Gilligan's Island (S1)
WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
A three-hour boat tour turns into a three-year long television series featuring a group of castaways on a deserted island. The first year of this popular TV show showcases their fateful arrival on the island, as well as 36 stocked episodes with the gang attempting to get off the island in a variety of ways, as well as plenty of island shenanigans. Ginger fulfilling all of my teen fantasies...ensues.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
I'd always been a fan of TV's "Gilligan's Island" while growing up, having watched most of the episodes at least once after returning home from school every day, but I was sure that this 1964 collection of its first 36 episodes (all of which are in black & white, incidentally) was not going to have "held up" to today's more modern comedic standards. Boy, was I wrong! In what continues to be one of the most slapstick, well-cast and grooviest premised sitcoms in TV history, "Gilligan's Island" still managed to crack me up, despite/because of its goofy jokes, bumbling humor and over-the-top acting. I enjoyed watching every minute of this series because it wasn't trying to be anything more than what is was: a fun comedy.
Nowadays, every other TV show seems to want to be "about something" or there simply to fill a "niche" (even comedies), but there's no mistaking this series as anything but a goofy amusement park ride filled with a number of established characters, all of whom add their own bit of spice to the series and deliver hundreds of rapid-fire one-liners with the best of them. My faves were the Skipper and Gilligan, whose back-and-forth antics were obviously inspired by both "Laurel & Hardy" and "Charlie Chaplin" and also featured great chemistry. Mr. Howell was also hilarious, as played wonderfully by the sublime Jim Backus (James Dean's dad in REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE), while the two girls, Mary-Ann and Ginger were ideal as the sweet, hometown girl with a cute rump and the Hollywood sex kitten who seemed to come out of her hut in nothing more than a towel in almost every episode, respectively.
Incidentally, Ginger still turns me on even after all these years, and goddamn...how come I never noticed Mary-Ann and her supremely short Daisy-Dukes on the show before? Wow...nice gams, honey! All that to say that if you're looking to laugh, enjoy a series with a great premise and are able to contain yourself as Gilligan keeps f*cking up every single chance for the cast to get off that godforsaken island, check back into this time-tested-and-true series and switch your brain to "fun" as you watch. PS: SUPERMAN director Richard Donner is credited for directing one of the episodes in season one.
"The Lost Episode": This extra is the most interesting of all, if only because you actually get to see the show's original pilot episode (which never aired) and hear the show's most dismal first attempt at a theme song. Please watch this show if only to hear how goddamn awful this tune was, especially when compared to the actual show's theme standard, which in my opinion, remains one of the catchiest TV openings of all-time ("If not for the courage of the fearless crew, the Minnow would be lost...the Minnow would be lost!") The episode is also fun to watch because it features 3 different actors in the roles of the Professor (who's more of a stud here), as well as Mary-Ann and Ginger, both of whom are secretaries and dumb in this episode. If you pay close attention, you'll also notice how some of the parts from this pilot were later used in actual aired episodes, but as part of other story-lines. A fun find for all fans of the show. The pilot episode can also be watched while listening to the show's creator Sherwood Schwartz's commentary track. Interesting stuff.
Gilligan's Island Survival Guide: This is a very lame 6-minute feature showcasing some loser, over-the-top game-show host type guy attempting to be funny and teaching us about the ways to survive on a deserted island, while quizzing us on the show itself. Not funny, not interesting, not worth your time.
Before the 3 Hour Tour: This feature is a lot more interesting as it delves into each show character's background and development, as originally written out by the show's creator/producer Sherwood Schwartz's pilot draft. Each character receives about 30 seconds of background, as well as a description of what their character was supposed to be like. Fun and also cool for trivia buffs who finally discover Gilligan's first name (I thought Gilligan was his first name): Willy. Not as disappointing a first name as Cosmo Kramer, but pretty damn close.
The disc also includes some Tropical Trivia Tidbits.
A fun TV series with groovy extras and a low purchase price makes for an easy purchase recommendation from my part. Nobody is going to confuse this television series with the more blue-collar, insightful and stimulating TV sitcoms from the 80s and 90s, but if you're looking for some old-school slapstick dashed with a little sex appeal, an adventurous circumstance and lots of time to fill (916 minutes in all), you simply cannot go wrong with this show. Now if only they can get Ginger to take her top off in Season 2....