‘M*A*S*H’ stars hold table read for new scene written by AI

Alan Alda and Mike Farrell reunited for one unique new scene.

After 40 years, two stars of the hit series “M*A*S*H” reunited to read out a new scene for the show. The twist? It was completely written by artificial intelligence.

Alan Alda, who played the main character Benjamin “Hawkeye” Pierce in the series, brought former co-star Mike Farrell, who played B.J. Hunnicutt, to his podcast, “Clear+Vivid,” for this unique task.

The new scene was created with ChatGPT, the software that has fascinated the internet for several weeks now.

Alda, who is interested in the capabilities of AI, especially when it comes to writing for TV, used the software to create a scene in which Hawkeye accuses B.J. of stealing his boxers.

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He instructed the software to “make it funny,” but whether it was successful is debatable, as Alda said later in the podcast episode, “It has a terrible sense of humor.”

The scene begins with Hawkeye saying, “Where are they? My shorts.” B.J. responds, “Your what?”

“My shorts — the ones I wear every time I have important surgery. I know you took them,” says Hawkeye.

B.J. notes, “I wouldn’t be caught dead in your underwear,” before Hawkeye comments, “They’re not just underwear; they’re comfortable and I like wearing them and they’re missing.”

The conversation is simple and straightforward, but you can see how the AI software attempted to add humor and character.

ChatGPT’s scene continues with B.J. saying, “Oh, you mean your lucky shorts?” Hawkeye responds, “They’re not lucky. I don’t believe in that nonsense.”

B.J. disputes that, adding, “Like the time you insisted on wearing the same pair of socks for a week because you won a game of poker in them?”

The scene continues with the two arguing about whether or not Hawkeye is superstitious before he utters the line: “I can’t believe you’re taking that seriously. I am not superstitious. And those are just my normal everyday shorts. I wear them because they inspire me and they remind me of my grandmother.”

Alda shared that he actually edited out part of the last quote that said that the shorts reminded Hawkeye of his grandmother because “she once bet on a horse that turned out to be a cow and still managed to make a profit.”

It’s not exactly Emmy-winning writing, that’s for sure, but artificial intelligence is quite accomplished. As for whether or not the new scene is canon for M*A*S*H fans, Alda said, “That’s for future generations to determine.”

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