Episode Spotlight: None Like it Hot

15 Comments

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.

15 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.

  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.

  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.

  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”!

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