THE M*A*S*H TRIVIA QUIZ BOOK
by Christopher and Ryan DeRose
Reviewed by Steven H Silver
The television show M*A*S*H aired for 251 episodes over eleven seasons from September 17, 1972 through February 28, 1983. At one time in danger of being cancelled for low ratings, its final episode still holds the record for the largest audience for a scripted television episode after 36 years. The show has been in syndication since before original episodes ended and has constantly been on the air, finding new fans through reruns. Christopher and Ryan DeRose have published The M*A*S*H Trivia Quiz Book to take a look at the classic comedy series.
The DeRoses book isn’t the first M*A*S*H trivia book. Paul Bertling and George St. John each published one in 1984, with Bertling’s book designated “Official” and St. John’s “Unofficial.” In addition a M*A*S*H trivia game was published in the 1980s and the trivia cards could be purchased separately for use on their own or with Trivial Pursuit. It has been many years since a M*A*S*H trivia product has been released, so the DeRoses book does fill a gap.
The organization of the book is obvious. Each chapter is dedicated to one of the show’s eleven season and is divided into subchapters dealing with each of the season’s episodes. The DeRoses provide the name of the episode, the director and writer, a selection of the supporting case, and a one line synopsis of the episode. Occasionally, they provide some information about one of the episode’s writers or guest stars. This information is followed by anywhere between three and ten questions about the episode (with the finale having a whopping 38 questions.
The questions are not basic, nor are they easy. They get straight to the most trivial matters of the show. Even avid watchers of the show would do well to re-watch an episode before taking the quiz relating to the individual episode. Off-hand comments and questions about quantities are par for the course in the book. Attempting to answer the questions without a recent rewatch is sure to inspire a the reader to watch the episode to sport the answers to the questions.
Of course, the book does include the answers as well. Following the last question for season eleven, the answers to all of the questions are given in the same order the questions were asked. Generally accurate, two of the answers for the pilot episode simply repeat the original questions asked without giving the correct answers. A simple typo, but an important one, hopefully corrected in future editions of the book.
What The M*A*S*H Trivia Quiz Book truly lacks are questions which span multiple episodes or seasons or look at the show as a whole. All of the trivia questions are within the confines of the show, not about the show itself or the actors who participated in the show. As a dyed-in-the-wool M*A*S*H fan, it also seems like the book would have benefited from having questions (perhaps foe each episode) whcih were sorted by specific level of obscurity.
In addition to testing the reader's knowledge of M*A*S*H, The M*A*S*H Trivia Quiz Book serves to inspire re-watching the classic television show, which is, perhaps, the best thing a book like this can do. It also serves as a thematic companion to Ed Solomonson & Mark O'Neill's TV's M*A*S*H: The Ultimate Guide Book, which BearManor published in 2009, both offer reminders of the magic the brought the 4077th into living rooms over the course of eleven seasons.
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