If you’re wondering why I didn’t start bingewatching as soon as I had the sofa and TV to myself, it was because I loved M*A*S*H in the 80s. I was allowed to stay up late after Guides on a Wednesday night to watch it and the disappointment I felt if I didn’t get home on time was acute. I looked at all those DVDs and was scared that it simply wouldn’t live up to my teenaged adoration.
Then a couple of weeks ago someone reblogged some M*A*S*H screenshots on to my Tumblr dashboard, I plucked up the courage to begin at the beginning and now I’m hooked all over again. Naturally, you’ll be getting a Joy of Sets review before long, but first things first. This was going to be a Lustbox for Hawkeye Pierce – then I started reading up on Alan Alda and it was clear that my focus was wrong.
Because while I love Hawkeye, with his whip-fast wit and scalpel-sharp comebacks – not to mention his liberal outlook and love of womankind (yes, he’s a womaniser, but he’s polite, respectful and always a gentleman (I’d choose Captain Benjamin Franklin Pierce over Richard Gere’s “officer and a gentleman” any day of the week.)) – the man who brought him to life is even more interesting.
Regular visitors to the Lustbox may have noticed that I most definitely have a type and that Alan Alda (especially in the M*A*S*H years) fits it to a T. But while my interest was grabbed by the thick black hair and the twinkling blue eyes (not to mention the frankly lovely physique he kept hidden under those ugly US Army duds, but revealed in almost all its glory in the s1 episode ‘Dear Dad, Again’), it’s everything else that makes me come over all swoony for the man.
Clearly he’s a talented actor, writer and director – he was nominated for 21 Emmy awards for M*A*S*H alone and won five (greeting his first win for writing with a cartwheel, apparently) – and I think we can agree that talent is most definitely hot.
He’s agnostic and fascinated by science. He’s thoughtful and liberal (he upsets Republicans *swoon*). He’s been married to the same (lucky) woman since 1957 (fidelity is also hot). And if that were not enough, he’s been a feminist activist for years. For his work on the Equal Rights Amendment, in 1976 the Boston Globe dubbed him “the quintessential Honorary Woman: a feminist icon”.
These are all the things I planned to tell you about, but I have one more thought to add. While perusing Google images for pictures to illustrate this post, I was struck by just how many off-camera shots show Alda smiling. Not polite-for-the-press smiles, big joyful beams and head back, belly-aching laughter. I strongly suspect that Alan Alda doesn’t have marrow deep in his bones, but great big reserves of joy…
So. There aren’t many men I’d sleep in a tent with, but if Hawkeye Pierce turned those big blue eyes my way and offered me a martini in the Swamp, I’d be under canvas before you could say “ventricular fibrillation”…
Jo the Hat