Saturday, March 26, 2011

Gilligan's Pathos

I was watching an old episode of Gilligan’s Island with my kids. Overall, it’s not an especially good show, but it is still strangely compelling. The raw use of stereotypes to create comedy somehow draws you in. And then there's the lagoon. Man, when I was a kid, I loved the lagoon on Gilligan’s Island. How I wished I lived near that lagoon. Still do. But, I suppose, the real beauty of Gilligan’s Island was that you could watch it with your brain turned off. It’s oddly cathartic.

So imagine my surprise when I was watching it the other day, and I found a really poignant moment that had a lot to say about friendship. Who da thunk it?

In this episode, there’s a typhoon headed for the island, so they find a cave and, with no time to spare, they realize there isn’t enough room for all of them. What to do? The men quickly draw straws and Gilligan gets the short straw, which means he has to wait it out in the storm, tied to a tree. Then the Skipper realizes Gilligan broke his own straw to protect the others. The Skipper is moved by Gilligan’s bravery, and decides to go out into the storm and wait it out with Gilligan. Then the Professor decides the same thing. Then all of the castaways are out in the storm, holding onto one another, braving the typhoon together because it’s just not right to stay in the cave when your friends are out in the storm. It’s not right to be a coward when your friend is being a hero.

Skipper: Professor, I order you back in the cave!
Professor: After the storm.
Skipper: Look, I'm out here. I'll take care of Gilligan.
Professor: I know you can, so I'll take care of you.

This was on Gilligan’s Island? This episide, “Hi-Fi Gilligan,” was a nice piece of work, blending the slapstick comedy elements and the character elements really well. Come to find out, the episode was written by a woman named Mary C. McCall, Jr. Her real name was Mary McCall Bramson, and she was a founder and the first woman president of the Writer’s Guild of America. One of her screenplays for a movie called “The Fighting Sullivans” had been nominated for an academy award years before. It’s considered a classic war genre film. And this was her only episode for Gilligan’s Island.

They should have had her do more episodes.

Peace to you.

© LW Publishing 2011

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