Did you know that in the made for TV movie The Love Boat II they mention that the Captain, Gopher, Isaac, and Doc all served together in Vietnam? This pretty much blew my mind and since hearing this, all I can picture is them as some sort of A-Team, that survive not as soldiers of fortune, but as soldiers of love.
Now that I see Captain Stubing as the Hannibal Smith of the group, I can never watch the show the same way again. This origin is a huge retcon. In the pilot it is obvious that the crew was meeting Captain Stubing for the first time. If this had been canon since the start of the show, they would have certainly talked about it or even used it as a plot. I cannot think of a single episode of The Love Boat where any of the crew’s military training was called into use.
Or perhaps it was?
Maybe the crew wasn’t a frontline military detachment, but were instead a part of a super-secret hospitality squad. Tasked with entertaining troops, they realized that they had mastered the ability to make people fall in love. Now, out of the service, they are part of a secret CIA plan to explore human’s capacity for love in its many forms so that it can be weaponized and used in our in eventual world ending conflict with the Soviet Union.
If only we had one more season.