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!
Come aboard! We’re expecting you!
Episode 10.10 “Dear Beverly/The Strike/Special Delivery”
(directed by Allen Baron, originally aired December 3rd, 1977)
Tonight’s voyage is all about misunderstandings!
For example, Beverly Blanchard (Eva Gabor) is an advice columnist who has built a career out of helping people work their way through misunderstandings. When she boards the Love Boat, she is swarmed by fans who all want her advice. She even leads a little seminar by the pool, in which she asks people if they have any problems that she can help with. Unfortunately, what she doesn’t understand is that her husband, Russ, is feeling neglected. Usually, I would say that Russ should stop feeling sorry for himself but Russ is played Leslie Nielsen, who is so superlikable in his stiffly earnest way that it’s hard not to have some sympathy for him. When Beverly finds out that Russ has been spending time with another passenger (Stephanie Blackmore), she writes a column in which she announces her retirement so that she can give Russ the attention he deserves. Personally, I would think a better column would be about why husbands shouldn’t cheat on their wives, especially with someone who they’ve known for less than 24 hours.
Speaking of cheaters, Jeff Smith (Robert Urich) cheated on his wife, Gail (Pamela Franklin), and now they’re separated. When Jeff boards the ship, he tries to pursue a romance with Julie but he quickly admits that he’s still hung up on his wife. What Jeff doesn’t know is that Gail is also on the ship and she’s 9 months pregnant! Now, considering that this is The Love Boat, it probably will not surprise you to learn that Gail goes into labor while on the boat and it’s up to Doc and Jeff to deliver the baby while the rest of the crew waits outside. Fortunately, the baby makes it and Jeff and Gail get back together. But what about Jeff cheating on Gail? Well, Gail takes responsibility for that, saying that she drove him to it. I was expecting at least one member of the crew to tell her that Jeff was responsible for his own decisions but instead, everyone nodded alone. Like, what the Hell?
Meanwhile, Captain Stubing was upset to learn that Chef Antonio Borga (Al Molinaro) was going to be in charge of the ship’s kitchen for the cruise. Apparently, there was bad blood between the two. When Borga refused to work, Stubing attempted to prepare dinner himself. The results were disastrous but the Chef respected the Captain for trying. And perhaps Chef Borga realized that Captain Stubing could probably get him fired for insubordination. Well, the important thing is that everyone came to an agreement and people got to eat.
This was a weird episode. The Chef storyline seemed like filler. The other two stories both featured women making excuses for cheating husbands. If this episode wanted to remind me that The Love Boat is very much a show of the 70s, it succeeded. This episode had a lot of boat but not a lot of love.
Hopefully, next week’s cruise will be a bit less problematic.