The Love Boat was a romantic comedy/drama centered around Captain Merrill Stubing (Gavin MacLeod), his family-like crew, and a handful of guests who loved to indulge in fun and romantic adventures on a cruise ship. It was called the Love Boat for a reason. Yet, critics were not fans of the series.
Some of the show’s criticism was so harsh that Lauren Tewes, who played cruise director Julie McCoy, decided to address it in an interview with the Daily News in 1977. “My mother called me the other day and said that she read where one of the critics called the members of the cast simple-minded,” Tewes began.
The actress’ mother gave her a less offensive version of what was said by critics. Those who criticized the show thought it was terrible because of the writers and the actors. One critic said, “Almost everybody (in the cast) is smotheringly nice [and the show] badly needs sharper writing and better wit…the entire show has a disjointed feel.”
Another critic took a negative aim at Gavin MacLeod and said, “MacLeod has one of those grin-and-bear-it smiles, and what he’s bearing is the worst series of the season.” These harsh takes cam only a month after The Love Boat‘s debut on ABC. Despite the reviews, viewers loved the show, and the ratings were high.
Tewes’ response to the harsh comments was that the show had one goal to accomplish. “I guess everybody is entitled to his or her opinion, but we have to live up to our goal, and that is to have a nice, entertaining and pleasant show,” she said. “We offer viewers a good time, and even those who can’t afford a cruise or don’t have the time can tune into our program and enjoy other people doing it.”
The actress was right, everyone was entitled to their own opinion, but those opinions were tiny compared to The Love Boat‘s massive success.
Overall, the show did fulfill its goal because not only did it stay on for nine seasons, it had multiple specials. Hundreds of beloved celebrities also happily guest-starred in memorable episodes.
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