Return to the 4077th Mobile Army Surgical Hospital


Hey guys, it rained this weekend! Real, proper rain. I loved it so much I felt like I needed to blog about it. And then I figured that would be pretty boring, so I've rolled it into the other thing I wanted to blog about: M*A*S*H. But the rain! God, I missed it.

Have I written about my love of M*A*S*H before on the blog? I can't remember. If so, probably just in passing. This weekend I was buying my book club book (Gilead by Marilynne Robinson) and decided to wander into the DVD section, as one does. This gorgeous redheaded woman was working, and we got into this whole conversation about Doctor Who. A conversation I started! With a stranger! Not like me at all, but then she was a woman and not a man, so in other ways very like me.

After our mutual geek-out and her recommendation of the Horatio Hornblower series (featuring 8th Doctor, Paul McGann), I wandered over to the discount DVDs and found the first season of M*A*S*H*. I'd been thinking for a while now about purchasing the whole series in one go, but the only complete collection available right now has the DVD discs in cardboard sleeves, and I DO NOT GO FOR THAT SH*T. I need my DVDs in keepcase plastic, thank you very much. And that's what this first season was in--and on sale!

I weighed in my mind whether or not I needed to own M*A*S*H at this very instant, but my needy emotional self stepped right up to the plate, flooding me with childhood memories. You see, as a child, I LOVED television, like most children. I wanted as many hours of it as I could get, but it was rationed out to me by my parents, which was probably a good thing. I'm still not sure.

In my childhood home our bedrooms were at one end of the house, and then the living room/dining room/kitchen were in the middle, and at the other end was my dad's office. In his office was a large old TV from the 80s that was only hooked up to local channels. At this point in my life I still had a bedtime, but I was also starting to stay up later. So I was what, maybe 10? 11? I'm terrible at remembering my ages. Anyway, I would go to bed, and then listen for when my parents had gone to bed--usually around 10 or 10:30. Then, right before 11pm, I would creep across our dark house to my dad's office and turn on the old TV.

I don't remember what came on the other channels at 11pm, I just remember that it seemed much more boring than this funny military show that had a really lovely but depressing theme song.* (It was probably all news and weird sex experts.) And so for nights on end I watched M*A*S*H, learning to love Radar and Klinger and Hot Lips and--due to the syndication of episodes--trying to decide if I loved Trapper better than Hunnicutt, or Col. Potter more than Col. Blake. I'm not sure how much I grasped about the show's setting--was it the 70s? The 50s? The Vietnam War? The Korean War? (The latter in both cases, if you didn't know...and it was probably an allegory for the Vietnam War as well.) But I loved it.

In fact, I honestly think that M*A*S*H was formative in turning me into a night person.** A night person who chooses TV over sleep on a regular if not nightly basis. It wasn't until fairly recently that my dad showed me the movie for the first time, and I liked it, but of course I prefer its TV spin-off, which is rare!

So on Saturday I decided to buy the first season and resume my childhood routine of watching an episode (or two) every night before going to bed, but this time in order. I hope that nostalgia and comfort will be the main result from this, but it wouldn't hurt if I also started having dreams about Hawkeye Pierce again. Because I totally did as a kid. Not Alan Alda. Hawkeye Pierce.

*So sad. But peppy and sweet! But so sad. LIKE THE SHOW.

**Like my dad, who I think on many occasions 'caught' me staying up late to watch M*A*S*H because he was staying up late to do work in his office, and then would end up watching the show with me.


Chelsea Lee said...

You are about to be super jealous of me... Ready? Ok, so there's this place that I go hiking in Malibu and if you take this one particular trail it leads you to some old sets for MASH and Little House on the Prarie. You can poke your head in Laura's old cabin and pretend your riding an old rusty jeep. It's super fun, there's pix on my FB of you wanna check it out. It's just another reason you should visit me.

Maryann said...

Chelsea, I am UBER jealous! I really do need to come see you. Will you be coming up for Matt's wedding (aka my sister's wedding)?

Chelsea Lee said...

i think so. it depends on when it is and if i can scrounge up the money/time off, but i'm going to do everything in my power to be there! p.s. call me! i have BIG exciting news!