Thoughts From the Gilligan's Island Episode Home Sweet Hut (1964)
Synopsis: After a surprise rain leaves the castaways drenched, they decide they should build shelter before the island is hit by a storm. However, disagreements result in the group splitting up and trying to build separate huts and, as their attempts fail, they risk facing a storm with nothing to protect them.
One thing that always surprises me when watching this episode is how long it takes the castaways to realize they need to have some sort of shelter. Yes, I know their top priority, at least in the first season, was finding a way to be rescued but with the Professor's (Russell Johnson) overall intelligence and the Skipper's (Alan Hale, Jr.) experience, you would think shelter would have been at least second on that priority list.
I found the allotment of tools in the Skipper's toolbox a bit odd. It seemed like he had everything the castaways needed to build a fancy hut, including a machete and rope, but didn't have tools you would normally expect to see, like nails. Considering the primary purpose of having a toolbox on a ship is so you can make repairs to that ship, the Skipper should receive more blame for not being able to repair the damage to the Minnow.
I feel this episode strongly supports my belief the castaways gave up on building a raft too soon. As I mentioned before, the main issue the first time they built a raft was it fell apart. Had that not happened, there's no reason to believe it wouldn't have worked. The fact the castaways were able to use the same tools and materials to build a hut that withstood a storm, reenforces my belief a second raft building attempt would be more successful.
I don't understand the Skipper's insistence on having just one shelter. OK, so this makes some sense as a temporary arrangement - build a shared shelter first so everyone has some sort of protection from the elements. But he seemed perfectly intent on making that a permanent arrangement even though it didn't seem like it would take that much more work to build separate living quarters later. They constructed one hut in a reasonable amount of time so, working as a team, building three more didn't seem like too much more work. It's not like they had a shortage of building materials.
Why didn't they just sleep in the caves? Another interesting thing about this episode is how the castaways seem to think their only other choice, other than a hut, is to sleep outside in the jungle but the island has plenty of other shelter options for them. This includes a variety of caves that are more than large enough to house at least a couple people. They would also be much sturdier during a storm. At first, I countered this argument by saying it made more sense to have shelters that could easily be spotted by a passing ship but that has never seemed to be the case anyway since they built the huts in a clearing rather than near the lagoon. Plus, there are other ways to be spotted even if you are living in the jungle, like signal fires and signs.
Final Opinion: I found I liked this episode overall, mostly because it does a great job of showing the various characters in a bit more detail than the show's previous episode and demonstrates some of the differences that could make it harder for them to survive together. If I were old enough to have seen this show when it first came on the air in the 1960s, I probably wouldn't have been sold after the first episode but this one would likely have gotten me much more interested in the premise.
My Grade: A-