Alan Alda disagreed with the media's perception of him
Alda didn't understand his "perfect" image.
There are worse things to be labeled as than a nice guy. You've probably read worse labels for people over your morning coffee in the paper this morning than the label of "nice guy." So, when the media called Alan Alda nice, good, even perfect, they undoubtedly meant it as praise. Still, Alda stated once that he didn't agree with the labels placed on him by the media, to the point where the public's version of Alan Alda seemed unrecognizable from the real one.
In an interview with the New York Daily News, Alda said, "The more I read about this guy Alan Alda, the more he's out there somewhere. He's not me. We just have the same name and face. It's an imaginary character." Alda confirmed, "I am not this mythical perfect guy."
Moreover, Alda was confident that the perceptions of him were so frivolous that they didn't have any real staying power. He said, "I've been sort of tagged with this nice-guy stuff. I guess it will stick for a while and then people will find out I have big ears and they'll talk about that. I can't figure out where this came from, because I play people who are flawed, and that's all I write about, people who aren't perfect."
Alda considered himself so imperfect that he actually viewed himself as an "outsider," which provided fuel for him as a writer and creator. He said, "That made me observe people. I remember trying to write what I saw when I was 8."
But Alda was still considered a likable guy, whether you were speaking to the media or his fellow castmates on M*A*S*H who had known him for years. However, notoriety simply wasn't something he was concerned with.
Alda said, "I'm liberated from worrying about success now, and I've made enough money so I don't have to worry about that. What I do concern myself with is getting more and more satisfaction from my work and trying to improve it. But I really want to have fun, and right now I'm having a great time."
Ironically enough, Alan Alda being unconcerned over whether he is likable or not sort of just makes us like him even more.