The Love Boat: Season Two, Volume One -DVD Review


Once upon a time, Saturday nights were not considered a dead zone on network TV. It was not a dumping ground for series that nobody wanted to watch. In 1978, Americans tuned in their TV sets at 9 p.m. on that night for an hour-long cruise on The Love Boat. Each week promised another trip from Los Angeles to Mexico with various familiar faces being assisted by Captain Stubing (Gavin McLeod), Doc (Bernie Kopell), Gopher (Fred Grandy), Issac (Ted Lange) and Julie (Lauren Tewes). The series was a perfect tonic for people who were burned out by a crummy work week. Who didnt want Isaac to mix up a large fruity drink and let them feel the joys of the sea? The Love Boat: The Second Season, Volume One allows us to depart on 13 cruises that never finish unlucky.

Heres an interesting fact: cruise lines have severe rules about the crew fraternizing with the passengers. This means the entire cast of The Love Boat would have been fired after the pilot movie. It seems like each week at least one crew member of the Pacific Princess would put hard moves on a civilian. Perhaps in the 70s, cruise lines didnt mind be stud ships. The Pacific Princess only has room for 650 passengers. Todays average cruise ship holds 2,500 potential lovers. Thus The Love Boat was a very intimate ship.

“The Search/Isaac’s Holiday/Marooned” launches the sophomore outing with a 98-minute super-episode. Things get weird when Dick Martin (Rowan & Martins Laugh-In) comes aboard as a Deputy Captain. When Stubing departs the ship for a tour, Martin takes command. Hes a major dolt who puts everyone in jeopardy. John Astin (Gomez from The Adams Family) is a Robinson Crusoe character. He takes Stubings tour group hostages. Things get uglier when a storm hits. Playboy superstar Barbi Benton sasses up the deck. You might have recently seen her as Hugh Hefners old lover on The Girls Next Door. Shame theres no Love Boat for Holly, Bridget and Kendra to board. How shall they extend their careers?

“The Man Who Loved Women/A Different Girl/Oh, My Aching Brother” allows Sonny Bono to be part of an insurance fraud team with Marty Ingels. This must be where Sonny learned how to operate in Congress. Brett Somers (Match Game) hooks up with David Doyle (Charlies Angels). Did Charles Nelson Reilly know about this affair? “The Kissing Bandit/Mike and Ike/The Witness” is a comedy of sexual weirdness. Theres a kissing bandit lose on the boat. Who could it be? Why its Billy Crystal. He was playing a gay character on Soap. Perhaps he took the role to prove to America that hes straight. However one of his victims is Nancy Kulp. Nothing makes a man look like a stud than liplocking with Miss Jane Hathaway from The Beverly Hillbillies. Toni Tennille puts the moves on Robert Reed (Mr. Brady from The Brady Bunch). She wants him to testify in her brothers murder case. She falls in love with him. Why did the Captain allowing Tennille to cruise alone? What happened to their “Muskrat Love?” The final story has Isaac teaching Todd Bridges (Diffrent Stokes) how to dance. Isaac was the coolest guy on the Seven Seas.

“Ship of Ghouls” is the big Halloween special. Vincent Price is an illusionist who dazzles the ladies to the disgust of his fiance. He turns Gopher and Doc into donkeys. We also get Gary Collins as a concerned father. He was recently busted for drunk driving in a motorhome. Thankfully he stays away from the ships wheel. “Accidental Cruise/The Song is Ended/A Time for Everything/Anoushka” shall please Diablo Cody since Soupy Sales plays a drunk executive who wanders on to the boat with his secretary (Laugh-Ins Jo Anne Worley). Loretta Swit is a cold hearted Soviet guest who thaws for a chance to bump ICBMs with Doc. Does this mean she was a commie plant on M*A*S*H? Richard Dawson (Hogans Heroes) and Robert Goulet are a songwriting combo that reunite with cabin fever. The big touching story is when the Captain realizes that a late girlfriends daughter is really his kid. Vicki (Jill Whelan) popped up a few times until a certain cruise director booked passage to Columbia up her nasal canal. Vicki became part of the crew.

We get to see a few new parts of the ship this season. Theres a pirate-themed bar next to the swimming pool. Naturally Isaac also works this station. “Tony’s Family/The Minister and the Stripper/Her Own Two Feet”lets us finally glimpse the on board casino. Peter Graves (Mission: Impossible) is a minister who sees the light in the eyes of a Las Vegas stripper. His pants self-destruct in five seconds. Larry Storch (F Troop) is a ship employee who is need on the Thanksgiving cruise. In order to not make him miss out on the holiday, the crew smuggle his family on board. “Till Death Do Us Part – Maybe/Chubs/Locked Away” spooks us with Jimmie Walker (Good Times) as a ghost looking out for his wife. He wants her to romp with Greg Morris (Mission: Impossible). Scream queen Jamie Lee Curtis (Halloween) acts with her mom Janet Leigh (Psycho). However neither lets out a shriek. “Folks from Home/The Captain’s Cup/Legal Eagle” lets Bert Convy be a divorcee who has a chance to screw his wifes lawyer. Florence Henderson (Brady Bunch) is supposed to give the Captain a major award. But she gets a trophy in the form of Pat Harrington Jr. Hes pretty much One Day at a Times Schneider at sea. Except Mrs. Brady puts out easier than Ann Romano.

The Love Boat: Season Two, Volume One keeps up their classic formula of light entertainment on calm seas. This is an hour of mental relaxation filled with smiles. The crew pampers us with their amorous ways. Who wouldnt want to sip Isaacs potent and fruity elixirs? Even three decades later, theres still pleasure in The Love Boats cruise. While we get to see a variety of stars pop up on CSI and Law and Order, theyre playing serial killers and child molesters. Theres no major tension here. We dont have to worry about Soupy Sales being the nun rapist. Hes just Soupy on a boat. This was a chance to see our favorite TV and movie actors taking a romantic vacation with us. While I prefer Love American Style (which needs to have its second season released promptly), The Love Boat offered us the joy of having Isaac make us feel like were one Bloody Mary away from bliss.

The Episodes

“The Search/Isaac’s Holiday/Marooned,” “Julie’s Dilemma/Who’s Who?/Rocky,” “The Man Who Loved Women/A Different Girl/Oh, My Aching Brother,” “Where is it Written?/Julie’s Aunt/The Big Deal,” “The Kissing Bandit/Mike and Ike/The Witness,” “Ship of Ghouls,” “Accidental Cruise/The Song is Ended/A Time for Everything/Anoushka,” “Till Death Do Us Part – Maybe/Chubs/Locked Away,” “Tony’s Family/The Minister and the Stripper/Her Own Two Feet,” “Heads or Tails/The Little People/Mona of the Movie,” “Folks from Home/The Captain’s Cup/Legal Eagle,” “Isosceles Triangle/El Kid/The Last Hundred Bucks” and “Double Wedding/The Ventriloquists/Julie Falls Hard.”

The video is 1.33:1 full frame. The transfers are sharp enough to make you think youre on a cruise ship or a ship set. These look much better than the last time I caught an episode in syndication. The audio is Dolby Digital Mono. You can hear Isaac fill up your glass. For people on the other port of the cruise, theres a Spanish dub. During the theme song, the Spanish narrator reads the title cards and introduces the stars. The subtitles are in English and Spanish.

Episodic Promos (0:30) are to play before the shows. Consider these an invitation to board the ship.

The Love Boat: Season Two, Volume One is a blissful cruise with a ship filled with familiar faces. Maybe it isnt Shakespearean level drama, but it served its ultimate purpose. The Love Boat gave an hours worth of mental vacation on a Saturday night that allowed us to not worry about cruising down to the disco. Like a good cruise ship, the crew provided to your every need.


CBS DVD presents The Love Boat: Season Two, Volume One. Starring Gavin McLeod, Bernie Kopell,Fred Grandy, Ted Lange and Lauren Tewes. Boxset Contents: 13 episodes on 4 DVDs. Released on DVD: January 27, 2009. Available at Amazon.

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