Sunday, September 27, 2015

After M*A*S*H*, the Deluge

I failed to get a Sinkback Saturday post in yesterday; I had wanted to post a cartoon I'd drawn during Pope John Paul II's first visit to the United States, and a subsequent complaint about the cartoon, but I can't seem to find them.

So instead and a day late, here's a follow-up to last week's cartoon, from 1983.

The CBS comedy M*A*S*H* ran for eleven seasons -- almost three times as long as active hostilities in the Korean War on which it was based. And frankly, it had jumped the shark well beforehand, but was a top-rated program for its network.

I didn't get to see the final program when it originally aired. (I was acting in a local theatre production. The crew had it on a TV backstage, so I did catch a few moments of it; but for the whole show, I had to wait for the episode to be rerun at the end of the summer.) Like the series itself, the final episode dragged on too long, trying to give each of its major characters a Emmy-nomination-worthy send-off.

And there was, in fact, an attempt to squeeze more ratings success out of the expired franchise with the series After-M*A*S*H*, in which Col. Harry Potter, Father Mulcahy and Max Klinger went home to run a rural medical clinic, but that show didn't last long. CBS was already running Trapper John M.D., a medical drama with barely any real connection to M*A*S*H* at all but with a greater degree of success.

China Beach would eventually come along to satisfy the viewership for medical war television, but it wisely had no connection to M*A*S*H* whatsoever.

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