What Kept ‘The Love Boat’ Afloat?

The idea seemed too cheesy to work: A weekly anthology of romantic comedy stories, set aboard a cruise ship. And the name was even cheesier … The Love Boat. Cheesy as it was, though, Americans ate it up. The series ran for nine seasons, regularly placed in the Top 20, and even spawned a set of movie-length specials in the years after it was originally cancelled. This year, The Love Boat celebrates its 45th anniversary, and viewers are now able to discover it (or rediscover it) through streaming. Yes, the episodes are still as cheesy as ever, but the kitsch has actually seemed to enhance the show’s stature over time, especially given the steady stream of once- and future Hollywood A-listers who appeared on the show. We once spoke to the late Gavin MacLeod, who played Captain Stubing, and Jill Whelan, who played his daughter Vicki, about the show, and they shared their ideas about why it had become such a phenomenon back in the day. (Click on the media Gavin MacLeod, & Jill Whelan)


The Love Boat is currently streaming on Paramount+.

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