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!
Episode 1.22 “A Selfless Love / The Nubile Nurse / Parents Know Best”
(Dir by Roger Duchovny, originally aired on February 25th, 1978)
The week’s cruise begins with the walking HR nightmare known as Dr. Adam Bricker announcing that he’s hired a new nurse and she’s a former Las Vegas showgirl! Gopher and Isaac are excited to learn this but no one is more excited than Doc, who quickly makes it clear that he’s hoping that she’ll be more than just his nurse.
However, it turns out that Dawn Delaney (Elaine Joyce) not only takes nursing very seriously but she would also rather do her job than make out with her boss. Needless to say, this upsets the doctor. It also turns out that she knows about all of the latest medical developments. This also upsets Doc Bricker because it leads to him getting upstaged. The final straw is when Dawn manages to cure Captain Stubing’s hiccups. Bricker gets upset but then Dawn explains that she actually wants to be a doctor but, because she’s a former showgirl, no medical school is willing to accept her. Bricker promises to use his contacts to got her admitted and then they share a long passionate kiss. And that’s the end of that story.
As I watched Doc react to his nurse, it occurred to me that this show was very lucky that Bernie Kopell agreed to play the role because Doc, to be honest, is a terrible doctor who violates his Hippocratic oath on every cruise. In the real world, Doc Bricker would be unemployable. On The Love Boat, everyone loves him and the reason that we believe he would be so popular is because Bernie Kopell was so naturally likable that it made it easy to overlook all of the character’s shady behavior.
While Doc hit on his new nurse, two parents (Monty Hall and Janis Page) tried to hook their dorky son (Mark Shera) up with a girl (Laurie Prange) on the cruise. What the parents didn’t know is that the girl was actually their son’s girlfriend and the entire cruise was an elaborate ruse to get them to finally meet. Seriously, that was the entire story. It was a bit forgettable.
Finally, Harry Morrison (Leslie Nielsen) is an old friend of Captain Stubing’s. He’s going to Mexico with his much younger girlfriend, Laura (Lynda Day George) and they plan to get married. However, Harry starts to worry that Laura is too young for him and Laura starts to worry that Harry would rather hang out with people his own age. She makes a reference to Donnie and Marie Osmond and Harry admits to not knowing who they are. Agck! Fear not, though. After talking about it, Harry and Laura decide to get married anyways. It was a predictable story but how can you not like watching the future stars of The Naked Gun and Pieces acting opposite each other?
It was a bit of an odd episode. The Doc/Nurse storyline was cringey. The son and his parents storyline were forgettable. But I liked Leslie Nielsen and Lynda Day George’s story. They saved the cruise!
Next week, we’ll continue to set sail for adventure with three new stories!
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