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2. That awkward laugh track

When the show first aired, CBS required that it use a laugh track, even though the producers and actors didn’t want it. Funny as the show was, it always seemed out-of-place to have canned laughter out there near the front lines of a war. However, studio audiences were the norm back then and all comedies had laughter in it to highlight the jokes – a holdover from radio days. The network felt that viewers wouldn’t know it was supposed to be a comedy without it. Producers negotiated that the laugh track would never be used in the operating room. As the series went on, they toned it down significantly. It was still poignant and funny without the overt “ha-has.” If you watch the DVD version of MASH, you can opt to turn off the fake laugh track and it really makes a difference to the impact of the material.


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