Thoughts From the Gilligan's Island Episode Will the Real Mr. Howell Please Stand Up (1966)
Synopsis: When Mr. Howell (Jim Backus) learns there is an imposter pretending to be him and selling off his assets, he offers the rest of the castaways a $1 million reward to help him get off the island. The reward turns out not to be necessary when the imposter falls off a yacht and winds up on the island.
I have always thought this episode would have been a good setup for a Gilligan's Island spinoff. One of the things that sets this episode apart from the series' other "doppelganger" episodes is we never learn the imposter's real identity. That, combined with the imposter not being caught at the end, could have potentially set up a new series with Backus playing a con man.
OK, I'll stop bringing up the raft now. After re-watching this episode, I now have my answer regarding why they didn't just attempt to build another raft and leave the island. Based on how quickly the boat they built for Mr. Howell sunk, I am now convinced they just don't have the skills to make a seaworthy craft.
I thought the other castaways were a bit insensitive toward Mr. Howell in this one. When he became upset over someone posing as him and spending his money, they seemed more concerned about curing his obsession over money than actually trying to help him. Well, at least until he offered to pay them, proving they were just as obsessed with money.
This episode seems to forget the episodes that came before it. I know part of that is by design but the Skipper's plan to build a hot air balloon already happened in the Jungle Boy episode (and why didn't they build another balloon after that?). Meanwhile, the castaways suddenly have a working flare gun again, despite losing all their flares in Voodoo Something to Me. How did that happen?
Mr. Howell didn't need to work as hard as he did to prove the other guy was the imposter. Instead of asking questions about his own personal likes and dislikes, all he had to do was ask the imposter to identify the other castaways. It's not like he was on the island long enough to learn who everyone was, even if he happened to see or hear their names when doing his Howell research.
Final Opinion: I wouldn't list this as one of my favorite episodes, mostly because we only have the two Mr. Howell's for a short time and things get resolved relatively easily. However, it does have its moments and I still enjoyed watching it again.
My Grade: B
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