Friday, August 21, 2020

Early rapey M*A*S*H

When the TV show M*A*S*H premiered I was still a kid living with my parents so I never got to see  it then because my mother wouldn't allow TV shows with sex talk on in the house. Then once I moved out I didn't watch a lot of TV so I basically I only saw the last season or two during the first run, although one of my long-time boyfriends liked to quote the wisecracks from all seasons of the show. 

I had heard that the show got less sexist once Alan Alda had enough clout to have things more his way and damn I am glad he did. I am currently working my way through the entire series now on Hulu and it is painful to watch because  M*A*S*H was pure rape culture for the first three seasons.

Margaret "Hot Lips" Hoolihan was the target of several sneak attack kissing but in one episode, Hawkeye and Trapper assault both Margaret and Frank Burns, and in another episode "For the Good of the Outfit" Trapper pushes Margaret down on a desk while he kisses her and Hawkeye chases Frank around trying to do the same to him - and this was because they were grateful to Margaret and Frank, because they bolstered the case that the CIA had bombed a South Korean village. 

And the nurse characters are almost never anything but things to be chased. Wow was this show sexist. I am gritting my teeth to get through the first three seasons so that the (mostly) faithful, uxorious B. J. Hunnicut replaces Trapper. And by the way, Wayne Rogers was not an especially good actor. Mike Farrell is much better.

Also great, when the faithful and too old to fool around much Potter replaces Henry Blake. But the show doesn't really kick in until poor Frank Burns the subject of endless cruelty (yes he is an asshole but still) is replaced by Winchester, who is a multi-dimensional character.

The show became much better starting with season four.