I must admit I have been quite tardy in picking up my copy of this first season of Gilligans Island which has been out almost two years now.I had fond memories of this light hearted show which I hadn't seen since it went off the air many years ago.I knew it wasn't critically acclaimed at the time nor a great show but it did have its' merits and was cute.
I first watched the accompanying pilot and went through its few extras which was just a small laugh-umentary,some factoids on each cast member and just one audio commentary by creater Schwartz during the pilot episode.When I finally got through the first few episodes I found my fond memories fading fast.I knew back then that this was light TV fare but I now realized just how light it was.
The show had its' memorable characters and moments certainly and the cast was wonderfully picked for their parts.I can see why it has retained its' charm for many throughout the years and earned itself a small niche in TV history.But I found that the more episodes I watched the more tedious they became....sad to say.Nor does the show,in my oppinion,stand up over time or bear up over repeated watchings.
The first season is high on physical comedy to be sure.Gilligan and the Skipper are the Laurel and Hardy of the island,from the overall gags,to their looks(fat and skinny)and right down to their pratfalls.The Skippers' constant camera looks and mannerisms are especially indicative of Oliver Hardy(Alan Hales' father appeared coincidentally in Laurel and Hardys' 1936 great classic 'Our Relations').Season two and into three would see less and less of the physical comedy with more emphasize on their overall situation and the professors' wild inventions but the resemblance to Laurel and Hardy never went away.
One reason for Gilligans Islands' final fadeout rests I believe with its concept and it's losing its' touch with reality.In the beginning we could certainly empathize with these people and their predicament,getting caught in a storm,getting stranded then having to survive until rescued.But all good comedy is rooted in some kind of reality,there has to be some thread or connection from show/movie to the viewer that says yes I can believe that this is possible(however slight)and I can relate to these characters.As time went on the shows' believability factor simply just faded away.Even in the first season,just for example,they are visited by a surfer from Hawaii who comes and goes on a rogue Tsunami!!And the plots continued to get wackier and more full of holes than a block of swiss cheese.Then there are the professors' inventions which somehow got more intricate and sophisticated as the show wore on.By the time the show hit its' final season ,even for a comedy,it had lost any empathy or believability and became a parody of itself.It was for lack of a better word just plain silly with little or no real humour left.
In conclusion if you're looking for some VERY light 60s TV fare this is for you.It is certainly not classic,timeless or great TV comedy but I must admit it does retain a certain amount of charm,the acting is good and it does have its' humourous moments.Just check your brain at the door and you'll have a good time!