Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Watching M*A*S*H*, Watching America

For eleven years the CBS comedy/drama series M*A*S*H entertained the America TV viewing public,  Derived from the dark Vietnam era war comedy movie of the same name the series continued the misadventures of the doctors and staff of the 407th  The Mobile Army Surgical Hospital personnel were responsible for patching together wounded soldiers not far from enemy lines.  M*A*S*H* united set during the Korean War.
Tensions were high and nerves frayed and yet soldiers and medical personnel held it together, amidst the insanity, to do their jobs.
For the first three years the series positioned itself as an anti-war platform against the Vietnam War using parallels between the Korean War and the then current conflict. After the third year and the departure of McLean Stevenson as Colonel Henry Blake from the series, the show took a more social commentary approach cleverly commenting on current social trends such as women’s rights, divorce, etc. 
Through eleven seasons the cast, with some changes, included Hawkeye Pierce, Trapper John, Henry Blake, Radar O’Reilly, Colonel Potter, Hotlips Houlihan, B.J. Hunnicutt, Charles Emerson Winchester, Frank Burns, Max Klinger and Father Mulcahy who coped with the war, matured and developed as characters.  All of the characters went through significant changes.
Watching M*A*S*H*, Watching America, written by James H. Wittebols and published by McFarland and Company, Inc., examines the long running series, its changes over the years, its social relevance, its characters and stories and most important of all its unswerving dedication to quality and attempt to be more than just a comedy about war.
Although set in the 1950s the show is as relevant today as it was when first broadcast in 1972.

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