M*A*S*H, the television adaptation of the 1970 movie, was a staple of '70s television and one of the longest-running sitcoms of all time. So of course when that show came to an end in 1983 there had to be a spinoff. And like every good spinoff, it had to feature the three characters everyone cared the least about: Sherman T. Potter, Father Francis Mulcahy and Klinger. It would be like if The Simpsons had a spinoff with Principal Skinner, Milhouse and Disco Stu.
"Disco Stu doesn't do spinoffs."
AfterMASH explored these three working together in a Missouri hospital. "Wow, that sounds awful," you say. Well, not so fast! AfterMASH was developed for television by Larry Gelbart. Yes, the same Larry Gelbart who adapted M*A*S*H. The Larry Gelbart who wrote for Sid Caesar's Your Show of Shows. The Larry Gelbart who wrote the Oscar-nominated screenplay for Tootsie. THAT Larry Gelbart. Oh, and by the way, you'd be totally right, because Larry Gelbart aside, AfterMASH totally sucked.
Here, you don't need to watch any part of the show. Just watch this poorly edited collage of varying opening credits to get the full extent of the suck.
How did it fail? It has everything people want in a sitcom: Missouri, Jamie Farr and hot geriatric sex.
Unfortunately, the series was canceled before the money shot.
#1. Howie Mandel Does the Watusi
Before Howie Mandel rose to fame as the host of a game show I'll never watch, he was Dr. Wayne Fiscus on one of the greatest shows ever on television: St. Elsewhere. St. Elsewhere was smart, moving, clever and inventive. And as if by some cosmic law requiring the attraction of opposites, Howie Mandel had a stand-up act that was none of those things. He was famous for blowing surgical balloons up on his head. And in 1987 he released a comedy song called "I Do the Watusi."
"The Watusi" asked the question: What if we took some of Howie's worst material and combined it with music that no one could possibly ever listen to? What, indeed!
Did you watch it? I know I was alive in the '80s, but I promise you I can't explain why this is supposed to be funny. You know those heartbreaking stories you hear about strokes and head trauma and mental illness where suddenly patients lose the ability to discern classical music from rock or they mistake their wife for their hat? That's how I feel watching this. I can't conceive of a time where this was classified as comedy. I know each question is a joke, but fuck, I just don't know. Hey, here's a quiz. Which of these is an actual question (joke) from the song?
What do you do when your tadpole has leprosy?
What do you do when someone puts mayonnaise on your shoulder?
What do you do when your grand piano reeks of tuna?
It was the funny one! Duh.
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