S1E01 – Captain and the Lady / One If By Land / Centerfold

Follow along! Buy the season one “Love Boat” DVDs here.

If you want to see what this is all about, click here.

Before we begin: Alas, this first episode I’m covering is not (as of this writing) free on Hulu. Still, I’m going to cover this show in order, so the DVDs are probably the best way to keep up at the moment. (All timings below correspond to the DVDs.)

Note: as of this writing, the episode is available for viewing on YouTube — the timings will be off, but hopefully you’ll still be able to follow along:

Part 1
Part 2 
Part 3
Part 4

I admit that there is an extent to which I’m flying by the seat of my pants here — these recaps or essays or whatever they are might change form as we progress. I welcome your feedback and involvement. Please correct me, fill in the gaps and call me out on my ignorance. I will be blindly speculating on a lot of things, mostly because I think it’ll be more fun that way. I’m trying to create a convivialish atmosphere, as if we were sitting together in front of a TV set with an active pause button. If you have the time, maybe watch the episode on your own, and then go through it again with this markup.

Please feel free to put your own impressions in the comments. Tell me what a dunderhead I am. Whatever you like. Let it float; it floats back to you, and all that.

And so, here we go:

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Before We Embark…

Just a note:

In no way do I profess to be an expert about any of this. I am an amateur TV watcher and sometime-participant by trade. I guarantee that you know way more than I do about most of this stuff: who the guest stars actually are; the history of the show; what it was like to watch the show when it originally aired.

What you will get here is simply one man’s reactions to this gloriously enjoyable clusterfuck of a show, armchair quarterbacking and half-assedly researching his way through the late 70s and early 80s. I am no television idiot, but by no means do I mean to insinuate here that I know all there is to know about this show, the history of ABC, or Gavin MacLeod’s pedigree.

Some episodes of The Love Boat are (as of this writing) available on Hulu — I’ll try to link to these when I’m discussing them. I will be going in order, using the surprisingly not-so-cheap DVDs as my source. The format of this site might change from time to time. My plan for now is to sort-of “live-blog” the episodes, putting time markers in the text that correspond to the time on the DVDs. The DVDs will be the main reference, though I hope that the blog remains enjoyable even without the benefit of the actual discs.

As of this writing, there are only two of the nine seasons available for purchase on DVD. I imagine that by the time I slog my way through these two seasons, there will probably be a third.

I will try to be consistent with my entries, but I make no promises.

I have a life, you know.

Wait, why are you laughing?

Love. Exciting and New.

There is a telling moment during the opening credits of the first season of The Love Boat that speaks volumes about the absurdity and sloppy beauty of the series as a whole.

For those who have never seen or can’t recall the opening sequence:

As we fade in by way of the top-of-the-hour ABC news brief, we are immediately bombarded with the names of guest stars, a weekly cavalcade of actors, both stars from (then)-today’s hottest television programs and classic personalities from our ancestors’ generation — a bright list emblazoned across a blue sky and superimposed over thrilling images of a luxury cruise liner. Scott Baio gives way to Milton Berle, and Shecky Greene dissolves into Florence Henderson. Names both legendary (John Ritter) and the stuff of esoteric pub quiz questions (Sal Viscuso) are heralded in, courtesy of a brass fanfare and an “ooh”ing choir over a light disco beat.

And then, guided in an effortless fashion by executive producer Aaron Spelling, we and our new pals, the celebrated guest stars, are whisked away on a magical journey upon the sea. Come! Let us meet our ship’s crew, who will surely be our sage guides and close friends on this, the voyage of a lifetime.

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