Episode Spotlight: None Like it Hot


Every Monday, I spotlight a random episode of M*A*S*H, providing a brief review and asking readers to offer their thoughts.

“None Like it Hot” (#150, 7×06)
Originally Broadcast: Monday, October 23rd, 1978
Written by Ken Levine & David Isaacs and Johnny Bonaduce
Directed by Tony Mordente

Capsule Summary: In the middle of a heat wave, Hawkeye and B.J. try to hide their new bathtub from the rest of the camp. Meanwhile, Klinger tries to use the heat to get out of the Army.

The A story involving Hawkeye and B.J.’s bathtub is silly but harmless, although reminiscent of “The Long John Flap” back in Season 1. In both episodes, somebody at the 4077th has something everyone else wants. It’s a plot that turned up time and time again on M*A*S*H. In fact, just a few episodes after “None Like It Hot” came “Communication Breakdown” in which everyone wanted to read the newspapers Charles received from home.

But why did Hawkeye even need to buy a canvas bathtub? What happened to the swimming pool Henry had built in “The Consultant” during Season 3? Maybe there wasn’t enough water available to fill the pool. There’s yet another bit of continuity confusion involving bathing: in Season 8’s “Life Time” Hawkeye asks Klinger to go get his canvas bathtub despite the fact that it was traded away in this episode.

Poor Hawkeye. By trying to help Radar, he inadvertently spilled the beans about the bathtub to the whole camp–or at least the nurses. Once the secret is out, unfortunately, an already silly story line becomes even sillier. Why would everyone line up to take a 10-minute bath? Why not just make a schedule? And where exactly is all this cold water coming from?

I do love how Charles uses the fight to cut the line and slip into the tub.

Klinger’s B story is solid and perhaps the last of his great Section 8 stunts. There were a handful of others during Season 7 and one or two more in Seasons 8 and 9. Only a few of his stunts throughout M*A*S*H actually came close to succeeding and this was one of them. He was so close: only one more hour and he would have made it.

Radar’s tonsillitis can be considered a C story, although there isn’t much to it and it does fit somewhat into the bathtub A story. Colonel Potter chiding Hawkeye for joking around before and during the surgery is a nice touch. Everyone cared about Radar but the Potter-Radar relationship was deeper than most.

Still from the M*A*S*H episode None Like It Hot showing Hawkeye in a bath tub.

Hawkeye the sailor man.

Margaret screaming “I want it!” when she bursts in on Hawkeye, B.J., and Father Mulcahy–and, more importantly, the tub–is ridiculous. Shrill Margaret at her worst.

When Hawkeye, B.J., and Colonel Potter rush over to break up the fight, the edges of the camera lens can be seen in the corners. Perhaps a special wide lens was used for this scene? Or maybe the lens was out of focus.

Ted Gehring, who played Sergeant Rhoden in this episode, earlier guest starred in Season 2’s “The Incubator” as Major Morris. Both characters were scroungers and hoarders.

Back in 2010, someone raised the possibility that Beeson Carroll made an uncredited cameo in “None Like It Hot” as the tall, dark-haired man in line for the tub. All evidence points to it being a random background extra who looks vaguely like Carroll.

29 Replies to “Episode Spotlight: None Like it Hot”

  1. This is another one of my top tier episodes, in fact, not only is it perhaps my favorite Season 7 episode, but one of my favorite episodes of the entire series. Living in the south, it gets hotternell down here from late spring to early fall, so the storyline about the need to cool off in a bathtub of cold water is a very relatable scenario, and there have been days I’ve faced where it’s been so hot, I’d rather soak in a cold tub than take a measley cool shower. Unfortunately, when it gets really, really hot, the water won’t even get cold, just cool or room temperature at best.

    That being said, I’ve noticed that although M*A*S*H had started toning down its laugh track well before now, this particular episode has a rather heartier and livelier laugh track – I guess because it’s clear this was a particularly more lighthearted and humorous episode.

    RJ mentions Charles using the fight to cut ahead in line, but did anyone else notice that Margaret had cut the line too when she started yelling at someone (who turned out to be Mulcahy) to hurry up and finish so she can have her turn, even though she was like third or fourth in line before she cut?

    Oh, and one more thing . . . I remember at one point, Hawkeye brings up the matter of, “changing the water now and then.” Are they all just getting into the tub right after one another? So they’re all just sitting in a tub of everyone else’s dirt, grime, bacteria, and filth? Ew.

  2. Would Charles really share dirty bathwater with people he barely even speaks to? And why does Margaret run into the mess tent? I love when Klinger apologizes to Margaret and then asks her for a date!

    “How long will it be before I can talk good?”
    “How long you been trying?”

    A funny, frivolous episode and the first of three “weather” episodes to air within a month, followed by They Call the Wind Korea and Baby It’s Cold Outside.

  3. when another poster mentioned them not changing the water and Charles nothing in everyone elses water; those 2 things have always bothered me about this episode too.

  4. I absolutely loathe this episode, for the same reason I loathe all episodes revolving around someone getting something from home – they all imply this is the only item in existence and no one else in the 4077th could also order one.

    In various episodes we see gorilla suits, sewing machines and dressmakers’ mannequins, long johns, a hunting jacket and shotgun, tuxedos, wedding gowns, hang gliders, cameras, tape recorders …etc.etc.etc. An entire episode (one of my least favorite) revolves around getting a side of ribs from Chicago. Obviously obtaining such “non-GI” items isn’t that difficult.

    Why didn’t Hawkeye and BJ, knowing what the camps’ reaction would be, order two or three bathtubs? Why couldn’t Winchester call mom and dad and have them send a couple? What happened to the big, round, metal tub we saw Col. Blake lounging in? Certainly the scrounging sergeant could have ordered a dozen and made a fortune renting them.

    Finally, I find the narcissistic inconsiderateness of the personnel to be an abomination. When Radar is in the tub, trying to bring down his fever, the nurses just barge in and start playing in the water …what would be their reaction if that were reversed. When Radar gets the ice cream everyone barges in, bowl and spoon in hands, demanding some …couldn’t they have waited (Radar certainly wasn’t going to eat ten gallons of ice cream, and they knew he would share).

    This is one of the episodes I always skip.

    1. > An entire episode (one of my least favorite) revolves around getting a side of ribs from Chicago.

      I can’t believe this level of pure blasphemy has existed on the Internet for 5 years!

    2. I don’t care for this episode much either, mainly because of the reasons you just stated!! The people of the 4077th just always assumed they were entitled to someone else’s stuff!! Dopes!!!!!!!!!!

  5. I’m surprised Potter trusted Klinger to stay in his hot togs, without having Radar or Zale keeping tabs on him, making sure he didn’t cheat at any point by disrobing.

    1. Heh, Klinger and Zale were not the best of friends, so if Potter had assigned someone to keep an eye on Klinger, I don’t think it would’ve been Zale.

  6. I wonder what would have happened if Klinger had made it all the way through? Would Potter have kept his word?

    I couldn’t remember what was wrong with the showers that they couldn’t use them and save the extra water (where did it come fro, anyway?) for the tub. Living in West Virginia, I can relate to those hot summers!

    1. There was nothing wrong with the showers, but like Hawkeye said, in such extreme heat, it would be a lot more relieving to emerse yourself in a tub full of cool water, as opposed to just a measley little trickle down your back.

  7. This episode wasn’t followed by “Communication Breakdown” just a few episodes later. “None Like it Hot” aired in S7 and “Communication Breakdown” in S10.

  8. Was this the first episode to feature the running gag of Radar looking around exaggeratedly when talking about something secret? If so then it was actually Hawk who started it when he was about to tell Radar about the tub.

      1. He does it in “Mail Call, Again” before telling Hawkeye and BJ about the letter from Frank’s Wife. Hawkeye and BJ even make light of it.

      2. The action of looking over his shoulders begins in the first season:
        * I Hate a Mystery when Radar is looking for the short person Hawkeye is talking about before he realizes he is that person.
        * Germ Warfare, twice while sneaking about getting blood.
        * The Army-Navy Game before asking a nurse if she wants to ‘check out the supply closet’ with him.

        The first over-exaggerated one is either in Mail Call before waking Hawkeye up to ask about answering the pen-pal letter, or in A Smattering of Intelligence just before he whispers “He’s a C.P.A.” (referring to Flagg, meaning C.I.A.); everyone at the table copies him, adding to that exaggeration.

        A simple action he does in many episodes (the list is long), a small fun part of Radar’s character; sometimes over exaggerated, sometimes a slight exaggeration, and sometimes it’s just his eyes darting around in an exaggerated way, occasionally he calmly looks over just one shoulder … but always well done.

    1. Right off of my head,one other time Radar did that before this episode was in Fallen Idol from the previous season,when Radar is talking to Hawkeye and BJ in the Swamp and looks around before quietly stating that he wants to be a hot lover.

      1. I think Radar also does the look-around in “Change of Command” before he tells Hawkeye and BJ, “We’re getting a new commander.”

  9. Is there a term for a scene or line of dialog written/filmed specificly to be shown out of context in ads or previews? If so I think that explains Margret’s “I WANT IT!” Line.

  10. “Charles uses the fight to cut the line and slip into the tub….”
    And he also utters his catchphrase: “Gentlemeeeen”!

  11. I never liked this episode. Aside from the usual MASH trope of everyone in the whole camp demanding access to the one thing someone else has, it’s more “Radar is a man-baby” nonsense. Seeing Potter, BJ, and Hawkeye wheel in the ice cream and start talking to Radar like he’s 5 was grating. He’s a grown man for Christ sake. And why in hell would they wheel in both tubs of ice cream? You’d think three surgeons would be smart enough to put some in a damn bowl. But then we wouldn’t have had – once again – the whole camp barging into the hospital….the hospital? Isn’t that supposed to be quiet and sterile? – loudly demanding some.

    Finally, why was Margaret wearing panty hose in the bath?

  12. Where do I start?? This episode was just so annoying!! It starts with Charles, who NEVER SHARED ANYTHING with B.J. and Hawk, having the nerve to assume that he’ll be “luxurating in that canvas Xanadu” soon and that he can bribe them that fails, so he resorts to starting to blab about the tub to the camp!! I so want to kick his butt!! And because Hawk is making WWWWWWWWWAAAAAAAAAAAYYYYYYYYYYY too much noise in the tub, Father Mulcahy, who has a habit of butting in when he should be minding his own business,IMHO, enters and also assumes he will be in the tub soon, without even being invited to!! And then dopey Margaret enters, exclaiming that “She wants it!!” and “Oh, look at it!! Oh, I’m just going to soak in it for hours”!! And the way she says it; stupidly and almost sexually!! And excuse me, who invited her?? And hey Margaret, hours?? You’ll prune up and besides, you have duties as a nurse, so get your silly head out of the clouds!! And when Radar is joined by Hawk, Hawk notices that Radar is sweating more than he should be on such a hot day and that his temp is up a little, he tells Radar about the tub, which Radar knows about because he signed for it!! Radar’s dopiness never ceases to amaze me; did he think that Hawk would want him to get in a tub of hot water?? I wonder if that’s another reason Gary left the show; the writers, 99% of the time, made Radar do and say the dumbest things, sometimes even dumber than Frank, and that’s saying something!! And even when Hawk lowered his voice to tell Radar about the tub, those stupid nurses overheard him and started planning to get in the tub right away!! Who invited them?? And they told everyone else, because they weren’t the only morons that burst in on a naked Radar; the enlisted men butted in too!! And a schedule?? 10 minutes was the schedule!! I did enjoy how everyone shut up when they discovered the good Father was bathing after they yelled for whoever was in there to come out!! And his response was so unlike him; I LOVED IT!! The writers should’ve made him grumpier and more aggressive more often!! And Potter telling B.J. and Hawk “Not to rush thru Radar’s operation”; that’s insulting!! They never did that on any patient!! Potter, IMHO, just got grumpier and dopier as the show went on!! And then Radar wanting strawberry ice cream?? I mean, seriously?? And as Hawk pointed out: “Radar, this is Korea. There isn’t a Good Humor man for”…well, I forgot how many miles he said. And when he was presented with the ice cream and was about to take his first bite, here comes the rest of the stupid, uninvited camp, led by Klinger, demanding some of Radar’s ice cream!! THE NERVE!! Radar should’ve told them to go jump in a lake!! And that stupid nurse Kelly, pointing at the ice cream, like, “See that?? Gimme, gimme, gimme”!! Get lost, Kelly!! I never liked her; she was useless, IMHO!!

    1. Christie L. Myers, it’s easy to see you don’t enjoy this kind of humor, considering your description of the characters (useless, morons, stupid, dumb, annoying, or dopey … repeatedly) and your many other complaints.
      Leaves me wondering why you watch the show.

      I see a well developed episode using lighthearted humor to highlight the characters flaws, which are raw and on full display because of the relentless unbearable heat … in an already utterly miserable place.

      1. Hooch-mobile (aka New Fan) – excellent question! After reading some of the criticisms I wonder why most of the posters watch the show. I don’t love them all equally, of course, some are better written and acted than others, but overall I enjoy the show. To call the characters names or denigrate the characters shows a distinct lack of enjoyment of the show. Also, I always enjoyed Klinger’s schemes, especially the “big red bird with the fuzzy pink feet” and the newspaper editor. His ventures are, IMHO, a lovely contrast to the rest of the stories and characters.

      2. Thanks, NurseAble, it’s nice to know I’m not alone in wondering why many posting here watch the show.

        Klinger definitely has some great schemes :).

        For me, episodes fall under four categories:
        super great, really great, great, and almost great (so not equal).

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