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The Real Gilligan’s Island: A Previewby William Ingram -- 11/23/2004
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“Just sit right back and you'll hear a tale,
Ah yes, everyone who has watched any TV within the last 40 years knows those opening lines by heart. The show, Gilligan’s Islandonly lasted three seasons on the air in 1964. But since then, those 98 episodes have been shown in constant reruns. Somewhere along the way, I heard that the show holds the record for being on the air for the longest continuous time without interruption. Most recently, the episodes have been airing on TBS.
And, it’s also funny how these kinds of things go in cycles. When Survivor debuted four years ago, a lot of people were calling it the real life Gilligan’s Island and many people even called the players in the game “castaways.”
Well, now things have come full circle. Cable station TBS has commissioned a new reality show that tries to recreate the trials and tribulations of the good ship Minnow and her seven stranded castaways. For many months now, the producers have scoured the country looking for people who look and act just like the seven castaways from the original series.
From looking at the website, apparently TBS has brought on board very good ringers for each of the seven original castaways. The skipper will be played by a real ship’s captain. The millionaire and his wife will be played by a real millionaire and his wife. And, the movie star will be played by a real movie star. And so on.
These new castaways will be stranded on an “uncharted desert isle” and will have to fend for themselves for real. We’ll get to see if the new Ginger and Mary Ann can really bake coconut cream pies with nothing more than coconuts and sand.
But, how does that make for an interesting reality show? Where’s all the excitement and competition? Ah, the producers have thought of that. Instead of just one group of castaways, there will be two complete groups, each with its own Ginger, Skipper, Gilligan, and the rest. Each week, the teams will be competing against each other in team competitions. Plus, each team member will be competing directly against his or her counterpart on the other team. At the end of the season, the best Mary Ann, the best Skipper, and so on, will become the final group of seven castaways and win big prizes.
Now, presumably, the castaways won’t be completely stranded without supplies like in a typical season of Survivor. As you recall from the original series, the castaways did have whatever supplies were on board the ship when it ran aground. This would include all the personal effects of the Skipper and Gilligan (who lived on board the Minnow) and several trunk loads of clothes and money that the Howells mysteriously brought along. The other three castaways seemed to have packed light, as they really did expect the tour to last only a couple of hours. Plus, the crew members could have scavenged wood and tools (like the radio, for example) from the ship itself.
This new show should be a rollicking good time, since the players will all be constantly trying to act out the roles of their favorite castaway. The original series wasn’t exactly high-drama when it first aired and this new one shouldn’t be either (I’d actually be pretty upset if the show turned out to be constant starvation and cutthroat backstabbing like on Survivor). I expect that everyone involved will be having fun all the time. Look for Ginger to ham it up, Mr. Howell to call for dry martinis all the time, and for the Skipper to hit Gilligan with his hat a lot.
So, who are the contestants? Well, there are a couple of big names in the cast, as well as some ordinary folks. One of the Gingers will be played by Rachael Hunter, superstar model and actress, and wife of Rod Stewart. The other will be played by Nicole Eggert, star of Baywatch, Charles in Charge, and forty other films and TV shows.
The Gilligans will be played by Chris O’Malley from Boston, and Mark Groesbeck, from Massachusetts. Chris once crashed a million-dollar boat into another million-dollar boat.
The Skippers will be played by Bob Fahey, from Massachusetts, and Jim Murray, also from Massachusetts. Jim sports a long white beard and looks more like Santa Claus than the Skipper.
The Millionaire and his wife will be played by Glenn and Mindy Stearns from Los Angeles on one team and Bill and Donna Beavens from Kentucky on the other team. The Beavens are worth $3 million, while the Stearns are worth over $500 million.
The Professors will be played by Eric Anderson, from New York and Pat Abbot, from San Diego. Both of them are actual science professors.
The Mary Anns will be played by Amanda Dodson from Kansas and Kate Koth from Missouri. Kate’s mother is Janet Koth, the first woman booted from Survivor: Amazon.
In any case, the show debuts on TBS with a two-hour special on November 30th. After that, it will move to a twice-a-week schedule, on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. So, join us here each week, my friend. You’re sure to get a smile, from seven stranded castaways, here on Gilligan’s Isle.
Bill (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a huge reality-show fan. Bill was the Mole for the second season. Or was he?
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