Things I've learned from Love Boat

So my favorite thing lately has been watching re-runs of Love Boat at CBS.com. I can't help it. I find comfort in cheesy predictable plots that are tied up in a nice bow at the end of the show. But more interesting to me is the difference between 1970s television and the television of today.

First and foremost, the lack of boobs and gratuitous nudity. You have to admit, any modern day version of this show would runneth over with large breasts in small bikini tops. Not so much on the original version. Most of the people on the show are completely covered in sensible clothing the entire time.

Secondly, it is amazing to me how many older actors show up in the guest cast. I mean this is truly multi-generational programming. There is something for every age group on the Love Boat.

Oh, and not everyone is gorgeous. I mean, seriously, take a look at this picture. This show was wildly popular. Can you imagine a wildly popular show right now with a cast that was as plain looking as this one? And the teeth! I'd almost forgotten what natural teeth look like. In fact, there are times when I am watching this show that I can't believe how yellow everyone's teeth were before the mandatory bleaching policies of the 2000's.

And yet with all the sensible clothes and plain people, there is a lot of sex happening on this boat! Holy cow. I mean it's almost shocking how acceptable casual sex was on 1970s television. And even more shocking how uptight a lot of network television is today on the topic of sex, while at the same time shoving tits and ass in our face every 10 seconds. I'm not really sure anyone can make an argument that we've made any kind of progress at all.

You can have your ripped from the headlines dramas and your not-so-reality television. Set a course for adventure, I'll be on the Love Boat.


Anna said...

When I was in high school we had reruns of Love Boat in the afternoons. I remember hurrying home to have a snack in front of the TV. And once, they ended up in Copenhagen (can't remember why) and I skipped the last fifteen minutes of my maths class so I wouldn't miss any of it. Think I told the teacher that I had a dentist appointment...

I can't but agree to the reflection you make of the differences in TV shows from the '70s and now.

Lia said...

I love the cheesy 70s shows, too. They are comforting. Rob is obsessed with them--CHiPs is his favorite. As for Love Boat, I watched it religiously as a kid.

Sex in the 70s was different on TV. But you're right; we haven't made any progress. In fact, television still objectifies women, just in a different way.