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 is: Do you enjoy the two-part episodes of M*A*S*H?
Back in December, we discussed the five hour-long episodes of M*A*S*H. Today we’re talking about the two-part episodes. There were only three two-part episodes:
- “Comrades in Arms,” Parts 1 and 2 (Season 6)
- “Good-Bye Radar,” Parts 1 and 2 (Season 8)
- “Snap Judgement” and “Snappier Judgement” (Season 10)
When M*A*S*H went into syndication, the five hour-long episodes were edited into two half-hour episodes. The two-part episodes, on the other hand, originally aired on CBS over the course of two weeks.
Why were these episodes aired in two parts rather than the same night? Was it a creative decision by the writers and producers or did CBS make the call? I don’t know. Maybe CBS hoped to attract more viewers the second week by ending the first week on a cliffhanger. Particularly with “Good-Bye Radar,” the network may have assumed a two-parter would perform better in the ratings than an hour-long episodes.
Curiously, CBS aired “Good-Bye, Radar” as a special one-hour show on May 12th, 1980 during summer repeats after Season 8 ended. The network repeated both “Comrades in Arms” and “Snap/Snappier Judgement” in two parts.
Do you enjoy the two-part episodes? Do you wish M*A*S*H had used the two-part structure more often?
“Snap Judgment” and “Snappier Judgement” are very weak episodes but the two-part format isn’t to blame. I don’t think there’s necessarily enough story in both parts to fill a single half-hour episode. Likewise, it’s hard to point to the two-part format for any problems with “Good-Bye Radar.” Gary Burghoff, for reasons that have been discussed to death by fans, played a very different Radar in his final two episodes. Did his departure from the series deserve a two-parter? Perhaps. Did it require a two-parter? I don’t think so.
As for “Comrades in Arms,” it may be the best of the two-part episodes, or at least it seems to work best within the two-part format. I haven’t watched the episodes in four or five years but I don’t recall feeling like they were padded to fill two episodes when one was enough.
Hit the comments with your thoughts.