In my quest to consume as many aspects of pop culture as I can in my lifetime, I was led to M*A*S*H, an 11 season long series about doctors in the Korean War. Before diving into this massive box set my only exposure to the show was a scene from a rerun here and there when a show or event was postponed on TV. I quickly changed the channel. If I see an episode on TV now though I’ll probably check it out.

M*A*S*H seems to have a lot of history as it was the show on Television for awhile. The series finale still holds the record for highest rated show of all time. According to the booklet included in this DVD set, about 125 million Americans watched the show’s finale which was about half of the population of the country at the time. That’s insane.

Watching this show now was a bit of a challenge because I saw many aspects of it that felt like they were being copied from other shows. That wasn’t the case though because in many examples, M*A*S*H was the first to do it. These shows that I may have seen first came years later and looked to M*A*S*H for inspiration. The show that I’d compare it to the most would be Scrubs which was also about the medical field, albeit not during war time. The main reason though was not the doctors. It was the way that both shows managed to walk a fine line between comedy and drama. Yes, each show would have great laughs, but they never let you forget that these are doctors and sometimes people die.
(more…)