Gilligan's Island

TV review by
Nik Dessle, Common Sense Media
Gilligan's Island TV Poster Image
Popular with kids
Unique characters and situations drive classic sitcom.

Parents say

age 8+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 7+
Based on 10 reviews

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The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Educational Value

The show is intended to entertain, not educate.

Positive Messages

The show's characters come from very different backgrounds (though they're all white -- the only non-white characters tend to be "natives") and are forced to find ways to cooperate in order to survive. They make the best of their situation, using teamwork and the island's natural resources in ingenious ways to create many of the comforts of home. Despite many setbacks, they maintain hope of being rescued and keep an optimistic outlook.

Positive Role Models & Representations

With the exception of the ultra-rich Howells, the characters represent positive qualities, including loyalty, empathy, optimism, and helpfulness. They aren't without flaws, however, and negative traits like jealousy, suspicion, and greed often surface. Most often, these emotions are clearly shown to be incorrect and unfounded. The Professor's ingenuity and resourcefulness can be inspiring. The Skipper is quick to berate Gilligan at every opportunity, but it's obvious he has affection for him, too.

Violence & Scariness

There are aggressive (though silly) arguments, with some references to physical violence and slapstick humor such as punching or slapping.

Sexy Stuff

Lighthearted sexual tension exists between some of the men on the island and Ginger, the bombshell movie star. Specific body parts are never mentioned, but there are references to her appearance ("dangerous curves," "36-24-36"). She also occasionally pours on seductive charm to manipulate the men.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Gilligan's Island is a classic sitcom intended solely for the purpose of goofy entertainment. Some positive themes resonate throughout (cooperation, resourcefulness, optimism), but there's very little here in the way of educational substance. Ginger's occasional use of sex appeal to manipulate her male island-mates may teach unwanted lessons about the power of physical appearance as a bargaining tool. Arguments on the show can be heated, though they're usually ridiculous and comic rather than serious and abusive.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent Written byalamoamy March 10, 2015

We love the Gilligan's Gang!

We have been watching GI as a family for about six months now and it never fails to crack my son up. Some of the storylines are dated, but it gives us a chance... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byBob9274 April 2, 2019
Mild sex and violence.
Teen, 16 years old Written byRachel Hurtz March 9, 2021

Love this show...

This show is absolutely amazing......
Its obvious that it’s a 1960s show.
There isn’t any language or innuendos.
The only seductive person is Ginger and she... Continue reading

What's the story?

In GILLIGAN'S ISLAND, five passengers from varying backgrounds embark on an ill-fated "three-hour tour" aboard the SS Minnow with the Skipper (played by Alan Hale) and first mate Gilligan (Bob Denver) at the helm. When a fierce storm comes up, they find themselves marooned on a deserted island and forced to cooperate in order to survive. But they do more than just eke out an existence here; through ingenuity and resourcefulness, they manage to recreate many of the comforts of home, often to hilarious effect. Much of the series' humor derives from the characters' unlikely mixture of backgrounds and worldviews as they find themselves in one ridiculous situation after another. In addition to the blustering-but-well-meaning Skipper and the show's clownish namesake, there's the wise Professor (Russell Johnson), bombshell starlet Ginger (Tina Louise), the amusingly despicable millionaires Thurston and Lovey Howell (Jim Backus and Natalie Schafer), and down-to-earth farm girl Mary Ann (Dawn Wells). The show ran for a total of 98 episodes from 1964 to 1967.

Is it any good?

This classic sitcom is beloved by generations of kids and nostalgic adults. Social and political issues of the time (the late '60s were a volatile age) are largely absent due to the characters' isolation. However, many of the period's common media stereotypes are clearly visible through the dominance of its male characters, the homogeneous casting (only the "natives" aren't white), and the appearance of Russians as sinister spies (this was, after all, the middle of the Cold War.) Still, despite corny jokes and ridiculous situations -- or perhaps because of them -- Gilligan's Island stands the test of time as an oft-quoted favorite alongside The Brady Bunch, The Flintstones, I Dream of Jeannie, and Gomer Pyle.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Gilligan's Island 's messages. Are there any? Is it important for media to make you think, or is it OK to just have fun sometimes?

  • Discuss the balance of power between men and women: Are men really the ones with all the answers? Does a woman's power exist only as a function of her physical appearance? How do you think Ginger and Mary-Ann might be portrayed differently if the show was airing today?

  • The ultra-rich Howells are depicted as insatiable schemers. Are all wealthy people greedy and manipulative? If not, is their portrayal a stereotype? Do you see any other stereotypes being portrayed on the show?

  • How do the characters on Gilligan's Island demonstrate teamwork? Why is this an important character strength?

TV details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love classic comedy

Character Strengths

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