Retro Television Reviews: The Love Boat 1.23 “Musical Cabins”


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!

Let’s hear it for life’s sweetest reward!

Episode 1.23 “Musical Cabins”

(Dir by Allen Baron, originally aired on May 6th, 1978)

This week’s episode of The Love Boat opened with …. a commercial!

Actually, if you’re watching the show on Paramount Plus like me, every episode opens with a commercial and occasionally the commercial freezes and you have to start all over again.  This week, though, was significant because it was a new commercial from Pfizer.  The commercial opened with P!nk holding a rubber germ.

“If I was holding COVID-19,” P!nk says, “I would be in trouble …. because I have asthma.”

Plus, she would be in trouble because that’s the biggest goddamn germ I’ve ever seen.  Don’t get me wrong.  I have asthma too and I am more than aware of the dangers of getting an aggressive respiratory illness.  But I’m just not sure that having a bunch of celebrities passing around a big rubber germ is the best way to advertise the vaccine.  As soon as P!nk threw the germ at Michael Phelps and ?uestlove, the commercial started to lose me.  It felt cheap, like one of those ICDC commercials that Master P forced Romeo Miller to do.  Don’t throw germs at your friends.

Speaking of which, this week’s episode of The Love Boat is all about friendships and relationships.  Ms. O’Roarke (Marica Wallace) is a gossip reporter who has heard that the Pacific Princess is a notorious hotbed of lust and hedonism on the high seas.  She books a ticket and then sneaks around the boat with her notepad, watching as people go in and out of different cabins.  She thinks that she’s uncovering evidence of an orgy on the high seas but actually, she’s just witnessing a bunch of misunderstandings.

For instance, Didi (Barbara Rhoades) is so disgusted by Curt (Dick Gautier), her chauvinistic boyfriend, that she refuses to stay in their cabin.  When Gopher informs her that the cruise is sold out and there are no other cabins available, Doc immediately volunteers his cabin.  Judging from the look on Gopher’s face, he’s just about had it with Doc hitting on every single passenger on the boat.  An HR report is about to be filed.

Doc, for his part, assumes that Didi is looking for more than just a place to sleep.  Being the swinger that he is, Doc slips into his pajamas and offers to help Didi unwind.

Didi is scandalized and kicks Doc out of his own cabin.  Doc ends up asking Julie if he can crash in her cabin.  Julie agrees but then wonders why Doc has never tried to hit on her.  Doc replies that he thinks of Julie as being a “kid sister.”

Wrong answer, Doc!

Fortunately, Julie is soon approached by Nelson Hoag (Paul Williams), who has been asking every woman on the cruise if she’ll consider marrying him.  Everyone turns Nelson down but what they don’t know is that Nelson is going to inherit a good deal of money but only if he gets married before his next birthday!

Julie and Nelson spend the night talking and Julie is actually charmed by Nelson.  However, just as she learns in to kiss him, Gopher shows up and puts the kibosh on it.  Gopher is going to have a lot of HR reports to write.

Since Doc is sleeping in her cabin, Julie ends up staying in Nelson’s cabin.  Meanwhile, Nelson meets Irene (Michele Lee), a widow who is pretending to be an heiress.  Irene allows Nelson to stay in her cabin and then she spends some time with an entirely smitten Captain Stubing.  Is anyone on the boat actually doing their job?

Eventually, as O’Roarke hides behind the corner and takes notes, everyone meets in one cabin to work out their feelings.  Curt wants Didi back but Didi actually prefers the company of the gentle Nelson.  For her part, Irene likes men who take what they want and say whatever pops into their mind and that certainly describes Curt.  By the end of the cruise, Julie and Doc are friends again, Didi is married to Nelson, and Irene is dating Curt.  And O’Roarke realizes that she doesn’t have a story so she tears up all of her notes.

Usually, I can’t stand shows (or movies) where the plot hinges on a series of misunderstandings that could all easily be cleared up by people just not being stupid but I actually found this episode of The Love Boat to be rather charming, as the show made good use of the cast’s natural chemistry and the guest stars actually brought some much needed emotional depth to characters who were otherwise rather thinly written.  Yes, Nelson was a little weirdo but, oddly, he and Didi made for a really sweet couple.  Add to that Michele Lee brought a sense of genuine sadness to her role as the lonely widow.  Watching the show, I found myself hoping that things would work out for her and they did!

Yay!

I hope next week is this good!

Retro Television Review: The Love Boat 1.22 “A Selfless Love / The Nubile Nurse / Parents Know Best”


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!

All aboard!

Episode 1.22 “A Selfless Love / The Nubile Nurse / Parents Know Best”

(Dir by Roger Duchovny, originally aired on February 25th, 1978)

The week’s cruise begins with the walking HR nightmare known as Dr. Adam Bricker announcing that he’s hired a new nurse and she’s a former Las Vegas showgirl!  Gopher and Isaac are excited to learn this but no one is more excited than Doc, who quickly makes it clear that he’s hoping that she’ll be more than just his nurse.

However, it turns out that Dawn Delaney (Elaine Joyce) not only takes nursing very seriously but she would also rather do her job than make out with her boss.  Needless to say, this upsets the doctor.  It also turns out that she knows about all of the latest medical developments.  This also upsets Doc Bricker because it leads to him getting upstaged.  The final straw is when Dawn manages to cure Captain Stubing’s hiccups.  Bricker gets upset but then Dawn explains that she actually wants to be a doctor but, because she’s a former showgirl, no medical school is willing to accept her.  Bricker promises to use his contacts to got her admitted and then they share a long passionate kiss.  And that’s the end of that story.

As I watched Doc react to his nurse, it occurred to me that this show was very lucky that Bernie Kopell agreed to play the role because Doc, to be honest, is a terrible doctor who violates his Hippocratic oath on every cruise.  In the real world, Doc Bricker would be unemployable.  On The Love Boat, everyone loves him and the reason that we believe he would be so popular is because Bernie Kopell was so naturally likable that it made it easy to overlook all of the character’s shady behavior.

While Doc hit on his new nurse, two parents (Monty Hall and Janis Page) tried to hook their dorky son (Mark Shera) up with a girl (Laurie Prange) on the cruise.  What the parents didn’t know is that the girl was actually their son’s girlfriend and the entire cruise was an elaborate ruse to get them to finally meet.  Seriously, that was the entire story.  It was a bit forgettable.

Finally, Harry Morrison (Leslie Nielsen) is an old friend of Captain Stubing’s.  He’s going to Mexico with his much younger girlfriend, Laura (Lynda Day George) and they plan to get married.  However, Harry starts to worry that Laura is too young for him and Laura starts to worry that Harry would rather hang out with people his own age.  She makes a reference to Donnie and Marie Osmond and Harry admits to not knowing who they are.  Agck!  Fear not, though.  After talking about it, Harry and Laura decide to get married anyways.  It was a predictable story but how can you not like watching the future stars of The Naked Gun and Pieces acting opposite each other?

It was a bit of an odd episode.  The Doc/Nurse storyline was cringey.  The son and his parents storyline were forgettable.  But I liked Leslie Nielsen and Lynda Day George’s story.  They saved the cruise!

Next week, we’ll continue to set sail for adventure with three new stories!

Retro Television Review: Love Boat 1.21 “Taking Sides/Going By The Book/A Friendly Little Game”


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 to once again experience the magic of The Love Boat!

Episode 1.21 “Taking Sides/Going By The Book/A Friendly Little Game”

(Dir by Richard Kinon, originally aired on February 18th, 1978)

This week’s episode begins with the extremely nerdy Howard Wilson (Harvey Jason) preparing to board the ship.  Before he does so, he’s approached by his best friend, Bernie (Paul Sylvan).  Bernie gives Howard a book on how to talk to women.  Apparently, this is something that Howard’s not good at but Bernie swears that the book will change his life.  There’s a Roy Lichtenstein-style picture of a man and a woman kissing on the cover of the book so Howard decides that Bernie knows what he’s talking about.

On the boat, Howard immediately notices Sheila Lawrence (Georgia Engel).  However, Sheila’s overprotective father (Herb Voland) has specifically asked Captain Stubing to make sure that no one seduces his daughter.  The captain assigns Doc Bricker (Bernie Kopell) to keep an eye on her, which makes absolutely no sense.  Over the course of the last twenty episodes, Doc has yet to meet a woman who he has not hit on.  Doc is a walking HR nightmare and quite frankly, I would be kind of uncomfortable going to him for a medical examination.  He seems like he would be a little bit handsy, if you get my drift.

Anyway, Doc turns out to be pretty bad at his job because Howard still manages to hit on Sheila.  Of course, Howard’s just doing what the book tells him to do.  Eventually, though, he realizes that he doesn’t need the book and Shelia realizes that she needs to spend more time on her own happiness and stop worry about what her father wants.  Yay!  It’s another Love Boat success story,

Meanwhile, Scott (Robert Urich) and Ellen (Diana Canova) are newlyweds who seem to be totally in love until they make the mistake of having dinner with an old married couple, Max (Robert Mandan) and Gladys (Audrey Meadows).  Listening to Max and Gladys bicker soon leads to Scott and Ellen bickering and it looks like their marriage might be over.  But again, the magic of The Love Boat leads to everyone realizing that bickering is a part of marriage and that you can still love someone even if you disagree with them.  Yay!  Robert Urich and Diana Canova were such a cute couple.  They just looked like they belonged together.

Finally, poor old Wendell Snead (Harry Morgan) is taking his wife on a cruise that he can’t really afford.  In fact, he secretly took out a mortgage on their house in order to buy the tickets.  Wendell has plan, though!  He has a set of marked playing cards and he beats Gopher at several games of gin rummy.  When the crew discovers that he’s been cheating, their initial reaction is to cheat back.  But when they learn why he’s been cheating, they give him all the money from the ship’s emergency fund.  Awwwwww!

This was a sweet episode.  Yes, the stuff with the book and the overprotective father was pretty stupid but the other two stories were entertaining.  Harry Morgan’s melancholy performance was the episode’s stand-out.  The fact that the crew gave him money instead of calling the cops brought tears to my mismatched eyes.  Nicely done, Love Boat.

What will happen next week?  We’ll find out in seven days!

Retro Television Reviews: The Love Boat 1.20 “Memories of You / Computerman / Parlez Vous?”


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 Valentine’s Day on The Love Boat!

Episode 1.20 “Memories of You / Computerman / Parlez Vous?”

(Dir by Richard Kinon, originally aired on February 13th, 1978)

It’s time for the annual Valentine’s Day cruise!  On Valentine’s Day, only singles are allowed to board the Love Boat.  Everyone, even the members of the crew, wears a heart-shaped nametag.  Julie has decided to liven things up by hiring Nick Heider (Frankie Avalon), who claims that his computer can decide who is compatible and who isn’t.  Captain Stubing is hoping that the computer will set him up with someone because apparently, Stubing is tired of being single.  To be honest, that really doesn’t make much sense.  When you’re the captain of the ship, you’re going to get laid on Valentine’s Day.  It doesn’t matter if you’re bald, middle-aged, and take yourself a little bit too seriously.  A captain has power and power is an aphrodisiac.

Nick turns out to be kind of sleazy, with his wide collars and his unbuttoned shirts.  Nick also has a crush on Julie and he wants her to take part in his compatibility survey.  Julie says that she doesn’t believe that computer can decide who is compatible.  If Julie doesn’t believe in Nick and his computer, why did she hire him for the cruise?

As you can probably guess, Nick fills out a survey for Julie anyway.  The computer pairs them together and Julie and Nick actually do fall in love, though I have a feeling we will never again see or hear about Nick after this episode.  Meanwhile, Captain Stubing is told that the computer can’t find any matches for him.  The Captain is pretty depressed until all of the computer-selected couples start fighting.  I would think that people taking a dislike to each other would be a problem on Valentine’s Day cruise but whatever.  The computer fails and Stubing smiles smugly.

While this is going on, Gopher is recruited to act as a translator for two French women (Barbi Benton, Susan Silo) who are on the cruise.  Gopher’s French turns out to be really bad but fear not.  It turns out that the French women are actually Americans and they speak perfect English.  They’re just pretending to be French in order to attract wealthy men.  Jamie Farr and Danny Dayton nearly fall for the scam but then Gopher hears the women speaking English and he exposes them.  Of course, despite ruining their scam, Gopher still gets a (temporary) girlfriend out of it when Brigitte (played by Barbi Benton) turns out to be very forgiving.

Finally, Doc thinks that he’s found his soulmate for the cruise when he spots jingle writer Lilly Mackin (Patty Duke).  However, Lilly can’t stop looking at another passenger named Ted (Ricky Nelson).  Lilly swears that Ted looks just like Alex, her former partner who mysteriously vanished.  Doc suggests that Ted might be suffering from stress-related amnesia.  Fortunately, Ted falls in love with Lilly and, after she kisses him, he starts to slowly remember bits of his past life as Alex.  That’s the power of Valentine’s Day on The Love Boat!

I loved this episode.  I took French in high school and college and I used to be really pretentious about it so I definitely related to Brigitte and Yvonne.  And the amnesia story was just intriguing enough to hold my attention.  Finally, I could help but laugh at how impressed everyone was with Nick and his match-making computer.  There was nothing that Nick said that sounded different from what we currently hear in Match.com and EHarmony commercials.  That said, I agree with Julie.  Romance should be spontaneous and unpredictable, not pre-programmed.

The Valentine’s Day cruise was success!  Will the success continue?  We’ll find out next week!

Retro Television Reviews: The Love Boat 1.19 “A Very Special Girl / Until the Last Goodbye / The Inspector”


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!

Beware the Inspector!  Read on and find out more about this week’s cruise of the Pacific Princess….

Episode 1.19 “A Very Special Girl / Until the Last Goodbye / The Inspector”

(Dir by Roger Duchovny, originally aired on February 11th, 1978)

Captain Stubing starts the cruise by giving the crew some potentially frightening news.  The company has sent an inspector to take the cruise and observe how everyone is doing their job.  The catch is that the inspector is disguised as a passenger and the crew now has to figure out who it could be!

Marvin Waterman (Jim Backus) seems like a good suspect.  He’s stuffy.  He always wears a suit.  He carries around a notepad.  He’s always asking questions about the ship.  It must be Marvin!  Nope, sorry.  It turns out that Marvin is just a children’s book author and he’s doing research.

Could it be eccentric Mrs. Corwin (played by Gavin MacLeod’s wife, Patti MacLeod)?  She acts like she’s spacey and not always sure where she is but maybe that’s just a cover!  She does make a lot of calls back to the mainland!  Nope, it’s not Mrs. Corwin.  It turns out that she’s just an eccentric widow who likes to call her daughter and let her know what’s going on in her life.  Fortunately, Mrs. Corwin meets and inspires Marvin and they fall in love.  Unfortunately, that doesn’t bring the crew any closer to finding the inspector.

Surprise!  The inspector wasn’t actually on the ship.  He arrived late and wasn’t able to board.  However, his father (Jack Bernardi) did get on board and he spend the entire cruise wandering about and asking people questions in Russian.  As far as I could tell, none of the crew made much of an effort to help the confused old man out so I’m guessing they’re all out of a job now.  I wonder what next week’s episode will be like….

While the crew was looking for the inspector, Mike Andrews (Bob Seagren) was looking for Melanie Taylor (Laurette Sprang).  Mike arranged for his goofy sidekick, Doug (Sal Viscuso), to spend all of his time with Melanie’s best friend, Jane (Debralee Scott).  Fortunately, Doug and Jane fell in love.  Meanwhile, Mike abandoned Melanie as soon as the cruise ended.  Booooooo!

Finally, the crew was fascinated by an older man (Paul Burke) who was traveling with a younger woman (Susan Blanchard).  For the majority of the episode, everyone assumed the man and the woman were lovers.  But then the man collapsed and it turned out that he was the woman’s father and he also terminally ill.  This cruise was their long goodbye.  This was a sweet story, even if it was kind of icky that everyone assumed that the father was carrying on an affair with his daughter.  But, really, that mistaken assumption is the fault of the crew.  I’m surprised they didn’t mistake the older man for being the Inspector.

Anyway, this was a fairly typical episode of The Love Boat.  It got the job done with a minimum of complications and, if nothing else, it looked like a fun vacation.  The Love Boat always works best as wish-fulfillment.  It’s the type of show you watch and think, “What would I do if I was on that cruise?”  I enjoyed this episode.  The whole thing with the inspector was silly but the other two stories were well-handled.  I hope things worked out for Doug and Jane!

Retro Television Reviews: The Love Boat 1.18 “Last of the Stubings / Million Dollar Man / The Sisters”


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’s cruise is all about family, love, and …. CRIME!

Episode 1.18 “Last of the Stubings / Million Dollar Man / The Sisters”

(dir by Jack Arnold, originally aired on February 4th, 1978)

Fresh from having given Isaac a lesson in black history during the previous cruise, Captain Stubing is excited to give the rest of the crew a lesson about his family.  The Stubings have a long and noteworthy Naval tradition and the Captain is proud to announce that his nephew, L. Courtney Stubing IV (Peter Isacksen), has been accepted to Annapolis.  But, before going to school, he’s going to work on the Pacific Princess and show everyone that he is a natural-born sailor.  The only problem is that Courtney Stubing is not a natural-born sailor.  Instead, he’s a tall, clumsy, near-sighted, and kind of goony guy who has no idea how to talk to the passengers and who would rather be a ballet dancer.  The problem, along with the fact that he’s the last of the young Stubings and expected to carry on the family tradition, is that he’s just as bad at dancing as he is at everything else.

Now, I have to give some credit to Gavin MacLeod here because he made this storyline work.  The scene where, having finally realized the truth of about his nephew, Captain Stubing tells Courtney that it’s okay not to become a sailor and that he should find out what he’s good at was well-written and sensitively acted by MacLeod.  It was about as honest a moment as you’ll probably ever find on a show like The Love Boat.

While the Stubings were bonding, two sisters were fighting.  Rose (Marion Ross) was upset that Noreen (Pat Crowley) was spending all of her time with the handsome Clark Tyler (Brett Halsey).  Seeing as how I mostly know Hasley from his starring role in Lucio Fulci’s Touch of Death, I would have been more concerned for Noreen’s safety than upset that she was ignoring me.  Anyway, it was kind of boring story but it all worked out in the end.  Marion Ross would go on to become the Love Boat’s most frequent passenger, though she always played a different character.  Eventually, she even played a woman who married Captain Stubing but we’ve got a long way to go until we reach that point.

A long, loooooooooong way.

Meanwhile, two passengers found love.  Unfortunately, it was only after they slept together that Stephanie (Marcia Strassman) discovered that Bill (Frank Converse) had stolen a million dollars from his employer and Bill discovered that Stephanie was a cop.  Stephanie explained that she would be required to arrest Bill as soon as the ship returned to the United States.  Bill considered running off to Mexico but, in the end, he decided to face justice in the U.S., on the condition that Stephanie would be waiting for him after he got out of prison.  Honestly, I think it would have made more sense for Stephanie to just join Bill in Mexico and thy two of them could have built a new life there.  I mean, they’ve got a million dollars!  But, whatever.  Strassman and Converse had a lot of chemistry so, despite yourself, you really do hope that things will work out for them while you’re watching the episode.

And I hope things work for you as well, as we sail towards 2023!  The Love Boat will return.

 

Retro Television Reviews: The Love Boat 1.17 “Winner Take Love / The Congressman Was Indiscreet / Isaac’s History Lesson”


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, things get awkward as we set sail on The Love Boat!

Episode 1.17 “Winner Take Love / The Congressman Was Indiscreet / Isaac’s History Lesson”

(Dir by Jack Arnold, originally aired on January 28th, 1978)

It’s the most awkward cruise ever!

A beauty contest is being held on the ship!  The winner becomes Ms. Pacific Princess and, along with getting a lot of money, she also sacrifices a year of her life so that she can go on free cruises and promote the Pacific Princess line.  Along with being beautiful, the winner is also expected to be “virtuous.”  Of course, judging from The Love Boat, the cruise line seems to specifically cater to people who are desperately looking to get laid so the rules seem to be a bit hypocritical.

The head of the contest, Waldo Linden (Graham Jarvis), recruits Captain Stubing to act as host.  Unfortunately, after Stubing gets a few laughs from the jokes that Waldo has written for him, the Captain turns into a prima donna.  He starts punching up the script on his own.  Waldo, however, has even more to worry about than the captain.  Suzy (Maureen McCormick), one of the contestants, is secretly traveling with her boyfriend, Rick (Bobby Sherman).  When Waldo tries to disqualify Suzy for not being “virtuous,” another contestant, the klutzy Jeanette (Priscilla Barnes), asks that Waldo help her zip up her dress and, after Waldo kisses her, she points out that Waldo hasn’t been living up to his own standards.  Due to Jeanette’s blackmail, Suzy is allowed to compete and she wins!  But then she refuses the crown so that she can marry Rick and, as a result, Jeanette becomes Miss Pacific Princess.

While that’s going on, scandal-plagued Congressman John Whitcomb (Dick Van Patten) falls in love with Robin Brandt (Vickie Lawrence).  What the Congressman doesn’t know is that Robin works for a tabloid newspaper and Robin’s editor expects Robin to report on whether or not allegations of an affair are going to led to Whitcomb resigning his seat. 

All of that is certainly awkward but it’s nothing compared to the third storyline.  Almost everyone loves passenger Virgil Gibson (played by the engaging Scatman Crothers), who is always the life of the party and who loves to make people laugh.  The only person who doesn’t like him is Prof. Stephanie Hayden (Vernee Watson), who is on the cruise to work on a study about African-American history.  Hayden feels the Virgil is acting like a fool and playing into all of the demeaning stereotypes that white people have about black people.  Hayden encourages Isaac to learn more about his background and soon, Isaac is being rude to Virgil and telling him not to call people “boss.”

Captain Stubing notices this.  He approaches Isaac — while Isaac is working — and says, “I notice you’ve been reading a lot of black history.”

AGCK!  As soon as the very white Captain Stubing says those words to Isaac, the cringing begins.

Stubing goes on to explain that Virgil was a pitcher in the Negro Baseball Leagues and that, if not for him, blacks would never have made it into the major leagues.  “And I wouldn’t be serving drinks on this cruise,” a remorseful Isaac says.  “And I wouldn’t be teaching,” Stephanie agrees.  Stubing goes on to explain that Virgil is acting the way he acts because that’s the way blacks were expected to behave when Virgil was a young man.  After being chastised by the ship’s white authority figure, Isaac and Stephanie agree that they were wrong to judge Virgil.

And, in many ways, Captain Stubing does have a point about judging people and Isaac and Stephanie were being a bit harsh in their dismissal of Virgil.  But that doesn’t change the fact that this episode features the extremely white Captain Stubing explaining black history to not only the ship’s only black employee but also a black college professor who has spent her entire academic career researching and writing about black history.  Stubing is essentially telling two black people how they should interpret and feel about black history.  It’s incredibly weird to watch and one has to wonder why the writers thought that Stubing — as opposed to Virgil himself — was the correct character to explain Virgil’s past and Virgil’s character.  It just doesn’t feel right, at all.

That said, there was a lot to like about this episode.  Scatman Crothers shows the same charm here that he showed in The Shining.  As cringey as Captain Stubing is when he lectures on black history, the plotline of him turning into a diva was actually pretty funny and Gavin MacLeod seemed to be having fun playing up the pompous side of the character.  The beauty pageant subplot was dumb but Maureen McCormick actually gave a pretty good performance as Suzy.  This episode had its moments though, in the end, it will always be defined by the awkwardness.

 

Retro Television Reviews: The Love Boat 1.15 & 1.16 “The Eyes of Love / Masquerade / Hollywood Royalty / The Caper: Parts 1 & 2”


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’s episode of The Love Boat is one of historical value so let’s climb aboard and get to it!

Episodes 1.15 & 1.16 “The Eyes of Love / Masquerade / Hollywood Royalty / The Caper: Parts 1 & 2”

(Dir by Allen Baron, originally aired on January 21st, 1978)

This is an important episode for two reasons.

First off, this episode marked the first time that the opening credits featured video of the guest stars along with their names.  This was the only time that this was done during the first season, though it would become a regular feature of the show from the second season forward.

Secondly, excluding the three pilot films that aired before the series was ordered, this was the first super-sized two hour episode of The Love Boat.  This episode is split into two parts when it airs in syndication, which is why it’s listed as being the 15th and the 16th episode of The Love Boat

Oddly enough, despite all of that, it’s pretty much a standard episode.  Usually, whenever a TV shows airs an extra-long episode, it’s because some important event is occurring.  Usually, either someone’s getting married or someone’s leaving the show or maybe an actor died and the show needs an extra hour to pay tribute to them.  In this case, though, it’s just a typical cruise of the love boat, complete with three separate stories and a lot of time spent looking at the ocean.

For instance, Roz Rogers (Michele Lee) and Bill Teague (Fernado Lamas) are a famous and glamorous Hollywood couple who book a voyage and who are followed all the way to the dock by the paparazzi.  As quickly becomes clear, Bill and Roz’s relationship is not as perfect as the world believes.  Still, Bill is convinced that their relationship can be fixed by Roz co-starring in an old-fashioned adventure film that he wrote.  Along with having written the script, Bill hopes to direct, produce, and star in it.  Roz is a bit skeptical but fear not, everything works out in the end and she finally convinces Bill that she loves him for him and not because he’s a star.

Roz boards the boat with not just Bill’s script but also a large and valuable diamond.  A group of jewelry thieves follow her onto the boat, hoping to steal the diamond for themselves.  Vernon (Howard Gould) is the arrogant leader of the group.  Taffy (Karen Valentine) distracts Gopher, Doc, and the Captain by flirting with them.  Elwood (Larry Storch) is the group’s technician.  And Ox (John Schuck) is the muscle who tends to take things literally.  When the first attempt to steal the jewel fails, Vernon disguises himself as Captain Stubing and Gavin MacLeod gets a chance to do something more than just look slightly annoyed by the crew.  To be honest, I actually enjoyed the jewelry theft subplot far more than I was expecting.  Gould, Valentine, Storch, and Schuck all seemed to be having fun playing off of each other.  Plus, the whole story ended with a nice little twist that James Cameron would later use in Titanic.

(No, the Love Boat does not sink.)

While this is going on, a blind girl named Jenny (Stephanie Zimbalist) is stunned to discover that one of her former classmates, Steve (Desi Arnaz, Jr.), is also on the boat.  Jenny and Steve fall in love but Steve has recently gotten back his sight and Jenny worries that he won’t want to spend the rest of his life with someone who can’t see.  Fortunately, it turns out that Jenny’s wrong.

Finally, Alan (Dan Rowan) is horrified to discover that not only are both his wife (Juliet Mills) and his mistress (Adrienne Barbeau) on the cruise together but that they’ve become friends.  Alan was an adulterous jerk so it was pretty difficult to really care about this story.  

Again, it was pretty much a typical episode of The Love Boat, despite the extra length and the inclusion of a masquerade ball during the episode’s 2nd hour.  That said, the thieves were funnier than they had any right to be and the Jenny/Steve storyline was sweet.  The ocean scenery was lovely.  That’s really all I ask from The Love Boat.  This episode delivered.

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.

Retro Television Reviews: The Love Boat 1.13 “Too Hot to Handle / Family Reunion / Cinderella Story”


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 Love!

Episode 1.13 “Too Hot to Handle / Family Reunion / Cinderella Story”

(Dir by James Sheldon and Richard Kinon, originally aired on January 7th, 1978)

It’s time for another cruise with three separate stories!

Newlyweds George (John Rubinstein) and Sally Allison (a youngish Kathy Bates) board the Pacific Princess, hoping to enjoy the ideal honeymoon.  Instead, it turns out to be one disaster after another.  Sally gets sunburned.  George gets poison ivy.  Having gotten off the boat in Mexico, Sally returns to discover a totally different couple staying in what she thinks is her cabin.  Uh-oh.  It turns out that Sally accidentally got on the Sun Princess and the Pacific Princess has already set sail without her!  This was a pretty simple storyline and, if anything, it mostly seemed to exist so that the show’s writers could see how many bad things that they could do to one perfectly innocent couple.  But John Rubinstein and Katy Bates are so likable as George and Sally that the story works.  You can’t help but hope the cruise gets a little better for them.  Kathy Bates was 29 when she appeared on The Love Boat and there’s nothing about her performance that would necessarily make you say, “Hey, that’s a future Oscar winner!”  But still, both she and John Rubinstein do a good job with the material that they’ve been given.

Meanwhile, Tommy (Bob Crane) is a middle-aged man who has been hired to work as a steward on the ship.  Captain Stubing takes an immediate dislike to the irresponsible, womanizing Tommy.  When he discovers that Tommy has been drinking on the job, Stubing comes close to firing him.  However, Tommy confesses that he’s drinking because he’s just discovered that the daughter who he abandoned years ago is on the cruise.  Wendy (Dori Brenner) has always believed that her father died in a shipwreck and she hopes that Stubing might know something about the wreck.  Seeking to help out Tommy, Stubing tells a lot of lies about Wendy’s “deceased” father but Tommy finally breaks down and confesses the truth.  At first, Wendy rejects Tommy but, with the help of her understanding husband (Robert Hays), she eventually forgives her father.

This storyline hinges on a huge coincidence.  What are the chances that Tommy and Wendy would just happen to end up on the same cruise together and that Tommy would be assigned to serve as Wendy’s steward?  On top of that, what are the chances that Wendy would just happen to have a picture of her mother sitting out where Tommy could see it?  It’s all fairly predictable but, if you’ve seen Auto Focus, it’s interesting to watch Crane’s performance here.  This episode aired just a few months before Crane was murdered in Arizona and it’s easy to see the charismatic but irresponsible and self-destructive Tommy as being a reflection of who Bob Crane himself had reportedly become at the time of his death.  Tommy is a character who lives with a lot of emotional pain and regret and Crane is so surprisingly effective in the role that it’s hard not to wonder if perhaps, on some level, he related to Tommy.

Finally, in the show’s final storyline, Bill Edwards (Bruce Solomon) is a supermarket manager who has booked a cruise with his wife, Doreen (Judy Luciano).  When a wealthy advertising exec cancels his trip, Julie and Gopher decide to let Bill and Doreen stay in the man’s luxury cabin.  This, of course, leads to Stubing mistaking Bill for the ad exec!  Suddenly, Bill and Doreen are sitting at the captain’s table and competing for an advertising contract!  Eventually, the truth comes out but business tycoon Greg Beatty (David White) is so impressed with Bill’s ideas that he arranges for Bill to get a job with an actual advertising company.  Mad Men it’s not!  However, it’s still a charming little story, largely due to the performances of Bruce Solomon and Judy Luciano.

If last week’s episode was a “lesser Love Boat,” this week’s episode show just how much fun The Love Boat could be.  Yes, all of the stories are fairly predictable but the guest stars all perform their roles with a lot of energy.  Bob Crane brings a poignant sense of regret to his performance as Tommy while Bruce Solomon and Judy Luciano are exactly the type of attrative couple that you would want to meet on a cruise.  And, as I said already, it’s impossible not to like John Rubinstein and Kathy Bates as the newlyweds who just can’t catch a break.  The regular cast is used sparingly but effectively in this episode.  Fred Grandy gets a nice scene where he has to explain to John Rubinstein that Kathy Bates got on the wrong boat.  Bernie Kopell plays Doc Bricker as being an agent of chaos.  It’s a fun episode and what more can you ask for?