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Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Insanity Is Just A State Of Mind

Dearest friends,

** Pay attention, this post is long and has SPOILERS! but I have poured my heart and soul into it so I hope you guys will read it and tell me what you think! :) **

Somewhere in the 70s - 80s in the USA they started airing for the first time a series called M.A.S.H. - short from Mobile Army Surgical Hospital. The 4077th M.A.S.H. gets stuck in the middle of the Korean war. In order to make wartime and living without their family/loved ones bearable they resort to practical jokes and revenge - both doctors, nurses, administrators and soldiers alike.
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The stories are loosely based on the real and historic 8055th M.A.S.H. unit, as well as the actual experiences told by real M.A.S.H. surgeons to the production company who interviewed them. As the series went on, the producers began interviewing actual M.A.S.H. veterans for their stories and impressions; many of their recollections went into storylines. The gradual thinning of fresh ideas prompted work on the series conclusion.
The main character of the show is, without a doubt, Captain Benjamin Franklin Pierce - played lovingly by the talented Alan Alda. I quite remember having a crush on him when I was small. He was funny and witty and pretty altogether. Tell you the truth I almost had a shock when I saw him so aged in the TV series The Black List. But hey! time does not treat us kindly... Anyway, back to Captain Pierce - or as friends call him: Hawkeye. His nickname was bestowed on him by his father, from the novel “The Last of the Mohican’s”, and according to Hawkeye is the only book his father ever read. His father is Dr. Daniel Pierce and has a practice in their hometown of Crabapple Cove, Maine. Hawkeye talks frequently and at length about the place he grew up throughout the show, and always with a dreamy sort of smile to his face. It is established in the very beginning of the show that Hawkeye is Chief Surgeon.
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The reason for this being that he is without a doubt the best of all the doctors there, including anyone who is ranked above him or has more experience. In his off time, drinking to excess and spending time with women are his two favorite things to do. Followed closely by pulling pranks on both the people he likes as well as the people he dislikes. Despite caring greatly about the soldiers that he is there to take care of, his disdain for the army is clear. He doesn’t like any of the things that get in the way of his doing his job, and all of the army red tape, rules and regulations are certainly included. He has no respect for the army, or Regular Army Types and generally refers to them as “Regular Army clowns”, with only a very few exceptions. The irony of feeling this way is that sometimes it becomes necessary for him to take temporary command on those rare occasions when the colonel is either away, ill or disabled. All in all he is a wonderful doctor, humanitarian and true friend.
There are multiple other secondary characters that you cannot help loving and crying for them when they finally end up leaving the show. As the series was such a huge success it ran for 11 seasons - 1 season longer than FRIENDS! -  there were a lot of characters running around but a few are stable and stuck to my heart. One of them is Major Sidney Freedman, the psychiatrist. Also Radar, Corporal Walter Eugene O Reilly, who used to sleep with his very own teddy bear. Or Klinger, the looniest of them all, with his Scarlett O Hara dresses ;)) Not to mention Major Charles Winchester the 3rd... with his love for classical music :) Or Major "Hot Lips" Houlihan with her very serious demeanour but very warm and kind heart.
M.A.S.H. Team now :)
The TV series is lovely and worth watching, especially now when they digitally remastered it ;) Even though along the way you loose/gain some characters the show keeps you on your toes. The series gets darker and darker as you go on, but nonetheless it is warm and makes you think of life and how people hurt and feel and wish for companionship, no matter where they are. I may be subjective, as I grew up with these series, but I would still give it a 10 out of 10! I just rewatched it with my husband, fully and with tissues next to us... just in case ;) and guess what?! I still think it is brilliant!

Here is a bit of trivia:
  • The song at the beginning of the show is an instrumental of “Suicide is Painless”, which is the theme song from the movie. 
  • As of November 2011, the M.A.S.H. series finale is still is still the most watched broadcast in U.S. television history. The day that the show was aired, the New York City public works made note of the fact that the highest water usage in the city’s history was on that day. The reason for this was because in the 3 minutes after the finale ended, approximately 77% of New York City flushed their toilets.
  • The series lasted for eleven years, but the Korean War only lasted for three.
  • Mike Farrell was the one who asked that his character’s daughter’s name be Erin, after his own daughter.
  • Alan Alda and Jamie Farr were the only cast members to actually serve in Korea. Both did their tours after the 1953 cease fire.
  • Gary Burghoff’s (Radar) left hand is deformed and he went to great lengths to hide that during filming. Usually by holding something in his hand.
  • Klinger was only supposed to be in one episode, but he was so popular that they wrote him into the cast.
  • On Sesame Street, Big Bird’s teddy bear is named Radar. And yet, the name of his teddy bear on MASH is never known.
  • Alan Alda is the only actor who appeared in every episode.
  • Dr. Michael DeBakey, the physician who is given credit for being the most responsible for creating MASH units for the U.S. Army, died on July 2008. In only 2 months, he would have been 100 years old.
  • Harry Morgan stated in an interview that he wanted to play Colonel Potter forever. 
  • The decision to end MASH was made by a vote of the cast’s members. The ones who voted for it to stay on were featured in the spin-off show, After Mash.    
Not to mention that they even tried to have Radar for his own show named W.A.L.T.E.R :) Unfortunately that did not work out as well. But hey! when do ever sequels work better then originals? Remember how after FRIENDS they tried to do a series only with Joey? Well... everyone remembers FRIENDS but who remembers anything from the other series?! Anyway, do tell, have you ever watched M.A.S.H.? or am I the only one old enough to catch that on TV? :) 
Yours truly,
A LadyBug Who Loves M.A.S.H. TV Series