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 hate the freeze frame?
Everything Changed with Season 6
When the sixth season of M*A*S*H kicked off with the hour-long “Fade Out, Fade In” in September 1977, viewers were in for some changes. The biggest change, of course, was the introduction of a new character: Charles Emerson Winchester, III (played by the late, great David Ogden Stiers). But there was another change, one small enough many viewers may not have noticed: the freeze frame ending. According to scriptwriter Ken Levine, the freeze frame was added to “accommodate credits,” not for creative reasons.
Here’s the first ever freeze frame on M*A*S*H:
The addition of the freeze frame meant most, but not all, episodes from Seasons 6-11 end with a joke or a gag of some sort. Here are some other examples:
The only episode from Seasons 6-11 that doesn’t end with a freeze frame is “Goodbye, Farewell and Amen,” which memorably fades out on a shot of Hawkeye’s chopper flying away.
Personally, I hate the freeze frame. I think it cheapened M*A*S*H, forcing the writers to come up with endings that worked with characters in the middle of a joke. That doesn’t mean I hate very single freeze frame ending. The freeze frame at the end of “Dear Uncle Abdul” is hilarious, for example. More often than not the freeze frame is cringe worthy and I wish it had never been introduced on M*A*S*H.
Hit the comments with your thoughts.