no other reason but the fact that he did like what the American officer was planning to do. BJ criticized Hawkeye for doing this, but tellingly, he never turned Hawkeye in. That was way over the top IMHO.

I agree. And what's hypocritical is that Hawkeye did a similar thing to Colonel Flagg a few seasons earlier and Trapper went right along with it. No one protested.

I don't think M*A*S*H was anti-American. They were anti-war, anti-authority.

And yes, they did mock the generals, colonels and officers whose egos were bigger than their brains, but they never mocked the wounded soldiers.

Miss Lisa

04-21-2010, 11:04 PM

I think that a lot of it has to do with the fact that the book was written during the Vietnam war, when A LOT of people were prostesting the war. Of course, then the movie and show were created from the book.

I also notice though that the longer the series went on, the more politically biased it became. It was very apparent that Alan Alda had been a protester of the war and he was later using the show to get that point across. There are some good points made in the show, it shows the damages of war, the bad side of it, but at the same time it did do a lot of bashing towards the military often took things and went overboard with them.

One last thing before I start to completely ramble on....It is interesting how in an early episode of MASH where Hawkeye performs unnecessary surgery on Colonel Flagg, it doesn't stick out to barely anyone and seems to not bother or disturb anyone. Then, when he does the same thing in a later episode, it becomes one of the more disturbing moments in the show and sticks out to just about anyone who has seen it. I think this is because in the beginning of the show, Hawkeye and Trapper were rebels. They did what ever they pleased, and really just seemed like they were out to do what ever they wanted. The show, although about the war, was not nearly as serious as it would later become. There was not nearly so much drama played on the act. Later on though, the show gets into more and more about how bad the war is, and how against it Hawkeye is. The entire episode takes the time to deal with the moral delemia and how he convinces himself that it is the right thing to do. The later episode, I believe it was called "Preventative Medicine" was actually a glimpse into how the war was messing with Hawkeye's head. How it was really beginning to drive him into insanity.

Dr. Thong

04-22-2010, 10:57 AM

I think that a lot of it has to do with the fact that the book was written during the Vietnam war, when A LOT of people were prostesting the war. Of course, then the movie and show were created from the book.

I also notice though that the longer the series went on, the more politically biased it became. It was very apparent that Alan Alda had been a protester of the war and he was later using the show to get that point across. There are some good points made in the show, it shows the damages of war, the bad side of it, but at the same time it did do a lot of bashing towards the military often took things and went overboard with them.

Miss Lisa, excellent comments. And I agree with you. The later years did have a tendency to get preachy. One of the things I liked about the early years (my favorites) is that there was a good balance between the satirical humor and the anti-war platitudes and drama. They delivered a message, but never forgot their primary function was to be entertaining.

Some of the later things came off as very preachy. I certainly understand their attitude towards war, being so very close to it and in some cases, just barely avoiding it, but I watch TV to escape and be entertained, not preached to.

I love M*A*S*H (it's my favorite all-time show), but it went on probably two years longer than it should have. It's not that the shows from the last two seasons are bad, but it's clear they were running out of steam. And the preachiness didn't help.

catlover79

04-22-2010, 11:34 AM

It's my opinion that as Alan Alda got more control of the show, the show began dripping, then drowning in sanctimony. Your mileage may vary, of course.

Dr. Thong

04-22-2010, 08:31 PM

It's my opinion that as Alan Alda got more control of the show, the show began dripping, then drowning in sanctimony. Your mileage may vary, of course.

I have to say that while Alan Alda's a great actor and Hawkeye was the linchpin for that show, I agree with Monika.

When Gene Reynolds and Larry Gelbart were in charge of the show, they kept the sanctimony to a minimum.

And one thing that bugged me in the later years when Hot Lips would refer to Colonel Potter as "that dear, sweet man." Once was enough, really.:rolleyes:

Retro4Life

04-22-2010, 09:26 PM

I think it's hard for a show to be on that long without changing or evolving somewhat.

I personally prefer the post Trapper years. I didn't dislike Trap but they didn't really develop him enough and it often seemed (to me at least) to be difficult to distinguish him from Hawkeye. I don't imagine that was much fun for Wayne Rogers.

Usually in comedies that last a while the later years concentrate more on character as the characters become more three dimensional and real. Again, while I enjoyed the first few years, the characterizations often seemed a bit "arch"; Hawk and Trap the "wild and crazy" hedonists of the group, Radar the loyal nerd, Frank and Margaret the up tight and "by the book" military folk, Klinger the camp joke, etc. As time wore on these characters achieved more depth, to me at least.

Miss Lisa

04-22-2010, 10:37 PM

I have to say that while Alan Alda's a great actor and Hawkeye was the linchpin for that show, I agree with Monika.

When Gene Reynolds and Larry Gelbart were in charge of the show, they kept the sanctimony to a minimum.

And one thing that bugged me in the later years when Hot Lips would refer to Colonel Potter as "that dear, sweet man." Once was enough, really.:rolleyes:

I agree, with both you and Monika. He had a tough role to play, considering that he had to take charge of a character that had recently been played by Donald Sutherland. I know people had to of been making comparisons. He was great as Hawkeye Pierce, but it kinda seems like he knew that all too well. The whole thing sorta looks like an ego trip. I read somewhere that he didn't want to go to school for acting because it would ruin his natural talent. He may have natural talent, and he may be good, but that doesn't mean that after a while you can just take over a show.

I personally watch the show because it can be entertaining. I loved how it was mostly funny, but then it would unexpectantly slip in those serious moments, especially when Henry Blake was killed. That moment might have been in the beginning, but that will always stick out more than anything in the end. I never watched it because I wanted someone's opinions and political views shoved down my throat. They should have had an actual intelligent person, or at least someone likable to argue some of the points on there, at least present both sides of what you're preaching about.

catlover79

04-22-2010, 11:42 PM

That's why it almost always spells disaster when the star of a show gets too much creative control, like Drew Carey and Roseanne. A notable exception would be Jerry Seinfeld.

LuLu Rogers

04-23-2010, 12:38 AM

I'm sure the change in later years was partially due to Alan Alda, but don't count out Mike Farrell. Mike is a MAJOR bleeding heart Liberal, much more than Alan Alda ever even thought about being. I'm sure he had some input on the tone of the show.

Otherwise, I agree with what you guys are saying.

Miss Lisa

04-23-2010, 06:31 AM

True. I did forget about Mike Farrell and his little thing with the murderer. I think it was couple years ago, there was a serial killer on death row or something in California and he was standing up for the rights of the serial killer, saying he deserved a second chance and that he should be released. He certainly does have his own ideas of how things should work out. I wouldn't be surprised if he was co writing some of the episodes.

Dr. Thong

04-23-2010, 12:53 PM

True. I did forget about Mike Farrell and his little thing with the murderer. I think it was couple years ago, there was a serial killer on death row or something in California and he was standing up for the rights of the serial killer, saying he deserved a second chance and that he should be released. He certainly does have his own ideas of how things should work out. I wouldn't be surprised if he was co writing some of the episodes.

Mike Farrell did write and direct some episodes. Not nearly as many as Alan Alda, but he was involved.

Dr. Thong

04-23-2010, 12:56 PM

I think it's hard for a show to be on that long without changing or evolving somewhat.

I personally prefer the post Trapper years. I didn't dislike Trap but they didn't really develop him enough and it often seemed (to me at least) to be difficult to distinguish him from Hawkeye. I don't imagine that was much fun for Wayne Rogers.

You're right, it wasn't. And that's why he left.

Originally, Wayne Rogers was told that Trapper would be a co-lead, equal to Alan Alda. But as time wore on and the producers tended to favor the Hawkeye character, he grew disgruntled and decided to leave.

He never blamed Alan Alda for the way things developed to the best of my knowledge.

PartyOfOne

04-26-2010, 09:48 PM

[QUOTE=Miss Lisa]I think that a lot of it has to do with the fact that the book was written during the Vietnam war, when A LOT of people were prostesting the war. Of course, then the movie and show were created from the book.

>>I also notice though that the longer the series went on, the more politically biased it became.<<

I suppose that is technically true, but looking over the balance of episodes (well, a good sample from the various periods, I cannot for the life of me see a point when this show could be even mildly construed as "pro-war" or neutral toward the American military. In what would supposedly be the best example of this (the first 3 seasons), you had the commanding officer (Blake) who was essentially a moron. Hawkeye could get anything over on him. Radar wasn't all that bright either. Major Burns was a complete villian although more so in the Potter years I would think. Margaret (when originally Hot Lips) was supposed to be a villian but became more sympathetic as she distanced herself from Burns. But originally Burns and "Hotlips" pro-American military views were (at least IMHO) meant to be evil and stupid. Take for example the episode where Col. Flagg shows up, and he brings in a spy to be treated so Flagg can execute him. Burns and Houlihan make good points, but it is obvious who the viewer is supposed to sympathize with.
Come to think of it, an even better example of MASH's left wing bias than "Preventive Medicine" was a Blake episode, I believe from season 3 called "George" which sure sticks out like a sore thumb today. In that episode the title character is a gay solider, what at the time the episode was filmed would have been a hom*osexual and when it was supposed to take place (of which no sane person could believe was really 1950 anything), would have been called a "queer" or worse. Naturally, the soldier was made out to be a great hero who was almost divine. Somehow in 1951 Korea, the only American soldiers who opposed a gay man in their unit were a gingoistic hyprocrite adulterer and his mistress. And even the mistress didn't seem to care that much. Col. Blake not caring went way beyond suspension of disbelief. But look, even in 2010 most US Army soldiers do not want gays in the Army. I can just imagine 1951. How did that episode even air?
I was very surprising to see Mulcahy in that episode. Of course he didn't have anything to do with the plot. He could not have. The writers would not have allowed him to say what a real minister from that time would have said about a gay soldier, and if the writers would have had him say what they wanted Mulcahy to say, well, there would have been an endless stream of angry letters to CBS. It was a very awkward, hackneyed episode.
I just saw the episode with the North Korean spy the other day. Again, the North Korean is sympathic. I saw a third season episode with I think Mako where Burns brings a gun to China and Mako is saying "your planes harrass us night and day..." again, a Trapper episode. I mean I guess I'm slightly to the left myself but it is easy to see why most conservatives avoid this show.

catlover79

04-26-2010, 11:42 PM

You're right, it wasn't. And that's why he left.

Originally, Wayne Rogers was told that Trapper would be a co-lead, equal to Alan Alda. But as time wore on and the producers tended to favor the Hawkeye character, he grew disgruntled and decided to leave.

He never blamed Alan Alda for the way things developed to the best of my knowledge.
No, I don't think he ever did either. Wayne Rogers has always been visible at M*A*S*H reunions (like the TV Land awards), and always made it clear that it was his decision to leave the show. Wayne was always clear that while he missed the people, in the long run he never regretted leaving the show.

LuLu Rogers

04-27-2010, 12:33 AM

No, I don't think he ever did either. Wayne Rogers has always been visible at M*A*S*H reunions (like the TV Land awards), and always made it clear that it was his decision to leave the show. Wayne was always clear that while he missed the people, in the long run he never regretted leaving the show.

Wayne blamed the producers and writers, ie Larry Gelbart, for the lack of development in the character of Trapper. He and Alan, as well as other cast members like Loretta Swit have remained good friends. He never held any bad feelings towards them or the show. As much as I wished he had stayed, I do think he did the right thing in the long run by leaving, but he took a dynamic away from the show when he left and it was never the same after that. The same goes for McLean Stevenson.

Dr. Thong

04-27-2010, 10:03 AM

No, I don't think he ever did either. Wayne Rogers has always been visible at M*A*S*H reunions (like the TV Land awards), and always made it clear that it was his decision to leave the show. Wayne was always clear that while he missed the people, in the long run he never regretted leaving the show.

I don't doubt it, as he went on to a lucrative career as a financial guru and investor.

I think of all who left M*A*S*H, Rogers is unique in that while he didn't go on to major success in acting, he ended up very successful in another field.

And getting back to the thread topic and another post in this thread, M*A*S*H was a TV show, not a documentary. I learned to accept it as such a long time ago.

Miss Lisa

04-27-2010, 06:08 PM

I suppose that is technically true, but looking over the balance of episodes (well, a good sample from the various periods, I cannot for the life of me see a point when this show could be even mildly construed as "pro-war" or neutral toward the American military. In what would supposedly be the best example of this (the first 3 seasons), you had the commanding officer (Blake) who was essentially a moron. Hawkeye could get anything over on him. Radar wasn't all that bright either. Major Burns was a complete villian although more so in the Potter years I would think. Margaret (when originally Hot Lips) was supposed to be a villian but became more sympathetic as she distanced herself from Burns. But originally Burns and "Hotlips" pro-American military views were (at least IMHO) meant to be evil and stupid. Take for example the episode where Col. Flagg shows up, and he brings in a spy to be treated so Flagg can execute him. Burns and Houlihan make good points, but it is obvious who the viewer is supposed to sympathize with.
Come to think of it, an even better example of MASH's left wing bias than "Preventive Medicine" was a Blake episode, I believe from season 3 called "George" which sure sticks out like a sore thumb today. In that episode the title character is a gay solider, what at the time the episode was filmed would have been a hom*osexual and when it was supposed to take place (of which no sane person could believe was really 1950 anything), would have been called a "queer" or worse. Naturally, the soldier was made out to be a great hero who was almost divine. Somehow in 1951 Korea, the only American soldiers who opposed a gay man in their unit were a gingoistic hyprocrite adulterer and his mistress. And even the mistress didn't seem to care that much. Col. Blake not caring went way beyond suspension of disbelief. But look, even in 2010 most US Army soldiers do not want gays in the Army. I can just imagine 1951. How did that episode even air?
I was very surprising to see Mulcahy in that episode. Of course he didn't have anything to do with the plot. He could not have. The writers would not have allowed him to say what a real minister from that time would have said about a gay soldier, and if the writers would have had him say what they wanted Mulcahy to say, well, there would have been an endless stream of angry letters to CBS. It was a very awkward, hackneyed episode.
I just saw the episode with the North Korean spy the other day. Again, the North Korean is sympathic. I saw a third season episode with I think Mako where Burns brings a gun to China and Mako is saying "your planes harrass us night and day..." again, a Trapper episode. I mean I guess I'm slightly to the left myself but it is easy to see why most conservatives avoid this show.

That's true, the show had been completely politically biased from the very start of the show. I guess maybe what I should have said was that the show went from more of making fun of the military to just plain out stating everything that they found wrong. The show gradualy made its way from the jokes to twenty minutes or Alan Alda preaching about the faults of the government and wartime.

I notice the conservative thing to. My dad who is pretty conservative only watches MASH every once in a while with me. He tends to watch more of the episodes with Henry Blake in them, but past that, he can't seem to sit through Hawkeye preaching. I myself am more in the middle and get kinda annoyed at times with the bias in the show, but that was more towards the end of the show. I do not remember ever being annoyed at the first few seasons.

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