Originally Posted by DrCosmic
I do want to point out with the floating/sliding timelines that there are two separate concepts. One is the idea of a Relative Timeline like the MCU and Star Wars Have. Events occur at a distinct separation of time from a starting point, ie IM1+2 or the 10 years before the Battle of Yavin 4. This works when/since the actual date is indistinguishable from the implied date, so no one ever notices that time is not concrete, no continuity questions arise.
The other concept is Comic Book Time, where time passes differently for different characters, and the passage of time is generally an illusion. Kids age into adults and their parents and mentors remain the same age. Someone may say it's been 12 years since the heroes first debuted, but We've experienced 30 Christmas Episodes/Issues. You see this in cartoons, soaps and long running comedies on TV, where continuity questions are never asked because they are not expected to be taken seriously. Notably, James Bond was able to employ it in previous decades with less cynical audiences, however Bond's aging became part of the story with Brosnan's Bond, because modern audiences care about such things, and then of course the whole thing had to be rebooted with a more serious take on continuity, necessary for gripping character development.
Why would you assume that M*A*S*H* wasn't taken seriously? Or ask the soap fans if they take Days of Our Lives or whatever seriously. TBH, I never once saw anyone question Bond continuity (or lack thereof).
It's willing suspension of disbelief, and I think it's kind of ridiculous to think that general audiences (unlike us fanboys) would get all serious about timelines and continuity in a genre that is patently fantasy to begin with.