My husband and I spent last week on a Caribbean cruise in celebration of my recent paralegal degree completion. It was nice to get away, and spend some uninterrupted time together, though everything didn’t really go as planned, primarily because it rained just about every single day. Still, I’m well aware that a complaint regarding the weather on a cruise vacation falls squarely into the domain of First World Problems, and it’s not really what I want to chat about today, anyway.
But, because of the uncooperative weather, we spent more time than anticipated sitting in our stateroom staring at a television screen. You’d think this might not be much of a problem for such a self-professed TV junkie as myself, but even I have my limits. And, besides, as you can imagine, live television broadcasts are a pretty rare commodity in the middle of the ocean, or even the gulf. But you know what could be found on television every single day? The Love Boat.
Of course, we were sailing Princess Cruises, so The Love Boat is really just a glorified commercial, but I have to admit there was something a little surreal watching the old episodes while gazing out the balcony door to the rolling waves.
And, as I was watching, I was thinking about a couple of things. First, of course, was that I always liked the show. Sure, it was cheesy and trite, but I’m pretty sure that was it’s primary charm. There might be shows like that today, but any that exist are firmly locked into the half-hour sitcom format; nowadays you don’t find networks devoting an hour of airtime to cheesy, feel good programming. No, hour long programming blocks are reserved for drama, and the grittier, the better. That’s not exactly a complaint. I’ve said many times that I’d take an average drama over a good comedy just about any day of the week, but that doesn’t mean I don’t recognize that our television seems to have lost some of its innocence, and its fun.
I was also thinking about how they say The Love Boat sort of launched the cruising industry into the success that it is today, and I was wondering if that’s really true. I mean, it’s certainly what made me first think that I’d like to take a cruise someday, but I was a young teenager at the time; what did I know about world travel? And many years went by in my adult life before I took my first cruise, but I don’t remember spending those years thinking, “I’d sure like to sail on a ship like the Pacific Princess.” On the other hand, back in those days, I didn’t know anyone who’d taken a cruise; now I know lots of people who have. There’s no doubt that cruising is a much larger industry than it was back in the days of Captain Stubing and the crew, but who knows if the show really played a part in its growth?
But, they say countless people have been found to pursue careers in various sciences because of Star Trek, forensics because of CSI. If people can build their entire life around something on a television program, it doesn’t seem all that farfetched that some would plan a vacation because of it. In fact, I’m pretty sure the Travel Channel counts on it.
But, whether The Love Boat actually launched a thousand ships (or even a hundred), it was still a fun and relaxing way to spend an hour, with people who laughed a lot, and always had things worked out by the end of the voyage; that’s definitely a voyage worth remembering.