Life Lessons From Gilligan’s Island

I recently found myself commenting on two seperate blog posts, about two very different topics within a few days of each other and making references to Gilligan’s Island on both comments.  It occured to me that I learned many of life’s important lessons from watching any number of crappy sitcoms, and Gilligan’s Island is certainly no exception.

For a bunch of people stranded on an island with no way home, they look pretty damn happy – let that be a lesson to you!  (Image from

1. Given the opportunity, people will use technology for the dumbest possible reasons.  Long before we learned this the hard way through internet porn and Facebook, Gilligan and the Professor were using the available technology of coconuts, bamboo and palm fronds to the fullest extent of the materials’ potential.  Rather than use the technology to fix the boat, or make a water purification system, they chose to create things like automatic hammock swingers and for making the Howell’s a stock ticker which printed the Dow Jones on banana leaves.

and on a related note:

2. When faced with dire circumstances and a poor prognosis, people may focus on the wrong priorities.  Long before people squabbled over the rights to use a given pop song as the theme for a presidential election instead of frivolously wasting time on silly things like issues, Gilligan and company had paved the way for wasting time and resources.  The gang on the island would use their valuable energy to put on a show.  They’d build a stage and props so that 4 of them could entertain the other 3.  This sort of thing is still fairly rare in the real world, but in the realm of show biz it’s commonplace.  Still, we can learn from it.  The next time there’s a natural disaster, instead of sending medical aid and supplies, we should send footlights, greasepaint and boomboxes for musical accompaniment.

3. Running fast doesn’t always get you there quickly enough.  Instead you need to speed up the tape and make it even faster.  To clarify, Gilligan and crew didn’t originate this concept, the Munsters did it years earlier, whenever Herman scared someone.  Irrespective of who invented this incredible strategy, the truth of the matter is this; there’s no point in being careful to trying to accomplish things in an orderly, logical manner.  Instead, just run around and around really fast and people will become distracted by your foolishness and laugh at you.

Good news Lil Buddy! The Professor finished making the hot water heater for the showers!  (Image from

4. Having your heart in the right place counts more than actually accomplishing something and/or forgiveness is a noble thing.  Gilligan screwed up the group’s chances of getting rescued multiple times.  Though the Skipper would take off his hat and smack him with it, eventually, he would realize that Gilligan’s heart was in the right place and all would be forgiven.  So don’t worry about succeeding, just try your best for all the right reasons and some big Sandusky-looking guy will forgive you and call you his “lil buddy”.  Nothing creepy about that.

5. Change is not good – change sucks the big one.  Despite their time stranded on an island, not one of the castaways changed.  Ginger remained a primadonna, the Howells continued to value money and status over everything else, Maryann stayed the sweet, innocent farmgirl she’d always been and The Professor never got horny, no matter how hot Ginger looked in that shimmery, skin-tight dress.  Let this be a lesson to you.  If those people didn’t change why should you?  Keep being the same knucklehead you’ve always been, it suits you.  Besides, you only risk a drop in the ratings by trying to improve yourself.

6. As long as we’re on the topic of change, there’s no reason to change your clothes either.  A long sleeved red shirt and bucket hat is a good wardobe for the tropics.  Find a fashion which works for you and stick with it exclusively – don’t be mixing and matching like Ginger and the Howells, stick with your first choice.  Personally, I’ve been wearing these MC Hammer genie pants for going on 20 years and they still turn heads, so I know this one is a stone cold fact, yo.

7. Diversify, diversify, diversify!  People looked at Thurston Howell III and envied his massive piles of money.  A closer look revealed that that while the rest of the castaways were looking for pretty shells and running away from headhunters, TH-III was rocking out voice work for the politically incorrect, but always humorous Mr. Magoo.  Life lesson, if you aren’t happy with your station in life, get your ass to work at a second job!  Once you’re rolling in cheddah, go score some rich debutante like Lovey, then ride that gravy train straight down Easy Street.

8. Despite being seperated from loved ones and presumed dead, you can still have lots of fun. As detailed above, the wacky castaways wasted relatively little time trying to get rescued and finding food and shelter.  Instead, they focused on playing golf, putting on skits, and getting into all sorts of zany hijinx.  Gilligan’s Island taught us to be happy, regardless of the circumstances.  Now go back out there to your own miserable little island and try to have yourself a few good chuckles.  Be sure to wrap things up within a half hour or so, minus commercials and the credits.

38 thoughts on “Life Lessons From Gilligan’s Island

  1. I’ve never seen this show once. Much like Star Wars (but definitely not as good), it’s impossible to live in America and not know what this is. So I guess we’re the same, in a way. And I still enjoyed the life lessons from this post. So well done sir.

      1. Was that when you had 3 channels and you took what you could get? I mean how many times could you watch Wild World of sports, am I right?

        1. Get Smart was cutting edge comedy. the best thing about TV in those days was Ginger, Maryann, Mary Tyler Moore on the old Dick Van Dyke show, Diana Rigg on the Avengers and of course, Barbra Feldon of the aforementioned Get Smart.

  2. Ahh, talk about a classic TV show. It’s sad, but I watched those episodes so many times, I could probably still guess what one’s about within the first 20 seconds. But as stupid as it was, I’d prefer to watch reruns of Gilligan’s Island than anything about the Kardashians. 🙂

    By the way, not sure if you saw, but I nominated you for some blogger awards on my last post. No need to play the blogging award game, but I wanted to make sure you knew about them. It was my tribute to male bloggers. 🙂

  3. Very clever. You should submit this to an online magazine. I smiled a lot – and that was after Hubby forced me to watch Thor – so that’s saying a lot.

    BTW, why did these people all have luggage and clothes, etc. for a three hour tour? Doesn’t the word tour imply that it was simply a boat ride showing them the sights and would be returning them to the place where they started? Just curious if this issue was ever resolved or clarified.

    1. Thor? Thath what I get if I exerthith too much wiffout thtretching firtht.

      I should submit it to an online magazine, but I’m just too busy right now. I’ve been working on perfecting my monkey-powered blender for making smoothies here on the island.

      No one has ever given a suitable answer as to why they all had luggage and textbooks and only one silly little radio. It’s kind of like the Stonehenge of sitcoms.

      I hope you had a chance to peruse my erotic opus, “47 Shades of Pink”. I’d submit that to an online magazine, but it’s just the wrong kind of dirty for those puritans.

      1. I have not had a chance to peruse that one yet. Still trying to catch up. Will take a look at it tomorrow. Today – I’m fried from hanging out at the pool. Astounding how tiring reclining in a chair or floating in the water can be.

            1. What a coincidence; I’m about hip deep in a post ranting about TV right at this moment. I know I should try to rise above it all and write about war and peace, but that’s already been done…

      1. It might be appropriate on Father’s Day for me to thank my father for being very selective about what TV he watched and what we watched. So I never saw some really bad stuff like Buck Rogers in the 21st Century and things like that. All I know for sure is that Gilligan’s Island is probably high art compared to the stuff that’s come out now.

    1. You can’t know how happy it makes me to discover so many people who’ve never seen the show. It gives me hope for the future.

      In reality, sitcoms are generally only bearly tolerable when they’re new, and then they get much much worse over time. I recall M*A*S*H being the only show to watch back in the day, but watching it now is physically painful.

      In any case, I’m glad you liked the post. I really enjoyed the way my iphone commercial rant came out, but after that, all my draft ideas looked sickly and weak.

      1. M*A*S*H is another show I have never seen. I’ve seen bits and pieces here and there because my husband loves that show. I just can’t watch it. Every episode they are drinking martinis or in the shower or Hot Lips is yelling.

        1. If it’ll make your husband happy, you can compromise and watch the movie instead. Donald Sutherland, Elliot Gould and Sally Kellerman among others. Not a bad movie, certainly higher quality than the TV show. In defense of the TV show, it was up against some of the worst crap that’s ever seen the light of prime time.

  4. I was infatuated with Gilligan’s Island..getting sucked right into the story lines, hopelessly waiting for the rescue. In my defense I was probably 6 years old. I love this post..very cleverly written and it brought back my “Professor” crush feelings..which is a good thing!

    1. I had an experience which i’ll have to write an entire post about sometime, where i actually met Dawn Wells. It will be funny to some people and will have no relevance to others – but I suppose that’s any post.

  5. Probably saw every episode as a girl and I’m not sure why we all liked it so much. Got a kick out of this line: “Personally, I’ve been wearing these MC Hammer genie pants for going on 20 years and they still turn heads, so I know this one is a stone cold fact, yo,” although I’m more inclined to Ginger’s clothing philosophy. 🙂

  6. It is interesting that Gilligan’s Island first aired in 1964 and Lina Wertmuller’s film, Swept Away was released in 1974. You don’t suppose that Lina was influenced by an American sitcom, hmm? HAHAHAHA

  7. This was a good post. Funny and true. I watched Gilligan’s Island all the time growing up, which isn’t something to be crazy proud of, but I get all the lessons you referenced.

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