Welcome to Retro Television Reviews, a feature where we review some of our favorite and least favorite shows of the past! On Tuesdays, I will be reviewing the original Fantasy Island, which ran on ABC from 1977 to 1986. The entire show is currently streaming on Tubi!
This week, Tattoo finally gets his chance to be in charge!
Episode 2.10 “The Appointment/Mr. Tattoo”
(Dir by Cliff Bole, originally aired on November 18th, 1978)
This week’s episode opens with Tattoo in a very good mood. Apparently, Mr. Roarke has promised Tattoo that Tattoo will someday get a chance to be in charge of a guest’s fantasy and Tattoo has decided that he is now ready to take on that responsibility! As is typical of this show, Roarke responds to Tattoo’s enthusiasm by pretending to not remember what Tattoo is talking about. Tattoo not only has to explain their deal but he literally has to beg Roarke to uphold his part of the bargain. Roarke smiles at Tattoo’s excitement and says, in a tone that suggests the opposite, “I can hardly wait.”
(In many ways, Tattoo has the same relationship with Roarke that Nick Nack had with Scaramanga in The Man With The Golden Gun. There’s a lot of passive-aggressive resentment to be found in every exchange between the two.)
Tattoo is in charge of granting the fantasies of Dee Dee (Barbi Benton) and near-sighted Evelyn Kastenbaum (Connie Stevens). Dee Dee and Evelyn are Vegas showgirls who want to marry millionaires. Tattoo hires two lounge singers, Jack (Troy Donahue) and Bernie (Fred Grandy), and instructs them to write a Broadway musical that will star Dee Dee and Evelyn. Investors will come to the Island to see about investing in the show and surely, two of them will fall in love with Dee Dee and Evelyn!
It sounds like a great plan! Way to go, Tattoo!
The only problem is that Dee Dee and Evelyn end up falling in love with Jack and Bernie. In fact, during the musical’s big wedding number, the four of them are married by a minister who, Roarke explains, has always had a fantasy about appearing in a musical. Tattoo is upset. He says that he failed to grant the girls their fantasies. But then Roarke explains that Bernie and Jack are actually millionaire playwrights who came to the island to fulfill their fantasy of writing a musical. It all works out, even if it does appear that Tattoo was actually never really in charge of the fantasy.
While this is going on, Dr. John Carlson (Bert Convy) has a fantasy about meeting with a big financial backer and getting the money to build a hospital that will be named after himself. However, while trying to drive to the meeting, John comes across a Fantasy Islander (Nancy Kwan) who is in the middle of a very difficult labor. It turns out that her village only has one doctor and he’s away. To save her life, Dr. Carlson will not only have to miss his meeting but he will also have to rediscover the joy of taking care of patients on a one-on-one basis.
(Why did all of the native Fantasy Islanders live in remote villages with so few modern resources? Did Mr. Roarke just not care about them?)
Oh no, Dr. Carlson didn’t get his fantasy! But don’t worry. It turns out that Dr. Carlson’s wife (Tasha Noble) had a fantasy that the doctor would finally rediscover his love for medicine and that their marriage would improve. So, at least someone got what they wanted!
Dr. Carlson’s fantasy was fairly predictable but the stuff with the showgirls, the playwrights, and the Broadway show was actually pretty cute. It was definitely silly but Fantasy Island is at its best when its silly. Plus, Mr. Tattoo finally got his fantasy. Yay!
It was a fun episode.
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