"The Last of the Stubings / The Million Dollar Man / The Sisters"
Original airdate: 2/3/1978
Episode summary: Captain Stubing's gangly nephew joins the cruise to begin his training as a future seaman, but soon confesses that he's not remotely interested in this career path. A widow gets jealous when her sister falls in love with a handsome stranger. An embezzler unwittingly confesses his crime to a police officer.
Recap: Captain Stubing has summoned the Love Boat crew for a pre-cruise meeting to inform them that his nephew, of whom his family is extremely proud, will be aboard this cruise to begin what everyone's assuming will be an extremely successful career at sea. Julie asks exactly what this young man is going to be doing, so Captain Stubing replies, "Everything", then specifies that he'll be starting at the bottom, aka shadowing Gopher and learning whatever the heck it is that a ship's purser does all day...and Gopher does his best to not look too insulted by his boss describing his job as starting at the bottom.
Rose Higby boards the ship with sister, Noreen Badger, and the two wring their hands worriedly about leaving their cats in the care of their veterinarian. Noreen says that the vet's boarding service is expensive but well worth it, and Gopher amiably replies, "You get what you pay for." Noreen says she hopes so 'cause this cruise is costing them a fortune - just as a handsome man behind her mumbles something I couldn't quite make out. Noreen glares at him and snappishly tells him to mind his own business, then outright tells him to get lost when he tries to help carry her suitcase.
Stephanie Lewis searches her large handbag for her cruise ticket while Doc and the man in line behind her, Bill Thompson, patiently wait. She eventually finds her ticket and hands it to Doc, who gives her her cabin assignment...and once she's out of earshot, Bill mutters, "Incredible." Doc assumes he's referring to her purse and tells him that all women's purses are usually stuffed with the kind of volume of crap that Stephanie obviously carries around everywhere.
A freakishly tall bespectacled young man, who has to be the gangliest dork in the history of gangly dorks, boards the ship...and in the process trips over his feet and drops his suitcase, which of course pops open so that the contents spill all over the deck. Captain Stubing's like, "Ahoy, nephew!" ... but as he approaches, his nephew clumsily trips onto him, nearly toppling him. After that bit of physical comedy runs the course of the laugh track, Captain Stubing introduces the crew to his kooky nephew, Courtney Stubing IV, gushes about how excited he is to have him aboard, then hands him off to Gopher while saying, "Enjoy" before beating a hasty retreat. LOL. Gopher remarks to Courtney that since his name is so long he's wondering if he has a punchy nickname they might use, so Courtney says when he was in school the other kids called him zit-face, among dozens of other sophomoric insults. Gopher chews on that for a few seconds before replying, "OK, Courtney it is" and tells him he can start his apprenticeship by politely greeting the passengers and offering to help with their luggage. Courtney's like, "OK, kewl!" and proceeds to ask a woman if he can help carry her bag, and when she says happily takes him up on that, he picks up her tiniest piece of luggage, leaving her behind to schlep all the heavy bags...and a dismayed Gopher turns to Julie and wryly quips, "I suggest we abandon ship."
Bill Thompson checks into his cabin and opens his suitcase, which is filled with cash...and he happily smiles at the many stacks of bills.
Rose tells Noreen she hopes for her sake that they run into the handsome man from the lobby 'cause it's obvious how smitten he was with her - but Noreen shakes her head faux disinterestedly and reminds Rose that she and the rest of the family have been trying to marry her off since forever, which is unnecessary 'cause she's happy with her life the way it is: the two of them own a mortgage free house...and because she runs a successful dental laboratory, she doesn't have to take orders from "some nitwit of a man". Rose points out that her late husband wasn't a nitwit, and Noreen agrees, but insists that she's totes fine with her life consisting solely of gal pals and clients in need of her dental services. She then says she can't possibly like the man from the lobby 'cause he had perfect teeth, to which Rose cackles, "I knew you liked him!"
Doc is practicing his skeet shooting skills and asks Stephanie if she'd like to give it a try. She's like 'sure, why not?' and is able to hit every target launched...and Bill Thompson, who's watching from a few feet away, is so impressed with her natural ability that he begins clapping.
Isaac instructs Courtney to hold down the fort at the bar he's teaching him how to tend while he leaves for a few minutes to deliver some drinks. A few seconds later, a customer wanders over and orders a scotch, and Courtney grabs a bottle and clumsily spills scotch everywhere as he asks the man to tell him his problems. The man replies that he has no problems and really just wants a drink - but Courtney angrily insists that as his bartender he's entitled to be a sounding board for his troubles. As an argument ensues, Isaac hears the commotion and rushes back over to diffuse the situation by pouring the customer a scotch free of charge...and hopefully relegating Courtney to some sort of back room duty.
Rose and Noreen enter the bar with two cups filled with their slot machine jackpot winnings and order themselves drinks. A few seconds later, the handsome man from the lobby saunters in, introduces himself as Clark Tyler, and asks if he can join them. Noreen says she'd rather he didn't, but he proceeds to sit down and point out that cruises are for meeting new people, then compliments her pretty eyes and says he can tell just from that that she's a kind person. Rose interjects to egg Clark on by telling him that Noreen is the owner of Badgers Dental Lab, and Clark perks up at that and asks, "In the old Tyler building?", then identifies himself as old Tyler. Noreen grimaces and says she's been meaning to complain to her slumlord about the sagging floor, and he promises to fix it right after the cruise - but in the meantime would like for them to hit the dance floor together...and at Rose's urging, a reluctant looking Noreen accepts.
Courtney beats himself up about what a horrible bartender he is, and Julie half-heartedly tells him to not be so hard on himself...and urges him to try out his cruise directing abilities. She demonstrates the art of light banter by ambling around the pool area and offering a male passenger a pillow while he lounges, asking him if he's having a nice time, then easily deflecting his icky flirting attempts. Courtney lets that light-hearted exchange sink in before he gives it a try...and by gives it a try, he violently shoves a pillow under a passenger's head and demands to know if he's having good time, and the bewildered passenger reacts to the socially inept oaf by angrily throwing the pillow back at him. Strike two.
Bill seats himself beside Stephanie, who tells Isaac that she needs to be formally introduced to a new man before she's willing to start bonding over champagne cocktails. The two then get acquainted by making jokes about their jobs...and eventually Bill reveals that he was the Vice President of one of L.A.'s biggest brokerage houses before he abruptly became unemployed. Stephanie clucks sympathetically, but continues to remain mute on the subject of what she does for a living.
Rose ushers a hungover Noreen over to the pool loungers...but then a few seconds later, Clark comes over to invite her for a brisk walk around the ship and insists that it'll make her feel better. Rose amiably urges her to run along and assures her that she'll be fine on her own.
Courtney is in his cabin, railing at the crew about how much he hates ships and being at sea. A shocked Julie asks him if he's told his family how he feels, but he says he's the last of the male Stubing seamen and therefore can't bring himself to be honest with them. He then pulls a leotard out of his drawer and says that his true passion is ballet...and while Gopher fails to contain himself as he conjures up a mental image of what that must look like, Courtney says that every morning he puts on his leotard and practices ballet. Doc tells him that if he loves it so much then he should continue pretending he lives in a world in which a clumsy, flat-footed odd duck such as himself could actually become a ballet dancer - but Courtney says his father and uncle will kill him if they ever find out he's ruined their dream of him becoming a sea captain.
While seated in the dining room, Rose remarks on the perfume Noreen is wearing and, in a distinctly catty tone, assumes she's wearing it for Clark, then chides her for coquettishly glancing around the room looking for him. Noreen weakly insists that Clark means nothing to her, and Rose says she's suddenly decided she no longer likes the idea of the two of them hanging out, and advises Noreen to not limit herself to one man. A few seconds later, Clark invites himself to join them and suggests they go see the film that's being screened in the ship's movie room. As Noreen perks up at the prospect, Rose bitchily informs him that both she and Noreen have already seen the film - but Noreen hastily tells Clark she has no problem seeing it a second time...and also wouldn't mind dumping her wet blanket of a sister to spend the evening romantically canoodling with him in a dark theater.
Over in the casino, Bill places a couple of bets and wins. He tells Stephanie he'd like to celebrate his win with her, and she suggests they do so by finding a quiet place near the pool and dancing closely...before scuttling off to the privacy of his cabin. Mmm hmm..
Rose returns to her cabin hoping to find Noreen, and looks miffed when she's nowhere to be found. She calls the ship's operator to get Clark's room number...then rushes down the hall and stares at the do not disturb sign hanging on his doorknob with an expression of appalled bewilderment. She debates whether or not to ignore the sign and knock on the door, but then ends up backing away slowly and dejectedly shuffling back to the loneliness of her cabin.
Julie knocks on Captain Stubing's cabin door at 5:00am to tell him that there's a spectacle he desperately needs to witness...then leads him above deck, where a leotard clad Courtney is practicing ballet. As a shocked Captain Stubing's all, "The fuck?", Courtney clumsily pirouettes before accidentally plunging into the pool after he trips over his feet. His dismayed uncle orders him to dry off, get changed, and report to the bridge for duty - but Courtney refuses and snarlingly complains about how much he hates the sea and how "not too keen" he is about him at the moment, then storms off.
While basking in some post-coital canoodling, Bill invites Stephanie to travel with him to Rio, and explains that that's his intended destination after he departs the ship in Mazatlan. A bewildered Stephanie's like, "Seriously..?" and points out that:
Bill insists that they can live happily ever after with his million dollars, then pulls his suitcase out of the closet and unzips it to show her the cash. Stephanie stares at it in disbelief and asks him if he embezzled it, and he kind of nods and says, "That's one way of putting it." Stephanie lets out a long weary sigh before walking over to her purse and pulling out her police badge, identifying herself as an LAPD officer...and begins giving him his Miranda rights - until he stops her and reminds her that she's kinda out of her jurisdiction. Stephanie says it's well within reason for her to arrest him, given that he's a fleeing embezzler - but he tries to persuade her against that by pointing out that, if she turns him in, she'll be buried in paperwork and red tape for the remainder of the cruise. As she mulls over that nonsensicalness, he asks her if she's ever imagined what it would feel like to be "rolling in dough", then dumps all of the money from his suitcase over her head so that she's being showered in bills...and she reacts by joyously chortling, "You're crazy!"
Julie drops in on Courtney, who's laying in his bed with a pillow over his face, and apologizes for bringing his passion for ballet to the attention of Captain Stubing without checking with him first. Courtney shrugs and says he would have had to find out sometime...then concedes that, yep, he's probably the world's shittiest dancer. He calls himself a lousy, rotten rat-brain and now regrets the unkind things he said to his uncle - just as Captain Stubing bursts into the room to dismiss Julie so that he can have a one-on-one with his weird nephew. He asks Courtney if he really truly hates the sea, and Courtney replies, "More than anything" and says he's been keeping his feelings suppressed 'cause he didn't think he'd understand. Captain Stubing tells him he does, not least 'cause his parents wanted him to be a surgeon [despite all the talk this episode about Stubing men following a tradition of being sea captains and admirals], but he insisted on following his dream of becoming Numero Uno on The Love Boat...and urges Courtney to similarly pursue his true passion in life. Courtney acknowledges that while he has zero dancing ability, he wants to work on it...or at least find something he's good at, assuming such a thing exists in the world. He then promises to give the sea one more shot and tells Captain Stubing that he'll change out of his leotard and report to the bridge asap.
Noreen finds Rose morosely leaning on the deck railing and excitedly announces that Clark just asked her to marry him. A shocked Rose is all, "Have you lost your senses?!" and points out how stooooopid it is to marry a man she barely knows. She cattily tells Noreen that since she's been a spinster (!) all her life, she's an easy mark for any man who smiles at her, then bellows, "You are acting like a fool!" before storming off...and Noreen somehow refrains from yelling after her where she can shove her judgey 'tude.
Stephanie tells Bill she really should report his embezzlement to Captain Stubing, but then back pedals and asks him if she can trust him to not flee to Rio. He pinky-swears to remain on board until the ship docks in Los Angeles, where she can properly arrest him and turn him over to the authorities. After that, the two lament him turning out to be a crook, and she a cop who insists on making him face the consequences of his criminal actions.
Noreen tells Clark she's turning down his proposal, and that a marriage between them wouldn't work 'cause of how independent she is. Clark argues that her independence is what he loves most about her - but Noreen points out that since they're pretty much complete strangers, they prolly shouldn't rush into such a serious commitment. Clark correctly guesses that Rose's disapproval is behind her change of heart, and Noreen admits that it is...then says that she can't, in good conscience, abandon Rose 'cause she's a widow who doesn't have anyone else. Clark admiringly calls her a good woman, and says that if she ever changes her mind, he'll be sitting by the phone waiting...and then the two wistfully exchange I love yous.
As the ship is docked in Mazatlan, a worried looking Stephanie asks Julie if she's seen Bill, so Julie tells her that earlier Bill had inquired about a jewelry store and then asked her not to say anything to ruin the surprise. She adds that Bill will no doubt be back aboard soon, since the ship sets sail in about an hour. A while later, Stephanie is waiting anxiously in the lobby for any sign of Bill...and when she asks Gopher if he's seen him, he tells her he hasn't, and that if he doesn't re-board in the next couple of minutes, they may have to sail on without him.
Stephanie heads back to her cabin, where Bill left her an apology letter for fleeing with his suitcase full o' embezzled cash...along with an invitation to look him up if she's ever in Rio.
Rose tells Noreen she's been thinking about how happy she's looked lately, and that it's reminded her of the way she used to look when she first met her husband. She then admits to being a selfish prick by opposing her [ridiculously fast-moving] romance with Clark, and encourages her to accept his proposal and live the life of her dreams with the man she fell in love with just twenty-four hours ago.
Isaac delivers a champagne cocktail to Stephanie...and when she tells him she didn't order one, Bill appears out of nowhere, saunters over, and says, "Rio just wouldn't be the same without you." Stephanie makes it clear that she still plans to arrest him once they're back in her jurisdiction, and he says he's A-OK with that and asks her if she'd be willing to wait around for him to be released from prison...and she says yes and gives him a big smooch.
While departing the ship, Clark invites Rose to live in his guest house so that she can continue to be close to Noreen, but she politely declines and assures him and Noreen that they don't need to worry about her anymore 'cause 1) she's a grown woman who clearly needs a life of her own, 2) she's fairly certain she can take care of herself, and 3) she's going to take it upon herself to run the dental lab business, despite it being unclear whether or not Noreen is going to abandon her career now that she finally found a plus one.
Stephanie points out to Bill that since today's a holiday, he could potentially sneak into his old office and return the cash without anyone knowing he stole it - but he primly says that he would know, and also doesn't want to involve her in a cover-up. He insists upon returning the money while turning himself in...and will keep his fingers crossed that the authorities go easy on him.
Courtney apologizes to the captain and crew for not being a better sailor, but promises to work hard at being the best gosh darn ballet dancer he can be...or whatever unattainable life passion should pop into his head next. He then trips on his way off the ship, hitting his head on the Watch your step sign...and Captain Stubing shakes his head while chuckling in light-hearted exasperation at his nephew's clumsiness.
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