Season 8 General Discussion

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Big Daddy O'Reilly
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Season 8 General Discussion

Post by Big Daddy O'Reilly » Mon Aug 12, 2013 6:25 pm

Terrible season. Just terrible.

I mean... where do I begin? I mean, Season Eight DID seem like it was off to a pretty good start: "Too Many Cooks" (8x01) was an amusing episode, it seemed like almost any other episode from the previous season, with a good mix of comedy (the situation with Private Paul Conway) and angst (Potter and Mildred's marriage being threatened)... but all that changes by episode TWO. Suddenly, everything changed... nothing was funny... nothing made you laugh (even the laugh track was more and more noticably absent)... everything seemed so heavy... what happened? Mostly, this is due to the fact that Alan Alda and Burt Metcalfe completely overhauling the writing staff; we lost the likes of Ken Levine, David Isaacs, Everrett Greenbaum, Jim Fritzell, Ronny Graham, among others; Alan got more involved with the production, and it's clear his writing style became more political.

Speaking of the writing staff, it was interesting that they brought on Elias Davis & David Pollack, considering they failed at adapting National Lampoon's Animal House into a weekly sitcom, that's probably one of the reasons why the ensuing seasons of M*A*S*H were so terrible.

And of course, let us not forget the changes in the characters: we lost Radar, which resulted in Klinger becoming a regular guy (and also because apparently his kid was being bullied because his/her dad was a "transvestite"), B.J. became more and more bitter and angry, Margaret completely changed her appearance like twice a season... and what exactly did happen to Zale?

In short... Season Eight essentially marked the end of M*A*S*H... it and the following seasons was us witnessing it's slow, painful, and insufferable death.

Don't get me wrong, I like Charles too, he had more depth as a character than Frank did; his first two seasons were great, he really proved himself to be a worthy advesary to Hawkeye and B.J.

Another thing that gets me too about Season Eight (and the following seasons) is there's absolutely no music score whatsoever. Between the gradual removal of the laugh track, and not hearing any music score, made the show rather spooky.

The first two seasons had music throughout the episodes, the following seasons usually would have little music cues and buttons coming in and out of commercial breaks (rare occasions where there would be a score for a full scene, like Flagg tearing apart the tent in "White Gold" (3x23), or Charles realizing he just had the wool pulled over his eyes in "An Eye for a Tooth" (7x14), but the rest of the series had no music whatosever. And you know what the ironic thing is? You know Larry Gelbart made that sarcastic remark that he didn't want a laugh track, "Just like the real Korean War"? Apparently, that was Burt Metcalfe's sentiments exactly as to why Seasons Eight through Eleven have no background music - "Just like the real Korean War".

Another ironic thing about Season Eight, and the following seasons, that among those added to the production staff were writers/producers Thad Mumford & Dan Wilcox... in addition to working on M*A*S*H, they were also writers on, of all shows, Sesame Street. Any of you remember that song "10 Commandments of Health"? That's one of the Sesame Songs that Thad Mumford wrote, and even performed the vocals for.

Mr Kwong
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Re: Season 8 General Discussion

Post by Mr Kwong » Wed Aug 01, 2018 8:35 am

I agree,..a terrible terrible season..

Zero humor, heavy handed overly dramatic stories, and yes woeful writing. My biggest problem with the latter is the dialogue, laden with alliterations & bad puns, I simply don't know what the powers that be were thinking. Hearing this drivel from Hawkeye, Potter & BJ is bad enough, but it's ablsolutely cringe inducing when Klinger does it (Hi Ho medicos!) c'mon street kids from Toledo simply don't talk that way..

kkt
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Re: Season 8 General Discussion

Post by kkt » Sun Aug 05, 2018 2:36 pm

I liked a lot of the Season 8 episodes. "April Fools", "Dreams", "Life Time" are among my favorite of the whole series. Charles' part in "Morale Victory" was excellent.

I do think they spent too long on Radar's departure. That could have made one good episode. Stretching it to two didn't work. It was also a little difficult to accept Klinger being made company clerk. Granted, medical staff were scarce in the war, so they have to tolerate poor discipline in Hawkeye and BJ, but clerks are NOT so scarce. They should have been able to get a better clerk with one phone call - or not even that as there were other corporals in the outfit.

UglyJohn
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Re: Season 8 General Discussion

Post by UglyJohn » Sun Sep 02, 2018 12:26 pm

Definitely a heavy-handed moralistic and maudlin season. The actors look tired and the producers were probably the same, but given that CBS didn't want MASH to end and wanted to milk the ratings right down to mediocrity, I guess they had to carry on.

Season 7 really set up the decline with many bad episodes and here they just continued with it: Are You Now, Margaret, Guerrila My Dreams, the overly long goodby to Radar to give Gary Burghoff his swan song (this could have been expanded into a series ending with everyone going home, not just Radar). Nurse Doctor, Lend a Hand (Alda just had to get his dad and brother into an episode with him at the same time).

In fact it's easier to list the few decent watchable episodes than the ones which reflect a definite downturn in the show.

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