Teaching Students About the Duration of ‘MAS*H’ on TV: Exploring the Long-Running Television Series

M*A*S*H, the iconic television series that aired from 1972 to 1983, is an important cultural touchstone for many people. For some, it was a staple of their childhoods, watched with their families every week. For others, it’s a show that they discovered in syndication or through streaming services like Hulu or Netflix.

Regardless of how one came to love M*A*S*H, it’s important to recognize its cultural significance and teach young people about its impact on television programming, family viewing habits, and popular culture.

Teaching M*A*S*H can be done in a variety of ways in the classroom. Here are a few suggestions:

1. Watch episodes and analyze them

Watching episodes of M*A*S*H in class is a great way to introduce students to the show and dive into its themes and messages. Episodes like “Dear Dad… Three” and “Goodbye, Farewell and Amen” deal with the emotional toll of war and how it affects soldiers. Others, like “Yankee Doodle Doctor” and “Bug Out,” explore the absurdity and chaos of life in a military hospital.

After watching an episode, students can discuss its themes, messages, and how the show’s storytelling techniques influenced television programming in the years that followed.

2. Contrast M*A*S*H with other popular shows

M*A*S*H was unique in that it touched on serious themes like war and death while also delivering comedic moments that appealed to a broad audience. Contrast the show with other popular television shows of its time, like The Brady Bunch, I Dream of Jeannie, and The Love Boat. Discuss the differences in tone, genre, and themes.

3. Research and write about the show’s cultural impact

M*A*S*H was a ground-breaking show in many ways. It tackled serious issues like suicide, PTSD, and drug addiction at a time when these topics were not often covered on television. It also helped change the way networks approached programming by introducing the idea of a finale episode. Students can research and write about the show’s cultural impact on television and popular culture.

4. Assign a creative project

After watching and discussing M*A*S*H in class, assign a creative project that allows students to think about the show in a new way. For example, students could create an episode of M*A*S*H that deals with a contemporary issue like COVID-19 or climate change. Or they could design a new opening or closing theme song for the show.

In conclusion, teaching students about how long M*A*S*H was on TV is more than just a discussion of a popular TV show. It’s an opportunity to explore themes and messages that are relevant today, as well as delve into the history of television programming and its cultural impact. By incorporating M*A*S*H into classroom discussions, teachers can help students better understand the importance of popular culture and how it can be used to explore serious issues.

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