Remembering MASH; 3 reasons you have to understand why military surplus tents are representative of gothic trope

July 7, 2017

If you are a child of the seventies or eighties, then you unquestionably have experience with two genres, gothic and paramilitary. Gothic because blockbusters such as The Princess Bride and LadyHawke were prevalent and there was no greater example of gothic programming than those two motion productions. Also prevalent was the television series M*A*S*H*.

The horrors of war are often disguised, diffused, and intensified by situation comedies, and though M*A*S*H* was a sitcom, it definitely had a very dark and serious side as well. Two episodes that come to mind are the one where Captain Pierce causes a woman to strangle her baby, and another one where Major Hulahan is seen wearing a bloody wedding dress. (I can’t remember the ramifications off the top of my head about that).

The point is that the plot of M*A*S*H* in many episodes took on a gothic personification and many of the surrealistic scenes were replete with twisted images and epochs of the characters involved in such a way as to render the casual observer into the supernatural. It is for this reason that the green canvas of the army tents that made up the hospital are replacements for the stone crenellations of the gothic towers, and the bloodied operating rooms were symbolic of the earthen dungeons of gothic lore.

Here are three more representations found in the M*A*S*H* series that you have to understand are reminiscent of the gothic era and are therefore representative of the same.

1. The bloody bride. Though in fact a depiction of Margaret Hulahan, a surgical nurse, the bloody bride is also representative of the bleeding nun in The Monk, as well as the Bride of Frankenstein in the work called by the same name.

2. The man surrounded by amputated limbs is representative of the Frankenstein monster himself as introduced to us by Mary Shelley. This stark contrast of the disassembly of human beings stands as an obvious tribute to the assembly of same from various body parts.

3. The strangulation of the Korean baby, and the episode where a soldier is dead and his spirit interacts with the living characters is also very gothic in nature and is representative of the premise of life after death and ghostly hauntings that permeates gothic lore.

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