Retro Television Reviews: The Love Boat 1.6 “The Joker Is Mild / Take My Granddaughter, Please / First Time Out”


Welcome to Retro Television Reviews, a feature where we review some of our favorite and least favorite shows of the past!  On Wednesdays, I will be reviewing the original Love Boat, which aired on ABC from 1977 to 1986!  The series can be streamed on Paramount Plus!

Come aboard, we’re expecting you….

The Love Boat 1.5 “The Joker Is Mild / Take My Granddaughter, Please / First Time Out”

(Dir by Richard Kinon and Alan Rafkin, originally aired on October 29th, 1977)

This week’s cruise is all about remaining true to yourself!

For instance, Julie makes what appears to be a big mistake when she agrees to let a washed-up comic named Barry Keys (Phil Foster) do a show in the ship’s lounge.  Throughout the cruise, Barry gets on everyone’s nerves with his old-fashioned jokes and his vaudeville stylings.  Captain Stubing gives Julie an annoyed look whenever Barry starts to speak.  Julie knows that her career is on the line but she made a promise.  And Barry, it turns out, know what he’s doing.  When it comes time for his performance, he asks for a stool so that he can sit in the middle of the stage and talk about the generation gap.  (“Let’s rap, as the kids say,” Barry says.)  Hooray!  Barry has revived his career and Julie still has a job.

Meanwhile, Mrs. Warner (Ruth Gordon) is determined to find a husband for her granddaughter, Shirley (Patty Duke, who spends the entire episode looking as if she’s wondering how she could go from winning an Oscar to this).  Shirley would like to hook up with the pleasantly bland Dave King (played by Tab Hunter).  Mrs. Warner wants her to go out with Dr. Bricker!  In the end, Shirley stands up for herself, as any single 30 year-old should.  (To be honest, I thought Patty Duke’s character was closer to 40 but that’s mostly the fault of whoever in the costume department decided to make her wear some of the least flattering outfits available.)  It’s all for the best.  Dave is a nice guy and Doc has an exam room full of pornographic magazines to take care of.

Finally, a group of college students board the ship with one mission in mind.  They want their friend Dan (Robert Hegyes, who has a truly impressive head of hair) to lose his virginity.  Dan, it turns out, is not only shy but he also has no idea how to talk to women.  Fortunately, her runs into Marcia Brady (Maureen McCormick) and it turns out that Marica likes shy, socially awkward guys with a lot of hair.  Okay, technically Maureen is playing Barbara Holmes but seriously, we all know that Barbara was actually Marcia.

This was a majorly uneven episode.  Barry’s revised act didn’t seem any funnier than his old stuff and it was kind of hard to sympathize with Shirley and her inability to make her own decisions.  That said, Maureen McCormick and Robert Hegyes made for a cute couple and their storyline was the most satisfying of the episode.  Personally, I think this episode would have worked better if Ruth Gordon had played Maureen McCormick’s grandmother as opposed to Patty Duke’s.  McCormick was young enough that it would have been a bit less pathetic for her to be bossed around by her grandmother and one can imagine how Ruth Gordon would have reacted to McCormick picking hairy Dan over a doctor.

Oh well!  The important thing is that everything worked out in the end and love won’t hurt anymore.

One response to “Retro Television Reviews: The Love Boat 1.6 “The Joker Is Mild / Take My Granddaughter, Please / First Time Out”

  1. Pingback: Lisa Marie’s Week In Review: 10/10/22 — 10/16/22 | Through the Shattered Lens

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