"What was great about 'M*A*S*H' was its uniqueness. It's the deepest and darkest of any situation comedy and was unafraid to tackle the humanity that was involved in war. They had to cope with the madness of it by acting out. I can't think of another show that's been quite like that or may ever be like that; taking on a subject matter that you would never associate with comedy."
About This Interview
In the half-hour, solo portion of his Archive interview, David Isaacs recalls his first job in the television industry in the film department at ABC Television. He discusses consulting on the comedy series Leo & George, starring Judd Hirsch and Bob Newhart. He talks about his year as consulting producer for season two of Mad Men, collaborating with an all-female writing staff and show creator Matthew Weiner. He also outlines his then-current job as a writing teacher at USC. In the two-hour joint portion of their Archive interview, Ken Levine and David Isaacs recount how they met while in the military, and describe their early collaborative efforts, which culminated with the sale of a spec script to The Jeffersons. They detail their time writing for M*A*S*H and discuss the medical research for the show, writing for the various established characters, and penning specific episodes such as "Point of View," which garnered them an Emmy nomination. They touch on co-producing the short-lived sequel After MASH, and developing Cheers along with creators Glen and Les Charles. They describe the challenges of Cheers' first year, comment on winning an Emmy for the show, and discuss the chemistry between the characters of "Sam" and "Diane." Levine and Isaacs recount writing for the Cheers spin-off, Frasier, and talk of the challenges of making a supporting character the lead. They outline their collaborative process, how they deal with writers' block, and what they look for when assembling a writing staff. Stephen J. Abramson conducted the interview in a joint venture with The Writers Guild Foundation on September 29, 2014 in Los Angeles, California.