Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

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Gilligan Unbound, for Eternity

One of my favorite pop culture books is Paul Cantor’s wonderful Gilligan Unbound, which makes sense of four major TV shows: Gilligan’s Island, Star Trek, The Simpsons, and the X-Files. (The first two, Cantor argues, are windows into "Americanization," the latter two, windows into "globalization.")

Comes now the sad news that Bob Denver, aka Gilligan, has died. The critics always hated Gilligan’s Island, but it racked up pehnomenal ratings when it debuted the same fall that JFK was killed. Some critics said Americans wanted to watch some lighter fare in that dark hour.

Bob Denver, RIP.

Discussions - 6 Comments

Ah, hell. It’s hard to watch things you grew up with fall to dust. I suppose all generations have this to some degree, but with mass media our generation’s sense of loss will be heavy (IMHO). It was a superficial little show, but for millions of us it was just like coming home to peanut butter and jelly. RIP, Bob...and thanks.

I’ll remember Bob Denver more as "beatnik" Maynard G. Krebs on the Many Loves of Dobie Gillis than for Gilligan’s Island. I always chuckled to Maynard’s reaction when offered a job: "Work!?" Dobie was a much better show.

Nonetheless Bob RIP Thanks for the memories.

Gilligan’s Island (in re-runs, of course, and however sad this may be) is one of the fondest memories I have of childhood. Getting off the bus, grabbing a snack, and parking myself in front of the T.V. in our basement to watch old Gilligan was a ritual repeated for many years. It was a great cushion between the long ride home and the start of homework for the evening. Hard to think of Bob Denver dead--or even old. He seemed the quintessential perpetual child. RIP.

"He’s dead?
I didn’t even know he was sick!"

As a kid, I loved Gilligan’s island. My two daughters also love Gilligan’s Island.

On the other hand, Green Acres drove me crazy. Why would someone tolerate living in that sh*t-hole? Move out! Get a new contractor! Hire new workers! Why live like that?

Actually, my favorite line from Gilligan was in one of the "reunion" made-for-TV films. To paraphrase: "I spent years on an island with a man who could make a nuclear reactor out of a pair of coconuts and a piece of wire, but couldn’t fix the hole in our boat!" A ridiculous series, but much loved.

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