Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Did Gilligan ever get off the island?


Just sit right back and you'll hear a tale:

When I was a kid, my favorite TV show was Gilligan's Island. As outlined in the abhorrent theme song above, the show was about the fate of the crew and passengers of the S.S. Minnow after the boat gets thrown off course by a freak storm and strands the crew and passengers on an "uncharted desert isle." Wacky hijinks ensue.

Campy and corny - think Lost: the Sitcom - most of the episodes are about our gang trying to get off the island, only to be sabotaged by the Minnow's first mate, Gilligan - the clumsy and misunderstood Jar Jar of his day.

Too young to understand the show's conceit, I was sucked into each episode with the possibility that this time, unlike every other episode, Gilligan and the gang would be rescued.

On one occasion, it seemed that rescue was unusually imminent (as Bullwinkle used to say: "This time for sure!"), but my mother interrupted with the bad news that it was time for me to go to school. In the pre-DVR world in which we were then imprisoned, she promised to watch the show and tell me what happened when I got home.

After the longest school day in history, I ran home and burst through the front door.
Me: "Mom - did they get off the island?"
Mom: "Did who get off the island?"
Me: "Gilligan - did he get rescued?"
Mom: "Uhhhh...yes, he did." 
I was floored. Of all the shows I missed, it was the one in which Gilligan got off the island?! I went to school the next day and spread the good news.

Years later, I saw a promo for a reunion movie called Rescue from Gilligan's Island. My eyes grew dim realizing that I'd been had: Gilligan and the gang had been stuck on the island all these years.

Reality collapsed around me much like it did to the characters in Inception, and I realized that it was really I who had been stuck on a desert island - a fool's paradise! - and that while I was watching Gilligan, I had inadvertently become Gilligan.

Will I ever get off the island?

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