Saturday, December 15, 2007

Baby, It's Cold Outside

Ah, nothing says Merry Christmas quite like sexual harrassment.

Since the song "Baby It's Cold Outside" debuted in the 1949 film "Neptune's Daughter" it has, inexplicably become a holiday classic. Even Will Farrell's man/child character sang the duet with Zoey Deschanel in the children's Christmas movie "Elf." But, if you listen to the lyrics, you have to wonder why this tune is so linked with snowmen, candy canes and reindeer.

He wants her to say. She wants to go. He invades her personal space. She tries to escape. He persists. She says no, but really means maybe. It's as if Pepe LePew has found himself a more willing participant. If performed properly, you should be able to cut the sexual tension with a fruitcake knife. If performed poorly, you spend more time thinking about the horrendous driving conditions that will await our damsel if she ever does escape.

Most of the time, "Baby It's Cold Outside" is performed poorly.

In fact, that's the other great mystery of this song. Why does it attract such strange pairings? Over the years, it has been recorded by such odd couples as Alan Cumming and Liza Minnelli, Ann Margaret and Brian Setzer and, my personal bad-favorite, Bette Midler and James Caan.

One of the worst versions has to be by Dolly Parton and Rod Stewart. They should have just released a tape of an emphysema patient trying to seduce a sheep. Another incarnation that will send me fleeing from a retail establishment when it blares over the soundsystem, is Ray Charles and Betty Carter. I don't care if Ms. Carter is a jazz legend, on this song she sounds like Gingy, the talking gingergbread man from "Shrek."

Give me Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme! Give me Bing Crosby and Doris Day! Please, no more duets with Nick Lachey and Jessica Simpson or, even worse, Bo Bice and Joan Osbourne!

Even the legends can come off as talentless hacks if they team up with the wrong person. In this variation, Welsh crooner Tom Jones pairs up with Welsh warbler Cerys Matthews. The whole thing is kind of creepy. Close your eyes and you'll imagine an aging pedophile trying to hit on a semi-retarded girl.

Here's the original with Ricardo Montalban and Esther Williams. Neither one of them are known for their pipes, but at least it doesn't look like something you'd see on To Catch A Predator.

I think Dean Martin had the right idea when he recorded this song as a solo.

It' nice and warm over at

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