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!

Lisa Marie’s Week In Television: 12/25/22 — 12/31/22


Welcome to my final week in television for 2022!  I spent most of the past week with my sister Megan and her family.  We probably watched the news more than anything else, what with that guys getting arrested for committing those murders in Idaho.  Here’s some thoughts on the non-news programming that we watched.

1923 (Paramount+)

On Tuesday, my sister Megan and I watched the first two episodes of the latest Yellowstone prequel.  It wasn’t bad, though I do have to admit that I was only half-paying attention to it.  Harrison Ford is ideally cast as an aging western icon.

California Dreams (YouTube)

Megan and I love this show and we watched several episodes this week.  The reviews will be available every Saturday!

The Circle (Netflix)

I swore to myself that I was not going to allow myself to get sucked into another stupid reality show but then, on Wednesday, I decided to just take a quick peek to discover what The Circle was like.  I wasn’t planning on watching much of the latest season.  I just wanted to get maybe a 5-minute sample.

Of course, as soon as the show started, I discovered the Brett was on the show.  Brett was a part of Big Brother 20.  He was a total jerk but he was honest about it and he was frequently one of the funniest people in the house.  He was the type of bad boy that I’ve always had a weakness for.  As well, his betrayal of Rockstar (yes, that was the name she used in the House) led to the classic moment of Rockstar yelling about how she had been betrayed on “my daughter’s birthday!”

Anyway, Brett was one of the first people voted out of the Circle but, fortunately, he and Xanthi are still secretly playing the game.  Brett and Xanthi are a cute couple and if we don’t see some sort of evidence of them hooking up by the end of next week, I can only assume that the show is hiding it from us.

Also, one of the contestants is a British comedian named Tom.  He mentioned that he lived in the Tower of the London.  “I’ve never heard of the Tower of London,” the other contestants said while I screamed internally.  Anyway, Tom’s adorable.

Despite my best efforts, I’ve been sucked into The Circle.

Dragnet (YouTube)

I watched two episodes of this 1960s cop show on Thursday.  One featured Joe Friday on a talk show, where he debated a snide hippy and a pompous professor.  The other featured Friday taking a class at night school and justifying his decision to arrest one of his classmates for possessing marijuana.  Welcome to the 60s!

The Love Boat (Paramount+)

I wrote about the Love Boat here!  Megan and I watched several episodes this week.  We both agreed that the ship looked nice.

Night Flight (Night Flight Plus)

Late Saturday night, I experienced New Year’s 1983!  It was a bit trippy.

Upstart Crow (Sunday Night, PBS)

On Sunday night, my sister Megan and I watched all of the Upstart Crow Christmas specials.  I had already seen them but I enjoyed introducing them to my sister.

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.

 

Lisa Marie’s Week In Television: 12/11/22 — 12/17/22


I did a lot of binge watching this week so the list below probably less impressive than it actually is.  Anyway, here’s some thoughts on what I watched this week:

California Dreams (YouTube)

Yay!  I’ve finally reaches season 3, which is what most people consider to be the start of “classic” California Dreams.  I like season 3 because it’s the season that introduces the character to whom I most relate, Lorena.

Casey Anthony: Where The Truth Lies (Peacock)

I finally watched the Casey Anthony documentary on Peacock.  This was basically a three-episode interview with Casey and the creepy weirdos who have been supporting her since she got away with murdering her daughter.  Whoops, did I just show my bias?  Oh well.  Casey claims that she has spent the last ten years in hiding but now, she’s finally ready to tell her story and try to get people to blame her father for Caylee’s death.  Of course, as many people have pointed out, Casey has frequently been seen at bars, concerts, and protest marches over the past ten years so I’m not really sure I’m buying into her social anxiety argument.  Nor am I buying that Casey suddenly decided that it was time to present her side of the story.  We all know that she got paid to appear in this documentary.  Time are tough, especially when your claim to fame is that you probably got away with murdering your daughter.

Here’s a few thoughts I jotted down:

Casey cries a lot but she never actually gets any tears in her eyes.

Casey does a lot of performative cursing whenever she’s trying to convince the viewer that she was treated unfairly but it all sounds forced.

If nothing else, Casey obviously understands the power of presenting yourself as being a victim in today’s society.

After her acquittal, Casey was more or less adopted by two older men and two older women who worked on her defense team.  The scenes in which they all meet and tell Casey how proud they are of her are creepy.  One gets the feeling that Casey played on their paternal and maternal instincts in much the same way that she tries to manipulate the people watching the show.

The documentary makes one valid point, which is that the case against Casey was made up largely of innuendo and appeals to emotion.  But then, the entire third episode uses the exact same technique to smear George Anthony as being a pedophile and a murderer.  The documentary mentions that neither George nor Casey’s brother chose to respond to Casey’s accusations against them but, to be honest, why should they?

A few cops are allowed to explain why they think Casey is guilty.  As opposed to when Casey speaks, they don’t get the benefit of heroic music playing in the background during their interviews.  As well, there are no animated recreations of the police’s theory of what happened.  Casey, however, not only tells her side but is helped by animated recreations of her story.

Not mentioned during the program was the claim that lead defense attorney Jose Baez told one of his investigators that 1) he was sleeping with Casey and 2) Casey had confessed to murdering Caylee.  Indeed, for all the time that the program spent detailing how the members of Casey’s defense team have “adopted” Casey, it appears that she’s no longer in contact with Jose Baez.

Also not mentioned was that a real-life woman named Zenaida Gonzalez received death threats due to Casey lying about where she had left Caylee.

I never thought I’d see a true crime documentary as one-sided and smarmy as A&E’s The Murder of Laci Peterson but Casey Anthony: Where The Truth Lies proved me wrong.  Shame on everyone involved and shame on me for watching it.

Don’t Pick Up The Phone (Netflix)

This disturbing, 3-part documentary from Netflix took a look at the so-called Strip Search Phone Call Hoaxes of the 90s and the early aughts.  For several years, someone repeatedly called fast food restaurants and, after claiming to be a cop, said that one of the female employees had been accused of theft and that it would be necessary for the managed to strip search them.  A lot of managers saw through the hoax and hung up but, disturbingly, a large number of them followed the orders of the caller.  (The film Compliance was based on one such call.)  This was a disturbing and sad documentary but an important one.  It took a look at what happens when authority is blindly trusted.  There’s very little people won’t do under the pretense of “just following orders.”

Fantasy Island (Tubi)

I wrote about Fantasy Island here!  And then I watched several more episodes, reviews of which will appear over the next few weeks.

Law & Order: SVU (Hulu)

After watching Don’t Pick Up The Phone, I watched a 2009 episode of Law & Order: SVU that was inspired by the Strip Search Caller.  Robin Williams played the caller.  It was a pretty uneven episode, as SVU tends to be sometimes.  Williams had some good moments but overall, it was a bit too heavy-handed.  At one point, Williams’s caller became a political activist and appeared on Morning Joe.  “Did you guys catch Morning Joe?” Captain Cragen asked his detectives and I had to laugh.  I’m sure blue collar New York cops schedule their entire day around catching the MSNBC lineup.

The Love Boat (Paramount)

I watched a few episodes this week.  Check out my latest review here!

Survivor (Wednesday Night, CBS)

I was surprised when Gabler won but the more I think about it, the happier I am with the result.  I wrote about the finale of Survivor at Reality TV Chat Blog!

 

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.