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!
This week, I learned that there’s no way to escape the Bradys!
Episode 2.6 “Mike and Ike / The Witness / The Kissing Bandit”
(Dir by Allen Baron and Roger Duchowny, originally aired on October 21st, 1978)
This week, The Love Boat continued to be a floating HR nightmare as Newton Weems (a very young Billy Crytsal) donned a mask and spent his nights running around the ship and kissing every single woman that he came across. Fortunately, Newton’s such a fantastic kisser that no one demands that the police be alerted. Unfortunately, with every woman on board eager to get kissed, that means that no one is reacting to the lame flirtations of Doc, Gopher, and the Captain. The Captain decides that the best way catch the Kissing Bandit would be to use Julie as a decoy. If I was Julie, I would point out how reasonable I was about the Captain’s uncle and demand more money. Instead, Julie allows herself to be kissed and soon, she’s in love with the Kissing Bandit as well.
However, Newton eventually realizes that he’s actually in love with another passenger, Roberta (Laurie Walters), and that he doesn’t have to wear a mask to be romantic. Though this disappoints his biggest fans (played by Nancy Kulp, Pat Carroll, and Sharon Acker), it does make the rest of the crew happy. It seems like the Captain should be worrying more about running the ship than hitting on every woman who comes aboard but I guess big luxury liners pretty much run themselves.
While this was going on, Isaac was reconnecting with his old friends, Lenore (Marilyn McCoo) and Mike (Billy Davis, Jr.). When they were younger, they used to perform on street corners for spare change. Now, Mike is an executive vice president and he’s so work-obsessed and stuffy that his own son (Todd Bridges) thinks that his father doesn’t love him! Fortunately, things work out in the end. Mike realizes that there are things more important than business. Ted Lange gets to show off his dance moves, though it’s hard to forget that Isaac once accused another passenger of being a sell-out for doing the same thing.
Finally, Frank McLean (Robert Reed) is taking a cruise so that he can avoid testifying in a murder trial. He is spotted by Suzanne (Toni Tennille), who knows Frank from the old neighborhood. At first, Frank denies even being from New York but, eventually, he tells Suzanne his story. Suzanne falls for Frank but she has a secret of her own. By Love Boat standards, this story is fairly dramatic but it ultimately fails because there’s not a hint of chemistry between Reed and Tennille. In fact, Robert Reed looks even more miserable after he falls in love than he did before.
On a personal note, I just can’t escape The Brady Bunch, can I? Last week, even as I was finishing up The Brady Bunch Hour, Robert Reed showed up on Fantasy Island. This week, Eve Plumb went to the island while Robert Reed boarded the ship. There’s just no way to escape those Bradys!
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