Tuesday, February 09, 2010

My thoughts on the Super Bowl beating the laast MASH

A lot of people have asked me what I thought of Sunday’s Super Bowl eclipsing the final MASH as the most watched television show of all-time. A little like the 72 Dolphins actually. Even though I had left MASH by then (the last episode my partner and I wrote was GOODBYE RADAR for season 8) it was nice to know that I was associated with such an esteemed record.

Damn!

If only the WHO had guested on our final episode! If only we could have slipped in an anti-abortion ad right after the scene where the Korean woman chokes the child! If only we had done the show live! If only Peyton Manning had played Hawkeye! Or the Korean woman!

Oh well. At least we lost out to the Super Bowl… and not say THE HILLS episode when Heidi Montag returns for the first time after her plastic surgery.

23 comments:

holt said...

Truly interesting concept, too bad MASH didn't receive non-stop coverage from every network for the two weeks leading up to it (I know, ET liely carried it a bit, but not nearly to the all-sport channels did). Add to that the recovery of a national disaster...

Although, while some people will argue that the UD population is much greater, we gotta remember too that TV is a zillion times more fragmented than it was at the time of MASH. Granted, cable existed, but 90-95% of the viewing audience still watched ABC, CBS, & NBC -- okay, and a smidge of PBS.

But the pop. increase is way off-set by the wide array of well-watched channels across the Cable spectrum.

Frank!!! said...

OMG!! STFU!! Heidi is coming back to THE HILLS!!!


Anyways, yeah, it does seem a little silly to compare the Super Bowl apple to the MASH orange.

Mike Schryver said...

This is a little bit off the point, but I can't think of the final MASH episode without thinking of a sketch on Mr. Show some years ago where they have a montage of overly-dramatic, relevatory courtroom outbursts, and one of them is Paul Tompkins yelling, "It was a baby!! A baby!!!"
It always tickled me that they threw that in there.

carol said...

I just have to tell you that 'Goodbye, Radar' was actually the first M*A*S*H episode I'd ever watched, and is what hooked me on the show.

I was, oh, 11 or 12 or something. I'm not sure why I watched it that night; my parents always did, but they were out for the evening, but for some reason I watched it.

I cried so hard, it was embarassing. When my mom came home, I tried to tell her what happened, but I kept crying too hard. 'And...sob...then...sob...Hawkeye picked up...sob...the teddy bear...'

Anyway...thanks for that. Sincerely, thank you.

Sebastian said...

As with "Avatar", I think it's moronic not to adjust for "inflation".

On the one hand in 1972 there were only 209 million people living in the US

http://www.census.gov/statab/hist/HS-01.pdf

, of which we would need to know how many had a TV set. I guess it's a safe bet to assume that not as many people had one as today.

On the other hand most likely they had 5 channels back then compared to the 5000 they have now, so you'd have to compare how many people watched other networks back then and today.

But honestly - there are 106 million more people today than 28 years ago living in the US, that's a third more.

You can't tell me those numbers can be compared. If you ask me, MASH is still ahead.

Ref said...

The apples and oranges comment was correct.

Alice said...

I have a question. What are your thoughts on international copyright infringement of TV Shows? Chuck Lorre talked about it in his TVlog at the end of last nights The Big Bang Theory about Belarus which now apparently have a TV Show just like TBBT called the theorist and which plot appears to be a Russian translation?

D. McEwan said...

More people have watched the repeats of the last M*A*S*H than will ever watch a rerun of some silly football game.

But still, to know that so many people actually watched a Superbowl is depressing. The attraction is completely lost on me.

Here's hoping the LOST finale episode beats both, when we find out that Jacob was just a chicken. ("Ben stabbed a chicken!")

Jake said...

What's MASH?

steve said...

Meh. All records must fall. As you say, better the Super Bowl than... well, you know. Cavemen, the series... *shudder*

steve said...

And, just so you know, watching the Last MASH is still one of my enduring memories of my senior year of High School. Everyone I knew, and everyone they knew, watched that show. Everyone. When it aired, I was in the middle of a school play, and we watched it backstage while we weren't on, and taped it at home to watch later.

And we were all moved. I know there are some suits in Hollywood for whom a credit on MASH is a warning sign (Ooh, Old Fogey Alert!) but to me, a MASH credit will always mean two things: quality, and an instant great memory, not just saying good bye to a cherished TV series, but saying good bye to an era.

rob! said...

When Season Twenty-Seven of 30 Rock makes a joke about the 2010 Super Bowl, then we'll talk.

Buttermilk Sky said...

I've always thought ratings were overrated.

Thank you for writing "Goodbye Radar." Thank Mr. Isaacs for me, too.

YEKIMI said...

Thanks for writing "Goodbye Radar". At long last, my nemesis and curse was ending. You see, all through high school [and beyond] my nickname was "Radar" because I had an uncanny resemblance to Gary Burghoff. Once Gary was gone from the TV show, the "Radar" name started to fade away. Bu still, to this very day, I'll come across some people I haven't seen since high school who will still call me Radar. One even apologized, he said that he never knew my real name, he only knew me as Radar.

YEKIMI said...

It should be noted that while Sunday's Super Bowl broke the record for most watched program of all time, it didn't beat "M*A*S*H's" record of highest-rated program of all time. 60.2 percent of U.S. households watched M*A*S*H in 1983, compared with Super Bowl XLIV's 45 percent. 1977's broadcast of "Roots, Part VIII" (ABC) and 1976's broadcast of "Gone With the Wind" (NBC) also beat the latest Super Bowl in terms of ratings, though not the number of viewers.

Found this on radio-info.com
M*A*S*H* still rules!

Callum Jones said...

i'm curious to know, what the difference in population, number of tv sets, channels etc, to get a true representation of if the superbowl numbers actually beat mash!

Mike Barer said...

I don't know if a 13 year old unknown playing Hawkeye would boost the ratings that much, but who knows

Greg said...

Did you see what Drew Bress was holding after the game?

IT WAS A BABY! IT WAS A BABY!

Roger Owen Green said...

Of course, I’m still convinced that Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella (1957) has gotten gypped all these years: “Cinderella was seen by the largest audience in history at the time of its premiere: 107,000,000 people in the USA, fully 60% of the country’s population at that time. Variety estimated that 24.2 million households were tuned in to the show, with an average of 4.43 viewers each.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cinderella_(musical)

rita said...

never fear, MASH is still out in the lead proportionally. and that will never change. (or so we hope.)

Ryan said...

Just remember...50 percent of the people who watched the Super Bowl watched it for the commercials. 100 percent of the people who watched the last episode of M*A*S*H watched it for M*A*S*H!

Baylink said...

It got a 60/77.

Nothing will ever touch it.

I'm pretty sure even the 9/11 telethon, *cumed across all 177 networks*, didn't quite make that rating and share.

And we norm those things for a reason.

Brian Phillips said...

Here is a different perspective. Percentage-wise, MASH is still the winner.

http://tvseriesfinale.com/tv-show/mash-super-bowl-xliv/