Well, one of the AP's big headlines following the Super Bowl on Sunday was "Super Bowl is Most Watched TV Show Ever". I was startled as I realized that the Final Episode of M*A*S*H had been able to hold its own against the Super Bowl, sponsored so much by the Department of Defense's recruiting services to the tune of millions year-after-year for over 26 years. [That episode was called "Goodbye, Farewell, and Amen".]
Let me explain for those of you who are too young to remember. M*A*S*H was an essentially irreverent anti-war, anti-military, anti-draft, anti-chain-of-command comedy that ran for over a full-decade from the early 1970s onwards on American TV (long before we had 500 channels to choose from on our TV dials). The final episode of M*A*S*H, shown in February 1983, was seen by the largest USA audience up to that time--even during the most expensive and largest peace time arms build-up in American history. This reveals, despite the rise of Americans' Super Power status, that many Americans identify themselves and their relationship to America's militarization in a peripheral and very critical way throughout the 20th Century. [This was not the image portrayed to non-Americans abroad by most USA media or foreign policy occupation in the second half of the 20th Century.]
M*A*S*H was the most successful television show inspired by a movie (in this case a movie of the exact same name).
Although that war comedy film, M*A*S*H, was set in one Asian war--namely the so-called Korean War or Korean Police Action, Director Robert Altman intentionally set out in creating the M*A*S*H movie to make certain that viewers would identify with troops in Vietnam--up-until-then-and now America's Longest War.
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