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The movie was the first DVD I bought back in the day (as a matter of fact, I bought it the day before I bought my first DVD player), and that commentary track had plenty of insight into Altman's directing style, and is full of great behind-the-scenes tidbits (like how Donald Sutherland and Elliot Gould tried to get him fired because they legitimately thought he was insane, and how the screenwriter was irate about how often Altman and the cast went off-script (which Altman thought was ironic because the only Oscar the movie was was for Best Screenplay)). But... yeah, he did not like the show, and was not shy about it.  (I lost the DVD in a house fire about 15 years ago, though, so I haven't heard it in a while.)

11 hours ago, mmecorday said:

Got a question for you "M*A*S*H" experts: are we to understand that Margaret and Hawkeye had sexual relations when they were stranded in the bombed-out house while on their way to another MASH unit? Or was there just some heavy petting involved?

I honestly didn't think there was any doubt that they had sex.

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I always thought they had sex, and that Hawkeye must have been pretty damn good for Margaret to behave as she did afterward.

Edited by Browncoat
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Altman had a screw loose.   The tv show implicitly made efforts to show them Koreans as just people and not "the enemy."   Whenever someone on the show used a racial slur or made an "us" v. "them" comment, Hawkeye and/or Trapper/BJ would get all up in arms about it.   So yeah, Altman was just jealous.

I always found it hilarious that the Korean Conflict lasted 3 years and the tv show 11.   They had to get very creative with the timelines sometime.   

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3 hours ago, merylinkid said:

They had to get very creative with the timelines sometime.   

Especially since there was the one episode that spanned an entire year, from New Year's Eve to New Year's Eve.

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On 3/5/2015 at 11:32 AM, ShellSeeker said:

Yeah, every once in awhile, you'd get a glimpse of what his life was like beyond the 4077th, and it was pretty sad.

As Colonel Blake said as he was watching movie of Frank's wedding in "There is Nothing Like a Nurse" : "Why do I feel sorry for Frank?"

That scene also had one of my favorite Hawkeye cracks as they show the servants at the wedding standing at attention in a line:

"I've invited you all here today because I'm ready to name the murderer."

I realize now that scene was like an early version of Mystery Science Theater 3000. Another good Hawkeye line: "There they are. Franklin D. Whitebread marries Miss Cynthia Soon-To-Be-Frigid!"

Edited by VCRTracking
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On ‎6‎/‎3‎/‎2017 at 6:58 AM, merylinkid said:

I always found it hilarious that the Korean Conflict lasted 3 years and the tv show 11.   They had to get very creative with the timelines sometime.   

IIRC, Henry's departure date at the end of S3 was set in 1952.  The US involvement in Korea ended in 1953.  For me, the series pretty much ended when Frank left.  Oh, sure, there are some good episodes after that and DOS was a very good actor as Charles, but it was no longer M*A*S*H for me.

Edited by Inquisitionist · Reason: Corrected typo.
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I think I can see what Altman's saying.  For 11 years the Chinese/Asians were shown as the 'other' and the enemy, even if they were shown as a NICE enemy or, you know just people, they were still called the enemy.  I think his point is that sneaks into your subconscious. It ran in the 70s and early 80s, how many other shows had any Asian representation during that time?  So if all the Asians we're seeing on TV are 'the enemy' for some maybe it sticks into their head. Especially given that in the early years, there was still the fallout of the Vietnam War (which the US pulled out of in 1973). 

On a more fun note, I had no idea that they hooked up, even having just watched that episode recently! And oddly my directv has some on demand, but they are mislabeled. I watched the one last night that was supposed to be about the incubator and instead was about Hawkeye doing all the surgeries while everyone else had the flu. 

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There was no question in my mind that they had sex.  I'm not sure how good either could have been - I've never had fright sex but I'm not sure if you put your best foot forward.  I think Margaret was always grappling with what she should want v. what she did want.  She wanted to be married, she didn't want Donald, she's always had a man, and Hawkeye was right there.

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Watching an ep with one of my favorite characters, Col  Flagg. Edward Winters excelled at playing macho jerks. "Rally Round the Flagg, Boys."

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IIRC, Henry's departure date at the end of S3 was set in 1952.  The US involvement in Korea ended in 1953.  For me, the series pretty much ended when Frank left.  Oh, sure, there are some good episodes after that and DOS was a very good actor as Charles, but it was no longer M*A*S*H for me.

The minute BJ starts sporting that ridiculous mustache, the show not only jumps the shark, it flies over Sea World.

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I tend to favour the later seasons, myself, but that's probably because I was born in the 1970's and grew up watching those episodes. Still, I definitely prefer Charles to Frank. Winchester was a much more well-rounded character, while Burns was basically cartoonish.

I did like how, whenever they had to replace a character, they went with the polar opposite. Blake was a civilian while Potter was a career Army man. Trapper was a womanizer while BJ was a devoted husband. And Charles was the anti-Frank in every way possible. Where Frank was a lousy surgeon, Charles was one of the best thoracic surgeons in the world. Where Frank was weasely, Charles was a braggart. Where Frank was meek, Charles was egotistical. And where Frank loved seizing what power he could, Charles was happy to pass it off if given the chance.

Really, the only episode where I think Charles was out of character was the episode where the Army was changing over their military script ("red for blue"), and Charles was going to buy the old script off of the locals for pennies on the dollar. But it was early in the character's run, and I always got the feeling it was a leftover Frank Burns plot that they shoehorned Winchester in, so I don't usually hold that one against him.

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What I really liked about Charles was that  even though he was an egotistical elitist he was capable of a great deal of compassion.  There were several episodes where he tried to help people even when he didn't really need to.  The guy who studdered,  the soldier who turned out to be a pianist even at the end the North Korean musicians.  Frank was just not capable of that kind of empathy. 

Hell one of my favorite episodes was when Charles had the chance to return to Japan if he lied and said Hot Lips was lying about an attack but Charles refused to do it.    His response was hilarious.  

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I liked early Hawkeye and middle Margaret. Hawkeye got a little to preachy towards the later seasons and Margaret's hair just got so very blonde it's distracting.  I'm pretty split with Henry and Potter, I just love them both. And I remember when Henry died I BAWLED. My dad picked me up and we just cried together. I also liked Bj and Trapper for similar reasons I liked Potter and Henry - all four are so different and I liked them all  I find it hard to pick.  I have a soft spot for Frank - he was such an absolute dick, but I also felt bad for him sometimes. Like someone else said early, you knew his home life sucked so much that I always got the feeling that the war was the one time in his entire life that it was just his and he just didn't know what to do. That's just sad. My dad always had a soft spot for him too, so that's an influence. Charles was just a better developed character in every way so it almost doesn't seem fair to compare the two. I always liked Charles because he was such a purist (I don't know if that's the best word though). He loved music and art and so many other things and if someone else loved those things and appreciated that he just recognized that pureness on the other that other obstacles fell away. It was just an refreshing honesty and complexity that was very rare. I think Charles was probably one of the most well rounded and well developed characters I have ever seen on television. 

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I absolutely hate early Margaret. The first few seasons, she had three basic character traits. (1) She was a shrewish stickler to the rules and regulations, (2) she was trying to get Frank to divorce his wife and marry her, and (3) she'd slept with pretty much every General in the service. That's about it. It wasn't until her engagement to Donald that she began to show any personality outside of these traits, and not until roughly around the same time as her divorce that she really came into her own.

Funnily enough, just last night I saw the episode where her personality started to come through, when she was feuding with her nurses because they did an end-run around her so one of them could have a mini-honeymoon with her husband, which led to her unloading about how upset she was that they never even tried to include her in their comeraderie. That was the first domino to fall that led to Margaret actually becoming a more well-rounded character.

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I think part of the reason I liked the later seasons was because it always bothered me that Frank, Trapper and Henry were so casual about cheating on their wives. I really liked that BJ was so committed to his wife and felt so guilty when things got a little too close to doctor/nurse. (I don't think they did anything more than kiss, I hope, but I was naive about Margaret/Hawkeye so what do I know?).  I agree about feeling badly about Frank. He was so bullied.

TVLand has also started showing episodes so there's now episodes on Sundance, TVLand and AMC. 

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20 minutes ago, joanne3482 said:

(I don't think they did anything more than kiss, I hope, but I was naive about Margaret/Hawkeye so what do I know?).

If you mean the "Hanky Panky" episode, then yes, I think he slept with Carrie the nurse. He later said he "fell off the fidelity wagon." Another case where the show only implied the sex.

 

21 minutes ago, joanne3482 said:

TVLand has also started showing episodes so there's now episodes on Sundance, TVLand and AMC. 

Also on MeTV and WGN America. It's remarkable, how often it's airing these days.

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It airs on the History Channel up here in Canada. Two episodes back-to-back five nights a week. They often skip over the transition episodes (Henry's last, BJ andPotter's first, Charles' first), but marathon them on Rememberance Day, along with the series finale. (I've actually got the episode where Sydney Freeman is writing a letter to Sigmund Freud playing in the background right now.)

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11 hours ago, The Crazed Spruce said:

Funnily enough, just last night I saw the episode where her personality started to come through, when she was feuding with her nurses because they did an end-run around her so one of them could have a mini-honeymoon with her husband, which led to her unloading about how upset she was that they never even tried to include her in their comeraderie. That was the first domino to fall that led to Margaret actually becoming a more well-rounded character.

It might have, IMO, if Loretta Swit were a better actor.  Watching her over-emote in that scene makes me cringe.

36 minutes ago, joanne3482 said:

I think part of the reason I liked the later seasons was because it always bothered me that Frank, Trapper and Henry were so casual about cheating on their wives.

I believe this was very true to the book, but it's a difficult outlook to sustain for more than a few seasons.

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1 minute ago, Inquisitionist said:

It might have, IMO, if Loretta Swit were a better actor.  Watching her over-emote in that scene makes me cringe.

I'll give you that, but like I said, it started the transition. It took a while, but by the time she hooked up with Hawkeye in the bombed-out farmhouse, she'd evolved into a much better character.

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33 minutes ago, rubaco said:

If you mean the "Hanky Panky" episode, then yes, I think he slept with Carrie the nurse. He later said he "fell off the fidelity wagon." Another case where the show only implied the sex.

Drat. Well if they only implied it that means I can believe it was only a kiss. :)  

18 minutes ago, Inquisitionist said:

I believe this was very true to the book, but it's a difficult outlook to sustain for more than a few seasons.

It may also have been true of the times. When I read The Astronaut Wive's Club, I was crushed at how many of my childhood heroes were serial cheaters. 

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I might believe Hawkeye and Margaret did it, but I refuse to believe that BJ slept with Carrie.  Falling off the fidelity wagon can mean "just" a kiss to someone who is as relentlessly faithful as BJ.

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Regarding Robert Altman, I loved most of his films, and feel he was one of the great directors, but I disagree with his reason for disliking the series. As someone posted up thread, anytime Frank, Flagg, whoever said or did something negative regarding someone Korean, Hawkeye, Trapper, BJ, stood up to them. I almost feel like he didn't really watch any episodes to have that opinion.

On the DVD of the film, one of the extras is a 30th reunion of the film with him and some of the cast, and when the moderator brings up the series he repeats his problem with it, but does at least acknowledge it was made by very talented and creative people. I have issues with Alan Alda having so much control with the last 5 or 6 seasons and how it affected  storylines , but he is an immensely talented actor, writer, director, and for Altman to act like he didn't even know his name came off as petty and childish. I still love the film and have probably watched it 50 times at least. I think the chemistry between Sutherland and Gould is what I love the most.

As far as Margaret and Hawkeye, I was always certain they did have sex, not certain with BJ and Carrie.

What I've always had a question about is the episode where Radar gets shot and he gets upset about Hawkeye being hung over and having to leave the OR...why would that bother him so much? I get that he looked up to him, but he knew how much Hawkeye and the others drank all the time, Im sure this probably wouldn't have been the only time that could have happened since they didn't have much advance notice on when wounded were coming to know when it was okay to get wasted. The episode annoys me because of that and I love Radar!

Edited by parrotlover

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I never thought there was any question that they all had sex! Hawkeye with Margaret and BJ with Carrie. I don't think BJ would have beat himself up over it to the extent that he did if it had been just a kiss. And Hawkeye and Margaret did indeed have "fright sex", after which they both behaved in cringeworthy fashion. I can't even watch that episode.

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It's weird....I hate the episode that's the "morning after" essentially, but then it ends with one of my favorite scenes of the series, Margaret's letter to "Hank".  Weird to love a scene in an episode you hate.

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6 minutes ago, Mama No Life said:

It's weird....I hate the episode that's the "morning after" essentially, but then it ends with one of my favorite scenes of the series, Margaret's letter to "Hank".  Weird to love a scene in an episode you hate.

I hear you. Her clinginess and histrionics that episode were.... problematic (at best), but in the aftermath of that episode, she really came into her own.

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I never thought that BJ went all the way with the nurse.   He felt very guilty about having feelings for her because he is honorable and has high standards.

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All the episodes involving the 4077th watching films are my favorites, especially Frank's wedding movie. Played by any other actor, Frank would have been a complete monster. Larry Linville was able to tap into the character's vulnerability and insecurity even without any dialogue.

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One of my favorite moments involving Frank was I think in the episode "Dear Peggy" when Frank ratted out Hawkeye for trying to get a record for the most people in a jeep.  It was right after Potter told Klinger no one wanted to be in Korea but Frank up and tells him he loves it.  Potter then says something along the lines of "Either you or Klinger is crazy.  Now I have to figure out which one."

The truth is I always felt Frank loved Korea in large part because he hated his life.  Plus well he kinda did love Hot Lips.  He was too greedy to ever leave his wife who from what I understood held the purse strings but Korea was the best thing that ever happened to Frank.  

Edited by Chaos Theory
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On 6/9/2017 at 8:37 PM, callie lee 29 said:

BJ did NOT cheat on Peg!!! That's a hill I'll die on!!

There were two episodes where he was tempted to cheat.  The one with the nurse who's husband cheated on her and the one with the war time coraspondant where BJ admitted that he had never met a woman like her and she intrigued him.  A part of him wondered what it would be like to leave Peg for her for about a minute.   I think that was due in large part because he had been away for so long that a woman intrigued him.  However BJ never actually cheated on Peg.  The show was clear on that.  

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8 hours ago, Chaos Theory said:

There were two episodes where he was tempted to cheat.  The one with the nurse who's husband cheated on her and the one with the war time coraspondant where BJ admitted that he had never met a woman like her and she intrigued him.  A part of him wondered what it would be like to leave Peg for her for about a minute.   I think that was due in large part because he had been away for so long that a woman intrigued him.  However BJ never actually cheated on Peg.  The show was clear on that.  

That I can agree on, he was tempted a coupe of times. 

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I'm watching some of the 'M*A*S*H' episodes on Sundance this evening (I haven't watched any in a while) and one of my favorites was shown (actually several of them, including 'The sniper').  Anyway, the one I just saw was the one where their weekly poker game was interrupted as they came in and went out due to the various stories going on.  And, Col. Flagg was in this one!

Flagg:  'Hey, up close you're a guy.'  Klinger: 'Far away, too.' 

 

Capt. Pak:  'Is this a little Korean about five foot nothing, anywhere from 50 to 200 years old, looks like he fell off a charm bracelet, goes by the name of Hwang?'  Radar: 'Yes.'  Pak:  'You know who you got there, don't you?  That's Whiplash Hwang.' 

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BJ told Hawkeye that he "fell off the fidelity wagon", or something similar, IIRC, and that can be interpreted in different ways. So it was never specifically spelled out, but judging from how BJ acted afterward, I always assumed he cheated. It was something he never would have done under regular circumstances, back home in his normal life, and he's disappointed in himself that he let the war make him behave contrary to his character. The issue comes up again with the reporter, but this time he refuses to give in (that episode, "War Co-Respondent", was written and directed by Mike Farrell and guest starred Susan Saint James, in between her stints on McMillan & Wife and Kate & Allie).

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One of the episodes this weekend had Potter thinking about cheating. There was an older woman there to inspect the nurses and they were doing things like going on picnics together. Radar was so worried, which was cute. They came close to kissing but he pulled back and she left early. 

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One of tonight's episodes has Patrick Swayze as a patient with leukemia.  He makes the comment that research won't do any good for him because he'll be dead in twenty years when they find the cure.  It really struck me that, 60 years after that war and more realistically, 35 years after the episode, we still don't have a cure.  

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12 hours ago, Mama No Life said:

One of tonight's episodes has Patrick Swayze as a patient with leukemia.  He makes the comment that research won't do any good for him because he'll be dead in twenty years when they find the cure.  It really struck me that, 60 years after that war and more realistically, 35 years after the episode, we still don't have a cure.  

I think it more eerie that Patrick said he'd e dead in 20 years.  So it was closer to 30, but stil...

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No, we don't have a total cure, but in the 1950s leukemia was an automatic death sentence.  Now a lot of people are getting treatment and are "cured."  It's not perfect, but it's progress.

One of my favorite parts of this show is seeing the guest stars who show up.

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My favorite Charles quote is from Sons and Bowlers, he and Hawkeye are talking while waiting for Hawk's call to his dad to go through. Charles say "While I have a father, you have a dad." I just love that line.

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One thing I've never understood... it seems like all the doctors were drafted (except obviously Potter and I presume Henry Blake).  Why would Frank and Winchester be drafted in as majors while Hawkeye, Trapper and Honeycutt drafted and only given captain ranks? Or would they all have been drafted and given the same ranking but Frank and Charles were promoted? I know that was part of the humor (especially with Frank) but I never really got why they were of a lower rank anyway. Hotlips I could see since I presume she was also career military so she would have worked her way up to major. 

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A Doctor joining the Army will almost always be at rank Captain minimum. But if he has an established career / practice as a Doctor it could be rank Major. It seemed like Frank discussed having a practice at home so he could have started as Major, and Charles apparently had a distinguished career before he was drafted as Major.

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I'm 99% certain that Blake was drafted too; he frequently mentions his practice back home.  The movie/book Blake seems to have been career army.

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2 hours ago, AConspiracy said:

A Doctor joining the Army will almost always be at rank Captain minimum.

I knew a couple of folks back in college who were going to med school - actually osteopaths - who were going into the Air Force after that (I was in AF ROTC at the time).  They were going onto active duty as Captains, as I believe they got credit for med school time, which would put them right about the time for selection to Captain.

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And Hunnycut came in from med school. I remember that being mentioned. Not sure about Trapper and Hawkeye, I don't remember either mentioning a practice back home. 

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I think I remember Winchester stating the Pierce would be barely out of residency back home while he was already being considered for Chief Surgeon at Bahston General. 

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Oh and one other continuity error for the series - in early episodes Hawkeye has a sister, but later he's an only child. 

And I believe Hawkeye's sister was named Honoria, which became the name of Charles' sister.

I hated the movie and think Robert Altman sounds really bitter, probably because it was always reported that Alan Alda wouldn't get involved with the series until they promised him it wouldn't be "the Marx brothers go to war" or something that sounds exactly like the movie's premise.  Did I mention I hated the movie?

One thing I loved was how perceptive they made Father Mulcahy when it came to people.  He alone anticipated Hawkeye and Margaret turning to each other (and I think they had sex).  He knew how to bet at the bridge match.  

I think BJ had sex with the nurse whose husband left her.  It fits with his exchange with Hawkeye, who pointed out that BJ never came home that night:

BJ:  "I fell off the fidelity wagon."

Hawkeye:  "I thought I heard a bump in the night."

I assumed he did not have sex with Susan St. James' character, but was merely tempted.  He even said his problem was not wanting to have sex with her, but just wanting to be with her period.  Here is the exchange, which seems to confirm he slept with the nurse:

B.J.: “It’s the way I’m beginning to feel about her.”
Hawkeye: “Oh, come on Beej, we’re big boys. You went down this road once before.”
B.J.: “No, Hawk, you don’t understand. This isn’t like that. I’m not just talking about being unfaithful to my wife, which hasn’t happened with Aggie.”
Hawkeye: “What is it?”
B.J.: “Til Aggie showed up, I was convinced Peg was the only woman in the world for me. I never met a woman like her, she’s so different, so exciting.”
Hawkeye: “Uh-oh.”
B.J.: “Hawk, she’s all I can think about. And not just about being in bed with her. I think about being with her.”

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30 minutes ago, Crs97 said:

One thing I loved was how perceptive they made Father Mulcahy when it came to people.  He alone anticipated Hawkeye and Margaret turning to each other (and I think they had sex).  He knew how to bet at the bridge match.  

Another one of those skills he must've picked up from amateur boxing. You don't last long in the ring if you don't learn how to read your opponent.

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For anyone who understands Korean -- was the Korean on the show well pronounced and accurate? I mean, were the people really saying approximately what we thought they were saying?  There are rumors that in some shows and movies, people speaking languages other than English were saying things that were not in the script, such as making fun of the director etc.

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When the series was first on, my sister had a Korean college roommate.  I remember her saying, when asked about the show, that the thing that bothered many the most was that many of the Korean characters were played by Japanese actors.  Given the relationship between Korea and Japan during much of history, particularly the first half of the 20th century, that was just wrong.  And they didn't look like Koreans!

I think I remember this because it was the first time it occured to me that not all Asians were the same.  Given my very-white upbringing, that thought just blew my pre-teen mind.

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The way they wrote Father Mulcahey was one of the reasons I wanted to be a military chaplain (went to seminary for it). It was just so respectful and recognized what that role can and does mean to a lot of people. He wasn't written as a buffoon, obtuse, or self-righteous. It was wonderful and something I really haven't seen since.

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