Most people are familiar with the plot. Five people went on a “three hour tour” out of Hawaii aboard the S.S. Minnow, captained by Skipper Jonas Grumby and his first mate, Gilligan. The opening theme song, written by George Wyle and Sherwood Schwartz, gives the premise for the show…
Just sit right back and you'll hear a tale, a tale of a fateful trip,
That started from this tropic port aboard this tiny ship.
The mate was a mighty sailing man, the skipper brave and sure.
Five passengers set sail that day for a three hour
tour, a three hour tour.
The weather started getting rough, the tiny ship was tossed,
If not for the courage of the fearless crew, the minnow would be lost,
The minnow would be lost.
The ship set ground on the shore of this uncharted desert isle,
With Gilligan, the Skipper too, the millionaire and his wife,
The movie star, the Professor and Mary Ann, here on “Gilligan’s Isle”.
So this is the tale of the castaways, they're here for a long, long time,
They'll have to make the best of things, it's an uphill climb.
The first mate and the Skipper too, will do their very best,
To make the others comfortable, in the tropic island nest.
No phone, no lights, no motor cars, not a single luxury,
Like Robinson Crusoe, as primitive as can be.
So join us here each week my friends, you're sure to get a smile,
From seven stranded castaways, here on "Gilligan's Isle”.*
The show ran for 98 episodes in total, as well as three made for TV movies. Of course, in order for there to be a “next week’s episode”, the castaways could never be rescued. And even when they were rescued years later in a follow up movie), they soon wound up back on the island.
Of course, the whole premise is that being trapped on their little island offered excellent opportunities for a wide variety of plots, each one based on the various personalities and/or character traits of the seven individual castaways. This was quite intentional, having been planned by the show’s producers and writers. Their little mix of characters on their isolated island was designed to be a reflection of society at large.
In fact, studies have been done suggesting that the characters were carefully constructed to represent the seven deadly sins. For those not familiar with them, these sins are Sloth, Lust, Anger, Pride, Envy, Greed, and Gluttony. They can easily be remembered by the acronym: SLAPEGG.
They are referred to as “Deadly Sins” because they give generally elicit, or give rise to, other sins. Pride would be an obvious example; as of course, would be anger. Not to mention envy and/or greed. Most any episode of either “Perry Mason” or “Matlock” shows us that murder is usually committed over one of these very issues. That is to say that murder comes about as a result of an earlier sin or disposition.
Thus, the theory holds that each of the characters on “Gilligan’s Island” was carefully constructed to represent one of these seven sins. Hence…
Gilligan represents Sloth (with his constant daydreaming and inattention to detail); Ginger represents Lust (with her curvy figure and sequined dresses); Skipper represents Anger (with his continual swatting of his hat at Gilligan’ head in frustration); Professor represents Pride (with his B.A., B.S., M.A., and Ph.D. degrees); Mary Ann represents Envy (with her having to play second fiddle to Ginger); Mr. Howell represents Greed (with his incessant preoccupation with money); and lastly, Mrs. Howell presumably represents Gluttony (with her appetite for all the finer things in life).
Some even see the Devil himself in Gilligan. After all, he is always wearing red; and he is a big part of the reason that the castaways cannot ever seem to get off of their cursed island imprisonment. The possibilities for speculation are, of course, endless.
As are the questions raised. For instance, where do you and I fit into this equation? With which of these seven characters do you and I readily relate? Why or why not? Once we identify these things, we will be well on the way to recognizing which particular sin (or sins) so often and so easily beset(s) each of us.
I say “or sins” because each of the characters obviously has more than one issue. The Skipper is not only angry; he is obviously gluttonous as well. Likewise, Mrs. Howell, who never seems to contribute anything to the group's welfare, also reflects sloth. The point is that we can each suffer from numerous sinful desires.
Of course, the great news from the Gospel is that Jesus has come to give us victory over sin! All sin! As one well known preacher once said, this applies to our having victory over (1) the penalty of sin (when we were still lost without Christ), over (2) the power of sin (to cause us to stumble as a follower of Christ), and one day over (3) the presence of sin (when we will get to live forever in a perfect place called Heaven).
Praise God, through Jesus Christ, we have been rescued from having been lost on the island of separation from God, we have been given the ability to overcome those propensities which we have to stumble, and by which we so often hurt ourselves and others, and we have been provided a new home, where we will one day be refreshed and renewed with no fear of ever being lost again!
As the Apostle Paul says in his New Testament letter to the Christians at Rome (8:37), “…in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.” Amen!
*LYRICS SOURCE: source: http://www.lyricsondemand.com/.
NOTE: I am indebted to my daughter for pointing this matter out to me in a discussion we had during a recent family get together. An excellent blog has been written on this subject at: http://www.gracedowntown.org/devotions/the-seven-deadly
Numerous other web sites are also devoted to this theory. Just do a Google search on “Gilligan’s Island and the Seven Deadly Sins” and you will find many, many discussions of the matter.