|The cast of Gilligan’s Island: L to R
Ginger, Skipper, Gilligan, Professor,
the Howells and Mary Ann
I’ve never seen a psychiatrist’s couch, but I do own a couch. Lastly, I’ve never had formal mental health training, but I’m a huge fan of Mentos mints.
Given those credentials, I believe that I’m more than qualified to dispense clinical diagnoses for fictional characters. That’s why I write this periodic series titled The Psychiatric Couch….
The first installment of this series explored the psyches of Winnie the Pooh and Friends
Today’s installment is another ensemble session - Gilligan’s Island.
CASE HISTORY: Gilligan’s Island was a huge part of my childhood. Although it first aired for three years on CBS television before I was born, it became a cultural phenomenon when it ran in syndication during the 1970s and 80s after school. The premise was that a group of seven strangers charted a boat, the S.S. Minnow, that was crewed by Skipper and his first mate Gilligan. The charter was for a three hour acquatic tour, but the weather started getting rough – the tiny ship was tossed. If not for the courage of the fearless crew….well, you should know the rest [my Millennial readers will have to YouTube the song].
The Psychiatric Couch: Gilligan’s Island.
Captain Jonas Grumby a.k.a. “Skipper” – Skipper exhibits dissociative personality traits where he’s very effusive and kind to the charter guests yet exhibits sadistic tendencies toward his helpless underling Gilligan. Skipper’s aggression manifests as a pervasive pattern of violence by hitting his “little buddy” multiple times per episode with his captain’s hat – an attempt to assert his maritime authority and quell threats of mutiny.
Gilligan, the first mate - suffers from a chronic case of people-pleasing disorder rooted in an inherent lack of self worth, yet strives for the love of others by being whatever others want him to be. His disorder is compounded by a borderline-imbecilic IQ level and apparent damage to his cerebellum (responsible for muscle control and coordination), making him such a klutz that he makes former president Gerald Ford seem lithely balletic. The brain damage is likely due to the repeated blunt trauma to the head from Skipper [Note: last sentence is a late add courtesy of reader Beeg!]
Ginger Grant the actress – severe narcissist with an external locus of control requiring constant validation and affirmation from others. There is also evidence of early-stage nymphomania as she continually seeks to manipulate male counterparts through breathy monologues and suggestive posturing – to no avail. Additionally, Ginger has a clothing psychosis – she was going on a three-hour tour yet packed dozens of sequined ball gowns and heels. A delusional dresser or merely a typical woman overpacking – you be the judge.
Mary Ann Summer, the farm girl - Mary Ann consistently exhibits inadequacy issues as she tries to measure up to her aforementioned actress hut mate, Ginger. There are also shades of infantile regression at her constant need to where Pippy Longstocking-type pigtails. Perhaps this neurotic behavior of a grown woman wearing a hairstyle that would embarrass Punky Brewester is a regressive attempt to cope through the post traumatic stress of being marooned.
Thurston Howell the III/ Eunice “Lovey” Wentworth Howell, the millionaires - unapologetic elitists who suffer from an extreme manifestation of peniaphobia, or fear of being poor. The irony of their phobia is that on the island their inaccessible riches have no value, yet they’re denial and minimization of their situation allows them to treat their fellow island dwellers as indentured servants.
Roy Hinkley a.k.a. “The Professor” – possibly the most evil character on network television in the 1960s. His passive aggressive, control-freak nature simmers above an underlying psychotic need to keep humans captive. He wants to keep them all on the island in a manner that’s akin to the diabolical Benjamin Linus from LOST. Here’s my reasoning, the Professor, can design and construct shelter for the seven castaways as well as an incredible array of Rube Goldberg-type contraptions to do laundry and play music, yet he DOESN’T choose to repair a hole in the boat? He wants to keep them stranded.
That concludes this therapeutic session, which may or may not be covered by your employee assistance program at work.
Question: What fictional character would you like to see on The Psychiatric Couch?