The Dark Side of the Island

     “Gilligan’s Island” was a family friendly sit-com that aired on CBS from 1964-1967. The story followed the group of seven people from all walks of life getting shipwrecked on a deserted island and focused mainly on the follies of our lead, Gilligan, as he foiled the group’s many attempts/efforts to escape or be rescued from the island. in often slap-sticky ways. Goofy, silly and sometimes endearing is how they, CBS and the Gilligan’s Island writers, would have you believe. I see through all this sugarcoated tomfoolery. I see the darkness and madness that infects the island and more importantly, the island’s only resident… Gilligan. 

     You read that correctly. Gilligan was alone on that island all along. I know, I know. You think I’m crazy, but I will show you how and why I came to this conclusion. Or should I say, “Sit right back and you’ll hear a tale, a tale of Madness and delusion”? 

     The Set Up: The Skipper owned a boat tour business where Gilligan was his first mate. The Professor. Mary Ann, Ginger and The Howells all bought a ticket for just a simple 3 hour tour, but a storm strikes and they get shipwrecked and forced to learn to survive on this island until they are rescued or they find their own way off the island. 

     How I see it: The Skipper did indeed own that boat tour business. Only he, The Skipper would operate the boat for the tours. His first mate Gilligan dreamed of one day manning The Minnow and leading the tour all on his own. Being that The Skipper trusted no one besides himself to steer The Minnow, Gilligan stood zero chance to see his dream come true. The Skipper would fire him if it weren’t for the debt he owed Gilligan for saving his life when they were both in the Navy together. In an act or rebellion, Gilligan commandeers The Minnow to prove to The Skipper he has what it takes to lead a tour or two. With his inexperience at captaining a boat, the storm hits, Gilligan loses the fight with the weather and winds up shipwrecked on the shore of a deserted island… ALL ALONE. .  

     Gilligan grew up a Boy Scout in Pennsylvania and spent some time in the navy, uses these skills to survive and thrive on the island even though he is clumsy and accident-prone. Hours turn to days. Days turn to weeks. Weeks turn to months. As these months crawled by, Gilligan slipped down a rabbit hole of disillusion and mental illness. Through this illness, he develops his own company to join him on the island. 

     First “person” to join him on the island was The Skipper. Possibly out of guilt. He was Gilligan’s boss and he did wreck the SS Minnow. (Note: Skipper used his life savings to purchase The Minnow and start the tour business.) So, there they were, The Skipper and Gilligan together again on the island. Only this incarnation is nothing like the real Skipper. This is the Skipper that Gilligan “saw.” He felt that The Skipper wasn’t just his boss, but his best friend. The good Skipper as he was portrayed in the show. Not the abusive, angry asshole that he really was. He was playfully abusive on the show. Pushing and hitting Gilligan with his hat whenever Gilligan would get on his nerves. Hey, this was the 60’s and hitting people wasn’t really that big of deal as it is today.

     Now that he has his best friend with him, he needed a woman. That’s where he couldn’t decide. Should he be with his sweetheart from back home in Pennsylvania or his celebrity fantasy? Being unable to decide, he chose both. Mary Ann and Ginger joined the boys on the island.  The good girl who would make a great wife and the sexy movie star that he just wants to bang. The best of both worlds. 

     Back home, his parents had to work hard for very little. This is why I believe Lovey and Thurston Howell are the embodiment of his parents. Only this is his parents from inside his head. They are incredibly rich and can have anything and everything they want. Including being on the deserted island with the son, Gilligan.

     This only leaves The Professor. The Professor is the problem solver. He is by far the smartest man on the island. This is because he is Gilligan’s old teacher from back home. Gilligan remembers him as the smartest man he ever met. Why wouldn’t he recruit him for all the problem solving and inventing the things that Gilligan wished he had on the island? Such as the radio and all the attempts at escaping the island or getting rescued. 

     Ever noticed how Gilligan was the only one messing up each attempt to get off the island? That’s because he truly was the only one there to mess up any attempt that he thinks The Professor would do if he was there. 

     Gilligan was a goof, but he also cracked form all the sun and possibly dehydration. He went mad and brought everyone with him. Think about this the next time you watch an innocent little episode of “Gilligan’s Island.”


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