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'The Love Boat' on DVD: Heaven or hell?

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Loveboat_l_2

I recently cracked open The Love Boat: Season One — Volume One DVD and watched the first three episodes. Are they your idea of heaven or hell?

Episode 1 (aired Sept. 24, 1977): Capt. Stubing’s ex-wife (One Day at a Time‘s Bonnie Franklin) comes aboard to make him miserable and evaluate his crew. A woman (Family TiesMeredith Baxter Birney) who posed nude for Kitten magazine when she was a struggling law student takes her congressman fiancé on the cruise to avoid the media frenzy when the photo finally surfaces. (She has to track down all the copies onboard, which is easy since men apparently had no problem reading pornography in public in the ’70s.) And the “exterminator to the stars” (Good TimesJimmie Walker) chases after his live-in girlfriend, who’s leaving him because he won’t pop the question. “People in love today don’t get married. It spoils the relationship,” he says. “See the thing today is free-dom. Didn’t you see Roots?” (Think that line is bad? When the girlfriend’s cabinmate, Three’s Company‘s Suzanne Somers, spots Walker at the first port, she says, “Guess who’s coming to dinner?”)

Episode 2 (aired Oct. 1, 1977): A bickering husband (The JeffersonsSherman Hemsley) and wife (Sanford and Son‘s LaWanda Page) get trapped in an elevator. A neglected wife (Charlie’s Angels Jaclyn Smith) finds herself attracted to the private eye/widower her husband hired to tail her. And a poor sucker (Three’s Company‘s John Ritter, pictured) wants to win back a golddigger so badly that he dresses in drag after Gopher tells him that the only available bed onboard must be sold to a woman. (Watch the full episode.)

Episode 3 (aired Oct. 8, 1977): A woman (M*A*S*H‘s Loretta Swit) who married her marriage counselor (Soap‘s Richard Mulligan) finds herself on the same cruise as her ex (The Brady Bunch‘s Robert Reed) — and in the same bed. A socially awkward 12-year-old (Happy DaysScott Baio) experiences first love, with Family‘s Kristy McNichol. (Watch the full episode.)

For me, this is heaven. One I shall revisit on a cold winter’s night. With a cup of spiked hot chocolate. (Episode 4 = Charo.) For you?

More on The Love Boat:
30th anniversary flashback: Cast and crew tell all to Dan Snierson
Dalton Ross reviews The Love Boat: Season One — Volume One