December 14th, 2008

On the cutting room floor

I've been re-watching all of my M*A*S*H DVDs again and am constantly struck by how much better the originals are than the syndicated versions I lived on for years.

For example, in season five there is an episode in which Hunnicut has an unfortunate and much-regretted bit of infidelity (the first of two in the series). In the syndicated version, we're almost left to guess what happened, and in fact it's never put baldly. The original makes it much, much clearer what's actually transpired. Much of the subplots, particularly the nature of Margret's fiance's hospital stay, which are clearly about adultery are minimized or removed.

I've realized in retrospect that I was willing to accept large incongruities in plots, mentally filling in the backstory that was originally filmed and released.