Wednesday, December 17, 2008

A Three Hour Tour

When I was growing up, my older brother had taped on VHS a couple of Gilligan's Island marathons. I had every single episode on a VHS cassette. I watched that tape so often that it began to warp from overuse. I had memorized the commercials that ran between episodes. I would wake up on a Saturday, fire up the VCR, and watch the same episodes, over and over again.

It was in watching GI that I learned how to deal with sadness. The earliest episodes were expository. You saw each of the castaways accept the reality that they were stranded. The life that they had once known was now a ghost that would serve as a constant, haunting reminder that they were stuck, isolated, and helpless.

Gilligan would prove to be the foil in every improbable rescue scenario, and that would become the punchline of every episode. In the beginning, however, it was an unfortunate tragedy. To this day, I watch the pilot episode with an irrational hope that somehow Gilligan will get his shit together. I believe this has been defined as insanity by some psychologists, but as a youngster, those feelings were real. I still believed that life was fair. I believed that hope can change things. I was naive enough to think that there was such a thing as wishes-come-true.

I empathised with the seven castaways. I felt a faux-sophistication in having the ability to absorb all of the emotional fire-power of the first 3 episodes of Gilligan's Island. While that sounds utterly ridiculous, you have to develop your emotional intelligence somewhere, and I was part of a generation that was raised in front of a television. I have trouble making it through the black and white episodes of GI. I don't think they are funny. I watch them and get filled with melancholy. They don't make me cry, but they drum up feelings that I don't like feeling. I can't talk about this anymore.


Anonymous said...

How do you feel atching Lost?

Mike R. said...

I've never seen a single episode of Lost. I'm not sure if I could handle it, emotionally.