Sunday, August 03, 2008

M*A*S*H, bad writing, and long-lost friends

Yesterday I saw a teenage girl lugging around a big shiny black covered book, and I realized, oh, it was the publication day of the next (last?) in the "Twilight" series. Somehow this didn't strike me as cute as when a girl walked past me reading aloud the first few pages of the latest "Harry Potter" by the light of the streetlights, shortly after its midnight release.

I am not going to read any more of the "Twilight" series. I have decided it's less about the lameness of the poor-helpless-girl geting saved by insanely-handsome dead guy (although that's a sore spot for many other detractors) than it is, simply, the quality of the writing. I can't get past the inconsistencies of the plot and character in the first book. It's hard to believe that the manuscript passed through the eyes of readers and editors and nobody questioned some of the continuity errors. In my writing group, this would not happen - we're all over any lapses in logic, if nothing else.

(Oh, we're on top of plenty else. I am selling us short.)

* * *

Today I went to see "M*A*S*H" as part of the Elliott Gould film month at BAM. It was strange to see something so familiar on the small screen on the big one, although despite BAM's press release about a new print, it was scratchy and jumpy and missing at least one scene. (I know this because I came home and popped in my DVD and listened to Robert Altman's commentary. It seemed fitting.)

In the commentary, Altman is extremely dismissive of the TV series, which I'd heard, but he actually says it starred "Alan Albert or something." I grew up on the TV show, and didn't see the movie for a few years after it came out. But I remember it being so much racier, so much more adult. I remember when my best friend and I were 12, our sleepovers involved shared fantasies of being nurses at the 4077th and getting into all kinds of escapades with the doctors (I always had Hawkeye, she had Trapper John.) It was scandalous.

* * *

A colleague invited me to be his friend on Facebook. I hadn't paid much attention to it since my brother somehow convinced me to join, so when this co-worker reached out to me I had only 4 friends, 2 of whom share my last name. Lame. So I started inviting everyone I could think of, and in the process, stumbled upon a couple of people I've been out of touch with for years. They have not yet responded to me. I am both afraid they won't, and afraid they will.

One of the people who accepted my friend request is the husband of a friend - that very same friend who played MASH with me over three decades ago. She is not on Facebook. He is overseas, in the military, in a volatile place. It was weird to see his picture online, weirder still to get his response almost immediately, even more weird to see how often he updates his profile or gets messages from friends. I know it's not like the 50's or even the 70's anymore, and I know that my friend has long IM conversations with him almost daily, and that all this communication doesn't mean she isn't still suffering without him, just as much as a long-ago spouse who only had infrequent airmail letters. I'm not discounting her missing him, worrying about him. Maybe it was easier back then, when days and weeks went by without connecting?

Still weird to be thinking so recently of lying in sleeping bags in a pup tent in her backyard, whispering about Trapper and Hawkeye.

* * *

I also saw "Boy A" this weekend, but will write about it later.


Blogger Jerry said...

The "M*A*S*H" movie is way superior to the television series. I think the thing that really annoyed me about the television series was the laughter track. Intrusive and awful.

2:36 AM  
Blogger medusa said...

I agree. I haven't seen the tv show in a long time, either, but I remember that being a big deal when I saw the movie in the past - it seemed so much funnier because there was no laugh track.

Problem is I think that I expected things to happen in the movie that only happened on the TV show - like when Hawkeye tries and fails to get their Korean helper out of being drafted, it seems to pass by really quickly in the movie without much comment. I kept waiting for him to show up in their operating room, but I think that only happened on TV.

12:36 PM  

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