This is a cool essay explaining the subtext of the show that ostensibly only existed to sell Terry Toweling hats… or so I thought. Gilligan’s Island. It’s deeper than you think.
“Gilligan, the Skipper’s “little buddy”, embodies every extraneous governmental agency, policy and program ever foisted on innocent people anywhere. It is “Gilligan’s island.” Gilligan is well-intentioned. He sincerely wants to help. Gilligan saves no exertion, refuses no absurdity, respects no boundary in his unceasing efforts to solve, or at least soften, any and all of the everyday problems of the castaways. More often than not Gilligan is the problem. At best he makes a bad situation worse. At worst, he makes a great situation completely unbearable.”
Even this lofty theme is not the primary thesis. The story is actually about something much more fundamental. The most remarkable message of the tale lies in the paradox of the concentrated lust of the castaways — their burning desire to go back. Back to a time and a place that is more familiar and romantically remembered as “better.”
The tragedy of the tale is not that they can never go back. The real affliction is the wish itself. They are all so preoccupied with the notion of going back that they never realize they are already in paradise.