Retro Television Reviews: The Love Boat 2.16 “Gopher’s Opportunity / The Switch / Home Sweet Home”

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, The Love Boat sets sail for a thoroughly pleasant cruise.  Come on board, they’re expecting you!

Episode 2.16 “Gopher’s Opportunity / The Switch / Home Sweet Home”

(Directed by Roger Duchowny and Allen Baron, originally aired on January 20th, 1979)

I’ve been watching these old episodes of The Love Boat for a while now and I have to say that I’m still not totally sure what it is that Gopher actually does on the ship.  Merrill Stubing is the captain and is responsible for the safety of all of the passengers.  Julie McCoy is the cruise director and is responsible for making sure everyone is entertained.  Adam Bricker is the doctor and is probably responsible for the cruise line getting sued by every patient that he hits on.  Isaac Washington is the bartender and is responsible for getting everyone so drunk that they’ll go back to their cabin with the first person who asks.  But what does Gopher do?

I know that Gopher is the purser but the show has never really made clear what that means.  I know I could look it up on Wikipedia but that’s not really the point.  The point is that, while Fred Grandy was certainly likable in the role, the show often seemed to be unsure of what to do with Gopher.  His cabin was decorated with posters of old movies but Gopher rarely spoke of being a fan.  Instead, while the other crew members fell in love with passengers and got involved in each other’s lives, Gopher was often left as a mere observer.

This episode is unique because it actually allows Gopher to do something.  When his old friends, Melody (Elayne Joyce) and Phil (Bobby Van), board the ship, they tell Gopher that they need a manager for their hotel and that they’re offering him the job.  Normally, Gopher would never think of leaving his friends on the Pacific Princess but this episode finds him getting on Stubing’s nerves by leaving too many suggestions in the suggestion box.  (One suggestion, which Stubing finds to be particularly egregious, is that the boat should have a designated “no smoking” area, which today just sounds like common sense,  Can you even smoke on a cruise ship anymore?)  Gopher, feeling underappreciated by the Captain, takes the hotel job.  But, after he realizes that there’s an attraction between him and Melody, Gopher decides to stay on the boat and instead, he encourages Phil to give the position to Melody.  It’s a pretty simple story but it does allow Fred Grandy to do something more than just make wisecracks in the corner.  To be honest, the main theme of this story seemed to be that Captain Stubing is an insensitive jerk who doesn’t really appreciate his crew until they threaten to quit.

While Gopher is trying to decide whether to pursue a new career, magician Al Breyer (Ron Palillo, co-star of the latest addition to Retro Television Reviews, Welcome Back, Kotter) comes to the ship as a last-minute replacement for his older brother, Ken (Michael Gregory).  Ken’s assistant, Maggie (Melinda Naud), is already on the boat and she’s disappointed when Al shows up instead of Ken.  It turns out that Maggie was more than just Ken’s assistant.  At first, she refuses to work with Al but she comes around when she discovers that Al is sensitive and nice and basically the opposite of Ken.  When Ken does finally show up on the ship, he’s such a sleazeball that you have to kind of wonder what Maggie ever saw in him to begin with.  Al responds to Ken’s arrival by locking him in a closet and then he and Maggie leave the boat, arm-in-arm.  Hopefully, someone found Ken before he suffocated because, otherwise, Al’s magic career might come to an abrupt end.

Meanwhile, Hetty Waterhouse (Nancy Walker) decides that she’s going to live on the ship.  She can do this because she’s a wealthy widow.  She books her cabin for the next five years.  Oddly, even though the audience has never seen or heard about her before, everyone else on the crew seems to know her and treats her like an old friend.  That always bothers me a little, when we’re told that a previously unknown character is apparently everyone’s best friend.  Anyway, the main reason that Hetty wants to live on the boat is because she’s in love with Charlie (Abe Vigoda), a cabin steward who has apparently been on the boat for years but who, again, the audience has never seen or hear about before.  Charlie is retiring but he wants to get an apartment on dry land.  He’s tired of the sea.  Hetty gives up her cabin so that she can move into Charlie’s apartment. Awwwww!

This was actually a pretty sweet episode.  Gopher finally felt appreciated by the captain.  Al and Maggie realized that they were both better than Ken.  Hetty and Tessio Charlie found late-in-life happiness together.  This was a perfectly charming cruise!

Lisa Marie’s Early Oscar Predictions For May

Here are my Oscar predictions for May!

Well, for once, Cannes has helped the Oscar picture to come into focus.  The triumphant premiere of Killers of the Flower Moon not only cemented the film’s status as an early front runner but it also confirmed that Leonardo DiCaprio will be in the running for Best Actor and Lily Gladstone for either Best Actress or Supporting Actress.  It also sound like Robert De Niro could receive another nomination.  (Despite the importance of his role, Jesse Plemons’s screen time is apparently limited.)

The other Oscar contender to come out of Cannes would appear to be Jonathan Glazer’s The Zone of Interest.  There is some talk that the film itself could be a bit too chilly for the Academy and, being familiar with Glazer’s work, that would not necessarily surprise me.  But, for now, The Zone of Interest is among my predicated Best Picture nominee.  I’m also going to continue to predict that Oppenheimer will be nominated and, after seeing the trailer, I’m a bit more confident that The Color Purple will be nominated as well.  And I’m still going to toss in Barbie because why not?

That said, the year isn’t even halfway over yet and there’s a lot of films to come.  It’s entirely possible that the majority of the best picture nominees are going to be films that haven’t even shown up on anyone’s radar yet.

Below are my predictions for May.  Be sure to also check out my predictions for March and April!

Best Picture



The Color Purple

Dune: Part Two

The Holdovers

Killers of the Flower Moon



Poor Things

The Zone of Interest

Best Director

Blitz Bazawule for The Color Purple

Jonathan Glazer for The Zone of Interest

Christopher Nolan for Oppenheimer

Alexander Payne for The Holdovers

Martin Scorsese for Killers of the Flower Moon

Best Actor

Bradley Cooper in Maestro

Leonardo DiCaprio in Killers of the Flower Moon

Colman Domingo in Rustin

Paul Giamatti in The Holdovers

Andre Holland in The Actor

Best Actress

Emily Blunt in Pain Brokers

Greta Lee in Past Lives

Natalie Portman in May December

Margot Robbie in Barbie

Emma Stone in Poor Things

Best Supporting Actor

Willem DaFoe in Poor Things

Matt Damon in Oppenheimer

Robert De Niro in Killers of the Flower Moon

Ryan Gosling in Barbie

Samuel L. Jackson in The Piano Lesson

Best Supporting Actress

Viola Davis in Air

Jodie Foster in Nyad

Lily Gladstone in Killers of the Flower Moon

Taraji P. Henson in The Color Purple

Da’Vine Joy Randolph in The Holdovers

Scenes that I Love: The End of Dirty Harry

Today, we wish a happy 93rd birthday to Clint Eastwood!

Today’s scene that I love comes from 1971’s Dirty Harry, in which Clint finally confronts the the Scorpio Killer (Andy Robinson) and asks him if he feels lucky.  Eastwood himself later said that Callahan’s badge must have been attached to a rubber band because he was somehow able to get it back in time for Magnum Force.

Music Video of the Day: Early Winter by Gwen Stefani (2007, dir by Sophie Muller)

An early winter sounds nice but, of course, we have to deal with the summer first.  Bleh.

By the way, that is Steelo Vasquez playing Gwen’s boyfriend in this video.  He was a dancer on The Sweet Escape Tour.


Retro Television Reviews: Fantasy Island 2.24 “Bowling/Command Performance”

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, the Island plays hosts to both a bowling tournament and a circus reunion!

Episode 2.24 “Bowling/Command Performance”

(Dir by Michael Vejar, originally aired on May 12th, 1979)

This week, after spotting the approaching plane, Tattoo attempts to show off the new rocket fuel he’s invented.  Unfortunately, the fuel doesn’t work and the rocket doesn’t take off.  I guess that’s actually a good thing, considering that there’s a plane flying over the island.

“Let’s greet our guests,” a visibly annoyed Roarke says.

This week, Fantasy Island is playing host to two big events.  First, there’s the Fantasy Island Bowling Tournament, in which three of the world’s greatest bowlers will face off against Lou Fielding (Al Molinaro).  Lou is not a bowling champion.  In fact, he’s not even a very good bowler.  I don’t know much about bowling but even I know that the goal is not to get the ball in the gutter.  However, Lou’s fantasy is to win the championship.  Mr. Roarke plants stories in the local press that Lou has been causing a stir on the European bowling circuit and, at the tournament, Lou discovers that strikes are all that he can roll.  Unfortunately, Lou’s fantasy is due to end at midnight and, because of an electrical short, the championship game is delayed until the final morning.  Can Lou get the three strikes that he needs, even though he no longer has the benefit of the Island’s magic?

While this is going on, Naomi Gittings (Joan Blondell) is hosting a reunion of all of the people who used to perform in her circus.  That’s right …. the Island is crawling with acrobats, lion tamers, and clowns!  There’s especially a lot of clowns.  But I think most viewers will be more interested in Roddy McDowall, playing the role of a former tight-rope walker named Richard Simmons.  Richard used to be on the best but then he lost his balance, fell off his rope, and smashed his leg.  Now, he’s a drunk who walks with a limp and is forced to beg his old friends for money.  When members of the circus start to get murdered, Richard is the natural suspect.  But, as Mr. Roarke reveals, there’s more to this mystery than meets the eye….

I liked this episode.  Both of the stories were entertaining and, after last week’s children’s episode, it was kind of nice to once again be dealing with adults.  The bowling fantasy had the potential to be too silly for its own good but Al Molinaro and, in the role of his wife, Rue McClanahan played their roles with surprising conviction.  The highlight of the episode was Roddy McDowall, giving a serious performance as poor Richard.  All in all, this was a good trip to Fantasy Island.

Next week, the second season comes to an end with a second visit to …. ugh …. “the other side of the Island.”

4 Shots From 4 Films: Special Howard Hawks Edition

4 Or More Shots From 4 Or More Films is just what it says it is, 4 shots from 4 of our favorite films. As opposed to the reviews and recaps that we usually post, 4 Shots From 4 Films lets the visuals do the talking!

127 years ago, on this date, the great American filmmaker Howard Hawks was born in Indiana.  Over a career that spanned several decades, Hawks proved himself to be a master of every genre.  He made great crime films, great noirs, great comedies, and great westerns.  His influence continues to be felt to this day.  In honor of his legacy, it’s time for….

4 Shots From 4 Howard Hawks Films

Scarface (1932, dir by Howard Hawks, DP: Lee Garmes)

Twentieth Century (1934, dir by Howard Hawks, DP: Joseph August)

The Big Sleep (1946, dir by Howard Hawks, DP: Sidney Hickox)

Gentleman Prefer Blondes (1953, dir by Howard Hawks, DP: Harry J. Wild)

Retro Television Reviews: Hang Time 4.23 “Breaks of the Game” and 4.24 “Window of Opportunity”

Welcome to Retro Television Reviews, a feature where we review some of our favorite and least favorite shows of the past!  On Mondays, I will be reviewing Hang Time, which ran on NBC from 1995 to 2000.  The entire show is currently streaming on YouTube!

Last week, the team was heading to the championship and then suddenly, they were taking a trip to New York.  Let’s see if this week makes any more sense!

Episode 4.23 “Breaks of the Game”

(Dir by Patrick Maloney, originally aired on November 28th, 1998)

Remember how the team was in New York during the previous episode?

Well, now, they’re back in Indiana!  And they’ve advanced in the championship tournament, making it to the finals!  The only problem is that their best player has tested positive for steroids.  When Hammer is told that he’s the only member of the team to have tested positive, he swears that it’s a mistake.  He gets retested and fails a second time.  Hammer swears that he is steroid free.  Michael believes him.  Silk and Rico think he’s lying and are angry at him for ruining the season.  Julie doesn’t really care, she just wants to figure out how to win without Hammer.

Well, the team doesn’t win without Hammer.  They come close, especially after they realize that the only reason Hammer tested positive was because of his allergy medication.  But, for the first time in a few seasons, they miss that all-important final shot and, for once, it’s the other team that wins by one point.

Coach K tells them not to be too hard on themselves.  He says that the true test of maturity is how you handle disappointment and bad breaks.  It’s not a bad message, even though we all know Coach Fuller would have found a way to win that game.

Meanwhile, Kristy meets a painter who tells her that he’s obsessed with her red hair.  (The same thing has happened to me more than once.)  She poses for him but is shocked to discover that, even though she was dressed while posing, he still painted her naked.  Julie, Mary Beth, and Kristy sneak into the art show and destroy the painting.  Somehow, they don’t get arrested.  Personally, I can’t laugh at people destroying paintings.  Sadly, that’s pretty much the direction that our society is heading in.

Let’s give this episode credit for dealing with defeat.  But seriously — don’t pose unless you’re willing to accept that the artist’s vision might be different from yours.

Episode 4.24 “Window of Opportunity”

(Dir by Patrick Maloney, originally aired on November 28th, 1998)

The team is in New York City and getting ready to celebrate Christmas!  Wouldn’t they rather celebrate in Indiana with their families?  And why are Kristy and Mary Beth there when they’re not actually members of the basketball team?  I mean, the team won the trip.

Anyway, Mary Beth finds time, during her vacation, to work as an intern at a department store.  She impresses the store owner by giving the teen department a makeover and, when her manager tries to steal the credit for her ideas, Mary Beth learns an important lesson about standing up for herself.  An even better lesson to learn would be that vacations are not meant for work.

Speaking of work, Coach K is hired to work as a department stare Santa.  He forced Michael, Rico, Hammer, and Silk to be his elves because why should any of them actually get to relax on their vacation?  Coach K and the Elves are briefly mistaken for being a group of thieves and they end up in jail.  But then they’re released because the real thieves were caught.  Seriously, that’s the whole storyline.

Ugh.  If I had wanted to watch an episode of City Guys, that’s what I would have done.

Next week, season 4 concludes!