Monday M*A*S*H Discussions offers fans the opportunity to offer their opinions on a wide variety of topics relating to M*A*S*H. Please share your thoughts and ideas in the comments section. My hope is these discussion posts will continue to elicit comments in the weeks and months after they’re initially published. Have a suggestion about something you think might be worth discussing? Let me know and maybe it will become my next Monday M*A*S*H Discussion topic.
Today’s topic: Do you enjoy the hour-long episodes of M*A*S*H?
Is an Hour Too Long?
CBS broadcast five hour-long episodes of M*A*S*H between 1975 and 1981. Here’s a list, for those who don’t have every episode memorized, with links to my Episode Spotlight reviews for these episodes:
- “Welcome to Korea” – 9/12/1975 (Season 4)
- “Bug Out” – 9/21/1976 (Season 5)
- “Fade Out, Fade In” – 09/20/1977 (Season 6)
- “Our Finest Hour” – 10/09/1978 (Season 7)
- “That’s Show Biz” – 10/26/1981 (Season 10)
In syndication, the hour-long episodes are split and broadcast as two half-hour episodes. So, it might be tough to form an opinion on these episodes if you’ve only seen them in syndication. Also, it’s probably best to exclude “Our Finest Hour” from this discussion. It’s a clip show, with limited interview segments featuring new material.
Are the four other hour-long episodes twice as good as regular half-hour episodes because they’re twice as long? The more, the merrier, in other words? Or do they suffer from being padded to fill an hour-long time slot?
Personally, I think “Welcome to Korea” and “Fade Out, Fade In” are solid, enjoyable episodes. Neither feel like they’re filled with unnecessary scenes and dialogue.
“Bug Out” and “That’s Show Biz,” on the other hand, are both weak episodes. “Bug Out” feels stretched to fit an hour, particularly during the first half of the episode. Things pick up once the bug out actually begins. IN a half-hour time slot, the episode would probably work better. “That’s Show Biz” has too many characters and storylines, even with an extra 30 minutes to play with. Cutting out a few characters and trimming a few scenes might improve the episode.
Hit the comments with your thoughts.