THEME FROM M*A*S*H (Suicide Is Painless) [May]

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THEME FROM M*A*S*H (Suicide Is Painless) [May]

RYAN
Administrator
THEME FROM M*A*S*H (Suicide Is Painless)  Dance/performance number 219 by Legs & Co
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Performed by  Mash  reaching number 1 in the UK charts
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Original broadcast date  22/05/80  Duration of dance 2.53 mins
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Dancers--Gill, Lulu, Patti, Pauline, Rosie, Sue
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The Legs & Co attendance register so far after 219 dances

Pauline 199
Sue      198
Rosie    196
Patti     193            
Gill       192
Lulu      188
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A link to the dance -blog- http://www.oneforthedads.org.uk/?p=679
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Drab/boring TV programme, drab/boring theme tune yet it got to number one ! Im really struggling to find any redeeming features in the dance routine too, though the nice clear shots of the dancers faces at the start weren't to bad. The set reminds me of a post-nuclear apocalypse with the girls dressed in torn rags wading through clouds of radio active gasses (yes thats how depressing it appears). But i totally get the mood Flick was trying to create, and lets be fair, this is a song its almost impossible to produce a memorable routine for. But its a dance routine i would never choose to play in a month of Sundays.

Earlier in the year i spoke of my `turkey` for 1980 and this is it. But on watching it on TV as opposed to the computer, its does appear to be slightly more watchable, but only slightly. The score i shall award it, will be a full point more now its been shown on the big screen as it were.

DOTD-Gawd knows. In all the gloom, its hard to choose, but that single shot of `Lulu` looking rather cute gets her my vote.

Rating--As a Legs & Co fan, this isn't what i signed up for, so only `3.5 out of 10`.


RYAN
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Re: THEME FROM M*A*S*H (Suicide Is Painless) [May]

PattiforPM
Totally agree. Atmospheric set but tough music for dance and just not good to watch really.  Easily the most attractive Zombies I've ever seen though  3/10   ZotD Patti 
Some Dancers who gave a good time, broke all the rules, played all the fools, yeah yeah yeah they blew our minds
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Re: THEME FROM M*A*S*H (Suicide Is Painless) [May]

AC/PD
Dare it be stated that in line with the bracketed part of the song title, this routine is painful, and no doubt the dancers wanted to throw themselves off of rehearsal room chairs when learning they would be performing to this short-straw of a song. Surely even flick realised that herself and the dancers would be faced with a dead duck trying to get a decent dance routine out of a song with a nice enough tune containing concrete boot lyrics in terms of comfort and appeal. Reasons for living include the attractive backdrop and the dreamy opening shots of the dancers with faraway looks in their eyes although given the tone and nature of the piece, Rosie really ought not to be smiling so much throughout: if she's smiling and Pauline's not, something's wrong. The clothing's dishevelled, stained and war torn and as for Lulu's hair...
Rolling around is all well and good but not so in the presence of the dry ice in which we lose sight of them completely. In fact, at one stage where Patti, Gill and Rosie are seen together, I did start to wonder if Lulu, Pauline and Sue were still down in the mist or had sloped off early to get changed, giving up on the routine as a dead loss.
4/10
DOTD : Patti
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Re: THEME FROM M*A*S*H (Suicide Is Painless) [May]

Old Grey Whistler
I am probably on my own with this opinion but I quite like this routine.
The tune has a bit of a haunting quality to it, and Flick taps into that with some gentle choreography.  Having the girls appearing almost ghost like through the mist, in what appears to be a post apocalyptic world is powerful imagery. Their exit where they gradually drift off the stage is a fitting climax.
I appreciate  the dry ice may be in excess, and I wouldn't want to see routines like this every week but I think there is room for the occasional experiment. It reminds me quite a lot of the PP dance to I only have eyes for you. 

My score is 8 out of 10 and DOTD is Lulu.
Without Legs & Co, there would be no show!
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Re: THEME FROM M*A*S*H (Suicide Is Painless) [May]

Suefan
In reply to this post by RYAN
The unsettling subject matter of the song title was never going to be fertile ground for a dance and when you mix in the fog of war it all becomes very opaque indeed.  Flick's routine, costume and set design, mirror the mood but even so I'm only at 5.5 with Lulu, for her extra dishevelled hair, my Dotd.
Suefan
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Re: THEME FROM M*A*S*H (Suicide Is Painless) [May]

SuPaLu
In reply to this post by Old Grey Whistler
This is one of those rare times when there is nothing dance-wise or record-wise for me to like much.3/10
DotD:Patti
Glenn
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Re: THEME FROM M*A*S*H (Suicide Is Painless) [May]

brandonb
In reply to this post by RYAN
6/10 DOTD: Patti

Based on other comments here clearly MASH had had it's day by the early 1980s (it was very popular in the 70s I recall) and it is a bit confusing that this suddenly became a hit. Presumably there was a reason - but I can't remember why? Possibly the end of the TV series....? Nope it finished in 1983 so that wasn't it.

I'm with Old Grey Whistler in that I don't mind it that much. But it does seem out of place in the early 1980s as the song sounds more late 60s / early 70s to me which is probably when it was originally made. But I didn't mind the TV show too much. After 11 seasons it did get a bit formulaic but still had it's moments occasionally. Can't say it was essential TV but passed the time now and again.

It's certainly not a great number to dance to and hardly intended as dance music - but the girls had to dance to what they were given so it's not like they had a choice. In the circumstances they do ok. But can't really get over the "why"? Why this song then? Out of place, out of time...

Not much to choose from for a DOTD given the routine but Patti seemed to catch the mood by having a more miserable / serious expression than the rest which was perhaps appropriate for the whole affair so she gets my vote. Not really the best routine - but not my worst either.
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Re: THEME FROM M*A*S*H (Suicide Is Painless) [May]

Paperboyplod
In reply to this post by RYAN
The track, given its subject matter, for Flick, must've been a real mind-bender, to convert into a dance routine.
For starters, it's not a track that one can dance to, & lyrics all about 'ending it all', just because your life sucks.
Thankfully, it isn't too literal, but the 'early morning fog', curtesy of a dry ice machine(?), is an interesting touch, but poor lighting, really compromises visibility, I get that the sun may not have risen just yet, but we ought to be able to see the ladies, in all of their glory.
It must be a cold early morning, as fur coats are being worn.

7/10

DotD:-

Lulu
Justin
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Re: THEME FROM M*A*S*H (Suicide Is Painless) [May]

PaulF
It looks like even the great Flick run out of ideas and had to fill with VT in this routine. Very difficult for anyone to do a great job to this song within the restricted timescale, but caught a nice glimpse of Sue at the beginning so 5/10.

Dotd Rosie looked like she was enjoying it.
Paul
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Re: THEME FROM M*A*S*H (Suicide Is Painless) [May]

VintageVideos
Film director Robert Altman had two stipulations about this song: first, it had to be called "Suicide Is Painless"; second, it had to be the "stupidest song ever written". Altman's 14-year-old son wrote the lyrics in five minutes: mission accomplished, I'd say!

The song was recorded by session singers John Bahler, Tom Bahler, Ron Hicklin and Ian Freebairn-Smith in 1969. If the vocal harmonies appear somehow familiar to you, it may be because the Bahler brothers and Hicklin also lent their voices to some of the early Partridge Family records!

Back to the routine, which doesn't seem to be very popular with the OFTD gang. I can see why: not only does the music sound very dated (and boring), it is also a boring performance that lacks most of the ingredients the brand Legs & Co. stands for. I've watched it a couple of times in the hope that my estimation might increase but it didn't happen.

5 / 10

DotD: Rosie
Dance right on till the floors are breakin'
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Re: THEME FROM M*A*S*H (Suicide Is Painless) [May]

sueforever
In reply to this post by RYAN
For this routine we see our ladies in a bleak set, with lots of dry ice. The song it self is not a great number one anytime. The ladies are wearing ripped and dirty costumes of white. The routine is not a good one most of the routine is covered by the dry ice. So I'll be giving a low mark, to this routine. But there is one good moment and that is in the opening camera shots. That shows them wonderful and beautiful faces.

Dotd will be Rosie for this routine.

The score will be 4 out of 10.  
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Re: THEME FROM M*A*S*H (Suicide Is Painless) [May]

Gorgeous Daze
A pity it wasn't Peter Powell to introduce this Smash from Mash. Though I never did M*A*S*H. Or CHiPS. Preferred Porridge any time.

The futility of dance. The war-cloaked landscape and radioactive frosting are sacrificial to this one. Were they doomed from the opening salvo: 'Through early morning fog I see'? The song drizzles over me and even free of effects I wouldn't have been very big on this, but it does have sensitive and potentially moving choreography if only they'd waited till after the fallout. At its worst we can only guess at what exactly goes on under the blankets, when they might have rolled out convincing angst. Considering the visibility it makes matters worse that they spend more than average with their backs to us. I wonder if smiling Rosie got a ticking off? Though she redeems herself swaying and clutching her outstretched dress, dreaming of when there was peace. I approve of the bit where they appear to hold a meeting, seemingly dependent on a sad but serene Lulu brainstorming before she joins them in prostrate despair. Towards the end like a beacon of hope it dawns that Patti's allure still burns brightly in shredded dress. Mankind will recover with this hardy little band of survivors.

A reasonable attempt at a difficult song but markedly flawed in production. DOTD Patti.  4/10  And to think, Funky Town had just entered the charts...
Steve
Stu
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Re: THEME FROM M*A*S*H (Suicide Is Painless) [May]

Stu
I don't think it's as bad as some have made out, there's not an awful lot Flick could do with this, and I think it flows along quite nicely. DOTD could be anyone so I'll stay loyal to the mafia.

6/10

DOTD  Pauline
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Re: THEME FROM M*A*S*H (Suicide Is Painless) [May]

Adorable Gillusion
2/10   DOTD...Lulu
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Re: THEME FROM M*A*S*H (Suicide Is Painless) [May]

Colm
To paraphrase the lyrics, I tend to leave, rather than take, this route if I please.

This is one of the most challenging songs Flick was ever tasked with choreographing for TOTP, which I can certainly appreciate. But there's plenty of paradoxes to ponder in this routine: If the whole costume theme is "post-apocalyptic bordering on zombie", then why do the girls appear to have shiny hair decorations and glamorous earrings? Why do I feel a bit perturbed that Rosie may be not so serious as the others in conveying a mood of melancholy? Although it's one of the few songs where it could be a valuable part of the mies-en-scene, why do I not like the smoky stage? Why am I thinking about this too deeply?!

To be a bit more fair, the best part of the routine is the in-tune rhythmic movement to "same thing" in the final line.

Dancer of the Day: Very tempted to go for Lulu just for the "brave man once requested me" pose, but for me, the dancer who nails the atmosphere the routine best is Patti

Score: 6.5
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Re: THEME FROM M*A*S*H (Suicide Is Painless) [May]

Mikey
Through early morning fog i see.....er not very much. I don't mind this song at all, but as the basis for a dance routine its quite inappropriate unless some am-dram company want to depict war in their overzealous way, but for TOTP no thanks. The purple lighting is quite nice in an eerie mood setting way, and the dancing is ok, but less fog please director!. 6/10 and i think i'm being generous. DOTD Lulu.
♥♥♥♥ Cherry, Louise, Patti and Ruth Alliance ♥♥♥♥

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Re: THEME FROM M*A*S*H (Suicide Is Painless) [May]

L&C4me
4/10          DOTD. Patti

This was a poisoned chalice given to Flick and Legs &Co, coincidentally similar to the nature of the song. Patti uses her dramatic skills and as usual nails the mood in her expression.

I'm puzzled by the costume! I get that the clothes are bombed out, dirty and torn, but why use bright party outfits? Perhaps it's to emphasise  the projection of the extreme subject. The paradox here is the ambivalence in the lyrics (I can take or leave it if I please). Surely if one was contemplating this, they wouldn't be in an ambivalent state..

I'm surprised by the lack of extent of Ficks literal translation in this. I suppose we have fog, lying down and  miserable expressions. However, this was the theme of the well known program MASH and it is titled that way. Again, why the party dresses?

Dull, miserable and puzzling! It must be the popularity of  the MASH series that got this to No.1.
Jim
Doc
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Re: THEME FROM M*A*S*H (Suicide Is Painless) [May]

Doc
Well I having one of those days when my opinion is completely the opposite of  the popular one. The songs depressing, there's far too much fog and it's not easy to see what's going on. But I think this is an excellent routine that is just right for the music. The song was a tough task for Flick and she tried something different, it works for me but quite obviously not everyone's cup of tea! 9/10.
Dotd: Rosie.
Sandy Borne and Tricia Roberts Appreciation Society
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Re: THEME FROM M*A*S*H (Suicide Is Painless) [May]

Andeebee
In reply to this post by RYAN
Looking more like extras from Lionel Bart's Oliver then war torn refugees.

I can't see the point of this, the song is over 10 years old, and it shows. Depressing song, depressing routine, glad the dry ice was adding extra fog as the whole affair is abysmal, this is one routine I put up and gladly forgot about, haven't even seen it since it was on BBC4 (and the repeat a week later I skipped past and I never do that to any legs routine)

Painless, more painful, I bet one of the girls, if not all wish they were on holiday that week.

Scores:6 (that's been generous, or overtly suicidal)

Painful use of a dancer: Patti, the pained expression said it all
Hopelessly Devoted to Sue

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Re: THEME FROM M*A*S*H (Suicide Is Painless) [May]

Suefan
Ryan, glancing at your 'Have you commented...' table for 1980 I see that I've managed to give the 'Theme From MASH' less than 'Rock With You' and 'Together We Are Beautiful', both of which rank above it in my own personal duds list.

So if poss could I up my score for the Theme.... from a 5.5 to a 6.5.
Suefan
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