Tuesday, January 16, 2018

If they ever did a re-boot of MASH

The new TV trend is to do reboots of classic TV series. WILL & GRACE, X-FILES, ROSEANNE, FULL HOUSE, and others are in the works including MAD ABOUT YOU.

So what about MASH? Why not? As a former writer of MASH, I hope they enlist me to write it. A couple of scenes might look something like this:

INT. SWAMP – DAY

HAWKEYE IS FIDDLING WITH THE STILL. BJ IS ON HIS BUNK.

HAWKEYE
I don’t think this is going to work. The prunes gum up the works.

BJ
I’d walk over there and help you but my arthritis is too bad.

HAWKEYE
Save your hands for surgery.

BJ
I’ve lost every patient for the last month. I wish someone would invent a drug to relieve arthritis, even if the side-effects were death, blindness, suicidal tendencies, nausea, and seizures.

HAWKEYE
This damn war. I hate it.

BJ
How long has the Korean War lasted so far?

HAWKEYE
Two years, but I swear it feels like 65.

RADAR ENTERS HOLDING HIS TEDDY BEAR.

RADAR
Have you guys seen my teddy bear?

HAWKEYE
You’re holding him.

RADAR
Oh. Right.

WE HEAR CHOPPER SOUNDS, LOUDLY.

HAWKEYE
Choppers.

RADAR
Where?

HAWKEYE
Overhead.

RADAR
I don’t hear them.

BJ
Trust us.

RADAR
Okay. Say, have you seen my teddy bear?

CUT TO:

INT. O.R. – LATER

HAWKEYE, BJ, AND CHARLES ARE OPERATING. HOT LIPS AND OTHER NURSES ASSIST.

BJ
Damn! Lost another one.

CHARLES
How long is this inhuman nightmare going to continue? I’ve been on my feet for forty-five minutes.

HAWKEYE (to Hot Lips)
Hey Margaret, after this, how about we go back to my place and share a heating pad?

HOT LIPS
Sorry doctor. We’re having a party for Nurse Bigelow who’s walking for the first time since she got a new hip.

HAWKEYE
Well, I’ll keep my teeth in just in case.

KLINGER ENTERS in a dress.

HAWKEYE
Klinger, when did you go back to wearing a dress?

KLINGER
I am?

HAWKEYE
I hate war.

EVERYBODY
I’ve taken enough shrapnel out of this kid’s chest to build a Buick.

HAWKEYE
I’ve said that before?

EVERYBODY
Yes!

BJ
So what’s everyone going to do after the war?

CHARLES
Me?  Well I plan on becoming the Chief Surgeon at Massachusetts General. And hope I can go three months before forced retirement.

HAWKEYE
Become a role model for the sensitive man. (to Hot Lips) Did you get that X-Ray of my groin I sent you?

KLINGER
I’m going back to Toledo. Sure wish I didn’t have four heart attacks and could still eat Paco’s hot dogs.

HOT LIPS
I’m going to do dinner theater.

HAWKEYE
BJ?

BJ
Well, as you know my daughter Erin was born after I was shipped out. So I’m going to see her for the first time and also my granddaughter who’s now twelve. God, this has been a tough two years in Korea.

RADAR ENTERS WITH HIS TEDDY BEAR.

RADAR
Choppers.

AT THE SOUND OF NO CHOPPERS WE:

FADE OUT.

THE END

30 comments :

David Schwartz said...

I'd leave a comment, but how do you comment on perfection? Excellent excerpt. This would be hysterical for a short film with the cast, or a TV special. Come to think of it, seems to me old sitcoms could do little revivals like this as specials and get pretty huge ratings! Just saying...

Vivek said...

Friday Question: Have you ever considered creating a show on one of the new media platforms like youtube? Maybe a new comedy which is actually laugh out loud funny?

Chuck said...

The choppers should be Hawkeye's teeth.

Pete Grossman said...

Agree with David Schwartz. Perhaps there could be some sort of tie-in to benefit St. Judes? I mean hell, the doctor thing is done for Cigna health.

Mibbitmaker said...

HAWKEYE: Beej, it's the 21st century now. We're only here because North Korea has nukes.

BJ: No wonder I'm so old! That explains why I keep losing patients.

HAWKEYE: Enter the 4077th a promising young surgeon, leave the 4077th as Frank Burns.

BJ: Whatever happened to ol' hypodermic face anyway?

HAWKEYE: Frank got promoted again. I hear he's President Flagg's vice president now.

Kirk said...

Oh, man, that was great! Parodying your own show to perfection. Wow!

Boomska316 said...

This should be an SNL skit or something.

Eric J said...

NO need for a remake. You can turn on a TV any time of day or night, probably in any country, and see an episode of MASH. And still laugh.

Boomska316 said...

This is funny, but I'm afraid that nothing is safe from being rebooted.

CRL said...

It's silly to think about re-booting M*A*S*H*. First somebody would have to start a war with North Korea.

Oh, crap......

Wendy M. Grossman said...

CRL: No, no, first of all, the reboot is set in Iraq. Hawkeye, BJ, and Winchester have been called to the front to train the new generation of surgeons. And they go because - their kids are serving in the armed forces. After all those great stories their fathers told? You betcha!

wg

Joseph Scarbrough said...

Please, please, please somebody get the cast together and film this, even if it's just as a short skit, I actually want to see this played out - it would be hilarious!

Would Beej still have his cheesy mustache? Would the stuffing be falling out of Radar's teddy bear? Would anyone remark about how they haven't seen Potter in a while and wonder who's actually running the camp?

Frank Beans said...

This scenario is only marginally more depressing than the actual last few seasons of MASH.

Joseph Scarbrough said...

I'd even be happy to supply a laugh track for the thing if given the opportunity! I've got a vast collection of Charley Douglass audience reactions I use for my own work.

Cheryl Marks said...

Possible Friday Question and you may have answered before:
Why does "Show Runner" never appear in the credits?

KLAC Guy said...

To Mibbitmaker: Please leave the comedy to the experts. Ken's script was perfection. Why try and top it? Especially with something so obvious and unfunny?

B.C. Christiansen said...

Friday Question for ya, Ken - Netflix apparently lets its show creators run free with little to no production notes. Sometimes this leads to some weird stuff that doesn't quite land. Is there any moment in your experience where a producer saying "No, don't do this," was a good thing?

Gary said...

Ken, is there any chance that any of the cast members will see that? I bet they'd get a big kick out of it. I'd love to see a response from any of them!

Mike Bloodworth said...

While that example is reasonably humorous, I think a better idea would be to re-boot a show with an entirely new cast. Sort of like what they did with the Ghostbusters franchise. And weren't they supposed to make an all black (A. American) version or Married with Children? You could make Fraiser, Canadian. Or a different minority such as Hispanic or Asian. Make Becker Native American. Instead of Brooklyn he could be on the reservation, but with a similar bunch of characters. Make Cheers a "gay-bar." That would explain Cliff and Norm's "special" relationship. Sam's womanizing would be due to over compensation. Even better, make Cheers a LESBIAN bar. Sam (Samantha) could still be an ex-jock. Maybe a tennis player or VNBA. Norm (Norma) could be played by Rosie O'Donnell. Of course, Carla would be the B##!D**€. You wouldn't have to change the Diane character very much at all. I'd go with a "Woody" rather than a "Coach" only because CUTE and dumb is more sitcomy. The only male character would be Paul (played by Paul Wilson) from the original series) whom everyone mistakenly believes is a transsexual. Excuse me, transgender.

David P said...

My MASH reboot:

It's 30 years after the war. Hawkeye and BJ accidentally run into each other in a bar in an airport after a flight delay. They catch up (sort of), and go their separate ways.

Naturally, since Levine and Isaacs are the writers, the bartender is played by Ted Danson...

VP81955 said...

Just heard from KNX that "WKRP in Cincinnati" creator Hugh Wilson died today at 74. The report also noted he directed "First Wives Club" and, pre-"WKRP," wrote for "The Tony Randall Show." Any thoughts about him, Ken? I know we're both fans of "WKRP."

Ken Levine said...

My post tomorrow will be on Hugh Wilson. He was a wonderful and talented guy.

PJ said...

*bows down* That was perfect.

Cedric Hohnstadt said...

Thanks for posting this Ken. It was so delightful I actually clapped when I finished reading it.

I miss MASH.

The Bumble Bee Pendant said...

I was reading this, AND eating my soup.
Bad move.

Grinning laughter and soup do not go together.

Shirt ruined.

Anonymous said...

Does it say something that..... in the show it was Boston General, not Mass General?

Albert Giesbrecht said...

I guess it was 10 years ago, that I came up with a reboot of M.A.S.H. It would be set in Vancouver, and they would be the medical staff at Expo '86.

Cliff Claven from Cheers would be one of the patients.

Frank G. said...

This reminds me of the question I once asked about a Korean drama that takes place at a dysfunctional Korean medical school where the new dean was a student of BJ, Hawkeye, and Charles, and Klinger who all volunteered to stay in Korea after the war to mentor Korea's first generation of surgeons. Flashbacks of his experiences with them give him ideas for unconventional yet effective solutions to the problems plaguing his school--faculty v. faculty, faculty v. students, students v. student, etc.

KanDee said...

Erin was born before BJ was drafted. Just sayin'

Anonymous said...

A good parody for MAD magazine perhaps, but Hollywood would never make an anti-US war movie as they used to before 9/11. MASH had its day and place and its message is still relevant today.