Welcome to Retro Television Reviews, a feature where we review some of our favorite and least favorite shows of the past! On Sundays, I will be reviewing the made-for-television movies that used to be a primetime mainstay. Today’s film is 1985’s Gidget’s Summer Reunion! It can be viewed on Tubi!
Back in the 1970s, when the rest of the country was worrying about political corruption, inflation, and an out-of-touch president with an embarrassing family, Gidget, Jeff, and their friends were carefree California teenagers who spent all of their time either hanging out on the beach or running into the ocean with a surfboard. It was a time when they had not a care in the world and, obviously, it couldn’t last forever.
Nearly 10 years later, Gidget (Caryn Richman) and Jeff (Dean Butler) are now married and their surfboards have been safely stored away in the garage. Jeff works as an architect and it’s obvious that his new boss, Anne (Mary Frann), wants to make their professional relationship into something personal. Gidget, meanwhile, owns her own travel agency and, apparently, it’s a success even though Gidget rarely seems to spend much time at the office. Gidget is hyperactive and a bit self-absorbed and, as such, she usually only shows up at work long enough to tell her employees about her latest problems before then running out of the office in an impulsive attempt to fix everything.
What problems do Gidget and Jeff have? Well, for one thing, they live in a giant house despite the fact that they’re nearly broke. They’re both workaholics and, as a result, they don’t spend as much time together as they used to. They got married and then they became strangers. It’s been years since they last went down to the beach. When Gidget’s niece, Kim (Allison Barron), wants to learn how to surf, it doesn’t even occur to her to ask her aunt or her uncle. Instead, she ends up hanging out with a sleazy, beer-drinking surfer named Mickey (Vincent Van Patten).
Fear not! Gidget has a plan! Jeff’s birthday is coming up and Gidget decides that it would be a great idea to use her travel agent powers to get the entire gang back together again. She wants to bring all of the old surfers back to help celebrate Jeff’s big day. The only problem is that the old gang isn’t entirely easy to find. Plus, one of Gidget’s tour guides has to drop out of leading a tour in Hawaii. Gidget is forced to go in his place. Can she get back from Hawaii in time to save Jeff from Anne and Kim from Mickey? And even more importantly, will she ever be able to track down the old gang? Will the movie end with a bunch of balding guys surfing while the Beach Boys play on the soundtrack? Can you guess the answer?
The best thing that can be said about Gidget’s Summer Reunion is that the beach looked nice and the Hawaii scenes reminded me of the wonderful summer that my family and I spent in Hawaii. And the film is correct when it points out that adulthood is never as easy as we expected it to be when we were teenagers. However, the film suffers from the fact that a lot of Gidget’s problems could have been solved by Gidget actually taking a few minutes to think before acting. It’s one thing to be free-spirited and impulsive. It’s another thing to totally lack common sense. For instance, Gidget and Jeff’s old surfboards are stolen out of the back of Gidget’s convertible and, while you can certainly feel bad for Gidget’s loss, you do have to wonder what she was expecting when she basically just left them out in the open, where anyone could get their hands on them. Jeff isn’t off the hook either, as it was pretty much obvious to everyone but him that Anne was trying to get him to cheat on his wife. Gidget and Jeff are a cute couple but they don’t seem to have a brain cell between them.
Oh well. At least the beach looked nice!