Retro Television Reviews: The Love Boat 1.14 “Isaac’s Double Standard / One More Time / Chimpanzeeshines”

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!

It’s time for love and monkeys!

Episode 1.14 “Isaac’s Double Standard / One More Time / Chimpanzeeshines”

(Dir by James Sheldon and Richard Kinon, originally aired on January 14th, 1978)

This is a bit of an odd episode.

It’s odd because it features yet another stowaway.  Somehow various characters were always managing to stow away on the boat.  This week, the stowaway was a chimpanzee.  How did a chimpanzee get on the boat?  Gopher brought her on.  Apparently, Gopher was under the impression that he had the week off so he agreed to look after a friend’s chimpanzee.  Then he discover that he actually was working that week so he decided that it would be a good idea to smuggle the chimpanzee onto the boat.  Of course, it doesn’t take long for Isaac and Julie to discover that Gopher has a chimpanzee in his cabin.  Neither one of them appears to be surprised that Gopher has a friend who owns a chimpanzee.  Me, I would want more information on whether or not Gopher’s friend worked for a circus or a zoo or a research lab.  I mean, most people just don’t own chimpanzees as pets.  Instead, everyone just accepts that Gopher is living with a monkey and that it is now their duty to keep Captain Stubing from finding out.

Of course, the chimpanzee gets loose.  She runs around the ship, stealing food and clothes and surprising passengers.  Fortunately, she’s a well-trained chimpanzee and she doesn’t try to kill anyone.  In real life, Chimpanzees are known for being extremely dangerous and unpredictable.  On shows like this, they’re adorable! 

While looking for the chimp, Gopher meets and has a romance with Anne Parker (Kim Lankford), who has just had a nose job.  She’s insecure about her new nose.  Everyone assures her that her new nose looks great.  And it does!  As someone who spent most of her teen years planning on getting a nose job, I was really impressed with it.  (For the record, I still have my original nose and I now realize I wouldn’t change it for the world.)

While Gopher is dealing with the chimp, Isaac is freaking out because his mother (Pearl Bailey) is on the ship with her new boyfriend (Arthur Adams) and they’re sharing a cabin!  Isaac is being a little bit hypocritical because he happens to be sharing a cabin with his girlfriend, Charlene (Tracy Reed).  Isaac finally realizes he’s not being fair and he accepts the fact that his mother is having sex at his workplace.  So, it all works out.

Meanwhile, in our third storyline, Nanentte Fabray is a singer who is hired to provide the cruise’s entertainment.  She’s upset to discover that her pianist (Don Adams) is also her ex-partner.  Don’t worry, they get back together by the end of the cruise.  Of course, everyone’s too busy looking for the chimpanzee to notice.

This was not a terrible episode, just an odd one.  The Nanette Fabray/Don Adams storyline was pretty forgettable and, though it’s always cool when Ted Lange actually gets to do something other than make drinks, Isaac’s family situation played out predictably.  What made this episode stand out, for better or worse, was all the business with the chimpanzee.  How Gopher kept his job after that, I have no idea.  Chimpanzees have been known to kill people if they get stressed out and being dragged onto a cruise ship by a stranger seems like it would be a stressful situation.  Still, after all that, Gopher kept his job.  I’m beginning to think that Captain Stubing might not be the disciplinarian that the crew things he is.

Next week, we’ve got more love but hopefully less monkeys.

Life is a Beach #2: Malibu Beach (dir Robert J. Rosenthal)


Yesterday, I started my 2-week miniseries of reviews on beach movies by taking a look at 1963’s Beach Party.  For my next review, I will be jumping forward 15 years and taking a look at 1978’s Malibu Beach.  

Just by comparing the two films, you can tell that a lot changed during those 15 years.  As opposed to the euphemism-spouting surfers of Beach Party, the teenagers that hang out on Malibu Beach know exactly what they want and they’re not ashamed to say it.  What Beach Party could only hint at, Malibu Beach has the freedom to make explicit.  The film’s poster claims that “everything can happen on Malibu Beach” and, in theory, that’s certainly true.

And yet, at the same time, Malibu Beach has more in common with Beach Party than you might think.  Ultimately, they’re both about the same thing: celebrating the idea of being young and having freedom.  Both films are a bit of a chore to try to watch today but are interesting as cultural time capsules.  Beach Party had no plot.  Malibu Beach has no plot.  Beach Party featured some oddly generic music.  Malibu Beach features the same three generic songs being played over and over and over again.  Beach Party features Erich Von Zipper and his motorcycle gang.  Malibu Beach features a muscle-bound bully named Dugan (Steve Oliver).  Beach Party featured a cameo appearance from Vincent Price.  Malibu Beach features a dog that steals bikini tops.  Beach Party was produced by American International Pictures.  Malibu Beach was produced by Crown International Pictures.

That’s right!  Malibu Beach is a Crown International Picture and anyone who loves 70s exploitation knows what that means.  Malibu Beach is a cheaply produced film that was made to exploit then-current trends and bring in a lot of money.  Like a lot of Crown International Films, it’s technically a pretty bad film but it’s so sincere and honest about what it is that it almost feels petty to be too critical of it.


Oddly enough, Malibu Beach pretty much feels like a remake of a previous Crown International Picture, The Pom Pom Girlsthe main difference being that, while the visual style of The Pom Pom Girls was almost oppressively ugly, Malibu Beach at least features some pretty beach scenery.

Much like in the Pom Pom Girls, the heroes of Malibu Beach are two high school jocks, one of whom, Bobby (played by James Daughton, who, that same year, also played the evil Greg in National Lampoon’s Animal House), is dark and brooding while the other, Paul (Michael Luther), is skinny and dorky.

Much as in The Pom Pom Girls, one of the heroes has a nemesis for no particular reason.  Seriously, I never could figure out why Bobby and Dugan hated each other but they certainly did.  What’s odd is that, whenever there’s a confrontation between the two of them, Malibu Beach suddenly gets extremely serious.  Bobby and Dugan glare at each other and speak through clenched teeth.  Suddenly, there’s no music on the soundtrack and all we can hear are seagulls above and the tide rolling in and it all feels very ominous.  I sat through Malibu Beach expecting either Dugan and Bobby to be dead at the end of the film, that’s how seriously their conflict is portrayed.

Also, much like The Pom Pom Girls, Bobby and Paul each have girlfriends.  Paul is dating the spacey Sally (Susan Player).  Bobby, meanwhile, is romancing the new lifeguard, Dina (Kim Lankford).  Dina has a big scene where she tells Bobby that she can’t handle being caught in the middle of his increasingly intense rivalry with Dugan.  Again, it’s a deadly serious scene and it’s just so strange to see it there, awkwardly dropped in between scenes of a bumbling cop smoking weed and a dog stealing bikini tops.

Finally, the main similarity between The Pom Pom Girls and Malibu Beach is that the exact same three songs appear in both films!  Obviously, somebody at Crown International, really loved those three songs.

Malibu Beach is one of those films that was obviously made to appeal to hormonal teens at a drive-in but, by today’s standards, it’s rather tame.  It’s currently playing on Hulu and it’s also available in several of those Mill Creek box sets that we all know and love.  Is the film any good?  No.  Do I recommend it?  Not really.  But, much like Beach Party, it is a portal into the past.