Archive for April 7th, 2018


by Brian E. Wilson

Of all the shows I have written about (and will be writing about) for this epic series of TV essays, Gilligan’s Island (created by Sherwood Schwartz, who would go on to produce another re-run staple The Brady Brunch) is the most by far the one that will make some people scratch their heads and ask, “really, that show?” Although many people my age have fun, nostalgic childhood memories of watching re-runs of this goofy comedy about seven castaways struggling to get off an uncharted desert isle, many of us realized (even as kids) that the very premise of the series more than borders on the ridiculous. I mean, it has been widely noted that the lyrics in the famous opening theme song (“The Ballad of Gilligan’s Isle”) reveal a major plot hole. We are told twice that the S.S. Minnow charter boat left with its two person crew (the Skipper and bumbling first mate Gilligan) and five passengers (the millionaire couple Mr. Thurston Howell the Third and his wife Lovey, the movie star Ginger Grant, the resourceful scientific genius The Professor, and the bright-eyed Mary Anne) for a three hour tour…A THREE HOUR TOUR! And yet Mr. Howell and the three women have enough clothes and luggage for a three MONTH tour (the Skipper, Gilligan, and the Professor pretty much have the same outfits for the entire run).

For 98 episodes over 3 seasons (the 1st season in black and white; the remaining two in color), these comically doomed characters tried to no avail to get off this island. And each plot was sillier and more implausible than the next. (Quick note: the show’s first season had 36 episodes! Compare that to the current comedy series showing on cable or on streaming services. For comparison, Netflix’s hilariously nonsensical The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt has taken 3 seasons to air 39 episodes.)

And yet something about the show clicked. Even though it had plots like Gilligan’s mouth becoming a radio receiver after his molar gets bopped and starts rubbing up against a silver filling (yes, that old plot), or the castaways developing superhuman strength after eating radioactive vegetable seeds (don’t try this at home!). (more…)

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