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Old 07-13-2019, 03:23 PM   #1
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Default When MASH became Alan Alda’s show

I don’t know which season of MASH was the first one with Alan Alda at the reins. Some people claim the series lost its appeal when AA turned it into a soapbox for his liberal politics. Yet the ratings remained high for most of the show’s run, so a lot of people must have liked what Alda had to say.
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Old 08-06-2019, 03:09 PM   #2
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When did Alan Alda take control of “MASH”? Did Burt Metcalfe and Gene Reynolds leave because of him?
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Old 08-06-2019, 03:38 PM   #3
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Larry Gelbart left after season 4, Gene Reynolds left after season 5. Alan Alda and Burt Metcalf took over at the beginning of season 6 and stayed in charge for the remainder of the series.
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Old 08-06-2019, 03:53 PM   #4
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Larry Gelbart left after season 4, Gene Reynolds left after season 5. Alan Alda and Burt Metcalf took over at the beginning of season 6 and stayed in charge for the remainder of the series.
Alda was already of the main writers and directors by season six.
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Old 04-10-2020, 06:23 PM   #5
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The show should have ended after 7 seasons. Like many hit shows, it went on too long. The last few seasons were just too much - mainly because of Alda's control.
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Old 05-20-2020, 10:30 PM   #6
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The show should have ended after 7 seasons. Like many hit shows, it went on too long. The last few seasons were just too much - mainly because of Alda's control.
I have to agree. The last three seasons are pretty painful to watch. Not funny, too heavy handed and the acting with some of the actors got worse. Klinger became downright annoying. Jamie Farr started yelling his dialogue with over the top facial expressions. Every other episode Margaret was saying "dear god" at every tragic moment. After all these years we find out Hawkeye is claustrophobic. Not a hint of that in the previous 9 seasons.lol
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Old 06-16-2020, 02:33 AM   #7
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O DEFINITELY!!! Every other week it was "oh we're doctors and we're nurses...and we're so good because we save lives...and death is such a bummer...and war is hell..." and on and on...
Should have ended when Radar left.
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Old 12-20-2020, 02:30 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Schmo View Post
I don’t know which season of MASH was the first one with Alan Alda at the reins. Some people claim the series lost its appeal when AA turned it into a soapbox for his liberal politics. Yet the ratings remained high for most of the show’s run, so a lot of people must have liked what Alda had to say.
I'd say that it probably is a testimonial to Alan Alda's talents that he was able to carry the show on his own. Tip of the hat to him over that.

But from my perceptions, when his personality fanned out and came to dominate the show, it reduced my enjoyment not only of the show at that time, but I came to look down upon the series even leading up to that time.

"Grandiose" is the word I think that I'm looking for, and once I stated seeing Alda in that light, I could never stop.
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Old 12-20-2020, 03:47 PM   #9
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MASH needed to either call it quits after three years, or at least continue with the dark comedy of the those seasons, instead of turning it into a drama.
Alda became the 'star' because the show lost two capable actors. They should
have added to the cast in keeping with an ensemble show.
Here is what SHOULD have happened:
Keep the character of Trapper using a different actor.
Use the Duke Forrest character from the book and movie.
Bring back Spearchucker.
Create a good female character to counter Hot Lips.
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Old 12-20-2020, 04:27 PM   #10
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I couldn't stand the later, "Alda" years.
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Old 02-21-2021, 08:11 PM   #11
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in the earlier years the sad or tragic things meant more because they didn't dominate the shows. like when Hawkeye's buddy died or when Henry died. but when they are trying to get tear jerkering moments every episode it gets to be too much.

how would Henry, Trapper and Frank have changed if they had stayed on the show? would they turn Frank nice? would Henry and Trapper have stopped cheating on their wives? lol
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Old 02-22-2021, 01:26 AM   #12
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I couldn't stand the later, "Alda" years.
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Old 02-22-2021, 11:31 AM   #13
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Yet the ratings remained high for most of the show’s run, so a lot of people must have liked what Alda had to say.
People can be very tolerant of shows they liked at some point. Not just relating to content, but to the quality of the show. They stick around because they've grown used to the characters, and so put up with a lot of tedium for one or two little moments that were like the good days. So ratings don't necessarily mean you agree with what the characters say.

MASH is an interesting example of an "issue" show. It's very focused on a single important issue - war - and that issue has been discussed literally for centuries.

There were at least three ideas that the show could have raised with respect to the allied action in Korea:

1. The ancient concept of "the just war," which is most closely associated with the Catholic monk and philosopher Thomas Aquinas. There is little doubt Father Mulcahy would have studied Aquinas extensively in college, and been exposed to the just war concept.

2. The "Containment Theory" was the policy developed by the US government after WWII, to deal with the perceived threat posed by communist governments. That policy was developed under President Truman. Colonel Potter, of course, literally served under Truman in WWI, and he would have been a reasonable mouthpiece for Truman's policy.

3. The provision of "Collective Defense" is one of the main reasons that the UN was established. There were, of course, representatives of dozens of UN countries who appeared in the show and could explain how their countries relied on the help of others if they should be attacked.

Obviously, you don't have characters reading out of textbooks, but you humanize the concepts by presenting them through credible characters. In MASH's case, you end up with Hawkeye going on tirades and characters like Potter and Mulcahey, who should know it's not so simple, just meekly shrugging their shoulders as if to say, "I don't know why we're here, either."
Of the three concepts, only the containment theory got any expression at all, and that discussion was neutralized (dumbed down) by placing it into the mouth of the designated idiot Frank and Hot Lips (when she was still an idiot).
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