Like just about everyone else in America I watched the last episode of M*A*S*H when it aired. It was on again last night, and since I haven’t seen it since it first aired, I decided to give it another look.
Odd how old everyone looked. MASH has been in constant re-runs since it went off the air, but I don’t seem to see too many episodes from the last season. But then, the last couple of seasons had wandered so far from the original show that they were nowhere near the same animal. They weren’t exactly funny any more.
MASH Goodbye, Farewell and Amen was the last episode of a comedy show about war showing that there is nothing funny about war. It was a real tearjerker. It was also three hours long, a bit of a stretch for a show that was normally thirty minutes.
Goodbye, Farewell and Amen was a bit over the top-did they need to make Hawkeye mad? Kill off Winchesters band? Leave Klinger stuck in Korea? Make Father Mulcahy deaf? And what was all that business about BJ not wanting to say Goodbye? This was a good show and the most watched show in TV history-but I would have liked a little less tragedy.
But then, it is hard to wrap everything up after a long run. Cheers was the worst last episode, Seinfeld the oddest, Newhart would have been the worst last episode if it hadn’t been for that little bit at the end-which made it the best last episode ever. Most shows don’t have nice wrap ups at all, they just cancel them and that is that.
Mash Goodbye, Farewell and Amen is not my favorite Mash episode-I like the silliness of Hot Lips and Ferret face Burns and Radar. All this sorrow is not something I would want to see everyday. But once every twenty years or so is not too bad.