Strange Poll answers....

Talk about all things M*A*S*H -- the novel, the film, the television series, even the play. Not to mention the spin-offs, merchandise, cast, crew and anything else you can think of to talk about.
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Aralvar
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Strange Poll answers....

Post by Aralvar »

I was browsing through the polls, and found that most people agree the later seasons were the worst and the earlier seasons were the best. The reason I find this kind of silly is because the show was way more goofy and joking in the earlier seasons, and the character's that were there for more than comic relief were introduced in the later seasons. So I find the earlier seasons were too silly for a show about war, and the later ones way better because they had more drama but still kept the comedy, and the characters were more interesting. So, what are your guys's thoughts on this? Do you think the early seasons were better? I kind of think people only say that because of "fanboy syndrome", where people get frustrated when they make changes to a show or game series that they enjoy, whether the changes are good or not they don't care.

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Big Daddy O'Reilly
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Re: Strange Poll answers....

Post by Big Daddy O'Reilly »

Here are my thoughts:

I do like the earlier seasons, BUT, I agree, the first three had a tendency to be a little overly silly/fluffy for a war series, very much like Hogan's Heroes (a show I used to hate because of it, but it's grown on me recently) was.

Of course, the problem was a lot of the executive meddling that went on in those early years, the network didn't want them to push the envelope too far, so there were a lot of constraints those early years. Of this period, I like Season Three in particular because by then, the series finally began to establish itself: the characters were in place, the writing became more solid, and they seemed to have found their voice.

However, I much prefer the next few seasons. Trapper was the least expanded upon character, and it showed, he was pretty much a mirror version of Hawkeye for the most part, so after a while, their escapades got a little played and tiresome; with B.J. on the other hand, B.J. was a more well-rounded character, and the difference in his and Hawkeye's personalities kept their relationship more interesting. I liked Henry as a comedy character, I liked how he could let his hair down and be one of the boys, and we see he's not exactly the most competent commanding officer; Potter, on the other hand, I very much liked him because he WAS a competent commanding officer, and we have this "fear" at first that he's going to be really strict, really by-the-book, not really fun to be around, but we see how caring and compassionate he is, and really feels like he's like a loving grandfather to you. Also by this time, the writing continued to improve: with less network interference, they could try a few more daring things, so by this time, while the show was still comedic and humorous, it had more dramatic undertones to it, and finally achieved a steady balance of both comedy and drama. The only flaw from this period was Frank's deevolution.

Six and Seven are my favorite seasons, not only do they still maintain that balance of comedy and drama, but bringing in Charles was a smart move... like Frank, he could be a really unlikable character at times, but UNLIKE Frank, he was actually a skilled surgeon, and had a brain, so he proved himself to be a very worthy nemesis for Hawkeye and B.J., so that made for some even more interesting dynamics, whereas for a while there, it's like what Mike Farrell once said, as Frank became more and more pathological, it suddenly didn't feel right to make fun of a guy who was genuinely crazy.

Eight through Eleven on the other hand, I do not like... that's where I feel the series took a turn for the worse: with the overhaul behind the scenes with a totally new writing and producing staff, the show became considerably darker and preachier, and just didn't feel enjoyable like it once did: Hawkeye and B.J. kept fighting more and more, Potter kept getting crankier and crankier, Klinger became just a regular guy, no Radar... to me, Eight through Eleven was M*A*S*H's slow and painful death.

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Aralvar
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Re: Strange Poll answers....

Post by Aralvar »

I agree with you except on your criticisms of the last few seasons. I think they're just as good as the middle ones, and I'll tell you why. Charles became more human and less of a snob, like that time when he told the stuttering guy that he was much smarter than he thought he was. Or when he found some left-handed sheet music for the pianist who partially lost use in one of his hand, and he was determined to let him know that he career was not over. And I like that they had a few episodes where BJ and Hawkeye would fight, otherwise BJ would just be a mustachioed version of Trapper. I mean, if they were constantly acting like best buds with no conflict then that is an unrealistic portrayal of friendship, don't you think? I think it shows that you'll fight with even your best friends even once in a while, and I only remember them fighting like three or four times throughout quite a few seasons. And yes, they did get rid of Radar but at least they didn't reuse the same method they used to make you feel sad when Colonel Blake left and died. I like how they made it sad that he was leaving, but yet you know that it's for the best because he really needs that hardship discharge to take care of the farm. And the execution worked so well, his Uncle Ed was already supposed to be pretty old so it seems reasonable that he would die of old age and Radar would need to help with the farm. And after he left they even had a couple episodes where he still managed to be vital to the story. Like when BJ's daughter called Radar "daddy" at the airport, instead of him. And to me that was one of the best episodes, especially because of that dramatic moment when BJ punched Hawkeye in the face! Or when Radar sent them that letter. Colonel Potter didn't even get cranky that many times, when he thought Mildred bought the houseboat and when Hawkeye said Potter's best friend almost got a bunch of soldiers killed are the only two times I can think of. The later episodes weren't even any darker than the old ones, remember the episode where BJ bet that he could pull a prank on everyone in the group, and it turned out that only Hawkeye got "got"? Or what about when Charles had to remove the pool ball from that guy's mouth? I really think the later seasons contained some of the best episodes, not to mention the spectacular series finale. Which is why I still don't understand why people dislike the later seasons.

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