Mary Ann or Ginger? The Deeper Question

When Sherwood Schwartz created silly Sixties television show Gilligan’s Island, he chose a cast that would represent a microcosm of society. This was not to make a slapstick farce more sublime, but to create easy conflict: we don’t need to know how each character grew up to understand their conflicts with each other. Rich vs Poor, Faith vs Reason, Rural vs Urban, Worker vs Authority. The Castaways were roles rather than people. But some wonder if there was a deeper role each one played. 

There has been speculation that each member of the group represents one of the Seven Deadly Sins. Either Schwartz planned this and didn’t tell anyone (or this is what he meant by society’s microcosm) or these archetypes fell into place naturally. Either way, people stumble on which sin goes with which Castaway. Is Gilligan gluttony because he eats a pie at one sitting, or is The Skipper a glutton because he is overweight? But once one remembers that gluttonny should be defined as over-indulgence, it is clear that the sinner is…drum roll please… Mrs. Eunice “Luvee” Wentworth Howell. The others fall into place. The sloth of William Gilligan drives many stories. Captain Jonas Grumby is wrathful and Proffesor Roy Hinkley and Thurston Howell III are obviously pride and greed, respectively. Watch a couple episodes —if you can bear the grating silliness— and Mary Ann Summers will clearly display her envy. She’s petulantly jealous of Luvee, special guest-star Zsa Zsa Gabor, and most frequently her best friend. Finally,  Ginger Grant not only inspires lust, but has a lust for life and is nakedly ambitious. 

Now, perhaps you have been asked, “Mary Ann or Ginger?” You’re not being asked if you find either Dawn Wells or Tina Louise prettier, but rather what your values are. Would you rather romance a sweet down-home girl, or a sophisticated bombshell? But with the Sins in mind, the question becomes diffetent. Which scares you more, your envious nature or your lustful ambitions?

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