CBS (ended 1984)





AfterMASH Fan Reviews (9)

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  • One season of progressive storylines followed by one season of utter fail. For what it was in its best moments, for what it could have been, it will not be hated by those who seek it out. But for how it fell in the last eight episodes, it will be pitied.

    The story goes that most of the cast of MASH wanted to shut it down after S10, but three vehemently wanted it to continue, as did CBS. The compromise found was S11, complete with a grand finale, which also laid the ground for AfterMASH.

    In the first season, AfterMASH went where you'd think a MASH sequel would go. In the worthy first ep, Potter and his wife have an encounter with a disturbed kid from the veterans' hospital Potter now works at, one who thinks the former Colonel will send him back to Korea. We find that Klinger and his war bride Soon-Lee have hit hard times since finding her family in Korea, and need a hand up from the Potters. Even the Padre is in the doldrums, his hearing loss from the MASH finale (which is mostly corrected later on) driving him to drink. Some tough stuff early on, and the travails don't end there. Potter deals with his boss, a goofy Admin for the hospital who seems to regard spending money on their shell-shocked patients as treason. Soon-Lee has some trouble adjusting to life in America, which causes Max some troubles in turn. The Padre actually gets cheated by the bureaucracy for the cost of his operation, but begins a crusade to find loopholes for other patients similarly blocked. In a tender Thanksgiving episode, Soon-Lee announces her pregnancy while Max's once-estranged family embraces them both. In the same ep, Potter's son and daughter-in-law borrow money to start some newfangled business called a laundromat, while Potter's grandson asks a disabled soldier about his missing leg, a lesson Potter wants him to learn. Add in the return of Gary Burghoff as Radar for two episodes, and the wonderful performance of Barbara Townsend as the Mildred Potter we always imagined, and so much of the first season rocked.

    But even in that time, there was a problem. The supporting characters were either derivative of older MASH characters or annoying uses of screen time. We didn't know these people, and we didn't want to. Even if they had taken all their plot time and given it to something as silly as Mac Stevenson playing Henry's ghost walking the halls of General Pershing Veterans' Hospital, it still would have worked better. What's more, the plot with Potter answering to someone else seemed novel, but basically took the air out of the character. Then came S2. It lasted only eight episodes, and wrecked everything. A show that could have lasted five seasons died on the vine, just after its first good harvest. Every bit of character development Max had since taking over for Radar vanished. Potter now had a wily scheming Admin as his boss, and now the annoying Alma Cox as his secretary, with Mrs. Potter now played by Anne Pitoniak as an air-headed shrewish moron, a sharp army wife becoming a doddering idiot. Soon-Lee devolved into a crying immigrant caricature, a waste of later Star Trek alum Rosalind Chao's talents.

    The first season took all the goodwill left over from MASH and ran with the ball to score an early touchdown. The second season squandered every last bit of that and only guaranteed there would be no third season and that AfterMASH would remain a curiosity some people don't even know existed.
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