Archive for March, 2011

The Psychology of Gilligan’s Island

When I was younger, I used to watch “Gilligan’s Island” all the time and love it. So I knew there would come a day when I would just sit down and just watch the whole series. That day has come. I have finally watched all three seasons of “Gilligan’s Island.”

And honestly, maybe I’m reading too deeply into the show, but… this thing has got to be more twisted and evil than “Lost” ever was. If the island on “Lost” was Purgatory (was it?) then Gilligan’s Island has to be Hell itself. And not just any Hell, but a special Hell of Gilligan’s own design of which he uses to torture both his fellow castaways… and himself.

So now I’m calling Gilligan a self-loathing masochist who wants to make others as miserable as he is? Well… yeah! It’s the only way to make sense of this show (other than the more commonly-accepted notion that this is just a badly-written sitcom.) But read on and I’ll try to piece things together for you.

SKIPPER
First off, I honestly believe The Skipper is responsible for Gilligan’s condition. I also believe he’s a patient at the old folk’s home where Gilligan works, and that years of yelling at him, hitting him with his hat, and pretending to be his father-figure has driven Gilligan nearly to the brink of insanity. Even on the island, he’s clearly senile. He’s forgetful, prone to fits of rage, constantly chases the girls (yes, this old creeper even tries to marry Mary Ann in one episode,) probably wears a diaper, and is always dependent on Gilligan. He’s fabricated his own reality where Gilligan really is his first mate, and Gilligan is playing along, just waiting for that opportune moment to exact his revenge. Then one day, Skipper decides he wants to go on a boat ride where Gilligan decides it’s time to drown him. But fate intervenes when Skipper invites five other people along for a three-hour tour, and Gilligan soon discovers that these people are also the worst of humanity, and that they must also be disposed of… so he drives the boat right into a storm and their lives are changed forever.

MR. AND MRS. HOWELL
I always found it interesting how two millionaires brought all their belonging with them on a three-hour tour. And on a strange measly tour boat on top of that (Mr. Howell doesn’t own his own yacht?) But here are two other cases who well-deserve their place in Gilligan’s Hell. They can spend years starving on a desert island, and still think money is their top priority. In fact, in countless episodes, Mr. Howell goes out of his way to scheme the other castaways out of their own money. They don’t need money on the island, but he will sabotage any rescue operation if it means protecting a newly-discovered gold mine.

Mr. Howell’s wife isn’t any better. When she decides to throw a party on the island, she’ll sit down and wonder about who to invite – and then, of course, intentionally leave one of the five castaways off the guest list. Not because of an argument, of course, but because the other castaways are “not millionaire material.” The Howells are dependent on the other castaways for food, shelter, and companionship, and yet they’re doing everything in their nature to destroy the only friends they have. Which is why they have a spot on Gilligan’s hit list.

GINGER
Ginger contributes only one thing to the island: helping people get to first-base. If someone new shows up and they have a boat, Ginger will seduce them with kisses hoping that they’ll rescue her. If she needs a favor from Gilligan or Professor, she’ll seduce them with kisses too. If cannibals appear, she’ll seduce them with kisses as well. Her only survival technique is seducing people with kisses, which of course, PISSES GILLIGAN OFF. After three years of being seduced by the same woman on a desert island and not even getting in a boob-squeeze, Gilligan has to have it out for her. Because clearly either the woman has not heard of sex, or she’s intentionally toying with Gilligan’s emotions for her own sick pleasure. Personally, I think she has a secret thing going on with Professor because those two had at least a few major make-out sessions on the show, which were never again brought up.

THE PROFESSOR
I don’t know what he’s a Professor of, but it’s not science. Let’s ignore the fact that he can’t build a boat, yet he can build a radio out of coconuts – I want to focus on the duck.

In one episode, he finds a duck and comes up with the brilliant plan of tying a message to it’s leg and sending it off to Hawaii because “someone’s sure to find it.” Someone is sure to find a duck. …Who finds ducks? Professor, what is your basis for hinging all your rescue hopes on someone searching a duck for messages? Why are you sacrificing all of the castaways’ food to build up this duck’s strength? And then why are you making the castaways take the duck out on walks? You really should just build a boat, Professor. Any boat will do if you’re desperate enough to use a duck.

MARY-ANN
Mary-Ann is probably the second smartest person on the island. In the few episodes where it’s up to her to solve a problem, her ideas usually work with no repercussions. The biggest discredit to her intelligence however, is that she often looks up to Ginger.

But Mary-Ann remains to be a curious case. In an early episode, she and Gilligan start dating, and by the next episode, they’re not together anymore. We later find out she has a boyfriend back home, but that isn’t the weird part. The weird part starts when we find out that she was lying about her boyfriend, and yet in the “Return to Gilligan’s Island” movie, we discover that she’s actually engaged to someone completely different. I can understand her making up a fake boyfriend to avoid dating Gilligan, but keeping her real fiancee a secret all those years? With no intention of cheating on him? What’s your game, Mary Ann? Seriously, what’s your game?! You do not make sense!

GILLIGAN

Now for Gilligan.

Gilligan is the ultimate master of sarcasm. Just look in his eyes whenever something stupid pops up on the island. He knows what’s going on. He knows how ridiculous these story-lines are every week. And as soon the opportunity arrives to make someone else’s life miserable, he slips into character and starts improvising. If he walks in on Ginger pretending to shoot Professor (obviously rehearsing a play that no one will ever watch,) he’ll run around telling everyone that Ginger just killed the Professor – just so he can see the chaos unfold.

See, Gilligan actually likes it on this island. Here, he can be himself and play these horrible people like pawns. And he hates himself too, so it doesn’t matter to him if he gets caught in the crossfire of his own schemes. He welcomes death at the hands of cannibals and giant spiders – but if he survives, hey, just another day to torment his fellow castaways, right? This is why he’ll foil every rescue attempt he can and always make it look like an accident. To support my theory, one episode even compares Gilligan to the Greek philosopher Diogenes. I looked this up and found out that Diogenes is a man who crapped in the streets just to piss people off. Coincidence? I think not.

So yes, Gilligan is the probably one of the worst people in existence, but at least there’s six other people worse than him whom he’s fortunately keeping away from the rest of us. Hats off to you, Gilligan!

March 31 2011 | TV | 2 Comments »

Conan is Partying’!

Rebecca Black’s existence somehow continues to be justified, thanks to Conan’s latest music video.

March 23 2011 | Awesomeness, Humor, Music Videos, TV, Videos | No Comments »

Partyin’, Partyin’, YEAH!

I’m sorry, internet, but you can’t throw a video like this at me and expect me to stay quiet about it. It’s just not feasible. I have to say something.

The video in question is Rebecca Black’s “Friday.” Chances are, you’re sick of hearing about it already. If this is your first time hearing about it, I have posted her video right here. Watching it is completely optional because the song has been known to make some people’s ears bleed.

Me on the other hand… I love this song to death. For reasons explained later.

Now the major dealie going on is that people are unanimously calling this “the worst song ever written.” I refuse to agree with that statment because this song doesn’t contain any instances of the word “slizzered,” and I refuse to acknowledge that Katy Perry’s “Firework” or Bruno Mars’ “Grenade” are acceptable alternatives.

What I like about this song is that Rebecca Black has unwittingly written what could otherwise be considered the perfect satirical take on modern pop music. All the worst of cliches are in here – the auto-tuned voice, the pointless rap sequence, the “party all the time” mentality, and best of all, the lack of lyrical symbolism, where she’s literally singing about eating cereal and wondering where in the car she’ll sit. I can’t listen to this song with a straight face. I just have a big dumb grin through the whole thing. I want to live in her world and follow her around and watch what she says about everyday things, like “Look, there’s a mailbox. The mailman puts the mail in the mailbox. That’s how we get our mail.” Awesome.

Now granted, she’s 13, and I blame both her parents and the record company for any pain she’s suffered at the hands of this song. I mean, come on – putting your 13 year old daughter in the position of becoming the laughing stock of the internet should be considered child abuse. They had every chance to stop this before it started – all they had to do was tell Rebecca “we’ll get you some singing lessons and find you a better writer” before deciding she needed her own label.

But the interesting thing about seeing someone so young write a song like this is seeing what kind of musical influence is going into children these days. Everything about this song seems like a parody of Justin Bieber, Ke$ha, and The Black-Eyed Peas – only it’s meant to be an homage. She has picked up on the worst of everything and turned it into inspiration. Much like how The Black-Eyed Peas used to rhyme the days of the week with the other days of the week, Rebecca Black has taken it one step further: she explains that Sunday comes after Saturday, which comes after Friday. Something about that makes me clap my hands like a seal, and yet dread what kind of music we’ll be hearing throughout the next decade.

So, yes, it’s a terrible song, but it’s just so bad that it’s good. For a song that has no poetic craft, it’s open to so many interpretations. It’s a statement about music, about society, about children, about fame – you can turn it into a statement about everything in life except… ironically… parties. We learn nothing new about parties from this song.

Interesting things happen in life. This was one of them.

March 22 2011 | Awesomeness, Music, Music Videos, Pop Culture, Stuff Other People Made, Stupidity | 7 Comments »

Look Around You!

My friend Brittany pointed me at a possibly new favorite show. It’s a BBC series that aired back in 2002 as a bunch of ten-minute shorts called “Look Around You,” where they spoof 80’s-style educational videos about science and whatnot. For the first couple minutes, I was convinced that this was a real video back then. And then I saw the jar of wafers on the shelf.

Anyhow, this particular video was killing me with laughter by the end, so check it out if British comedy is your thing.

March 16 2011 | Awesomeness, Humor, Science, Videos | 1 Comment »

Movie Reviews: Jan, Feb 2011

The Green Hornet
The Quick Word: This is an awesome movie and Jay Chou absolutely steals the show as Kato. I used to listen to the old radio show every day at work (online streaming) and it seems like they took both the characters of the Hornet and Kato and poured them both into Kato – leaving Seth Rogen to act like the wacky comic relief/hero/himself. It’s a weird twist on the Hornet concept, but I like it.
More action or more comedy?: A good balance of both. The action sequences are already over-the-top, so it’s easy to slip comedy into the mix. There’s a lot of great scenes with the Hornet’s car, Kato’s weird martial arts effects are interesting to watch, and I’m surprised how many people get killed in this movie. Every other scene, you see someone get crushed to death by some random falling thing.
Worth watching?: It doesn’t skimp on anything, and I like the “Pineapple Express” approach they take to the movie, so yeah. Approval.

Shutter Island
Finally got around to watching it?: Yes. Much like the Academy, I’d completely forgotten about this Martin Scorsese movie, and it took almost a whole year before I finally sat down to watch it.
And…?: Honestly, this is a pretty cool movie. The ending is really left up to debate, but the rest of it really kept me on my toes as I tried to piece together the puzzle. It’s not often I come across a movie where I feel involved enough to take mental notes as Leonardo DiCaprio interviews crazy people and explores the island. It’s a very engaging film. I like it.

The Social Network
Status Update: Chris is revoking his geek status, on account of how he can’t follow any internet-related discussion in this movie. “If we re-route the PHP servers to re-direct image results to our MySQL database and overflow the LAN traffic, we could get 22000 hits!” Sure you could! Why not?
So…: Not a big fan of this movie, actually. I’m not a big fan of business dramas in general, and nearly every line in this dialogue is centered around internet protocol or business ethics. A movie about Facebook should not leave me feeling so lost. There’s some good scenes in it, that’s for sure. I like the bits where they explain the psychology behind why Facebook is so popular; why we crave to keep using it. And it has it’s share of humor (throwing the beer bottles.) But otherwise, it feels like they packed more drama into a true story than there probably ever was.
Chance for a sequel?: It also occurred to me that you could write a whole other drama about Facebook. Not about the business side of it or the origins – but the people who use it. Maybe it’d be a good subject for a documentary, but just go look on your news feed if you use FB. Ever since FB began, I’ve been noticing a slow trend towards insanity with many of my “friends” status updates. What was once a very excitable community is now a wall of existential madness. People are tearing their own hearts out, crying for attention, and otherwise posting their insecurities to the world. And they completely forget – I can’t do anything about it. Not if they live in another town or country. I can send a message or poke them, but otherwise, all I can do is watch my friends deteriorate. Facebook is crushing the souls of millions – now there’s an idea for a movie!

Justin Bieber: Never Say Never
You didn’t actually see this, did you?: Nah. I just wanted an excuse to post this clip.

March 01 2011 | Movies | 2 Comments »