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Name: M*A*S*H
Abbreviation(s): MASH, Mash
Date(s): 1972-1983
Medium: Television
Country of Origin: United States
External Links: IMDB
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In what is probably its most familiar form, M*A*S*H is an American half-hour television series that ran from 1972 to 1983. Set during the Korean War of the 1950s, it follows the exploits of army personnel stationed at a Mobile Army Surgical Hospital (MASH).

from Rerun #1, artist is Rhonda Reece
B.J. Hunnicut, from Diverse Dimensions #4 (1983), artist is TACS

Canon Overview

M*A*S*H began life as a novel, MASH: A Novel About Three Army Doctors (1968), written under the name "Richard Hooker" by Dr. H. Richard Hornberger (a Korean War veteran) and writer W. C. Heinz.[1] The book focused on the adventures of two MASH doctors, Duke Forrest and Hawkeye Pierce. In 1970, the book was adapted into a movie, MASH (M*A*S*H, in publicity posters), in which thinly disguised commentary on the contemporary war in Vietnam was presented as a dark comedy in which the characters use humor and alcohol to deal with the horrors of war. The movie was directed by Robert Altman.

Although the movie was somewhat controversial, it was popular enough that in 1972, a television version debuted on primetime. (It was with the TV series that the punctuation with asterisks became the accepted spelling.) For the television version, the focus shifted to Hawkeye and another MASH doctor, Trapper John McIntyre, with a supporting cast that was partly original.

M*A*S*H was wildly successful, redefining the American half-hour comedy genre in a number of ways.[2][3] The show ran for 11 years; the Korean War only lasted three.

For a list of related fandoms, see List of Military Fandoms.


art from Odyssey #3, Hawkeye Pierce by Carol Walske

The show consisted almost entirely of ensemble comedy, although in its 11 years there were several casting changes. This is a list of some of the lead characters (not all), along with a few distinguishing characteristics.

by Connie Faddis from Syndizine (1979) for the story "Contagion"

M*A*S*H Fandom

back cover of Warped Space #37, Jackie Paciello

The MASH fandom is somewhat small, but because of the show's pervasive nature (it was on the air for so long, and is still played more than once a day on cable networks such as TVLand), references to MASH, its characters and its canon can be found sprinkled liberally throughout the fannish world.

The first MASH slash story was Three Day Pass, by Arduinna, a Hawkeye/Trapper story written for the zine Nothing to Hide in 1998 and posted to the net a year later. It was the only MASH slash until 2001, when the mash-slash mailing list was started up on Yahoogroups.

Best Care Anywhere and M*A*S*H The 4077th Home Page

From the mid 90s through the early 2000s, MASH fandom was largely organized around message boards located on the websites Best Care Anywhere (still active as of Feb 28, 2023) and M*A*S*H The 4077th Home Page. The M*A*S*H The 4077th Home Page, commonly known as "Andy's", referred to its forum as the Bulletin Board and also featured The Officer's Club, a chat room that required users to manually refresh the page in order to see the latest updates. In 2001, a small group of fans from the Bulletin Board and Officer's Club arranged a meet-up in Toledo, Ohio. The Bulletin Board later relocated to its own domain.

Fan Fiction

Fan fiction was not typically posted to message boards; rather, it was e-mailed to the site owner who would format and post the stories to his site's fan fiction section. Gen and het were the norm, with Hawkeye/Margaret being the most common pairing and Charles/Margaret also developing a loyal following. Rivalry between supporters of the two pairings was largely good-natured.

There was a small degree of controversy when the owner of Best Care Anywhere reportedly refused to post a m/m slash story by author Megan Faye. It was also around this time that smaller M*A*S*H fan fiction archives such as Colleen's began to appear. Some of the newer archives allowed slash as well as NC-17 stories.

Pairings and Relationships

Mash-Slash Mailing List

The Mash-slash mailing list has generated some stories every year since 2001, although activity has been erratic in the last few years. With no archive available, though, the stories are restricted to list members. However, in 2004 the list membership organised the Mash Slash Awards[4] which provides an overview of some of the best stories available then.

List membership tends to be young, mainly high-school and college-aged. Stories on the list tend to favor Hawkeye/BJ, but cover almost every imaginable slash pairing; it's also considered perfectly acceptable to post a story with no character names attached, inviting the readers to imagine their own favorite characters in the roles. Femslash is rare, and usually features Erin Hunnicutt, the daughter of BJ Hunnicutt (never seen in the show, during which she was a toddler), aged up to high-school or college age and generally paired with an OFC.

Stories on the list -- particularly those featuring Hawkeye in any way -- also tend toward somberness and angst; there's lots of deathfic (often suicide); sometimes the death itself is the focus, but stories also revolve around funerals. There's also a remarkable amount of cutting and similar coping strategies.

In recent years, the mailing list has developed a sister-LJ community, also called mash-slash.

M*A*S*H in Yuletide

Yuletide was a steady source of MASH fanfic until 2015, when it became too large to meet Yuletide's eligibility standards and was excluded from the tag set. Yuletide MASH fic consists mainly of gen and slash; the most common slash pairing seems to be Hawkeye/Trapper John, although there are some stories featuring Hawkeye/B.J. and one featuring Hawkeye/Mulcahy.

M*A*S*H on Fanfiction.net

MASH stories started appearing on fanfiction.net in 2000, most of them apparently gen or het.

M*A*S*H and other Fandoms

MASH has also been crossed with other fandoms, from Buffy[5] to Quantum Leap[6], to Highlander[7] and The Manchurian Candidate[8] as well as being used as a setting for other fandom stories in which characters from other fandoms are cross-cast as various MASH characters.(need citations, examples, links)

The show's combination of humor and pathos makes for a rich playground for many genres of fanfiction, from angst to fluff to schmoop.

Fan Comments


In the early seventies, a movie came out about the korean War. It was a movie with an underlying theme of anti-war, for in that time period, Vietnam, how could any sane, rational person be any thing but anti-war? The only trouble was that the theme of the movie was not more strongly voiced. Surprisingly, it took television to do that. When Ring Lardner, Jri's movie about a Mobile Army Surgical Hospital, or M*A*S*H, was developed for television, it was turned from a mild-mannered movie into a moving, emotional series about a group of dedicated doctors and nurses, with eccentricities, to be sure, but with nothing more important than the welfar of their patients. And the man who did it, almost single-handedly, at least in the beginning, was Larry Gelbart. He got his start writing jokes for Danny Thomas, moved on to the old shows in TV's Golden Age, such as "Duffy's Tavern" and "Your Show of Shows". He's written movies and stage plays, with two of his more recent efforts, which are among his besti the play "Sly Fox" and the movie "Oh, God." Anyone who knows me, knows that I love M*A*S*H far and away above all other television shows, including "Star Trek". I can't help it. I have never seen a bad episode of that series and we all know, despite our love for ST, that we did see more than our share of turkeys. It was Star Trek" and science fiction that got me interested in writing and for that I am grateful. It was fandom that got me many friends and loved ones and for that I am very grateful.

But it was M*A*S*H that matured me, both as a writer and as a human being. It was M*A*S*H that made me realize that when there nothing else to do, sometimes the best thing to do is laugh. It was that made me realize that, as corny as it sounds, there nothing more important than another person's life. It was that made me realize that it we stop caring, we have nothing left. For if we stop caring, we're no longer human beings.

I learned that from M*A*S*H and from the man who put it there for me to find. And this is just my way of telling Larry Gelbart that I'm very glad I learned what I learned, the way I learned it. Thank you, Larry. [9]


I can't remember a time when I didn't watch MASH, and while I loved the whole series, my favorite seasons were the first three, with Trapper and Hawkeye at the heart of that. I love the joy they take in each other, the way they delight in delighting each other, whether with a joke or a shared smile or a drink after a hard day at the OR. They're hugely competent, and smart, and caring, and when they're together all of that is more than multiplied. I also love that they can disagree, and argue, and even fight, and still come out of it with an intact, strong relationship - they may back each other, but they're not each other's yes-men, and they're not blind to each other's flaws. [10]

Mailing lists and LiveJournal communities

Yahoo! Groups

  • mash-slash Mash-Slash "Everyone wants to see M*A*S*H slash, but no one writes it, come and write." And "A mailing list dedicated to the slash undercurrents of the show, M*A*S*H. Fic is hoarded, discussion is welcome. Gen or het is okay, but slash is encouraged. a lot. really a lot. ;)" (founded: Jan 19, 2001)

Live Journal


  • Monster M*A*S*H - covers the Richard Hooker novels, 1970 film adaptation, CBS TV series, and spin-off series

Tumblr Blogs

MASH has a small but vocal fan community on Tumblr, which, like the rest of the current fandom, tends to skew quite young. Fans circulate animated gifsets of episodes and run role-playing askblogs.




Fan Websites


Example Fanworks





  1. ^ Information from the Wikipedia article "MASH: A Novel About Three Army Doctors".
  2. ^ John Thornton Caldwell, Televisuality: Style, Crisis, and Authority in American Television, (New Brunswick, New Jersey: Rutgers University Press, 1995), 61-62.
  3. ^ Michelle Hilmes, Only Connect: A Cultural History of Broadcasting in the United States, 2nd Ed., (Canada: Thomson Wadsworth, 2007), 237.
  4. ^ Mash Slash Awards (for Excellence in Fanfiction), accessed November 3rd, 2008
  5. ^ Twisting the Hellmouth, MASH accessed October 25, 2008.
  6. ^ Q*U*A*N*T*U*M*L*E*A*P, by Kathryn Lively archived 28 Dec 2001
  7. ^ Walker Among The Dead by Jane Carnall accessed November 3rd, 2008
  8. ^ Radar's First Time/Return A Man by Scribe accessed November 3rd, 2008
  9. ^ comments by Joel Davis in Odyssey #3 (1979)
  10. ^ from Dear Yuletide Writer, posted by Arduinna, November 12, 2009