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Best ever season? Very possibly
on 26 April 2005
MASH's fifth season would probably get my vote as the finest of them all. Seasons 2, 3, 4 and 6 run it very close, but pound for pound the episodes in Season 5 are stronger than any other, with only one stinker (the ghastly 'Exorcism') blotting the creators' collective copybooks.
No doubt MASH devotees will be getting this DVD anyway (though their loyalty may be stretched when it comes to the very weak later years) but casual purchasers should buy it for no other reason than it contains 'Dear Sigmund', the greatest ever MASH episode. The arrival of Sidney Freedman in camp always indicated high quality - see 'Deal Me Out' in 2, 'War of Nerves' in 6 and 'The Billfold Syndrome' in 7 for other great Freedman episodes - but 'Dear Sigmund' beats them all.
This is also the hapless Frank Burns' final year at the 4077th. By this stage he'd become even more of an isolated buffoon than before, so it was probably right for the excellent Larry Linville to move on. There are some priceless Frank moments in this season, particularly in 'The Korean Surgeon' and 'Hepatitis'.
Season 5 boasts three classic Margaret episodes too, featuring her engagement, a supposed abduction and her marriage (in the latter, Hawkeye and BJ manage to get Penobscott drunk and set him in a waist-high body cast for his wedding day).
Other marvellous Season 5 episodes include 'Hawkeye Get Your Gun', '38 Across', Hanky Panky', 'Bug Out', 'The Most Unforgettable Characters', 'The General's Practitioner' and 'Movie Tonight'.
MASH Season 5 is highly recommended for all lovers of classic TV comedy.