Does The Love Boat still carry any cultural cachet? Like, if the Marvel Cinematic Universe was at the top and Workers Leaving The Lumiére Factory was at the bottom, in terms of how much people care in the year 2022, where would The Love Boat be? Maybe lower than the silent short film from the 1800s? Like, it and The Love Boat are both extremely significant to the art of the motion picture, but do people ever talk or think about them these days? (And knowing it as a reference doesn’t count, in case you’re a big fan of iZac from Futurama.)
Well, some people at CBS and an Australian channel called Network 10 apparently do, because Deadline says they’re teaming up for a new Love Boat reality competition series called The Real Love Boat where singles get stuck on a cruise ship together as a “captain” (R.I.P. Gavin MacLeod) and “cruise director” figure out how to make them fall in love. Basically, it’s one of these “big group of people looking for a relationship” shows, but it’s on a boat. Bingo bango, Love Boat… but it’s a reality show, so it’s The Real Love Boat.
We don’t really get how the “captain” and “cruise director” will be involved, assuming they’re not just a host and an assistant host like Survivor’s Jeff Probst and that parrot that sits on his shoulder and tells people when they’re going home, but maybe CBS and Network 10 haven’t even thought that far ahead. What we do know is that the whole thing is going to be an ad for Princess Cruises, with the “winning couple” getting a cash prize and a free trip on a Princess Cruises ship. (How does one become the “winning couple” on a dating show? Again, we do not know, but it probably involves being more in love than everyone else.)
For those who inexplicably don’t recall the original series, it was basically this concept as a scripted comedy series, with famous celebrities (and/or regular actors) as the lovelorn singles having romantic adventures at sea. Also, to be clear, we’re not saying The Love Boat was bad and anyone with fond memories of it is wrong, we’re just saying that it seems like a weird swing for CBS to make so many years after the show was last on the air—to say nothing of the fact that cruises in general seem a little distasteful after the COVID-19 pandemic.
Even if they don’t get that specific virus, nobody wants to see a bunch of singles trying to fall in love getting some kind of stomach bug because they’re all in close proximity on a cruise ship. Actually, someone would probably like that. Maybe CBS is on to something here.