"Dear Beverly / The Strike / Special Delivery"
Original airdate: 12/2/1977
Episode summary: Captain Stubing quarrels with the ship's arrogant new chef, which leads to a general strike of the kitchen staff. An advice columnist is pressured into putting her career on the back burner in order to placate her insecure husband. An estranged couple reunites moments before their baby is born.
Recap: As cartloads of cooking ware gets wheeled aboard the ship, Julie explains to a bemused Isaac and Gopher that since their usual chef has appendicitis, he's being temporarily replaced by the imperious Chef Antonio Borga...who, a few seconds later, makes his grand entrance. Chef Borga tut tuts Julie for being waaaaay too skinny to attract a mate, and promises that with the right amount of fettuccine, he can get her fattened up in no time. Julie ignores his slim-shaming and cheerfully assures him that he's going to greatly enjoy feeding the masses on this voyage, not least 'cause the ship is generally awesome and is staffed with a helpful crew - and Chef Borga interjects by sniping, "And a jackass for a captain." Captain Stubing, who's standing close enough to overhear that snub, growlingly demands, "What did you say?", and Chef Borga responds by telling the crew that he has nothing but disdain for their captain on account of he once added ketchup to his bouillabaisse. Egads! Captain Stubing wryly adds that the ketchup did nothing to improve the horrendousness of his nasty cooking, then informs the crew that he plans on eating TV dinners as long as Borga is going to be serving as the ship's chef [who he presumably signed on off on hiring].
Travel agent Jeff Smith saunters aboard the ship, kisses Julie on the cheek, and tells her that, yep, he's taking yet another Pacific Princess cruise 'cause he's in the process of putting together a holiday package for the airlines. He then ambles off in such a dejected fashion that Julie can't help wondering aloud to Gopher whaddup with his glumness, then wistfully points out that he used to be "such a live wire". Gopher says he heard on the grapevine that Jeff recently split with his wife...and as an intrigued Julie chews on that fascinating nugget, Gopher's all, "Mmm hmm.." and asks her if she's into the idea of tapping that, and she snarkishly tells him to get lost. [I'll take that as a yes.]
Two elderly women are gushing at columnist Beverly Blanchard about how they always read her Dear Beverly advice column and never miss her afternoon TV show. Beverly breezily says it's soooo lovely to meet them as Gopher does his best to steer her away from the pesky fans...and while her husband, Russ, mills around a few feet away, looking visibly irked. When the elderly women fail to take the hint and continue peppering Beverly with advice-related questions, Gopher tells them to put a pin in it until Beverly's lecture on Sunday, then ushers her further away and obliviously tells Russ he also needs to step off...then sheepishly apologizes when Russ explains that he's Mr. Blanchard (aka Beverly's far less interesting other half).
Doc encounters a pregnant passenger, who introduces herself as Gail Smith...and when he says he hopes that she and Mr. Smith have a great cruise vacation, she glumly explains that there is no Mr. Smith travelling with her. She cryptically adds that she made a big mistake with that whole thing, then sadly lumbers off to settle into her cabin.
Beverly assures her husband that they're going to have a fantastic vacation...and when he just grunts in reply, she chides him for his grouchiness and tells him to just sit back and enjoy the cruise. Russ grumbles about how he'd enjoy it a lot more if he were paying for it and not freeloading off of her success, and she [refrains from calling him out for his insultingly misogynist attitude and] reminds him that in exchange for her doing one measly lecture on Sunday, they've been given free cruise tickets. Russ points out that he's perfectly capable of paying for them to take a cruise that doesn't entail her having to interact with her fan base - but she insists that she loves her work...as she does him, and tries to appease him with a big smooch. He responds by tossing her atop the bed and moaning about how much he'd loooooove to get it on with her right here and now, and she says that while she'd loooooove that too, she has an advice column to type up. She urges him to go on deck for some sun and fun and promises that she'll be along shortly, and he mumbles, "Yeah, OK, whatever" and shuffles off. Beverly sits down at her desk and reads aloud a letter from an advice seeker: a heavyset woman has no idea what to do about her son, who seems to enjoy wearing her dresses. She mulls that over for a few seconds before flippantly exclaiming, "Go on a diet!" and types up her full response.
During dinner, Chef Borga looks incensed as he spies on Captain Stubing, who's dousing the gourmet dinner he's just been served with many spoonfuls of ketchup.
Beverly and Russ enter the dining room and run into another couple waiting to be seated. The wife gushes to Beverly about how much she looooooves her column and that her goal while on this cruise is to meet lots of new people. Beverly perks up at the prospect of being wanked all through dinner and asks Russ if he too would be interested in dining with a couple they just met two seconds ago, and he graciously tells her he'd be delighted.
Jeff moans to Julie about his string of failed relationships, imminent divorce, and generally messed up life...and after he gives her a half-hearted smooch, she tells him she gets the strong sense that his heart isn't really into hooking up with her. Jeff assures her that while she's a fantastic gal, he's still hopeless hung up on his wife Gail...who we can safely assume is (not coincidentally) the same Gail Smith Doc was chatting with earlier.
Gail is dining with Doc, Gopher, and Isaac, who somehow get on the topic of blurting out name suggestions for her unborn baby. When Gopher suggests the name Jeff, and contemplates how the full name of Jeff Smith would sound - uh, pretty darn vanilla, in my opinion - Gail gets visibly upset and flees the dining room. Doc races after her, finds her sobbing against the railing of the deck, and asks if there's anything he can do to help...and she leans against him and sobs about how Jeff Smith is the name of her soon-to-be ex-husband, with whom she's still hopelessly in love and who has no idea she's even pregnant 'cause he walked out on her to shack up with another woman long before she started showing. Yep, a real keeper.
The next day by the pool area, Beverly apologizes to Russ for neglecting him earlier and explains that she was working on her new book...and Russ is all, "Wuh? A book now?" and self-piteously says she should have just brought a photo of him if she felt like she needed his company aboard this cruise [which sounds like kind of a win-win, given his general aura of sourpussedness.] Beverly chides him for spoiling their vacation with his pissy 'tude and reminds him that it's been a long time since they've been able to get away together...and he mulls that over before suggesting he head over to the bar and get the two of them some cocktails to enjoy.
Russ orders two cocktails from Isaac, then heads back to Beverly, who's suddenly holding court with a gaggle of fawning women. Russ tries to get her attention by waving one of the drinks at her, looks peeved when she fails to notice, and decides to wander over to a nearby seating area. He encounters a pretty young blonde named Peggy who remarks on what a popular wife he has, and Russ wryly agrees and offers her Beverly's cocktail. The two elderly women who were gushing over Beverly earlier notice Russ keeping company with the attractive young woman who's not Beverly, and take it upon themselves to march over and purse smack him.
Chef Borga is above deck and tossing the kitchen's entire ketchup supply into the ocean when Captain Stubing races over and is all, "The fuck you doin'?" Chef Borga pissily retorts that he can swim for his ketchup if he wants to disgrace his cooking, then whines about the challenge of creating edible masterpieces for hundreds of passengers every day. Captain Stubing points out that his role of commanding a ship is far more complicated than being head of the kitchen staff...and the two bicker back and forth in an incoherent snipefest before Chef Borga storms off.
Julie is hanging out in the ship's casino with Jeff as he glumly plays one of the slot machines. She urges him to do something about getting back together with his wife if that's what he wants, but he grumbles about how he burned that bridge and highly doubts that Gail would ever forgive him for cheating on her. He then gives up on the slot machine and ambles off with Julie...and a few seconds later, Gail enters the casino with Doc and starts playing the same slot machine and miraculously wins a jackpot on her first try.
During dinner at the Captain's table that evening, Beverly is regaling the other diners with various stories while Russ poutishly eats, but then perks up when Peggy arrives and seats herself next to him. Beverly tells Captain Stubing that she'd sure love some chocolate soufflé for dessert, but can't find it on the menu, so Captain Stubing summons Gopher over and orders him to make a special request of the chef. A few seconds later, Gopher returns and tells him that Chef Borga told him where he can shove his special dessert request, so the captain storms into the kitchen to confront Borga about his insubordination. When Chef Borga stubbornly refuses to make the dessert, Captain Stubing derisively refers to him as "a short order cook", and Borga gasps in horror and demands an apology for that insult, then warns that this will be the last meal he's cooking aboard this ship if he doesn't get apologized to asap. Captain Stubing refuses and heads back to his table and fibs to Beverly that the chocolate soufflé is a no-go 'cause there's currently a ship-wide chocolate shortage. Beverly assures him it's fine, then suddenly notices that Russ is no longer at the table...and when she's all, "Where in blazes did my husband disappear to?", the other diners at the table give her a funny look as they tell her he left, and that she must not remember absently saying goodbye to him when he departed with Leggy Peggy.
Isaac heads to the upper deck to deliver a drink - but when he notices Russ and Peggy sitting together on a pool lounger and sucking face, he's all, "Ack!" and hastily sneaks back down the staircase.
Isaac dishes to Gopher about how he just saw Russ kissing another woman, and Gopher contorts his face into an expression of shock and calls him "a rotten creep". Isaac argues that it's Beverly's own fault for neglecting her husband...while Gopher wrings his hands about whether or not he should enlighten Beverly about her husband's extramarital shenanigans, to which Isaac chuckles and says it sounds like a problem for Dear Beverly.
A despondent looking Jeff is wandering around the deck, smoking his pipe. He dejectedly ambles off camera - just as Gail and Doc stroll over. She suddenly starts sobbing and explains to Doc that she's so distraught about losing Jeff that she thought she smelled his tobacco pipe just now...then laments pushing him into the arms of another woman and robbing her baby of the opportunity of knowing its father. An impatient Doc tells her she's not solving her life problems by railing to him about all this and strongly urges her to call Jeff pronto to 1) tell him she's totally fine with turning a blind eye to his philandering, and 2) inform him that - surprise! - he's about to become a daddy. Gail mulls that over and decides 'ah, why the fuck not?'
As Beverly delivers a lecture to her many fans, Gopher notices Russ once again keeping company with Peggy on the deck above them. During the Q&A period of the lecture, Gopher asks Beverly for advice about a witty and charming "friend" who isn't paying enough attention to her giant baby of a husband, who's reacting to all the time she's devoting to building a successful career by revenge-canoodling another woman. Beverly says that if this "friend" has the audacity to spend time away from her husband, she needs to just suck it up when he turns to another woman for attention...then glances up and notices Russ and Peggy yukking it up on the deck above.
Julie pleads with Captain Stubing to - for the love of all that is holy - swallow his pride for the few seconds it's going to take to apologize to Chef Borga for the short order cook crack, given that he's ready to walk off the job with the entire kitchen staff. Captain Stubing refuses to cave in to Borga's demand and says he can handle a kitchen worker strike...and in the next scene is in the kitchen, kneading a ginormous wad of dough, while Julie, Isaac, Doc, and Gopher ineptly assist with the rest of the dinner prep. They all look frazzled...and when Doc burns the pork to a crisp, Julie snarls about how inane it is for the captain to not just apologize to Chef Borga, not least 'cause this idiotic situation is mostly unfair to the passengers, who paid good money for this cruise and are going to be expecting something decent to eat at dinnertime. A few seconds later, Chef Borga enters the kitchen looking delightedly smug at how badly the crew is struggling. Captain Stubing says he assumes he's here to apologize, and Chef Borga says in fact he came to receive an apology...and after Captain Stubing defiantly storms out, the chef informs the crew that if they expect him to return to the job, he's going to need that apology in writing. Once he leaves the kitchen and is out of earshot, Julie tells Gopher, Isaac, and Doc that what this situation calls for is some easy-to-commit acts of forgery.
Julie hands Chef Borga a written apology, forged with the captain's signature, and he grins happily and says he'd be more than happy to return to the kitchen. As that's happening, Isaac hands Captain Stubing a written apology, forged with Chef Borga's signature...and a few seconds later, the four run into each other in a corridor, where the captain and chef exchange smug grins before carrying on with their assigned duties.
Russ enters his cabin while Beverly is typing up her column. She hastily explains that she's in the process of writing to her fans about how she's going to be out of commission for awhile so that she can vacation in peace with her fragile-egoed suck of a husband. She emphasizes that she doesn't want to lose him, then anxiously asks if it's too late for her to get back in line... and he chuckles and gives her hug while assuring her he loves her, especially now that she's willing to put her career on the back burner strictly to appease him.
Chef Borga is back in the kitchen, happily cooking up a storm, when Captain Stubing drops in to express his great relief at everything being back to normal. He tells the chef it was big of him to apologize in writing, and Chef Borga's all, "Wha-a-a-a?" and says as far as he understands, he was the one who was apologized to in writing. The two produce their apology letters, both denying that they wrote the letters...and Julie and Isaac declare that they're off to track down the forger. LOL. Chef Borga yells at Captain Stubing for having the temerity to be in his kitchen, to which the captain reminds him that the kitchen is part of his ship. He starts to stomp off, then decides that this nonsensical feud has long run its course and apologizes for his assholery this episode...and Julie and Isaac, who have been eavesdropping on the conversation, grin in happily relief.
Gail tells Doc she tried calling Jeff and learned that he's currently on a work trip. Doc points out that that checks out, given that he's a travel agent and frequently goes on work trips...and Gail says she's choosing to believe that explanation instead of picturing him in the sack with another woman.
Jeff tells Julie he's decided to contact Gail to tell her he just can't quit her and wants to resume their marriage. Julie squeals happily and hugs him - just as Gail notices the two of them through a window. A few seconds later, she goes into labor...and Jeff glances through the window, sees her writhing in pain, and rushes over exclaiming, "Why didn't you tell me about the baby?" He explains to Doc that he's Gail's [shitbag of a] husband, and Doc's like 'whatever' and says they need to get Gail to his exam room pronto so he can deliver their baby, and Jeff scoops Gail into his arms and coos about how much he looooooves her.
Doc is doing his best to deliver Gail's spawn while Jeff holds his wife's hand and tells her he stayed away for so long 'cause he too proud [and too much of a total douchewad] to own up to brazenly cheating on her once the going got tough. As that's happening, the anxious looking crew is pacing in the adjacent waiting room, wondering aloud if Doc is actually a real doctor...and if he's ever delivered a baby before. Captain Stubing enters the waiting room, also expressing anxiety about Doc's medical credentials as he hopes that the birthing process is running as smoothly as possible. Inside the exam room, Doc urges Gail to push one last time...and after she does, he announces: it's a boy! The crew look visibly relieved when they hear the baby's cries and decide that Doc is most likely, probably a real doctor after all. Even though he seems to spend the bulk of his time aboard the ship chasing the hottest tail he can get.
As this episode's passengers begin to depart the ship, Doc runs into Peggy and is all, "Mmm...you're hot. How is it that we didn't hook up?" and ushers her off to the side [no doubt to squeeze in a doctor-passenger smooch after having to hang with a despondent pregnant woman all cruise]. The two elderly Dear Beverly fans witness the flirtitude and chide him for being a shameless sex fiend.
Beverly and Russ thank Gopher for a fun cruise and cheerfully go on their merry way.
Captain Stubing tells Chef Borga he can sail with him anytime and that he loooooved the chocolate soufflé he whipped up for him the other night. Chef Borga beams at the compliment, jokes that ketchup was a key ingredient in the soufflé, then happily skips off the ship.
Jeff tells Gail he's coming home so that he can resume being her husband and start being a father to their son. They smooch while the crew coos over their newborn...and Gail thanks Doc for the safe delivery of her son, while Jeff thanks Julie for being such a great marriage counsellor...and for so easily passing on an impromptu hookup with him, 'cause for a minute it looked like where that storyline was headed.
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