M*A*S*H

Know this. You can cut me off from the civilized world. You can incarcerate me with two moronic cellmates. You can torture me with your thrice-daily swill. But you cannot break the spirit of a Winchester. My voice shall be heard from this wilderness, and I shall be delivered from this fetid and festering sewer.

Charles Emerson Winchester, III

I became a giant fan of M*A*S*H during my undergraduate years in college. By the time I tuned in the show had been on the air for many seasons and had found its stride. Each night the dorm lounge would fill up with fans as we all partook of the syndicated re-runs punctuated once a week with a fresh fix. The writing was superb, the acting a joy to watch. The storylines were moving and yet funny. It seems like every character was my favorite. I have seen each episode so many times I can recite the entire plot line within seconds of seeing the opening sequence.

The quote above from Charles Emerson Winchester is one of my favorites. Charles has just arrived at the 4077th after being tricked into staying in Korea. Needless to say he is not adjusting well. When he realizes that his posh connections may not get him out of Korea he summons his dignity and delivers his soliloquy with panache and pride. I think it is the way he cocks his head and turns at the end that cemented my love for his character. I couldn’t find a clip on You Tube but the scene occurs in the first episode of season six if you ever get the chance to watch the show.

All of the characters on M*A*S*H were brilliant at what they did. (Well okay, almost everyone. Frank Burns left a little to be desired in the capabilities department.) I think I like the show so much because it portrays a team of highly talented people trapped in an undesirable place doing important work. Maybe the fact that I was living in Indiana at the time had something to do with my affinity for the show.

Leave a comment