Thoughts From the Gilligan's Island Episode President Gilligan (1964)
Synopsis: A dispute between the Skipper (Alan Hale, Jr.) and Mr. Howell (Jim Backus) results in the castaways holding an election to name a president. Everyone is surprised when Gilligan (Bob Denver) wins as a write-in candidate but share the blame when the island's new government goes south from there.
Why does the Professor (Russell Johnson) receive no love in this episode? I can understand why the castaways would be reluctant to vote for either the Skipper or Mr. Howell but the Professor seemed like a much sounder third choice than Gilligan. If anything, he seems like the person who ends up acting like the de facto leader in most of the episodes.
That being said, Gilligan wasn't the problem. If anything, he was actually making quite a bit of sense as president, pushing for a new well to be dug as soon as possible to prevent the castaways from dying of thirst and, when they offered no help, doing it himself. As much credit as he gets for being the "dumb" one, this is one of those episodes that show he might have a lot more common sense than he's given credit for. Heck, he even pushes for a lookout tower at the end.
The castaways did have the right idea, just the wrong execution. Having a "leader" and assigning the various tasks to the other castaways did make some sense. I'm just not sure why they wouldn't create island-specific roles rather than things like Chief Justice and Secretary of Health and Welfare.
Also not making a whole lot of sense was the Professor as Secretary of Agriculture. Wouldn't that role be better suited for Mary Ann (Dawn Wells), the island's resident farmer?
So was Gilligan removed from office, or did the castaways just give up on having a formal government in general? Since this is never mentioned in any other episodes, I'm assuming it was one of those. I just wish the series would have taken the time to explain it.
Final Opinion: This is an OK episode but also a little farfetched. You would think, at minimum, the Professor would have offered some sort of common-sense advice for an island-specific government instead of letting things play out in the ridiculous manner they did.
My Grade: C
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