40 years ago this week, the final episode of MASH aired. It was the most watched television episode of all times (not counting sporting or news events) in the United States. That list includes:

  1. Final episode of MASH, 106 million viewers
  2. The Day After, and Episode 8 of Roots, 100 million viewers (tie)

I don’t count sporting events because 23 of the top 30 watched television events were sports: 22 Super Bowls, and one Boxing match (Spinks v. Ali). Four of them were news events: Apollo 11 moon landing, Nixon’s resignation speech, the Simpson low speed chase, and Disneyland’s opening.

Still, 40 years? I remember seeing it (vaguely). Man, I’m getting old.

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Aesop · March 2, 2023 at 3:56 pm

Caught the first few seasons, but after Maclean Stevenson and Wayne Rogers left, it stopped being any kind of funny, listening to the Liberal Feels Church Of Alan Alda got mega-boring fast, and I stopped watching.

Until you laid out the dates, I thought the show had run for forty years. Maybe it just seemed that way at the time.

Pretty sure most people just watched the final episode to make sure it was finally and totally dead.
Looking at the Monday desert that was TV programming at the networks in ’83, for people with nothing to do and nowhere to go, it was the least annoying thing on the tube.

Thank heavens for Betamax and VHS.
I was probably watching Patton or The Three Musketeers that night.

Michael · March 2, 2023 at 7:41 pm

MASH was pretty close to the peak of good TV. Maybe because game shows bored me to tears but mainly because I lost family in Korea and know how accurate MASH really was.

It was anti-war and some folks hate anything not pro rah, rah US is the Good Guys war stuff. But as history is written by the victors but REAL History is remembered by the survivor’s war brings out the best AND the worst in Men.

I was proud to serve in Korea in the unit that the 4077th was created about.

Big Ruckus D · March 2, 2023 at 8:34 pm

I remember watching it the night it aired. I was in 3rd grade, and somewhat surprisingly it was a topic of conversation at school the next day during lunch. I was the big TV event of it’s age. While we had cable from about 1981, it was only about 28 channels at the time (and most of those were crap, just as now), so the big 3 networks still had a lot of juice. I never cared for the show, my parents didn’t watch it but my maternal grandparents caught reruns of it every night after the late news, so I caught it sometimes when at their house.

And to add to Aesop’s comment, it wasn’t fully dead and buried yet with the series finale. They tried for another bite at the apple with a short loved spinoff called After M*A*S*H. I very vaguely recall it, I know Harry Morgan was in it and it was set primarily in a hospital back in the US. That’s about the only detail I can conjure of it, other than it only lasted a few episodes.

Of course with the benefit of hindsight and an adult perspective, I’ve long since recognized the original series as a vehicle for libtard bullshit, chiefly by sanctimonious prig Alan Alda.

    Michael · March 2, 2023 at 10:34 pm

    Funny but it seems like what was liberal bullshit back then is almost far right politically now.

    I noticed Divemedics stats about how popular MASH was then and still has better ratings than more “Woke” shows today Looking at the CNN and The View folks here).

    I’d guess shows about human kindness still ring in the hearts of a lot of Americans.

    My how times have changed.

    40 years ago, we still had a lot of industrial capacity, and San Fran wasn’t an open-air homeless drug slum with human feces in the streets.

    Back then folks didn’t stand around live streaming some animal shooting a homeless guy in the back of the head.

    If I could I’d trade Wi-Fi and social media for that era again.

joe · March 2, 2023 at 8:45 pm

still watch it on metv…love all the old shows on ota tv…only watch normal tv when we have severe weather and that’s for the weather…

Skyler the Weird · March 3, 2023 at 6:33 am

The apartment complex I was living in D.C. at the time had a watch party. Everyone was dressed up in OD green or hospital gowns. It was a fun time.

AC47Spooky · March 3, 2023 at 10:12 am

The show opening immediately came to mind – helos landing people running to them and the stenciled lettering M.A.S.H.

Matthew W · March 3, 2023 at 11:24 am

Watched the final of Mash and The day After !!!!
While I was a huge fan of MASH once, it was a show that should have ended when Alda got to direct.

The Day After was eye opening…..

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