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Country: United States
Starring: Gavin MacLeod, Bernie Kopell, Fred Grandy, Ted Lange, Lauren Tewes
Guest starring: Scott Baio, Suzanne Somers, John Ritter, Jaclyn Smith, Meredith Baxter-Birney, Charlene Tilton and dozens upon dozens of others
Creator: Aaron Spelling
Run time: Interminable
DVD distributor: Paramount Home Entertainment
Two stars for most of us, nine stars, perhaps, for the stoners. You remember your uncle, who used to get drunk at every family occasion and make joke after joke, where the punch line to every single one of those jokes was “rectum? Damn near killed him!”, and who would then walk around saying things like “wow! Is that a wedding cake or the Eiffel tower?” and then he would laugh uproariously at his own jokes? Remember that guy? Imagine being trapped in a room with just him. Now, imagine that various actors, like John Ritter and Suzanne Somers and Scott Baio walked into the room. And you thought – oh, thank God! They can save me from uncle Jasper! Now imagine that instead of saving you from Uncle Jasper and his sense of humour, they found him hilarious, and joined in! Now, imagine you were trapped there for a full hour. That is what watching The Love Boat is like. It may be the worst TV show of all time. Which is why I say that stoners may well enjoy this. It is bad enough to be absolutely hilarious in the right…frame of mind.
Aaron Spelling has built quite the empire out of some pretty awful shows. But none were worse than this one, the TV show where old-timers went to die and new, up-and-coming actors like Scott Baio went to launch their careers. There were three stories to every episode, each story starring actors who I guess were known at the time. Like the mom from Family Ties, or the old dude from Empty Nest. These stories would kind-of intertwine, in that all the characters were on the same cruise. There was a captain for the ship, Captain Stubing, who obviously employed the same philosophy to piloring a ship as did the captain of the Exxon Valdez. That is, he is never seen at the actual helm (it is possible that at the time, Aaron Spelling could not afford a wheel for the show). Rather, he is often seen fraternizing with women and at the bar and at his “captain’s table” in the dining room. There is Julie, the cruise director, whose function seems to be holding a clipboard. And possibly flirting with handsome men. There is a guy named Gopher, who wears a sailor’s uniform, but I have no idea what his job might be. There is a ship’s doctor. I think his name is Doc. But I don’t care.
Wikipedia says that The Love Boat holds the distinction of being one of the very few hour-long TV shows in history to have a laugh track. This is true. And if you’re going to hang your hat on something…even the laugh track, however, is bad. (Or funny, if you are a stoner.) Tha laugh track actually sounds like that nervous laughter that comed from all those around Uncle Jasper when he stars whipping out his poorly-remembered and horribly executed one-man “who’s on first?” routine. hahaha Uncle Jasper…I have to go…stand over there…now…hahaha, very funny though…hahaha. This is the laugh track, as though even that studio audience is embarassed that they are there, but they figure that when the sign lights up, they may as well play along – they’re there anyway. Which is really why I think this series might be perfect for stoners. Once they’ve hit play, the show’s on anyway…and the remote is so far away…and at least Jaclyn Smith is there…
Just as a curiosity, this is a fairly impressive list here of all the guest stars that have appeared on The Love Boat. I still don’t recommend getting the series – ever – unless perhaps you are a rabid Charlene Tilton fan. Or a stoner.