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On a "Love Cruise" to Nowhere

Six or seven months ago, Fox had a series that neatly combined the worst parts of The Love Boat and Temptation Island. Luckily, those "worst parts" were also the most entertaining parts, so as long as the viewers weren't all hung up on quality, it was a fine, fine show after all.

The premise was simple. Take a bunch of photogenic horn-dogs, put them on a cruise ship, and sail off the edge of the earth. Wait. That can't be right, can it? It's been awhile since I saw the show. Luckily, I saved the premiere on my TiVo. So let's take a look.

For some reason, the show starts in a courtroom. That seems odd. And there are lawyers arguing, which I don't understand at all. I thought the lawyers normally came out after the reality show aired. And is that Camryn Manheim?

Oh, great. I've been stalling on this review for seven months now, to the point where "Fall 2001" is more than one season out of date. And every time I looked at my TiVo, the first episode was sitting there glaring at me. Taunting me. And now it turns out that my Tivo recorded the wrong channel. This isn't Love Cruise at all. This is The Practice. That's just great.

Okay, no problem. I can survive this. I was just going to use the show for fact-checking anyway; I'd already made up my mind. That's how the professional TV critics do it, you know. Step one: Decide on an opinion. Step two: Write piece. Step three: Cash check. Step four: Watch show (optional). I'm going to write this article anyway. And if I get a few details wrong, well, it's your own fault for knowing too much about Love Cruise in the first place.

So let's see. The show was hosted by, I don't know, Max Gail, I guess. You know, the guy who played Wojo on Barney Miller. Wojo displayed a new flair on Love Cruise with his startling handlebar mustache. Every episode, one passenger would be selected for the great honor of waxing Wojo's mustache. Or something.

Okay, I made that part up. Really, people were paired off pretty randomly and basically had sex on camera. Then, every three days, they were re-paired and had sex in different configurations. Sometimes, people would get voted off the show. Because it just isn't a show unless someone gets voted off. When they were voted off, they were sent to Aruba, or "Loser Island," as the show's website charmingly calls it. If I were Aruba, I think I'd object to that.

Apparently, the whole series built to a climax (har har) in which one couple was chosen as the winner. Because for building a strong relationship, nothing beats a fifteen-day tropical cruise in which both people repeatedly have sex with anonymous people assigned by Max Gail. And then have their harlotry televised across the country. It's not that I'm saying their relationship is doomed; it's just that if they get married, it'll be hard for the groom's buddies to concoct a bachelor party that tops the courtship.

I guess it's possible that they've already gotten married. For all I know, they're married and have already raised a huge, happy family. Perhaps they have a big picture of Max Gail over their fireplace to remind them of the great man who brought them together. But I think it's more likely that when they realized their new lives wouldn't be full of sex with photogenic strangers on beautiful cruise ships, they called the whole thing off.

But who am I to say? I haven't, you know, watched the thing.


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