Sometimes a Champagne Bottle Is Just a Champagne Bottle

Scene From The Love Boat

THE IMAGE: A still photo from an episode of the iconically absurd cocaine-era TV series "The Love Boat" (ABC, 1977-1986) showing the large cruise ship's only bartender and non-white crew member, Isaac, fumbling with a bottle of champagne while a shapely female passenger in a form-fitting ballet dress who looks like Judith Light (but, alas, isn't) watches with horror in her well-ventilated cabin.

THE BAIT: A little-known account of some ribald sex scene in a cornball television show that somehow slipped past censors and caused a storm of controversy.

THE TARGET: People over 50 who know what the hell "The Love Boat" is, people who have boxes of old TV Guides stored in their basements, Scott Baio.

THE STUPID: So what made this scene so scandalous that a TV network with the lowest programming standards of the 80s (and that's saying a lot) almost cancel one of its highest-rated shows? Is it the female passenger's mildly revealing outfit? The fact that a black man managed to get inside a white woman's room without someone calling the police? The, um ... provocative symbolism of the spurting champagne bottle? Whatever it was, thank God it didn't sink "The Love Boat," or else countless washed-up actors wouldn't have gotten one last guest starring role before having to hawk life insurance, commemorative coins, and orthopedic bath pillows in Sunday morning infomercials.


  1. FYI, that’s Judy Landers of the Landers Sisters with Isaac


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