Fear the Summer Crossover
Much like Fear the Walking Dead, the concept of a Summer prequel sub-series is not necessarily a fresh concept. In fact, a little digging uncovers one created for The Love Boat in August of 1981.
Anthropophobic Anna (aired in Canada as Fart Battle) tells the back-story of a cruise director suffering from a pathological fear of human company, and fills in the blanks left between the cliffhanger at the end of season four and the never-again mentioned character Jose’, the lovable stowaway with the humorous speech impediment. Loosely based on the Japanese Anime’ Taijin Kyofusho: The Farting Hostess, it’s loaded with gruesome scenes of sea sickness, food poisoning and obscenity-laced public address announcements. The pilot episode, “Lei-ing Lo/Isaac’s Dark Secret/Origin of the Feces”, which opens with the cruise director strangling a guest with a flowery necklace, quickly turns to deeper subject matter including slave trafficking and a passenger who defecates on room service trays left outside of guest cabins. An interesting sub-plot involves a Plastic Surgeon who performs an emergency anoplasty on the stunt double for an “adult film” being filmed in steerage after she falls on a porcupine (speaking of animals, sharp-eyed viewers will recognize Jack Hana of the San Diego Zoo as “Kelly-6000”, the transgender robot). The Captain has to work hard to keep his knowledge (and involvement) in the clandestine filmmaking hidden from his daughter, who is aboard the ship to write her doctoral thesis on the sexual healing potential shuffleboard, with specific regard to septuagenarian television drama stars seeking to reignite a career long faded.
While never released on DVD, you will no doubt stumble across a bootlegged copy or two at fan festivals, often spoken about in hushed tones. ABC has worked diligently to erase all memory of the failed attempt to lure Summer viewers. If you happen to be fortunate to find a copy or two, try to grab one with the commercials intact, if not for the rarely-seen Ted Kennedy Oldsmobile commercial, then definitely for the promo spot for the quickly-cancelled network crossover event of the week, Dr. Moreau’s Fantasy Island Celebrity Challenge.