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Creative Minority Reader

Gilligan's Island and the 7 Deadly Sins

If I described to you a hit television show with deep Christian underpinnings and hidden meanings about a bunch of people being stranded on a strange island which had some audience speculating that the characters were in "Hell," what show would you say we were discussing?

Gilligan's Island, of course.

Sherwood Schwartz, the creator of Gilligan's Island, said he patterned the ’seven stranded castaways’ after the seven deadly sins but he didn't admit it until years later in his book about the show.

I'm sure you can attribute the sins to the proper characters but here they are:
The Professor – Pride
Thurston Howell III - Greed
Ginger - Lust
Mary Ann - Envy (of Ginger's looks)
Mrs. Lovey Howell - Gluttony
The Skipper - Anger or wrath
Gilligan – Sloth

Take that LOST!

Some have even speculated that the castaways were in Hell and Gilligan (who always wore red!!!!!) did everything he could to ensure they stayed there making Gilligan "Satan."

And you thought it was just a silly show!

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26 comments:

Rick said...

Insightful and creative. Pure genius.

Jimbo said...

Wow! Who knew? I once participated in a hostage situation exercise that was led by one of the former American hostages in Iran.

He told us that for 444 days the only "treat" they got was to watch T.V. for an hour a day. The ONLY show that they were allowed to see? You guessed it? Gilligan's island! He said that it was absolutely torture after a while.

Imagine if those Islamic revolutionaries knew that they were feeding their captives Christianity!

SherryTex said...

Even worse, you can sing Gilligan's Island theme song to the tune of Amazing Grace and vise or should I say vice versa.

dmwallace said...

It makes sense now that in Hell one can build a coconut radio yet still be unable to fix his boat to paddle down the Styx.

Jimbo said...

SherryTex: HA!!! If you mash them you can get "I once was lost but now am found - on a 3 hour tour...a 3 hour tour." try it. LOL!

Seamus said...

Hate to disagree and please pardon my pride, but having seen every episode at least a dozen times, it strikes me that...

1) Skipper did not get that portly by watching other people eat. The first thing he wants to do when he gets back to civilization is to eat a 2-inch thick steak. So gluttony perhaps is assigned incorrectly.

2) What constructive thing did Mrs Howell ever do? Name one thing she did to help herself in terms of survival let alone help anyone else on the island? Did she cook? Did she sew? Did she clean? Sloth too seems to be assigned to the wrong person.

3) Ginger might be the *object* of lust, but not of committing the sin of lust. Likewise, the Howells would be *object* of envy but not necessarily guilty of envy itself. If Ginger was the representative of lust, then we would have seen her hopping from hammock to hammock with sundry other castaways. Her immodesty is more pride oriented than lust oriented.

4) The Professor is more prideful than Mr Howell? Please!

5) Gilligan as Satan? Was Gilligan more an incompetent buffoon or the malicious prince of darkness?

I could go on, but I won't. it seems to me that seeing the cast of GI in terms of the Seven Deadly Sins is more than a bit forced.

Taylor Marshall said...

Well done!

Maggie said...

Hmmm... very interesting! But in defense of LOST- at least that show has themes of purgatory and forgiveness and good triumphing over evil. Sure there's all that other weird polar bear stuff- but all those other theological goodies are in there!

William said...

Seamus, come on, everyone remembers the catchphrase of "GILLIGAN!!!" more than "STEAK!!!"

Why would Ginger dress that way on an island unless to invite lust? Sure, she wasn't jumping from bed to bed, but that was because it was a cheery sitcom, not a gritty, survivalist drama.

Gluttony is more than just food, it can be having too much in general. And Mrs. Howell brought enough clothes to have a different outfit every day for a three hour tour. That's just crazy!

And the archetype is always the capitalist's greed and the scientist's pride.

So you can at least defend all the selections pretty easily.

Anonymous said...

Gilligan backwards is Nagillig, the dreaded demon minion of stupid blog commentor remarks.

Seamus said...

William,

You are forgetting the premise of the show. They are shipwrecked. Ginger presumably has only one outfit since they went out for a three-hour tour, a three-hour tour. It is not like she can go and buy or borrow another outfit. Irrespective of what she is wearing, lust lies in the one who lusts.

Likewise, gluttony is overindulgence in food or drink. You are confusing materialism with gluttony. Gluttony is rooted in the violation of the 5th commandment while materialism stems from violation of the 7th and the 10th commandments. Motivation is also different: gluttony seeks pleasure while materialism seeks possession. Likewise, St Thomas lists six ways to sin by gluttony (eating at the wrong time, eating too daintily, over eating, eating too eagerly, spending too much on a meal, eating riotously) all of which involve the consumption of foodstuffs.

Anonymous said...

oy vey! all this over a three-hour tour?!

Anonymous said...

oy vey, y'all (yeah. southern yiddish) all this over a three-hour tour?!

David L Alexander said...

When I was a kid, I thought Mary Ann was way hotter than Ginger. This changes everything!

(By the way, how'd they ever get off that island?)

Gilligan Shmilligan said...

As I recall, they did get off the island (can't remember how--probably some contraption that Gilligan built), but then they set out to sea, another storm came up and...you guessed it! One can't go to Hell twice (as far as I know), so maybe they are bumping around in one of the levels of purgatory. I hope so as I'd like to meet them all some day and shake their hands.

William said...

But you see, Seamus, you're assuming the head writer was putting together a Catholic tv bible based on Aquinas teachings, and not a Protestant tv bible based off of... heh. I can't go on.

But you do raise an honest question. I'll be happy to accept that materialism is not gluttony, but does that mean it falls under greed, or is it outside of the seven sins altogether? Cause looking around my American life, I'm pretty sure it's deadly.

David L Alexander said...

I don't even know why we're HAVING this discussion. Once you establish that Mary Ann was hotter than Ginger (and there's polling data from the time of the show to back this up), all bets are off!

Anonymous said...

Everyone knows Mary Ann was hotter than Ginger!

John said...

I think a few of you might be taking "patterned after" a little differently from how you should.

The Supreme Court stripped prayer from public schools around 1955. Also, when NASA allowed 3 astronauts to read from Genesis on Apollo 8, someone sued them over it and won.

Suffice to say, the studio and Mr. Schwartz would've been VERY cautious about presenting anything distinctly Catholic, or even Christian.

Most likely, "patterned after" means that Mr. Schwartz had the idea of using the 7 deadly sins as the very basic idea for each character, then developed each character into something acceptable for a sitcom.

Being theologically precise would not be a serious concern.

Sharon said...

OK, so now I wonder...if the seven deadly sins could be matched to a character on "Lost," who would be assigned which sin? Or is "Lost" too complicated for that?

Tap said...

I saw it thusly:
The Professor - Pride
Mr Howell - Greed
Mrs Howell - Sloth
Ginger - Envy of MaryAnne who the guys wanted!
Mary Ann -Lust because most guys did want her!
The Skipper - Gluttony
Gilligan - was the grandfather of Dobby in Harry Potter!

Enoch said...

It's interesting that the creator of Gilligan's Island patterned the characters after the seven deadly sins. I grew up in the 1960's, and watched the show, of course. All of the characters were extremely annnoying, but they were funny, too.

Contrast this with Lost, where all of the characters are just annoying, period. Though Hurley and Miles were sometimes funny, thank heavens.

And at least Gilligan's Island did not bash Catholicism (while pretending to be sympathetic to it), as Lost does.

Anonymous said...

You know, I think the assignments are right. This isn't a strict theologcial treatise, afterall.

I see Mrs. Howell's gluttony in terms of being a "conspicuous consumer". Gluttony is not so much simply over-eating (although this is the classic case), but it is more along the line of wastefull consumption which denies the use of goods by others. There it is! She was definitely guilty of that, it would seem.

Ginger & lust... yes, lust is in the eye of the beholder and he may have been more than anything an object of lust, rather than the personification of lust itself, but the was not totally innocent of appealing to lust in others-- she did ply her womanly wiles to get what she wanted, especially from Gilligan.

Yes, Mary Ann was hotter than Ginger, objectively speaking, but she did have an inferiority complex borne of a touch of envy when as a poor farm girl she related to Ginger.

The one I do have a tough time with is the Skipper and Gilligan. Yes, I can see bursts of anger in the Skipper, but not anger purely as such. His anger seemed to be out of frustration rather purely out of a poor reaction to the corruption of justice. Gilligan was just a boob. If sloth is defined as not putting one's gifts and talents to use for the glory of God and the good of the neighbor, then I'm still not sure that he had anything to offer that he was holding back.

Anonymous said...

There seems to be quite a bit of debate as to who fits what sin and why ... As an avid viewer of Gilligan's lsland, I think I can resolve the issue once and for all ...

Avarice: No doubt, Thurston Howell III, but an argument for pride could easily be made

Pride: The Professor. This just seems to be assumed as he is a "scientist."

Lust: Ginger ... Many argue that Ginger is not lust, but the object of lust, but I must disagree. In every episode where sex is implied, it is Ginger who becomes a conduit of lusty action. She continually throws herself at the men of the island, who, for some unknown reason, refuse her advances. It is always Ginger who kisses and tries to kiss men ... it is rare when any of the men kiss or attempt to kiss her.

Envy: Undoubtedly Maryann. This was a key point in the after article posted debate. Few people see Maryann as the representation of envy, but I can call out two episodes where Maryann is clearly jealous and envious of Ginger. In one episode, Maryann's diary is discovered and it shocks the island world into worry and concern. But in the end, Maryann admits she made it all up because Ginger had so much and she had so little. In still another episode, Maryann forgets who she is and takes on the persona of Ginger ... again underscoring her envy for the things of others.

Wrath: The Skipper. He is the only one who has an explosive temper and uses physical threats and coercion to get his way (mostly on Gilligan). Many debated this position and said the Skipper was guilty of gluttony, but I disagree hotly with this conclusion.

Now we get into the last two deadly sins and you may be surprised by my observation.

Gluttony: Almost everyone argued that Gilligan was sloth. Yet, nobody else recalls the fact that in many, many episodes, Maryann observes and complains how much Gilligan can eat and yet stay so thin. Gilligan will clean the island of food if not kept in check.

Sloth: Lovie Howell. Again, the article is adamant that Gilligan is the representation of sloth, but Gilligan is the only one on the island who works. No one works as hard as Gilligan. He's constantly building, fishing, climbing and being the servant of all the others. Lovie, on the other hand, seldom does any work and complains bitterly about it when forced.

So, there you go; the official and definitive speculation on Gilligan Island and the 7 Deadly Sins. I hope that you go to confession soon and share this contemplation with your favorite priest!

Have a great Independence Day and remember, if you want to see the 6th, don't have a 5th on the 4th.

:o) mg said...

Pulu si bagumba!

Anonymous said...

Pride- Ginger
Envy - Mary Ann
Sloth - Gilligan
Greed - Mr. Howell
Anger - Mrs. Howell
Lust - Professor
Gluttony - Skipper

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