As I have mentioned before, I come home after a hard day at work really looking for some comfort television. Lately I've been curling up under a fuzzy blankie with a hot cup of cocoa and the good people of the 4077. That's right ... thirty-odd years later, and I'm still watching (and blogging about) M*A*S*H.
This is a show that consistently makes me laugh and makes me cry ... often within the same episode. It will always be topical, because it captured something essential about the human reaction to the horrors of war. Set in a medical unit close to the front lines, M*A*S*H shows us that the real enemy in any conflict is Death. And in the end, he always wins. Some people crack under the pressure. Some people just crack wise.
The hero of this series, Benjamin "Hawkeye" Pierce, is one of my favorite characters of all time. He paved the way for sarcastic sawbones everywhere. Every smart ass M.D. from Perry Cox (Scrubs) to Gregory House (House, M.D.) owes a debt of gratitude to old Hawkeye.
You know who else I love? Maxwell Q. Klinger. He was one of the first Arab Americans on television, as well as one of the first cross-dressers. Basically, every character on this show would become an icon in his or her own right. It's a classic, an American in-joke we all understand. M*A*S*H shows us what television can be - no less than life-altering.