"Oh, Dale! / Main Event / Tasteful Affair"
Original airdate: 10/1/1977
Episode summary: A private investigator falls in love with the woman he's tailing. A married couple who bickers constantly gets stuck in an elevator. A man who's just been dumped is so desperate to be on the same cruise with his ex-girlfriend that he poses as a woman in order to get the last female only cabin available.
Recap: Janette Bradford is staring despondently at her husband Lucas as he natters at her about what a bad time it is for him to be away from the office. She wryly says it always seems to be a bad time for him to want to carve out quality time with her, so he snarkishly points out that he has no choice but to be a workaholic 'cause someone's gotta pay for their extravagant house and fancy toys. Janette says she doesn't care about any of that material stuff, but that she's actually A-OK with going on this week's Love Boat cruise by herself 'cause she has some serious life decisions to contemplate. Lucas seems indifferent to that red flag and gives his wife a cheek kiss before wishing her [and his marriage] bon voyage. A few feet away, a blonde man named Dennis Kingsley, who's been watching the exchange, wanders over to Lucas. Lucas asks him if he got a good long look at his wife...and when Dennis says he did, Lucas reminds him that his task will be to follow her around on the down-low and report back to him if/when he catches her engaging in any illicit hanky panky.
Maurice Marshall and his wife Stella board the ship and grumble to Julie that their twenty-three year marriage is the shits. Maurice pulls out one of his business cards that's in the shape of a sausage and proudly tells Julie he's known as "the sausage king" ... and Julie feigns interest in his sausage making company as she scans the passenger list and gives them the number of their assigned suite. Maurice and Stella head up the staircase, bickering non-stop in case we had any doubt about what a misery their twenty-three year marriage has become for them, along with anyone who has the misfortune of being in their orbit.
Dale Reinhardt races after Joanne, aka the woman he hooked up with for one weekend, declared his love to, but was unceremoniously dumped so that she could move on to her next squeeze. Joanne tells him she feels nothing for him and much prefers hanging with her newest boy toy, not least 'cause he drives a fancy Mercedes. As she flees the lobby, Dale marches over to the front desk and tells Gopher he desperately needs to book a ticket for this cruise - but Gopher's like, "No can do" and tells him that the cruise is fully booked. When Dale asks him to double-check the passenger list in case there was a cancellation, Gopher discovers that there is one opening - but that he can't give it to him 'cause it's for a shared accommodation with a woman. Dale mulls over that setback as he wanders around the lobby and studies the arriving passengers: a woman carrying a wig box and a group of tall ladies with unattended suitcases. He glances around furtively before grabbing the wig box and suitcases and scampers up the staircase undetected.
Inside the men's room, Dale emerges from a stall decked out in a red-haired wig and a hideous red polka-dot dress, looking every bit as absurdly mannish as one would expect a man with a distinctly non-feminine build and/or facial features to look like. S(he) heads back to the front desk, introduces her/himself as Dale Riley, and asks Gopher if there are any available tickets for sale. Gopher tells her/him s(he)'s in luck 'cause there's one available ticket left, which he's only allowed to sell to a woman since it's for a shared accommodation with a female...and by woman he means a man who's unconvincingly trying to pass himself off as a woman and looks suspiciously like the man who was inquiring about purchasing a cruise ticket just a few minutes earlier.
As the ship sets sail, the passengers converge on the deck so they can simultaneously wave goodbye and litter the ocean with streamers and confetti...and Janette stares sadly into space while Dennis keeps a close eye on her from a distance.
She-Dale locates her/his cabin and finds the woman inside sobbing. When s(he) asks whassup, the woman tearfully introduces herself as Susan Ridley and explains that she's supposed to be on her honeymoon - but that it's not actually her honeymoon 'cause her husband-to-be (Jerry) ran off with another woman just hours before the wedding. She-Dale tells her that the man is clearly an idiot, then says they have something in common 'cause s(he) was also just jilted. Susan's like, "Oh, bummer" and slips out of her negligee and announces that she's taking a shower...and a flustered She-Dale gasps as if s(he)'s never seen boobies before.
After dinner, Janette is enjoying a glass of wine when a handsome gentleman approaches her and invites her to dance. She politely declines and tells him she's waiting for someone, then decides to call it a night and wanders over to the bar to settle the bill with Isaac. When Isaac nosily calls her out on fibbing to the gentleman just now, she says she did that 'cause she didn't want to hurt his feelings, then says she's off to her cabin to get a good night's sleep. Dennis, who's been sitting at the far end of the bar on his secret spy mission, stares after her in contemplative puzzlement.
The next morning, Dale is in search of a linen closet so he can change back into his fugly lady clothes when he happens to run into Julie. He tells her he'd like to know the cabin number of his ex-girlfriend so he can stalk her throughout the cruise, and she tells him she'd be more than happy to violate the woman's privacy and looks her up on the passenger list. Dale then makes a beeline over to Joanne's cabin - and is miffed to see that there's an if this room's a-rockin', don't come a-knockin' sign on the doorknob. Ouch.
Janette is playing a game of solitaire, while Doc for some reason is hovering over her and mansplaining what each move should be. A few seconds later, a bosomy woman sashays over and reminds Doc that he promised her a private tour of the ship - mmm hmm - and Doc heads off with her and leaves Janette to her card game. The ever-present Dennis notices all this from his seat at the end of the bar and stares over at Janette with a look of heightened contemplative puzzlement.
Captain Stubing notices She-Dale exiting the linen closet decked out in the hideous red polka-dot dress. When he asks She-Dale whassup with exiting the linen closet, s(he) giggles and says she could have sworn the sign said ladies room...and Captain Stubing decides that that sounds like a reasonable answer and looks visibly charmed by the giggling moose woman.
As Maurice and Stella get ready for dinner, Maurice says he plans to give the Captain a package of his sausages in the hope of hustling free advertising for his sausage business. He asks Stella to put the package in her purse, and she snipes about having to carry around a stinky package of sausage...and soon the two are bickering back and forth. They enter the elevator and get so irked at each other that they begin arguing about skipping dinner/not skipping dinner and repeatedly press the up/down elevator buttons. Eventually this breaks the elevator, which comes to an abrupt stop and effectively traps the two inside. [Please do not free them.]
Dennis is having dinner with a couple he met at the bar the other night, and they inform him that they've gotten to know a nice single gal and invited her to join them. By scripted coincidence, the "single" gal turns out to be Janette, who politely greets Dennis as he pours her a glass of wine and gazes at her with undisguised smittenness.
Julie informs Captain Stubing that a bickering couple is trapped in an elevator 'cause they somehow shorted the wiring, and he's all, "Why the hell are you telling me this? Call the elevator repairman."
After dinner, Dennis strolls around the deck with Janette and shows her photos of his children and late wife, who he says he misses terribly 'cause they used to do everything together. Janette chews on that lovely sentiment for a few seconds before telling him that, in contrast, her dickwad of a husband was too busy working to go on this cruise with her. Dennis calls him "very foolish", then swiftly changes the subject by inviting her to join him in the nightclub for a dance...and in the next scene, the two are on the dance floor, contently swaying together.
Susan is blubbering again about being jilted by Jerry, and She-Dale assures her she'll soon find someone else...then gives her a comforting hug before asking why in blazes she appears to be naked under the bedsheet. Susan explains that she didn't pack much in the way of sleepwear 'cause she thought she'd be on her honeymoon, and She-Dale moans hornily and says s(he)'s going to need a cold shower pronto.
Maurice and Stella are still stuck in the elevator, bickering about divorcing, splitting their assets, and deciding who gets custody of their kids...blah blah. My brain tuned out until the repairman finally arrives on the scene, fixes the wiring, and is able to open the elevator doors. By this time, Maurice and Stella have taken a break from bickering and are in mid-smooch...and when they realize that Captain Stubing and the repairman are standing in front of the elevator, gawking at them, Maurice presses the close button so that he and his wife can continue their smoochfest in private.
Dennis exits the gift shop and shows Janette the Hemingway book he just bought, says it's his favorite, and give it to her as a gift. She squeals, "Ooooh! I love A Moveable Feast!" and thanks him for the sweet gesture.
Dale covertly spies on Joanne as she suns herself on a lounger beside her new boyfriend...and when the boyfriend excuses himself to go make a phone call, Dale rushes over, professes his love for her, and pleads with her to resume their hookup. Joanne groans in annoyance, says she doesn't love him, never loved him, and that she wants him to permanently get lost so she can focus on her new rich boyfriend and his Mercedes.
Janette and Dennis continue to enjoy each other's company by playing a wholesome game of backgammon. Ho hum.
Dale is about to end it all by leaping overboard - hurray! - when he notices that Susan is about to do the same thing. He rushes over to where she's about to jump and tells her that no guy is worth committing suicide over...and Susan mulls that over and decides 'yep, he's probably right'. As Dale tries to help her climb back over the railing, he loses his grip and somehow they both slip and plunge overboard. Fortunately for them, the man overboard! alarm is immediately raised, and a team of rescuers immediately get into action scooping the two idiots out of the ocean.
Dale and Susan are in her cabin, wrapped up in blankets as they drink tea and cackle about their near death experience. When Dale invites her to have dinner with him this evening, she says she promised her mannish cabin-mate she'd dine with her...then adds that she kinda feels obligated to hang out with her on account of how unsightly she must be to the opposite sex. Dale says he totally understands, then suggests they meet up at the nightclub after dinner.
Over dinner, Susan tells She-Dale about the gorgeous passenger who saved her from her half-hearted suicide attempt...then blushingly says she'd totally be into tapping that. She-Dale perks up at that sexy admission...and when Susan asks him if (s)he'd mind finding somewhere else to sleep tonight, (s)he bobs her/his head enthusiastically.
As a completely oblivious Susan rushes off to meet Dale at the nightclub, She-Dale happens to encounter Captain Stubing, who flirtily insists on getting to know her better and forcibly steers her into his private quarters. Yeesh. Easy there, Cap'n. Susan, meanwhile, gets impatient while waiting for Dale to show up at the nightclub and asks Julie if she could please look up his cabin number...and Julie says that since violating passengers' privacy is the general policy on this ship, she'd be more than happy to provide that service.
Dennis is dancing cheek to cheek with Janette, lamenting about how quickly the days are passing. He gazes into her lovely eyes and leans in for a kiss - but Janette gently rebuffs him and says she really doesn't want to deceive her husband, douchebag though he is, 'cause she prizes trust and respect above all else. She then gives him a quick peck before rushing out of the nightclub.
Captain Stubing moans to She-Dale that life at sea can get so lonely that eventually a hairy man in drag starts looking good to him...and She-Dale manages to wriggle out of the Captain's amorous embrace, promises to meet up with him tomorrow, and beats a hasty retreat. When he reaches the linen closet to revert back to his manself, he's all, "Ack!" when he realizes that someone has stolen his shirt and pants.
Julie tells Susan that she checked the passenger list and couldn't find anyone by the name of Dale Reinhardt, and Susan throws a fit and screeches about how men always lie, then storms out of the nightclub. She runs into She-Dale and tearfully explains that she was just stood up by Dale...and She-Dale's like, "Uh, about that.." and says there's something s(he) needs to reveal to her asap. Once the the two reach their cabin, we hear a startled sounding Susan say, "Dale..?" then purr, "Ooooh, Dale.."
The next morning, Janette asks Julie if she happens to know where Dennis went off to, and Julie tells her he went ashore during the ship's last stop so he could fly back to Los Angeles a day early.
Dale tells Gopher he wants to book two tickets on a future cruise for Mr. and Mrs. Reinhardt - just as Captain Stubing comes over, gives Dale a once over, and tells him he didn't recall seeing him during the cruise...then remarks on how there's something oddly familiar about him. Dale says he saw plenty of him as he flirted with a mannish redhead by the linen closet, then squeaks, "Bye!" in his She-Dale voice...causing Captain Stubing to stare bewilderedly after him and mutter, "Noooo...it couldn't be" even though, yes Captain, it be.
When the ship docks in Los Angeles, a cheery looking Maurice and Stella thank Julie for a wonderful cruise, and cackle about how being trapped in an elevator for hours was the highlight of their dull-as-fuck storyline.
Dennis rushes aboard the ship, finds Janette, and hands her his business card as he confesses that her shitty husband hired him to follow her around to get proof of her infidelity. He explains that he flew back to Los Angeles early so he could give her a glowing review to Lucas, and also give him his money back. He then declares, "I love you", and that he'd be more than happy to wait around for how ever long it takes her to divorce the shithead. Janette mulls that over as she saunters off the ship and to where Lucas is waiting by his car. When he asks her how the cruise went, she hands him Dennis's business card and says, "I met your man" ... and a shame-faced Lucas suggests they go home and talk things out. Janette says it's pretty clear that they no longer have anything to talk about, then says he actually did her a favor. She informs him that she's checking into a hotel pending the filing of their divorce, and he just kind of shrugs and goes, "Uh, OK. See ya." Janette hails the next available taxi, which just happens to have a hopeful looking Dennis sitting in the back seat. He offers to give her a lift, and she grins back at him and says that, yep, she could definitely use one, then climbs into the back seat beside him.
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