McHale, 'MASH,' And Gomer Pyle: War Is Hell, And Makes Good TV

By | December 20, 2018

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Left: M*A*S*H. Right: Jim Nabors as Gomer Pyle. Source: IMDB

The U.S. military is such a huge part of our life and national culture -- it's no wonder military-themed TV shows have been a staple of television since its inception. What's slightly surprising is how many of these shows have been comedies; it seems that while the work of defending the nation is serious stuff, Americans like seeing the lighter side of their men and women in uniform. And as anyone who's been in the service will tell you -- with all due respect to the military, there's plenty of fodder for comedy to be found. 

There were numerous military-themed shows, but here are four of the best.

A Goofball In Uniform: 'Gomer Pyle, USMC' (1964-69)

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Gomer Pyle, USMC was also a TV series about the U.S. Marines. The star of the show was Jim Nabors. Similar to the theme of Baa Baa Black Sheep, P.F.C. Pyle was a misfit himself. He portrayed something of an intellectually challenged underling. As the series played out, it became apparent that he wasn’t as stupid as he appeared. He was more so, inexperienced and “green.” Coming from the small town of Mayberry, he was not well versed in the ways of the real world, much less the military. He, nevertheless, pressed on, always trying to do the right thing and make Sergeant Carter happy.

Gomer Pyle’s famous expressions from this hit series included a long, drawn out… "Gollee!" and "Shazam!"