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Ms. Flagg

Posted:
2/2/2017 10:19:00 PM

M*A*S*H Research Paper

Hey all! One of the requirements at my college is a Research Writing Class to be taken the second semester of freshman year. The topics vary year to year, but I was lucky enough to secure a spot in one titled, "American Culture in the 1970s." The main purpose of this class is to help us adjust to college writing and end the semester with a minimum- 15 page research paper. Well, today we brainstormed ideas for our papers, we can write about anything we want as long as it relates to the overbearing theme of the class. So, of course I decided to write my paper on the cultural impact of M*A*S*H! Specifically relating to the ongoing (but ending) Vietnam War, and how it helped to shape the opinions of the American public.

I don't have anything about the specifics of the paper set in stone yet, but I have a basic idea of some stuff I'd like to cover.

First off, I'd like to analyze some of the more poignant episodes. The ones that really drove home the horrors of war. On my list of possibilities so far I've got...

"Sometimes You Hear the Bullet" (01x17)
"Abyssinia, Henry" (03x24)
"The Interview" (04x24)
"Dreams" (08x22)

I would love to hear if you guys have any suggestions to episodes that could be added to this list. These four just came to my mind in the half hour or so we got at the end of class to work.

Secondly, I intend to analyze some of the major characters. That list includes...
Hawkeye
Frank
Klinger
Captain Flagg
As I said with the episodes, any suggestions you guys have for characters or character aspects I could talk about would be greatly appreciated!

I'm also going to talk about the ideas behind the creation of M*A*S*H. Why it was set during the Korean war, relevance of certain plot lines, response in the 70s, lasting effects, etc.

Anyway, I just thought I would share with you guys how M*A*S*H is continuing to play a role in my life. I know I haven't posted in a very long time, but I still check in and I'm, of course, still watching. :)

FinestKindinTN

Posted:
2/2/2017 10:35:43 PM

Another is "Guerilla of my Dreams." I thought it interesting the lady they were protecting was just as ruthless and bloodthirsty as the South Korean lieutenant they were protecting her from.
I don't recall the name, but the episode in which a baby is left at the camp. But because it is a mixed race baby, they are forced to take her to an orphanage run by the church. The South Koreans would not have accepted her and the United States would not take her.

BeccaLeo1972

Posted:
2/3/2017 3:19:33 AM

"Deluge" (04x23)- B.J. gets his first experience of an overflow of wounded, damage to the camp from explosions, and exhausting O.R. sessions.

Margaret- a woman in the army who climbed the ranks by her own merit. yes, she had romances with generals but she never used or took advantage of that to get promoted.

Trapper- a man who loves his wife but cheats left and right. is it the war? addiction to sex? insecurity? fear?


phantomeagle

Posted:
2/3/2017 3:26:30 AM

Ideas...

you could also talk about some of the episodes that broke new ground.

"Point of View" - where we see the camp from the eyes of a patient. No laugh track, and we get to see things that weren't really shown. I don't think this had been done before.

"Life Time", where the vast majority of the episode runs in real time, something else that had not been done, to my knowledge.

"Fallen Hero" - When Radar gets wounded and it really strains their relationship.

"Quo Vadis, Captain Chandler" - where we see a patient, who's had enough, so he decides that he's Christ.

Be sure not to miss the fate of Henry Blake.

Ruptured Brook

Posted:
2/3/2017 6:35:56 AM

Nice to see a new name around here! I think you've got a great idea and have a great bunch of ideas to get you moving. M*A*S*H is obviously a better choice than most shows of ANY era, because there is so much material to pull from. Your choices of episodes and characters seems strong while keeping it relatively short--it would be tempting to try to encapsulate the whole show, but that would put you into the hundreds of pages, wouldn't it?

I have many suggestions for you for episodic content:

"Showtime," at the end of S1, is a show with a USO concert interspersed with several side plots. I think it's a good comparison to the Bob Hope concerts that were still going on in Vietnam in the 70s (and I think in Desert Storm in the 90s, even!) and the realities of war.

"For the Good of the Outfit," in S2, probably irked some warhawks and military types upon its release, but it's a good storyline about collateral damage and political coverup.

"George" is about a soldier who suffers physical abuse in fights after admitting to being a homosexual. That's two pages right there...

"Yessir, That's Our Baby," as Finest mentioned. Touches on a lot of refugee type issues.

"Are You Now, Margaret?" deals with McCarthyism.

"Inga" deals with feminism quite bluntly (note that many of the episodes that deal overtly with social commentary are not the most polished or funny episodes).

"Preventative Medicine" (Hawkeye) and "Bombshells" (BJ) and "Radar's Report" (Trapper) all deal with characters stumbling in their ideals and losing another slice of innocence in the midst of their insane environment.

There are a lot of M*A*S*H books out there, the most comprehensive of which is probably this.
https://www.amazon.com/Complete-Book-Suzy-Kalter/dp/0810980835/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1486103223&sr=8-2&keywords=mash+book

Ruptured Brook

Posted:
2/3/2017 6:36:29 AM

...

(stupid character limits!!!)

But of course I have no idea how much time or money you have for this. And I don't know how much it will help you with this paper, frankly. Many, if not most, of the main storylines of M*A*S*H episodes are based off stories the writers got from veterans and consultants, but I am not aware of any compendium of those original sources.

You can find scripts for each aired episode at springfieldspringfield.co.uk, but be aware that some of the scripts are off by one episode (don't ask me why). It's a good place for exact text, as long as you know what episode or dialogue you're looking for.

You might contact http://www.mash4077tv.com/ for information, that's the only other site I can think of that's active and is devoted to M*A*S*H. And you might try Ken Levine's blog, as he was a writer for a few years and is very active and answers a ton of questions about M*A*S*H. http://kenlevine.blogspot.com/

And feel free to ask as many questions as you want around here; there aren't many regular contributors, but you're unlikely to find a more knowledgeable site for the show than this.

Ms. Flagg

Posted:
2/7/2017 5:26:27 AM

Thank you so much everyone! I will definitely look into the episodes you've suggested. I've watched the entire series through a few times but I struggle with remembering episode names so you've all been very helpful.

I own the entire series as well as Suzy Kalter's Complete Book of M*A*S*H. I'll have to have my mom mail them up to me or grab them next time I'm home! The paper isn't due until the end of April/beginning of May-ish, so if you think of anything before then please feel free to let me know! I'm very happy to hear any ideas you guys have! Hopefully this paper will get me back into watching the series regularly and I'll be as active as I used to be on BCA!

Ruptured Brook

Posted:
2/7/2017 6:51:46 AM

You have that book already? Great! Hope it's helpful, though you might get more material out of Googling and crossing your fingers.

Thought of another episode that might serve a similar purpose to "Showtime": "Deluge" (S5) alternates between a flood of casualties and the general horrors of war (in particular, supply shortages, phosphorus burns, and living conditions) and a number of authentic news clips from Movie-Tone news (the kind of reels you might have seen at a movie theater in those days).

It does a good job contrasting the insanity of Korea with the prosperity and calm of home--quaint stories about celebrities and gifted cats and dance competitions. It even uses a clip of a Movie-Tone referring to the First French-Indochina War, the French fighting effectively the same Viets in the early 50s that the US would be fighting later on. Pretty sobering to think about.

Again, feel free to ask all sorts of questions. A lot of the actors and characters and storylines, and hell, even the episode titles have interesting backstories or relevance. It's just a matter of asking about the right ones. And I'm sure all of us here will be happy to share what we can; if nothing else, we learn a little bit ourselves!

FinestKindinTN

Posted:
2/13/2017 11:56:26 AM

Hey, if you think about it, tell us what you got on the paper. And if you don't think your grade was high enough, maybe we can rise up and plead your case with your teacher/professor.

Ms. Flagg

Posted:
2/21/2017 4:57:47 AM

FinestKindinTN wrote:
Hey, if you think about it, tell us what you got on the paper. And if you don't think your grade was high enough, maybe we can rise up and plead your case with your teacher/professor.

Thank you, I'll keep that in mind! the paper isn't due until sometime in April, but I'll be sure to keep you all updated! :)

Hawkeye84

Posted:
3/9/2017 4:50:07 AM

Ms. Flagg wrote:
Hey all! One of the requirements at my college is a Research Writing Class to be taken the second semester of freshman year. The topics vary year to year, but I was lucky enough to secure a spot in one titled, "American Culture in the 1970s." The main purpose of this class is to help us adjust to college writing and end the semester with a minimum- 15 page research paper. Well, today we brainstormed ideas for our papers, we can write about anything we want as long as it relates to the overbearing theme of the class. So, of course I decided to write my paper on the cultural impact of M*A*S*H! Specifically relating to the ongoing (but ending) Vietnam War, and how it helped to shape the opinions of the American public.

I don't have anything about the specifics of the paper set in stone yet, but I have a basic idea of some stuff I'd like to cover.

First off, I'd like to analyze some of the more poignant episodes. The ones that really drove home the horrors of war. On my list of possibilities so far I've got...

"Sometimes You Hear the Bullet" (01x17)
"Abyssinia, Henry" (03x24)
"The Interview" (04x24)
"Dreams" (08x22)

I would love to hear if you guys have any suggestions to episodes that could be added to this list. These four just came to my mind in the half hour or so we got at the end of class to work.

Secondly, I intend to analyze some of the major characters. That list includes...
Hawkeye
Frank
Klinger
Captain Flagg
As I said with the episodes, any suggestions you guys have for characters or character aspects I could talk about would be greatly appreciated!

I'm also going to talk about the ideas behind the creation of M*A*S*H. Why it was set during the Korean war, relevance of certain plot lines, response in the 70s, lasting effects, etc.

Anyway, I just thought I would share with you guys how M*A*S*H is continuing to play a role in my life. I know I haven't posted in a very long time, but I still check in and I'm, of course, still watching. :)

There must be something in the water. I'm also writing a paper for a graduate level course and using feminist performance theory and M*A*S*H (Houlihan specifically) as my topic. Good luck on yours!

Side note: I just logged in after a 10+ year absence and remembered both my user name and password *pats self on the back*

Ruptured Brook

Posted:
3/10/2017 6:43:58 PM

April is just around the corner, Ms. Flagg--can't wait to see what you've put together!

And welcome back, Hawkeye84! We'd love to see yours too, I'm sure :)

Ms. Flagg

Posted:
5/10/2017 7:43:23 PM

Update!

I will not have feedback specific to my paper until September, though I received an A in the class so I assume it went over well. If you all would like I could upload the paper and link it so you all can read it. Let me know! :) And thank you for all of your help and suggestions!!

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