Remember how thrilling Saturday nights used to be? Make some popcorn (on the stove; we didn't even have microwaves. Popcorn in a bag? Whazzat?), settle in on the bed, lying on your stomach facing the TV, poised for two HOURS of TV-land bliss. I am speaking, of course, of the Love Boat-Fantasy Island Double-Barrelled Bang-and-Bang-Again!!
I knew I was supposed to think Captain Stubing was the hero, but in secret fantasies Doc would sneak into my cabin to examine me. Usually, it was because I had twisted my knee on the diving board. Before he could pronounce my diagnosis, Vickie would interrupt us with some shipboard problem, uttered in that spittle-laced speech-impediment way of hers. I never much cared about what Julie was doing, but I thought Isaac was the coolest guy I had ever known. I never took Gopher seriously. Not like now.
Everything about this show was great, from the realistic-looking moonlight, to the innocent little PG love triangles, to the spats between the crew members. I loved how the old married couple came on board facing the demise of their passion and left cooing like doves. I loved the teenaged girl who fell in love for the first time with a boy from Greece. I loved the way Julie's polyester dresses hugged her breasts in the cool night air. The Love Boat stands as the flagship of my childhood TV life.
I still haven't unwrapped my Capt. Stubing doll to see whether his underwear is painted on or not. I figure a wrapped package is worth a lot more on eBay.
And then, immediately after Love Boat, came Fantasy Island! Where your dreams come true! I loved how in every episode Tattoo announced that "de pleen!" was flying in, and Mr. Roarke would smile his benevolent, omnipotent smile. He was the most gracious host.
This show delivered like Domino's. I loved the guy who came with the fantasy of being a cowboy, and left with a cowhand in tow ... I sure wish I could quit you ... wait, did that happen? Strangely, I don't remember a single fantasy. I remember that sometimes they didn't turn out as expected, and that there was always a lesson in there somewhere. A lesson that Roarke had planned all along. Not too comfortable about the Tattoo-Roarke relationship either. What was that? It's a little too late to ask Herve, I am afraid, but maybe Ricardo will come out with a tell-all one of these days. What's that you say? ... Oooh, save me a copy.
P.S. Didanyone else have this experience?: I was just a little bit troubled by how felinely sexual I found Mr. Roarke to be, after I saw Ricardo Montalban in Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan. I just didn't know that under that white suit, he was a man. A man who bared his chest and spoke with a Spanish accent. Ay ay ay.