Monday, July 9, 2012

Are You a Gilligan's Island Survivalist?

Like most people of my generation, I grew up on television. Gilligan's Island was a staple and I believe there are some important lessons to be gleaned from what would otherwise be a useless piece of pop culture.

All of the individuals who ended up on the island did not wish to end up on the island. However their arrival on the island was prefaced by their willing intent to put themselves at the mercy of a system which they knew very well could end up putting them on an island ... i.e., chartering a small ship for sightseeing which could not weather any severe weather and trusting their fate to men they (presumably) barely knew and whose competence could not be accurately assessed.

Q: What world systems are you now entrusting which may put you on an island in the future?

Upon their arrival on the island, their overriding goal was to get off of the island and return to civilization. I recall no episodes where they sat back and admired the wild beauty of the island, or praised God for the bounty of fruit and food the island produced, or for the opportunity of spirit-building labor that island existence called for (a STAPLE concept in Robinson Crusoe and The Swiss Family Robinson).

Q: Do you look forward to the island or bemoan the possibility of the island?

The characters were extremely worldling in nature.

You had the Howells, whose life seemed little changed by their island existence. They enjoyed leisure activities and being attended to. They expected this and always seemed to get it, despite the logical inability to draw upon their wealth from their island position.

Then you had Mary Ann, a farm girl and yeoman (yeowoman) class who presumably should have been the most at home on the island. Her character is little explored in the show except the occasional sigh or groan at the menfolk around her.

Next up is Ginger, the movie star, whose whole existence seemed to center around herself. Any episode featuring her was bound to end up with the entire cast catering to her ego in some fashion by recreating the center stage world which she had lost upon her arrival on the island. You also don't see her doing a lot of labor beyond primping.

The professor is possibly the dumbest individual on the island. He abhors labor and spends an enormous amount of his time trying to create Rube Goldberg devices out of bamboo and coconut. He is very much the worldling and is either trying to recreate the world which he has lost using the materials at hand or is trying to recapture the glory the world gave him for freeing them from the hardships of labor.

The Skipper occasionally peddles the laundry bike but you don't see him do much else beyond smacking Gilligan with his hat. I always wondered why Gilligan didn't sharpen a length of bamboo and see how far he could ram it through the Skipper's fat gut. The Skipper is a peculiar character representing entitlement. Through unknown mechanisms he has found some way to lord it over Gilligan and the others though his status as captain lies wrecked in the lagoon and his status as employer failed with Gilligan's inability to cash the checks.

And at last we come to Gilligan, the bumbling everyman. He does everyone's will and labors incessantly (if not competently). In Gilligan we see that it really is the meek who will inherit the earth for it is not called the Skipper's Island, or the Professor's Island, or even Mr. Howell's island. It is Gilligan's island and he seems the most happy there. Perhaps what we see as bumbling stupidity is only cleverly disguised sabotage!

Q: Which character represents you?

When the Minnow of our worldling industrial JIT system hits the rocks and we find ourselves on the island, how will you respond? Will you press the advantages and benefits of the island or will all your efforts be turned towards getting off the island or recreating civilization on the island?

Where do your efforts lie now?


Gorges Smythe said...

I suspect that each of us is a mixture of those characters.

Blue Duck said...

Excellent post today dear friend!

I would hope that my charactor is not the mix of all of those, but takes the bull by the horns and makes the best of life as it should be! as i continue to try daily now.


Patt said...
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JJ said...
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joseph said...

I can't relate to being one of the characters...but I would have loved to be Mary anns Bob

joseph said...

Best Online Buddy for you dirty thinkers... But seriously..I always wondered how the professor could make a radio or something similar w two bananas or something but couldn't fix a 4x4 hole in a wooden ship on an island full of trees

Ernest said...

Removed a couple of stupid comments.

Really, why do you think you can psychoanalyze me based on a blog post? Are you that egotistical?

I couldn't care less about your opinions. You know what this blog is about so keep your ignorant comments to yourself.

It's buffoons like that which make me want to turn on comment moderation so at least I can save the rest of you from being subjected to their moronic "Watch Me Exercise My Self-Esteem" opinions.

Spare me your foolishness. If I wanted to hear your idiocy then I'd come to your forum to do so. My house is closed to the likes of you.