Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Day Two - My Favorite Show

I am participating in It's Gravy Baby's 31 Day Photo & Prompt Challenge. For Day 2, the prompt is to tell you about my favorite show.

This one takes me back a bit.

My favorite TV show of all time is Gilligan's Island. I loved the show when I was a kid, and when it came out on DVD in 2004, I bought all three seasons, 99 episodes plus the original pilot with a few different actors.

I love the show because it's funny on several levels. I pick up on things as an adult that as a child, I either didn't understand or took it to mean something else. I also love it because you really can learn something from the series.

Here's an example from real life. Co-worker A was getting married. I asked co-worker B if she was going to the wedding. She said no, she had other stuff to do, and she wasn't invited anyway. That made no sense to me. So I went to co-worker A and said, "Co-worker B told me that she didn't receive an invitation to your wedding. Did you not send her one for some reason? Or did it get lost in the mail?" He assured me that she had been sent an invite and he'd send her another one to make sure she got it. She didn't come anyway, at least not that I saw (it was a huge wedding), but at least maybe her feelings weren't hurt.

How is this related to Gilligan's Island? In one episode, the Howells are throwing their annual ball (The Howell Cotillion) and everyone's excited about it, except that on the way to deliver the invitations, Mr. Howell tripped, and he lost the one for the Skipper. So, the Skipper didn't get his invitation, and he's all bummed and one by one the other Castaways decide that the Howells are just being snobby and they're going to have their own party instead of going to the Cotillion. Then the Howells feel bad, because no one came to their party. It all gets worked out in the end, of course, but the viewer comes away with a valuable lesson. If someone who should have received an invitation to the party doesn't get invited, just go ask the host if it was deliberate or a mistake. Of course, the episode would have been over in a minute-and-a-half if Gilligan or Ginger or Mary Ann or the Professor had gone to Mr. or Mrs. Howell and said, "Hey, what gives? Why wasn't the Skipper invited?"

Gilligan's Island also taught me the scientific name for aspirin, explained the gold standard, illustrated gold fever, and taught me the definition of a reverse tsunami. Okay, that last is a stretch. I've heard the media use the term "reverse tsunami" a few times in recent years, and I wonder how many of those reporters have the phrase in their minds because they saw Gilligan's Island when they were kids.

See, in the show, Duke the surfer (Denny Miller) rides a tsunami from Hawaii to the Island. He spends a few days there building up his strength and impressing the girls. The Professor predicts that a reverse tsunami will be coming along and that Duke could surf it back to Hawaii and send a rescue party. By that time, Duke wants to stay in the island paradise with Ginger and Mary Ann, and hilarity ensues as they enlist the Professor and Gilligan to play their boyfriends in order to drive Duke away. He takes off on the reverse tsunami, but as he glides into the harbor, he bangs his head, and he can't remember where he was for the past two weeks. Awww.

As a kid, I took their word for it that a tsunami or tidal wave was an actual hang 10-style wave, and I accepted that if conditions were right, a reverse tsunami could bring the wave back the way that it came. After the events of December 2005, I think we all know now that a tsunami is a tidal surge, a wall of water that brings the ocean onto the coast.

A quick search of news events turned up a "reverse tsunami" story from Southern California; in that case, instead of flooding the coastline, the ocean receded very quickly, basically like a really fast and really low, low tide. You can view ABC 7 News coverage here.  In 2006, a dam broke in Hawaii, and the water flooded across land to the ocean, destroying homes and killing seven people. In an AP wire story, witnesses described the effect as being like a reverse tsunami. I don't think anyone could have surfed it to another island.  Of course, Duke wasn't just anyone. He was one of Hawaii's greatest surfers.

So anyway, that's why I love Gilligan's Island.

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