Rerun Junkie Confession–Gimme That Found Family Vibe

I’ve written before about how Gilligan’s Island was the first rerun that really made an impression on me, something that I totally fell in love with even though I was so young. It is most likely responsible for my love of reruns today.

It’s also one of the earliest indications that shows with a found family vibe were going to be in my wheelhouse.

Maybe it’s my own strong desire to belong somewhere, but those shows that feature a group of people coming together to form a family get me on a soul level.

Look at Gilligan’s Island. Seven people thrown together in an unlikely and extreme situation, forced to survive. Okay, that’s a dramatic explanation for a sitcom, but it’s not wrong. They have to come together as a family to survive. Sure, they bicker and quarrel and many times want to drown Gilligan after one of his fuck ups, but ultimately, they care about each other. This never would have happened if they hadn’t gotten shipwrecked. They’d have completed their 3 hour tour (with an unnecessary amount of luggage) and then gone their separate ways. Fate (and Sherwood Schwartz) threw them together and gave them a bond that even being rescued couldn’t break.

But it’s not just that extreme found family vibe I’m looking for. Chosen family is a kind of found family and that works for me, too.

Take for example another early love of mine, The Monkees. It’s a show about a band trying to make it. Obviously, these four guys came together to form a band, so they must have at least known and liked each other before they moved into a beach house together. It’s less fate and more struggling dream that has them scraping together rent and playing gigs. But they’re no different than four brothers, squabbling on occasion, but always having each other’s back. Just look at the episode “Success Story”. Davy’s grandfather is going to take him back to England and the fellas do everything they can to keep him in America. After all, they may not be blood, but they love each other like they were.

It’s this found family/chosen family vibe that could account for my love (at least in part) of cop shows. Be it partners, a team, or a whole squad room, you end up with people who come for the job and stay for the family.

Barney Miller is a great example of this. There’s a squad room of detectives who are paid to be there, but the nature of the job means that they have to have each other’s backs. It’s inevitable that this would eventually extend into their personal lives to an extent. When the final episode sees the precinct closed and everyone split up, you still get the sense that even if they aren’t working together, and maybe if they never see each other again, they all hold a very special place in each other’s lives. The way blood bonds family, they’re bonded by experience.

CSI: Miami not only has a similar vibe, but even has Ryan saying that they’re his family in the final episode.

Starsky & Hutch are akin to blood brothers given how many times one has been near death and the other has bailed him out. Adam-12 has a similar feel even though most of the series focused on the mundane aspects of the job. When you’re riding in a car with a guy for 8-12 hours a day, there’s only a couple of ways your relationship is going to go.

Emergency!, The A-Team, The Golden Girls, Stargate: Atlantis, F-Troop, Magnum PI…the one thing they have in common is that they all have a found family/chosen family vibe.

And I simply cannot get enough of it.

Battle of the Sexes

When I watched the first season of Baa Baa Black Sheep, I dreaded getting to the episode titled “W*A*S*P*s”. Right there in the episode description it said that “a battle of the sexes lands on the frontline”.

I loathe a battle of the sexes.

I make no secret of the fact that much of the rerun content I watch (and some of the current content) is “male-oriented”. It’s action stuff. It’s police stuff. Classic cis het guy fare. So there isn’t a lot of quality women content or input. And yes, some of it can be eye rollingly bad. But nothing quite irritates me like the battle of the sexes.

The context is typically of women doing man’s work, whatever the hell that is. I wasn’t raised with gendered work. I was raised with work and somebody better do it and don’t make me tell you twice.

Think of “St. Gilligan and the Dragon”, which I talked about in this post. The women go off on their own because the men are being pricks The women are able to hack it and the men are useless. The implication, of course, is that the men don’t know how to do things like cook and do laundry because it’s something women do and is therefore beneath them. Starving and stinking for their mancards.

Naturally, it’s played for laughs because the battle of the sexes is a frequently used theme in sitcoms.

One such episode that has always stuck with me is The Brady Bunch episode “The Liberation of Marcia Brady”. Basically, Marcia goes on the record that she thinks women can do anything men do and then Greg ends up goading her until she decides to prove herself by joining The Frontier Scouts. For the final initiation, Marcia has to use her Frontier Scout skills to navigate through the woods following a trail that Greg has left.

The twist? Greg has purposely made the trail as hard as possible to follow without breaking the rules. And to everyone’s surprise, Marcia succeeds.

Marcia’s initiation is a perfect example of how the patriarchy works. In order to prove that women can do anything men can do, Marcia actually had to do better than what the guys had to do because the boys were so threatened by the idea of a girl joining their little scouting group they had to actively sabotage her.

Something similar happens in many episodes of Barney Miller whenever there’s a female detective. I can remember it happening with Wentworth, Batista, and with the two officers in “Hot Dogs”. All of the women were seen as overly enthusiastic and aggressive in doing their jobs because it went right over the heads of their male counterparts that they had to be. They had to do everything the men did, but they had to do it more and they had to do it better -and in heels!- lest they be considered failures and ruin it for every other woman on the force.

There’s a similar vibe in the Emergency! episode “The Indirect Method”. Roy and Johnny are charged with training a female paramedic who is described as hard-nosed. Is it any wonder? The pressure is intense. She’s doing man’s work, after all.

As for the Baa Baa Black Sheep episode, I was pleasantly surprised at how much I didn’t hate it. The women were not only good at their job, but also serious about it in a way that was less about being as good as the men, and more about showing their passion for flying. Yeah, the guys tried to treat the ladies like they would any pretty face in the vicinity, but it turns out the women were more like them than they realized. Translation: our fellas got hoodwinked by them.

This battle of the sexes was a little more evenly matched. And while it did have it’s hang-ups and of course, the guys had to save the ladies (though, they didn’t really do anything that fighter escorts wouldn’t do for transport planes other than be a little mushy), at least the respect cultivated between the two groups was genuine and not based on arbitrary standards of excellence.

As a result, the episode got my respect, too.

Rerun Junkie Confession–I Love to See My Faves in Peril

One of my favorite episodes of The A-Team is the Season 2 finale “Curtain Call”. In it, Murdock is shot during a job and the team has to figure out how to get him help while being pursued by Decker. It’s actually just an excuse to have a clip show. But the whole time, Murdock is bleeding to death and I love it.

See also: Hawaii Five-O Season 1 episode “King of the Hill” (Yaphet Kotto has a psychotic episode which leads to Danny being shot and held hostage); Starsky and Hutch Season 1 episode “Shootout” (Starsky is shot as a killers take everyone in an Italian restaurant hostage); and The Green Hornet episode “Bad Bet on 459-Silent” (Britt Reid is shot while being The Green Hornet and they have to figure out how to get him help while he’s preoccupied with catching the bad guys).

I know. It sounds sick and cruel and while I am both of these things, there is actually a very good, less evil reason for my enjoyment.

What it boils down to is that it’s an emotional extreme happening in a fictional context. Like watching horror movies. You can be terrified, but in the end, it’s a safe environment. You’re never in any real danger. Same deal. I and my faves are being put through it emotionally, but in the end, everybody’s okay!

Take “Home From the Sea” for example, the Season 4 premier of Magnum PI. Probably my favorite episode of the series; the ending is an absolutely gut punch. But the whole thing hinges on the fact that Magnum is stranded in the middle of the ocean, caught in a dangerous current pushing him further out to sea. At one point, he’s even bumped by a shark. Ultimate peril that we all know that he’ll survive, but it’s the getting there that we love. Okay, maybe I love it.

Another one is Adam-12 Season 4 episode “The Search”. Reed and Malloy are called to a robbery in progress. Reed catches one suspect while Malloy chases the other in the squad. However, the squad has a dodgy mic so dispatch and other officers have trouble keeping up with Malloy’s location, which proves to be a problem when he rolls the car and is badly hurt. Obviously, Malloy is going to be found in time, but you still hold your breath when he’s found first by someone with less than honorable intentions.

The peril doesn’t even have to be that immediately deadly either. Take for instance the Season 2 Gilligan’s Island episode “Quick Before It Sinks”. It looks like the castaways are in for a watery doom because the island is apparently sinking. Obviously, not the case because the show went on for another season and a half and a few TV movies. And as per show rules, it was a Gilligan goof that led to the incorrect assessment. Now, it’s a sitcom, so the danger is amusing at best, but there’s still something about watching first the men try to keep it from the women, and then the women coming up with a solution (build an ark!) and everyone working together before the inevitable. The inevitable being finding out that Gilligan is the cause of everyone thinking they’re about to bite it.

“The Sniper” episode of M*A*S*H is another good example. Though the dramedy had its serious moments, in this Season 2 episode, there’s more laughs despite the impending threat of being gunned down by a sniper. Though we know nobody is going to be shot and/or killed, there’s still something about watching the doctors, nurses, and patients cope with a situation that’s out of the life or death scenarios in the operating room that they’re used to. The show would do several episodes like this, including another favorite of mine, “The Army-Navy Game” in Season 1.

Whether light or dark, watching my faves in peril is a favorite of mine. It’s almost like a bonding experience in a way, living through that dangerous episode with these fictional characters and coming out on the other side closer than ever.

In case you’re wondering how sadistic I am, when I was watching Tales of the Gold Monkey and got to the episode “Escape from Death Island”, I saw that Corky was going to be bitten by a poisonous snake and actually rubbed my hands in glee. By this point in the series, I adored Corky, so to see that he was going to be in peril thrilled me.

Sure I knew he was going to be okay.

But for a little bit, I got to fret over him.

And then feel that rush of relief when he lived to see another day.

Rerun Junkie Episodes–Lysistrata, The Patriarchy, and Gilligan’s Island

As I mentioned in my post about educational television, I learned about Lysistrata thanks to Gilligan’s Island.

In a first season episode titled “St. Gilligan and the Dragon”, Mrs. Howell invokes Lysistrata to kick off a battle of the sexes. While the play had the women refuse the men sex, a 1960s sitcom couldn’t get away with that sort of raciness (it could barely handle women’s navels) and instead had the women refuse to do anything for the men.

The women move to a different part of the island and predictably, the men can’t hack it doing women’s work while the women get along just fine. Do the men realize the error of their ways and go to the women to apologize? Of course not. Instead, they come up with a plan to scare the women into needing their help through a dragon-type monster they some how made from paper mâché. The women stumble onto their plan and meet the monster with force (led by Mrs. Howell, who remarks with a joyful viciousness, “We’ll kill it and send its head back to the men!”).

In the end, the women are scared back to the men due to a downed weather balloon that’s billowing in the jungle like some weird, large lady bug looking caterpillar whatsit. Gilligan “kills” it, and kills a chance for rescue. Because after all, Gilligan ruining their chances to ever return to civilization is the theme of the show.

As a kid watching it, I was like, “Wow, these guys are dumb. The girls shouldn’t be scared!”

As an adult watching it I’m like, “Wow, these guys are dumb. The girls shouldn’t be scared!”

Yes, the words are the same, but the tone is different. When I was a kid, I thought it was funny. Run-of-the-mill sitcom tomfoolery. Today, it’s still funny, but in the “oh sweet Mary, this shit is ridiculous” kind of way.

In true sitcom fashion, the men absolutely go to pieces without the women. The implication is, of course, that they’d never had to lower themselves to learn “women’s work”, which is a little baffling considering that Skipper, Gilligan, and the Professor are bachelors. How the hell did any of them survive? I suppose the answer is barely because attempting to do it in the face of some adversity is a complete disaster. Mary Ann can make a coconut cream pie, but these men can’t cook a fish without turning it to ash.

And then there’s an extended fantasy sequence in which they all imagine the women doting on them and needing them.

I’ve come to view this episode as a glorious illustration of the patriarchy. The men believe they deserve to be worshiped simply for being men, but in reality, they would have starved to death without the women. The men are incapable of taking care of their own basic needs because it’s somehow considered unmanly to do so. They’re entitled to be catered to by the women because of reasons. Meanwhile, a woman’s request is framed as nagging. They’re unreasonable and emotional and they can’t survive without the men to protect and provide for them, except that they pretty much do. In fact, in the day to day, the women are the ones keeping this clownshow from going full Lord of the Flies circus.

And so, their progress and independence has to be undermined in the most absurd way: by scaring them with a monster. Sitcom logic, to be sure, but it could just as easily be seen as a metaphor for the big, bad world that could easily devour the women alive. After all, that’s a man’s role: to protect women. Never mind the fact that the monsters are usually men. Kind of like the men pretending to be a rogue dragon from a Chinese New Year celebration. The men create the problem and then the men “solve” it.

Just think. If it hadn’t been for that downed weather balloon, the men might have actually had to apologize.

Educational Television

Several years ago now, I saw a movie called Chi-Raq which is a retelling of the story of Lysistrata set in present day Chicago. It’s a great movie, but judging by some of the comments I saw at the time, it seemed that some people missed the fact that it was a retelling of a Greek play by Aristophanes.

Naturally, people pointed out that they didn’t know that because they’d never learned about it in school.

I never learned about Lysistrata in school either, but I still knew the story. How?

Gilligan’s Island.

The first season episode “St. Gilligan and the Dragon” invokes a G-rated version of the story. The women, frustrated with the men and feeling disrespected, decide to go off on their own and stop doing the “women’s work” for the fellas. Mrs. Howell is actually the instigator, citing Lysistrata to explain to Mary Ann and Ginger what they should do.

So at six years old, I learned about Lysistrata. Thirty-some years later, I finally put that knowledge to use to be smug at strangers on the Internet.

Television has a funny way of educating folks like that. They just sneak it in on you and the next thing you know you’re answering the Daily Double on Jeopardy correctly.

Or realizing what the school curriculum didn’t cover.

After the statue of slave trader Edwin Colston was pulled down and dumped in the sea in Bristol, England, someone on Twitter pointed out that much of the racist history of Britain wasn’t addressed in their history classes there. One of these events that they cited was the Mau Mau Uprising, a violent resistance to colonialism by the Kenya Land and Freedom Army against the British.

It seems odd that the Brits might not to learn something about this, even a glossy, white-washed version it. It makes more sense that an American like myself wouldn’t know about it. After all, our high school history classes barely get past World War II.

But I’d heard of it. Why?

Magnum PI.

The third season episode “Black on White” deals specifically with the Mau Mau Uprising, particularly Higgins’s role in it since the men in his unit who were there are being killed off. It’s not an exact retelling of history, of course, but it does capture the brutality of the conflict, something most Americans might not have otherwise heard of.

A little history lesson snuck in between the action and Aloha shirts.

This sort of thing still happens in today’s television. A whole slew of folks were introduced to the Tulsa Race Massacre thanks to Watchmen. In 1921, white residents attacked the Black residents of the Greenwood district in Tulsa, destroying the wealthiest Black community at the time, injuring hundreds, and killing an estimated 75 to 100 people (according to a 2001 commission; 39 deaths were confirmed). Not many US high school history classes paused to even mention that in the race from WWI to the Great Depression.

They say that too much television can rot your brain. And I suppose it can. Too much of anything isn’t good for you. Television is no different, especially some of the so-called mindless junk (I do love me some intellectual Twinkies as a way to soothe my tendency to overthink). But it’s not all brainless twaddle.

Pay attention next time.

You might just learn something.

They Didn’t Have Native Americans Back Then

As I discussed in a previous post, all of your favorites are problematic. All of my favorites, too.

One problematic aspect of reruns that’s probably the most glaring is the racist casting. White actors playing non-white roles has been common place for decades and was probably at its most popular in the Westerns of the ’50s, ’60s, and early ’70s. That’s right. Those Native Americans were not actual Native Americans. Those Mexicans? If they had a speaking role, they were most likely not actually Mexican.

John Saxon played a Native American on Bonanza and a Mexican on Gunsmoke. Martin Landau played a Mexican on both The Rifleman and The Big Valley. Michael Ansara not only played a Mexican in a couple of episodes of Rawhide, but he was frequently cast as a Native American, including starring in his own short-lived series called Law of the Plainsman playing Deputy Marshal Sam Buckheart, a character he originally played on The Rifleman.

Sadly, one of my favorites, F-Troop, was notorious for casting white actors as their Hekawi tribe members. Frank DeKova, Don Diamond, Edward Everett Horton (who also played a Native American chief on an episode of Batman), J. Pat O’Malley, Jamie Farr, hell even Don Rickles all played Native Americans. It seemed comedic timing was more important than racial accuracy. Not that there aren’t funny Native Americans; but back then, they didn’t even bother to look for them.

Of course, Native Americans and Latinos/Latinas weren’t the only ones having white actors step in for them. Boris Karloff played an Indian Maharaja on an episode of The Wild Wild West. Wende Wagner played a native Hawaiian on an episode of Perry Mason, and her aunt in that same episode was Miriam Goldina, a native Russian. Jim Backus’s wife, Henny, played a native mother on an episode of Gilligan’s Island. Spoiler alert! Russ Grieve, who played her native husband, and Mary Foran, who played her native daughter, weren’t natives either.

Two of the most curious examples of racist casting I have ever seen happened on two of my favorite reruns, both of which I’ve mentioned before, but I’m going to mention again because they are worth mentioning at every opportunity.

In an episode of Hawaii Five-O called “Samurai”, Ricardo Montalban played a Japanese criminal. Yes, you read that correctly and aren’t you glad that you did. In the second oddest case of yellow face I’ve ever seen (we’ll get to the first one very soon), a very Mexican Ricardo Montalban had his eyes artificially slanted to play a Japanese man. Like, his accent didn’t change at all. And whatever they did to his eyes made him look less Japanese and more like an eye lift gone wrong. The entire effect is very disconcerting and I highly recommend you try to catch that episode because descriptions and pictures don’t do it any justice.

To make an already confusing casting decision even more curious, Hawaii Five-O was typically good at casting Asians, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders to play Asians, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders in smaller roles, making things like this even more glaring.

The truly oddest case of racist casting I’ve ever seen, however, belongs to the pilot episode of The Wild Wild West called “The Night of the Inferno”. In this episode Victor Buono played Juan Manolo aka Wing Fat.

Yes, let me break that down for you.

White actor Victor Buono played a Mexican man in disguise as a Chinese man. It’s basically a turducken of racist casting and I can’t help but gawk at it because I have no idea how to even begin to process it. I suppose if you’ve ever watched the series, then you can agree that at the very least, it sets you up nicely for some of the more bonzo episodes of the show.

Thankfully, this sort of whatthefuckery is largely in the past and though racist casting does still happen (whitewashing Asians and Pacific Islanders is still unnervingly common), the backlash is swift and loud. A new normal has been and is being established and even if I don’t watch current shows all that much, I’m still all for it.

After all, one day those shows will be reruns.

Following the Stars

Ross Martin not being Artemus Gordon.

Ross Martin not being Artemus Gordon.

I like to follow the stars of my reruns. Call it a symptom of my rerun junkie habit. Call it lazy, harmless stalking. Whatever you call it, I do it.

Once I get hooked into a show, I’ll start looking for its stars in other things when I go through the TV schedule for the week. It doesn’t matter what it is, new or old, movie or TV show, I’m just looking for the face.

To me, it’s neat. Here’s someone’s first TV appearance. Here’s their most recent movie. Here’s that same face that you love on this TV show that was made before you were born, the person that plays this character that you adore, doing something totally different.

And I have little to no shame in regards to this TV stalking. If I have taken an interest in you, then I will look for you. And if I see you are going to be on my TV this week, I’ll make a note of it on my phone so I don’t miss it (not kidding; I set an alarm and everything).

Randolph  Mantooth not being Johnny Gage, but doing it with a fantastic mustache.

Randolph Mantooth not being Johnny Gage, but doing it with a fantastic mustache.

Because of this peculiar habit, I’ve seen Johnny Crawford on Little House on the Prairie and Hawaii Five-O; Randolph Mantooth on Charlie’s Angels (with a fabulous mustache) and Criminal Minds; Larry Storch on Love, American Style and Gilligan’s Island; Forrest Tucker on Bionic Woman and Marcus Welby, MD; Ross Martin on The Bold Ones and The Return of the Mod Squad (honestly, my Ross Marin fixation deserves its own post); Kevin Tighe on Law and Order: SVU and Leverage; Kent McCord on Ironside and JAG; and Martin Milner on The Millionaire and The Virginian.

(I don’t think I have to tell you that I’m not listing ALL of them.)

Larry Storch not being  Randolphy Agarn.

Larry Storch not being Randolphy Agarn.

It’s because of this peculiar habit that I realize how many of these people I’ve seen dozens of times BEFORE I found them on my reruns. Do you know how many times I’ve seen Kevin Tighe in Roadhouse and Kent McCord in Airplane II? Well, let’s not discuss it. I’ve seen those flicks an embarrassing number of times. The same goes for anyone that’s been on Murder, She Wrote, because I’ve seen all of those episodes ten times at least. I’ve seen Martin Milner be the hero and Randolph Mantooth get killed sooooo many times.

The point I’m trying to make is that there are so many faces I’ve seen multiple times BEFORE they became significant faces to me. It’s fun to go back and see them again now knowing them.

And you thought I couldn’t have any more fun with my reruns.

Rerun Junkie Show–Gilligan’s Island

Just sit right back and you’ll hear a tale…about a show that ran for three years in the 60’s and then lived forever in syndication.

For the five people with Internet access that have never heard of this show, here’s the rundown.

The theme song pretty much fills you in on the back story.

The theme song pretty much fills you in on the back story.

The Skipper (Alan Hale, Jr.) and his first mate Gilligan (Bob Denver) along with their five passengers, the Professor (Russell Johnson), farm girl Mary Ann, (Dawn Wells), movie star Ginger (Tina Louise), and the millionaire Howells, Thurston (Jim Backus) and Lovey (Natalie Schafer), were on a three hour tour of the Hawaiian Islands when they were blown way off course by a sudden storm and ended up stranded on a deserted island where hilarity ensued.

Our seven castaways.

Our seven castaways.

The show wasn’t exactly heavy on realism. For a group of people on a day trip, they ended up taking a whole lot of clothing with them (though there must not have been any room for the Skipper, Professor, or Gilligan to bring their wardrobes). The Professor could make anything from coconuts, bamboo, and palm leaves, but a boat. Everyone else in the world could arrive and leave the island as they pleased, but the castaways were perpetually stuck. Speaking of, anything in the world washed up on the shore or dropped down from the sky -mines, lions, space capsules, robots- but not a damn message could off of the place.

A few of the people that washed up on the shores, and then later left, included: Vito Scottie (four times!), Zsa Zsa Gabor, a 14 year old Kurt Russell in a loin cloth swinging from trees, Mel Blanc (voice only, of course), Hans Conreid aka Wrongway Feldman, Denny Miller, Larry Storch, Harold J. Stone, Nehemiah Persoff (taking a break from drama, I guess), Vincent Beck, Richard Kiel, Phil Silvers, John McGiver, Don Rickles (he shows up everywhere), Strother Martin, and Rory Calhoun as a big game hunter hunting Gillian, which should have been gruesome, but instead was pretty funny.

It was that sort of silliness that has most people writing the show off as stupid.  Silly, yes. Unrealistic, of course. Stupid? I wouldn’t say that.

If you pay attention, it’s funny. Not just the slapstick and sight gags, but the dialogue. Okay, none of it is quite as cutting and brash as something you’d see today, but the back and forth is pretty great, particularly if Mr. Howell is involved. There’s some really hilarious, LOL stuff that you wouldn’t expect to find on this wacky island.

Besides, the show is supposed silly. It’s supposed to be a complete deviation from reality, a break from it. Embrace that and enjoy it.

I will say, though, now that I’m watching it as an adult, I’m realizing just how often and how quickly the other castaways take advantage of Gilligan. If this was as realistic as people think it should be, Gilligan would have been the first one killed in the eventual murder rampage that no doubt would have gripped the island. And those that survived would have eventually died of some malnutrition related disease because you can only eat so many coconut cream pies and bananas.

Yeah, so maybe it’s better the show went with silly rather than realistic.

So sit back and relax and enjoy.

Hit the music.

Rerun Junkie Confession–Gilligan Was My First

That’s right. Gilligan’s Island was my first rerun love. (What did you think I was talking about, you perverts?)

It was on TBS when I was a kid and I remember watching it every afternoon. It didn’t bother me that the castaways had an endless supply of clothes or The Professor couldn’t fix a boat or they could fashion anything and everything (except a boat) out of coconuts or that nobody lost weight or died of scurvy or how those other people came and went and the castaways were always stuck. I was only concerned with the fact that Gilligan was silly and did silly things and Mary Ann should have been his girlfriend and the Skipper should have had some more patience.

Jinjer MaryannI was so taken with the show that I named one of my dolls Ginger Mary Ann. Except I spelled it Jinjer Maryann because five year olds are crap at spelling. Also the doll was probably supposed to be a boy, but it had red hair like Ginger and it had a sweet face like Mary Ann so I decided it was a short-haired girl.

Anyway, it was the only doll I ever named after characters on a TV show, therefore, it’s noteworthy.

I can remember daydreaming about being on that island with the castaways. I would have helped Gilligan and wouldn’t have made him feel like such a screw-up, even though everything he touched pretty much exploded in his face. Even at five, I felt very protective towards Gilligan.

I related to him because he was like a kid. He tried his best, but he messed up a lot. He was goofy and playful and seemed like the most fun. It’s not that I didn’t like the other characters; I did! I could have made my doll a boy and named him Gilligan, but I didn’t (she looks nothing like a Gilligan anyway); I named her after two of the girls. I was fond of all the castaways.

And I still am.

Little did I know that this show would set me off on my course. Like the Minnow’s two-man crew and its five passengers, my young self set sail in a sea of entertainment and like the inexplicable pull of that uncharted island, I’ve repeatedly found myself washing onto the shores of reruns, particularly when my life’s been stormy. I realize now that the shows I’ve liked best are the shows that remind of that fantasy world comfort I first experienced with Gilligan’s Island. No, the shows I love aren’t all silly, but there’s something about them that involves me yet puts me at ease the way the antics of the castaways did.

Only for me would naming a doll after a character establish the gold-standard of a television show.