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    Friday, November 9, 2007

    Aimee Asks A M*A*S*H-tastic Question

    Which is another good reason we are such good friends - the girl can follow directions. If you haven't yet, dear reader, follow her fabulous lead and ask me somethin', huh? Anyway, Aimee's question:

    I've known you for, well, pretty much forever and I've always wanted to know. What's up with the MASH thing? I have some favorite shows, don't get me wrong, but you have a commitment to MASH. So there's my question!

    Told'ja the girl was funny!

    But there's nothing funny about M*A*S*H. Wait, no, there is TONS funny about M*A*S*H. There's nothing funny about my LOVE for M*A*S*H.

    It's a serious family love, and we are so, so devoted. No doubt about that. It is, in my expert opinion, the finest television show ever made. I submit to you as evidence the fact that my mother, sister, husband and I all quote it from memory, for now going on twenty years, and we all still laugh our butts off every time. My husband, nearly ten years in, who used to roll his eyes, now quotes it more than I do. Try that with some here-today-gone-tomorrow lame sitcom of today. I think not, my friend.

    SO. My life-long love affair with the fine folks of the 4077th. Hmmm, let's think back.

    Mom always liked M*A*S*H when I was growing up, so I knew it well from childhood. When I was about high school age, she got an offer in the mail from Columbia House: three episodes of the show per month, on VHS, for $24.95 each. There are eleven seasons of M*A*S*H, so go ahead and do the math on that. It's 251 episodes in all, although Columbia House only released 207 episodes. And she bought 'em all, baby. Every one. She still has them to this day, and watches them regularly. They have their own media rack in her bedroom.

    Of course, now you can buy every show ever made on DVD, and for MUCH cheaper than the investment Mom made. So M*A*S*H came to DVD, a whole season at a time, and this time in broadcast order! And yes, I have them, of course. I just need to get the final episode DVD...I saw that in the store the other day and seriously tried to figure out what there was on the grocery list we could go without so I could put THAT in the budget for the week. Ok, not really, but I was close.

    Anyway, what is my deal with M*A*S*H? That's the basic question. It is, as I said, the funniest show ever. And it must be true or I wouldn't still be laughing at the same jokes after 20 years. And yet it also has some really poignant, touching, deep moments that are anything BUT funny. The episode about nightmares ("Dreams") scared the hell out of me for years, it still creeps me out to this day. There are quotes from that movie that will be with me my whole life. Hawkeye's priceless rants, calculated ramblings peppered with alliteration, rhyme, and words that flowed like honey. Alan Alda created a character that was so unique, so real, so vividly raw that I think, no matter what else I see him in for the rest of his life, I will always see Benjamin Franklin Pierce. And each character is like that in their own way. Margaret, Frank, Charles, Radar, Henry, Col. Potter, Father Mulcahy, Klinger - each of them did their part to make the show more funny than it ever would or could have been without any of them.

    I cried when Larry Linville died - I called Mom in tears and said "Frank Burns died!" Then we cried a little bit together. I am not even kidding you.

    Some of my favorite quotes, just for kicks...

    "Ladies and gentlemen, take my advice, pull down your pants and slide on the ice." ~ Sidney Freedman in "O.R." (He also says this in the last episode, which just makes you smile when you hear it again.)

    "I will not carry a gun, Frank. When I got thrown into this war I had a clear understanding with the Pentagon: no guns. I'll carry your books, I'll carry a torch, I'll carry a tune, I'll carry on, carry over, carry forward, Cary Grant, cash and carry, carry me back to Old Virginia, I'll even 'hari-kari' if you show me how, but I will not carry a gun!" ~ Hawkeye in "Officer of the Day"

    "I'd like a dry martini, Mr. Quoc, a very dry martini. A very dry, arrid, barren, desiccated, veritable dustbowel of a martini. I want a martini that could be declared a disaster area. Mix me just such a martini." ~ Hawkeye in "There Is Nothing Like a Nurse"

    "Sir, I thought it over and I was lying before when I said the baby wasn't mine. It's hers, mine, and ours...No, you guys wouldn't know me when I was in town. I mean..uh..I remember that night 'cause I took a shower. I was wearing my paratrooper scarf with nothing on underneath. I had maybe two beers and I was looking for trouble. I wanted to get a tattoo, but the guy had printed 'mother' so much that he'd run out of ink. So I was taking the jeep back home and I saw her hitching a ride by the side of the road and I stopped. And..uh..I'd rather not say anything more in front of the baby." ~ Radar in "The Chosen People"

    There are just too many to list. I could go on all night. And now I'll have to go watch an episode or two before I go to bed. I think some oldies, maybe Season Two - some good old Frank-and-Margaret-meeting-behind-the-delousing-tent stuff. Hawkeye chasing the nurse-du-joir whilst downing "gin" with Trap. Klinger in his latest attire from Wang's of Seoul. Good times.

    There is a website for people like me, made by people (or a person, rather) like me. Want to know ANYTHING about the show? It's on there. It was created and is maintained by a man named David Long, who I can only imagine is at LEAST twice as cool as me, when you consider the incredible, comprehensive, encompassing site he's created, all for M*A*S*H-heads of the world. You should check it out: It is the shit, seriously. It's where I copied the quotes above from, and where I refer to when I can't remember something about the show.

    I'm not even sure what else to say about it. Don't get me wrong, I could go on for a week about the show; just sitting here I've thought of about 10 episodes I want to go back and watch again and laughed out loud as I thought it. Right now I'm listening to a sound clip from the site, one of Henry's lectures - the one on sex ed and birth control. Totally hilarious. But you either watch M*A*S*H or you don't. If you don't, well, that's OK. To each his own...but you're missing out. And if you've been living under a rock for the last thirty years and have never seen it, come over sometime - I'll pop in a DVD for you and you'll see what I mean. I'd bet money on it.

    Good question, Mrs. B! Thanks! Now I'm going to put in M*A*S*H while I go to sleep. Anyone but "Dreams". Like I said, still creeps me out. Hawkeye's arms coming off is just too much for late at night...


    Mary said...

    What about the good bye party where Pierce comes in wearing his cowboy hat, cape and carrying a toilet plunger?

    That's classic. We're M*A*S*H-heads too. Not quite as devoted as you are (I don't own any of the DVD's) but we used to stay up every night and watch it from 11-12 before heading off to bed.

    The "Dreams" one still creeps me out too. I hate seeing Margaret with blood all over her wedding dress.

    Carrie said...

    WE love MASH here too! My hubby more than me... he got me hooked. My pet peeve, when he recites the script along with them, since he's memorized just about all the episodes. He swears the first season is the best though!!

    Deb said...

    I haven't watched MASH since the final episode aired. I was so distraught and saddened by its end that I could never bring myself to watch reruns. Maybe it's time to dust off a few memories and throw in a DVD, eh?

    Personally, I've always thought MASH and Friends were the two most endearing shows on TV. (I have the ability to quote Friends anytime, anywhere and often do.)

    Kae said...

    Ya know, there's medication for that.

    I've never been a Mash girl and have often wondered the appeal too. Thanks for clearing it up for me. ;-) Good question Aimee.