Saturday, March 11, 2017

Remembering the Creepy Stalker/Rapey "Love Boat" Episode ("Mike and Ike / The Witness / The Kissing Bandit")

My son is hosting a group sleepover at our home, which usually means that I'm holed up in my bedroom while they play video games and watch YouTube videos in the living room. I've developed this tradition of watching episodes of "The Love Boat." If you don't know, "The Love Boat" was this program that aired during the late 1970s and well into the 1980s that featured the captain and crew of this one cruise ship and their weekly interactions with various celebrity guest stars who experience a variety of romantic misadventures.

I received seasons one and two of "The Love Boat" for Christmas back in 2015. I was so excited to catch up on this favorite from my childhood. However, I quickly discovered that the story lines in "The Love Boat" are quite repetitive and cliched. I will watch an episode or two about every three to four months and that's about as much as I can handle. But it also means that I've managed to stretch out my viewing of this program for much longer than I'd originally anticipated.

Tonight, I watched one of the early episodes from season two, titled "Mike and Ike / The Witness / The Kissing Bandit" from 1978. This blog post will be focusing on the third story. Billy Crystal played Newton Weems, a terribly shy man who donned a mask and ran around stealing kisses from random women on the cruise ship. Seriously.

It turns out that Newton suffered from severe social anxiety, especially when it came to women. He hid in the bathrooms during school dances due to fear. He was convinced that no woman in her right mind would willingly kiss someone like him, so he invented a masked alter ego that would run around and steal kisses from the women around him.

Today, that behavior would be a form of sexual harassment and assault. Back then, the Pacific Princess' crew laughed it off. After all, none of the women were complaining!

In fact, the Princess' crew didn't do anything about the Kissing Bandit until he stole a kiss from Captain Stubing's date! Then -- and only then -- did he insist that they do something. And that something was using Cruise Director Julie McCoy as bait for the Kissing Bandit -- something she really didn't want to volunteer for!

Ultimately, Newton gets found out by Roberta, the one girl who wants him and not the Kissing Bandit. They fall in love overnight and he throws away his mask. And she's not at all concerned about his creepy stalker rapist behaviors.

But that's 1978 social values versus 2017 social values, I guess...

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