November 09, 2015

Indigenous episodes in Gilligan's Island

Some info on the indigenous-themed episodes of Gilligan's Island:

NativesNatives" is the generic term for the local indigenous tribes that live in the area around "Gilligan's Island," small island nations of Polynesian and Papuan aborigines somewhere in the castaways proximity. These tribes worship a number of gods, possibly deified ancestors, and practice a number of rites including cannibalism, head-hunting and a practice resembling Voodoo of the Caribbean Sea.A list of the episodes:

  • Two on a Raft (Season 1, Episode 1): Each group of castaways fears that the other group is headhunters.

  • Waiting for Watubi (Season 1, Episode 10): A buried stone idol seems to carry a curse.

  • How to Be a Hero (Season 1, Episode 23): Gilligan thinks a real headhunter is the Skipper trying to boost his confidence.

  • Music Hath Charms (Season 1, Episode 26): Gilligan's drumming attracts natives who think it's a challenging war cry.

  • Three to Get Ready (Season 1, Episode 29): A native gem, the Eye of the Idol, seems to grant three wishes.

  • Gilligan's Mother-in-Law (Season 2, Episode 1): Gilligan must marry fat Native girl to get the castaways off the island.

  • Voodoo (Season 3, Episode 5): A witch doctor practices voodoo on the castaways to retrieve stolen artifacts.

  • Topsy-Turvy (Season 3, Episode 10): Gilligan's vision is on the fritz while headhunters stalk the castaways.

  • High Man on the Totem Pole (Season 3, Episode 23): Based on a "totem pole," headhunters think Gilligan is their god.

  • The Secret of Gilligan's Island (Season 3, Episode 25): An ancient stone tablet may show the castaways how to leave the island by boat.

  • Slave Girl (Season 3, Episode 26): Gilligan rescues native woman and she becomes his slave.

  • Gilligan the Goddess (Season 3, Episode 30): Natives want to toss a maiden "goddess" into a volcano.

  • Comment:  These episodes are racist and stereotypical, of course. The natives grunt or speak made-up gibberish. They do little more than kill and eat people. They're played by white actors, usually in brownface.

    If South Seas islanders were ever this savage and barbaric, it ended a century or two ago. You know, when white men conquered them and colonized their islands? Sent in the missionaries and forcibly converted them to Christianity and "good Christian" lifestyles.

    By the 1960s, many island peoples were dealing with their British and French occupiers, demanding self-rule or territorial status. With all the traffic in the area--people must've visited Gilligan's Island dozens of times--it's ridiculous to think the indigenous cultures would have continued untouched. The islanders would be selling goods and services to waves of tourists, not hunting heads in grass skirts.

    For more on Gilligan's Island, see Native Voodoo in Gilligan's Island Mohawk Astronaut in Gilligan's Island.

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