Retro Television Review: The Love Boat 1.24 “This Business of Love / Crash Diet Crush / I’ll Never Fall in Love Again”

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!

Let’s set sail for adventure!

Episode 1.24 “This Business of Love / Crash Diet Crush / I’ll Never Fall in Love Again”

(Dir by Roger Duchowny, originally aired on May 13th, 1978)

This week’s episode of The Love Boat is all about dealing with the past.

For instance, Captain Stubing is shocked when his old high school girlfriend, Jocelyn (Jessica Walter), boards the boat.  He’s even more shocked when Jocelyn points out that he’s gained a bit of weight since high school.  I have to admit that I was also shocked that Jocelyn — or anyone for that matter — would react to seeing an old friend by immediately pointing that out.  Even worse, Jocelyn makes a joke about how one of their other friends no longer has his hair.  This, of course, leads to the Captain refusing to take off his hat and going on a crash diet in an effort to lose weight.  This makes the Captain cranky and his beleaguered staff finally rig his scale to make Stubing think that he’s lost more weight than he has.  This gives Stubing the courage to tell Jocelyn that he’s fallen in love with her.

I had two thoughts on this storyline.  First off, Jocelyn’s kind of a bitch and Captain Stubing, while being a bit of a handful himself, still deserves better than someone who greets him by informing him that he’s no longer as impressive as he was in high school.  Secondly, I didn’t really buy that Stubing would be that insecure in the first place.  He’s the captain of the ship!  He’s in charge!  That takes a certain amount of confidence.  In order to be a captain, you have to have the respect of your crew and it’s hard to imagine the crew respecting a captain who literally refuses to take off his hat because his high school girlfriend is on the cruise.

Meanwhile, Nate (Michael Callan) and Roberta (Annette Funicello) are both depressed because, over the past year, they’ve both lost their spouses.  They meet on the boat and it’s obvious to everyone that they’re meant to be together.  Isaac certainly sees it!  But both Nate and Roberta say that they’re through with love.  Fortunately, an obnoxiously happy couple (played by Morey Amsterdam and Rose Marie) are also on the ship as a reminder that love can live forever.  This was a standard Love Boat storyline.  (Even though the show was still only in its first season, this was not the first time The Love Boat featured a depressed widow finding love on the cruise.)  But Funicello and Callen were both sympathetic in their roles and I was happy they found each other.

Finally, Jill (Caren Kaye) is a former high-priced escort who is setting sail for a new life.  On the Boat, she meets Bill (Christopher George) and they fall in love.  Jill doesn’t want Bill to find out about her past life.  Unfortunately, one of her former clients (Jack Carter) is also on the boat, traveling with his wife (Jayne Meadows).  Again, this was a standard Love Boat story but it worked largely due to the chemistry between Caren Kaye and Christopher George.

This was an okay episode.  The storylines were predictable and a bit forgettable but the guest stars brought a lot of charm to their roles.  It was an pleasant cruise.  I just hope Captain Stubing stops being so hard on himself!