Every Monday, I spotlight a random episode of M*A*S*H, providing a brief review and asking readers to offer their thoughts.
“Baby, It’s Cold Outside” (#153, 7×09)
Originally Broadcast: Monday, November 13th, 1978
Written by Gary David Goldberg
Directed by George Tyne
Capsule Summary: Frigid temperatures cause a variety of problems at the 4077th, including wounded soldiers suffering from hypothermia and Klinger temporarily losing his hearing.
It’s rare for me to watch an episode of M*A*S*H and see something I don’t remember. After all, I’ve watched every episode multiple times. However, I had absolutely no recollection of Klinger’s C story while rewatching “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” for this review. I don’t know if I forgot the entire storyline or if it was cut for syndication. If the latter, that means this is the first time I’ve watched the episode uncut.
All three storylines in the episode revolve around the cold. There’s the A story in which Hawkeye’s patient has a severe case of hypothermia. There’s the B story about Charles and his polar suit. And Klinger’s C story, which I’ve already mentioned.
The A story never quite comes together for me. It’s fine, I guess, but nothing special. Hawkeye tries everything he can think of to raise his patient’s temperature. Nothing works. He wants to submerge the man in warm water as a last result. Colonel Potter thinks it’s too risky but ultimately agrees to try. With the help of Radar and Father Mulcahy, the treatment is a success.
The Charles B story is the weakest, in my opinion. Charles comes across as pathetic, trying to convince Margaret to return the gloves because they have “breaking in” period. He sounds a lot like Frank Burns here. I will admit, it’s funny to see him trick Margaret into putting the gloves down in the Mess Tent so he can snatch them and run off. In a nice bit of continuity, Charles is later forced to hand his polar suit over to black marketeers in “Out of Gas” later in Season 7.
That brings me to the C story. Jamie Farr does a fine job with what is clearly supposed to be a harmless, amusing storyline. When Klinger is rattling off the list of beautiful sounds he’ll never hear again, it’s obvious he’s frightened. The storyline is basically a repeat of of Hawkeye losing his sight in “Out of Sight, Out of Mind” from Season
6 5, only on a smaller scale. And, of course, in the series finale, of course, someone else loses their hearing.
Nurse Baker refers to Hawkeye’s patient as Sgt. Davalillo, according to the subtitles.
The closing credits list two unnamed patients, one played by Teck Murdock and the other by David Cramer. Neither of these are Sgt. Davalillo, who has no lines in the episode. The two unnamed patients are likely seen in pre-op. Hawkeye helps one, who can’t feel his foot. B.J. tends to the other, whose hand hurts as his circulation returns.
Weather in Korea changes fast.”Baby, It’s Cold Outside” aired three weeks after “None Like It Hot,” in which a heat wave grips the 4077th. However, “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” was produced before “None Like It Hot.” That explains why Hawkeye and B.J. don’t think of using the bathtub they purchased in “None Like It Hot” to warm up Sgt. Davalillo. Based on production order, it hadn’t arrived at the 4077th yet.