Is there much of a debate over whether the TV show or film is better?
When I first saw the film about a year ago, it made the TV show look extremely hackneyed and cheap by comparison.
I don't know which most people think is better, but I do know that people consider MASH the show to be one of the best shows of all time. I mean, it's hard to believe that MASH is even a good show when you see someone take the same source material and make it so much better.
MASH the show has Alan Alda firing off one-liners like he's Groucho Marx and it's just dumb. Alan Alda turns MASH into the George Burns and Gracie Allen show. Coupled with that, they try to mix the humor with those special "message" episodes that are all too gooey. MASH is easy to write: Just take a regular sitcom with witty dialoguse and set it in Korea, and then to make sure it's enough about the war, add in some message-oriented moment at the end of the episode.
The film had no borders between funny moments, mundane moments, and deeper moments, and it didn't rely on simple one-liners that could be written by any decent stand-up comic. The film's jokes were more overarching.