As 2014 begins, it is time again to look back at 2013 and the year in M*A*S*H. February marked the 30th anniversary of the series finale (1983-2013) while in September the series celebrated the 41st anniversary of the first episode airing on CBS (1972-2013).
The biggest news of the year was the passing of frequent guest star Allan Arbus on April 19th at the age of 96. A poll here at MASH4077TV.com asking fans to vote for their favorite Arbus episode saw “Dear Sigmund” win with 39% of the vote, followed by “Goodbye, Farewell and Amen” (23%), “Deal Me Out” (13%), “Hawk’s Nightmare” (5%) and “Quo Vadis, Captain Chandler” (5%) and seven others with less than 5% of the vote.
Other deaths during 2013 included scriptwriter Elliot Reid (June 21st), scriptwriter Gary David Goldberg (June 23rd), actor Paul Jenkins (July 1st), actress Marilyn King (August 7th), and actress Jane Connell (September 23rd).
Otherwise, it was another slow year for the series. In February, Super Bowl XLVII drew 106 million viewers, beating “Goodbye, Farewell and Amen” which is now the fifth most-watched television broadcast of all time in the United States (behind four Super Bowls). In June, the Writers Guild of America voted M*A*S*H the fifth best written series of all time, behind The Sopranos, Seinfeld, The Twilight Zone and All in the Family. In September, TV Land stopped airing M*A*S*H, leaving Me-TV as the only source for M*A*S*H on television. And in December, TV Guide Magazine released its new list of the 60 Best Series of All Time and M*A*S*H ranked eighth.
I used to end these yearly reviews with Colonel Potter’s line from “A War For All Seasons” but it never seemed quite appropriate. The only other mention of the New Year from M*A*S*H is this exchange from “Hot Lips and Empty Arms:
Margaret: “Did either of you ever kiss Frank?”
Trapper: “Not me. How about you?”
Hawkeye: “I was hoping maybe this New Year’s Eve.
Margaret: “I probably shouldn’t be telling you this, but Frank Burns is a lipless wonder.”
Happy New Year, everyone.