Retro Television Reviews: The Love Boat 1.8 “Lost and Found / The Understudy / Married Singles”

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!

Love exciting and new….

Come aboard!  We’re expecting you!

Episode 1.8 “Lost and Found / The Understudy / Married Singles”

(Directed by Stuart Margolin, originally aired on November 19th, 1977)

This week’s cruise is all about secrets and lies.

For instance, Durwood Moss (Steve Allen) and Maisie Nolan (Polly Bergen) are currently separated and their therapist has suggested that they try taking separate vacations.  Maisie books a cabin on the cruise so Durwood books the cabin next door.  As Durwood explains it, being in separate cabins counts as being on separate vacations.  Not letting anyone know that they’re married (albeit unhappily so), Durwood pursues Barbie (Loni Anderson) and Maisie flirts with Jack (Joshua Plymouth).  Of course, Durwood and Maisie end up realizing that they’re still in love.  Fortunately, Jack and Barbie also fall in love with each other!

Meanwhile, 8 year-old Theodore Denison, Jr. (James Bond III) lies and says that he has his parents’ permission to be on the cruise by himself.  Of course, it turns out that he’s actually a runaway.  On the cruise, he meets Sharon and Richard Baker (Sandy Duncan and Jim Stafford), a married couple that is struggling to come to terms with the death of their son.  Sharon wants to adopt Theodore and Theodore wants to be adopted.  But then Theodore’s real parents show up and apologize for the fight that caused Theodore to run away in the first place.  Still, Sharon and Richard at least find the courage to try to move on from their tragedy.

Finally, Connie Evans (Jo Ann Harris) is an assistant cruise director who has been assigned to the ship.  Julie (Lauren Tewes) is supposed to be training Connie but it soon becomes clear that, in typical All About Eve fashion, Connie is plotting to steal Julie’s job.  Connie’s plan is … well, it’s interesting.  She continually screws up the simplest of duties and then claims that she was only doing what Julie trained her to do.  When she shows up for dinner in a skimpy outfit, she claims that it’s what Julie told her to wear.  I guess the plan is to make Julie look like she’s bad at training people but just because someone isn’t good at training, that doesn’t mean that they’re bad at their overall job.  In fact, it would seem that most people would look at Connie’s actions and say, “You should have had enough common sense to know better, even if that’s what Julie told you.”  Anyway, it all works out, albeit somewhat bizarrely.  The captain reprimands Connie.  The crew hates Connie and goes out of its way to humiliate her.  And yet, even after it become obvious that Connie has been trying to get her fired, Julie agrees to help Connie because she thinks Connie has the makings of being a great cruise director.  Just how painfully nice is Julie?

This was not a bad episode.  The stuff with Durwood and Maisie was a bit dull but the other two storylines worked.  Sandy Duncan brought a lot of emotional sincerity to her plotline and Jo Ann Harris was hilariously conniving in the role of Connie.  This episode was a cruise that I enjoyed.

Will I also enjoy the next cruise?  Find out next week!

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