No, I am Not Julie, Your Cruise Director…
Star Dates, Episode 3
Featuring: Jill Whelan (aka Vicki from The Love Boat)
Star Dates’ premise is to combine Blind Date, Elimidate, Disgusting Date, and any other dating show you can think of. The twist here is to set up dates between a B list actor and a normal (read: not famous, but probably trying to be) citizen. Jordan Black hosts, and brings a healthy supply of sarcasm to the task.
Jill Whelan is best known for her role as Vicki, Captain Stubing’s daughter, on The Love Boat. Jill joined the cast in the series’ second year, and remained a regular throughout the rest of the show’s life, which finally came to a close in 1986.
Now, I have several concerns with the character of Vicki. First of all, did she ever go to school? I think that kind of child abuse is just as much a criminal act as what Kirk did to the poor people who worked the bridge watch on Star Trek. They never even got a bathroom break, let alone a day off, and you certainly didn’t want to be the regular crewman who beamed down to the planet, as that was certain death…
As far as I remember, Vicki spent most of her time either getting into Brady Bunch-eque problems, that Doc and Gopher would have to solve; or later on, she was falling in love each week with the likes of Scott Baio (who himself was on the rebound from a bad experience with Erin Moran…).
What I really wanted to learn was the dark underside of The Love Boat. Important issues… such as, did Issac the bartender really hit on every female passenger?… what was up with Gopher? I mean really, anyone who has a job in their mid-thirties where they call you Gopher really ought to be seeing a career counselor… and that Doc guy, you know he had to have some kind of South American medical degree and arrest warrants waiting for him in every port… was Sonny Bono a guest star every week? Or did it just seem like it?
Sadly, Jill doesn’t provide us with the answers to those critical questions. Instead, when asked by A&E’s Biography her opinion on the show, she replies “It certainly wasn't brain surgery, but everything on television doesn't have to be," she says. "Critics can rag all they want about the show. It doesn't change the fact that a lot of people loved it."
In my humble opinion Jill’s best performance on the big screen was her amazing portrayal of the sick little girl onboard the doomed airliner in Airplane. I would have to go all the way back to Richard Dreyfuss in Who’s Life Is It Anyway to find a comparable performance in terms of believability…or maybe, Ryan Stiles in Whose Line Is It Anyway?… one or the other, but trust me, it was a great performance.
Since The Love Boat, 36 year old Whelan has focused her attention on raising her son, being a broadcast journalist, and making infomercials for invaluable products such as The Showtime Rotisserie, which is of course, a Ronco product. She did appear in an ABC After School Special called Babies Having Babies, which also featured a young Lori Loughlin… mmmm… Lori Loughlin… but I digress…
So, whom shall Jill be dating tonight?
The “Normal” Folks
David is a 33-year-old songwriter originally from Phoenix. He looks the part, complete with gold chain, teenager half-hearted goatee attempt… keep the faith David! Someday it will grow in… and of course, the obligatory tank top. He lives in a remarkably nice house in what appears to be the Hollywood hills, and he certainly isn’t afraid to let us know that one song he has written has sold several million copies. A little bit of checking reveals that David Nicholl was co-writer of the N’Sync song “Digital Get Down”. His co-writers included N’Sync’s own JC Chasez. I assume that this is how he paid for this house, but those assumptions are laid to rest when he lets us know that his roommate is one of the members of N’Sync (perhaps his co-writer JC?).
No word yet as to how David’s second single for the Meaty Cheesy Boys is doing…
Anthony, 36, was born in Canada, yet graces our nation with his presence and appearance on the show. He is a successful businessman, and definitely better looking than the afore mentioned David. I question his Canadian origins though, as I see no evidence of hockey related memorabilia in his home.
At this point I have to ask though, is it state law in California now for every single guy to wear an obnoxious gold chain? I lived in San Diego for eight years in the eighties, and I didn’t see this much gold neckwear back then, and frankly, it was more likely to be in style in those days.
In what has to be a first for this show, neither of our two eligible singles have a documented movie career history, at least under their current names, nor do they appear to be interested in that line of work.
Date #1 – David
The envelope ceremony occurs, and David sees the old publicity shot of Vicki, he immediately asks what in the 12-year old is going on here. Probably not a good sign as far as initial reactions go.
Another sign of bad things to come is the comments that both date participants are shown making just prior to the initial meeting. David wants to have fun, write songs, sing, and get naked as soon as possible. Jill points out that she can get along with just about anyone except for the lounge singer type…
They meet; Jill is wearing all black, while David has at least had the courtesy to lose the tank top. He comments that Jill looks good, however Jill is silent on the topic of David’s appearance.
There is no drinking in the Escalade on the way to dinner, nor does David pause long enough in his rambling self-promotion speeches to ask a single question of Jill.
They arrive at their dinner boat, which looks like a small romantic dinner cruise for two. Quite a cool idea actually, and being the single guy I am, I make a mental note to find something like that around my home up here in the great Northwest.
During dinner, David continues on talking about himself, and extends what I am sure he thinks is an impressive resume by name-dropping.
For example, he points out that he has been to Maui with Carmen Electra… well, he was in Maui working on a show she was involved with…Probably a key point there…
Jill is drawn in though on the issue of Britney and Justin. To quote her, “I like my gossip!” David lets us know that one of the two caught the other one cheating, and now they hate each other.
After dinner, they are walking along, and David has his arm draped over Jill’s shoulder. David says he is doing that because he wants her to feel comfortable, and he is trying to help… jeez!
Yes David, it is tough for mere mortals to be in your presence, after all, you wrote a filler album song for a boy band that is 14 minutes into their fame clock. Jill politely comments that she finds him a little demonstrative.
In this episode’s bit of foreshadowing, Jordan lets us know that all dating shows have one key ingredient… alcohol.
So, off to the Karaoke bar they go. David sings a few deep love longs to Jill, and I am sure he expects he’ll be getting’ some now… how could anyone resist his charm? I kept expecting Simon Cowell from American Idol to pop in and boot David from the competition. Jill decides to sing a gospel song, and she isn’t that bad either.
In a stirring patriotic moment, our two love birds finally join forces in a duet. The put all their might into a rousing version of “Proud To Be An American”, and are joined by the local dancing drunk old guy at the bar.
They return to David’s (I mean JC’s) bachelor pad, and he begins to show her through the house, especially the things he is most proud of. His autographed copy of the N’Sync album his song was on… His massage chair…
They retire to the patio and spend some time on the deck chairs, but it is clear nothing is going to happen. The date ends on a very plutonic note, and Jill sums it up by saying that David is a very talented guy, who needs someone who is more “hip to the room”.
I sum it up a little more succinctly… say it with me now… UH OH!
Date#2 – Anthony
Jordan shows Anthony the publicity photo with Jill in her role as Vicki. He immediately comments that she is one of those people that you see from the past and wonder what she has been up to for the last 20 years.
Jill is dressed in a blue blouse and black skirt. Anthony is casual, but looks good. He answers the door and proceeds to present Jill with flowers. Star lilies they are called, and she is suitably impressed.
He shows her the picture from her days on the The Love Boat, and they share a laugh. In the Escalade, Anthony demonstrates that he will be a different date than David was, as he begins asking Jill all kinds of questions about what she has been, will be, and wants to do in life. For her part, it is pretty clear that Jill is attracted to him, and she is more than happy to respond at length.
Their first activity is sharp shooting at a gun range. Here we learn that Jill’s middle name is apparently Rambo, for she is nailing the targets with great efficiency and accuracy. Anthony meanwhile is not doing quite as well, and seems a bit embarrassed to lose to a woman in this, the manliest of all endeavors.
From the OK Corral, the date heads off to dinner, at a little place called Panns 50’s Diner. Inside the walls are adorned with the usual 50’s movie and TV artifacts, and Anthony pesters the manager into posting his Love Boat picture on the wall. Jill comments that she thought that was very sweet.
The have a good dinner, and serious conversations, the types of which two divorced people getting to know each other have. I have been there myself several times; frankly it is like a wary dance of two veteran daters. But eventually they seem to break through those barriers, and the conversation flows free and easy.
A couple of diners walk up and ask Jill if she is Vicki from the Love Boat, and she has a nice conversation with them, while Anthony shows them the publicity shot. He is doing this in a very friendly and fun way, and Jill is taking it that way too, so all is well.
Outside, Jordan begins to take a more active role in the program, as clearly these two aren’t going to do anything outrageous, and obviously there is no chance of Jill doing a hot tub scene. Jordan points out that whatever David didn’t have, Anthony has it.
At the end of the date, both Jill and Anthony are gushing with praise for each other and what an “awesome time” they had. Clearly there will be future dating between these two.
Star Dates brings back Kim Fields, better known as Tootie from The Facts of Life. No word yet if Natalie will be joining her on the dates.
Ah, the Facts of Life. Did you know that George Clooney was on that show for three years? Amazing where some of our stars got their start in the business.
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