Who’s your favorite Gilligan’s Island character?

Is it Ginger – that smoky, sexy actress who always talks like she just swallowed Marilyn Monroe? Or how about Mary Ann – the down-home farm girl who makes Polyanna look like the Grim Reaper? Or maybe it’s Gilligan – the fumbling, bumbling first-mate who managed to get a whole island named after him? Not to mention a syndicated TV show.

When I was a kid, I loved Gilligan’s Island.

I loved it so much, I watched every episode about twenty times. Eventually, my parents restricted me from watching the show – I was only allowed one GI fix a week.

Boy, that was tough.

Looking back on it now, I wonder why I loved the show so much. Melissa and I watched it again recently and I was struck by how dumb it is – the laugh track, the tepid jokes, the obviously-fake palm trees.

And yet, in spite of all that, there’s something about it.

Which brings me to the quiz:

photo: Alberto G on flickr

Take out a piece of paper and write down the following: Gilligan, the Skipper, Ginger, Mary Ann, the Professor, and Mr. and Mrs. Howell.

Now, number each character in order of the one you identify with the most, to the one you identify with the least.

For example, if you’re the most like Gilligan, he gets a 1. The next choice gets a 2, and on down to the character you’re the least like, who gets a 7.

Are you ready? Set? Go!!

We’ll wait here. . . .

Okay, now that you’ve got your choices, check this out:

The reason that we love this show so much is that it speaks to something deep inside us.

And I’m not talking about our digestive tracks.

I’m talking archetypes. I’m talking about the essential symbology, the fundamental essence of the inhabitants of Gilligan’s Island.

Review your list. It is the key to your character, Gilligan-style.

Your first choice represents the most developed part of you. This is the part that is the most conscious and active in your life. Your last choice represents exactly the opposite – the part that is the least conscious and the least active.

The next step of the quiz is to read the key below.

As you read, note that there are both sunny and shadow sides to each character. (Just like on the island!)



Sunny side: Innocent and trusting. Sees the world with fresh eyes. Helpful to others. In touch with emotions.

Shadow side: Too readily absorbs others’ ideas and shortcomings. Naïve to a fault. Incapable of being proactive and stepping into leadership roles.


Sunny side: Father figure, a leader. In touch with feelings. Enjoys life, fun-loving. Quick to forgive others.

Shadow side: Can be overly intense and easily frustrated. Quick to anger. Emotions can get in the way of logical analysis.

Mary Ann

Sunny side: Positive and optimistic. Balanced and grounded.  Sweet and intelligent. Nurturing.

Shadow side: Passive, not able to advocate on behalf of self. Capable of being taken advantage of. Unrealistic.


Sunny side: A woman of the world. Sensual and passionate. In touch with creative and emotional aspects of self. Adaptable, able to switch persona when necessary.

Shadow side: Moody. Reliant on others’ approval. Shallow and superficial.


Sunny side: Logical and rational. Grounded and calm. Curious about the world and how it works. Intelligent.

Shadow side: Overly reliant on material reality. Ignorance of emotions and intuition. Excessivly skeptical.

Mr. Howell

Sunny side: Entrepreneurial. Charitable. Protector and provider for others. Loves family.

Shadow side: Elitist and snob. Puts quest for money above relationships.

Mrs. Howell

Sunny side: Enjoyment of life’s riches and pleasures. Trusting of others and able to see the good in them. Loving of self and family.

Shadow side: Dependent on others for care. Limited self-sufficiency. Gulllible.

Alrightee then! Now that you’ve been schooled, Gilligan-style, here’s what you do next:

The point of this quiz is to celebrate the parts of you that are active and effective, and to note which parts are in need of further development.

Further development would include: 1) an investigation of the shadow side of your top characters, and 2) a strengthening of the sunny side of your bottom characters.

Melissa and I took the quiz and found it to be surprisingly accurate.

My top characters were Gilligan, the Professor, and Mary Ann.
Mr. Howell was right in the middle, and the lowest three were Skipper, Ginger and Mrs. Howell.

The shadow side of the top three and the sunny side of the bottom three alert me to those areas in need of further development: enjoyment of life’s riches, leadership, and emotional expression.

Melissa, on the other hand, had Mary Ann, Ginger, and Skipper as her top three. ‘Nuff said.

Now it’s your turn!!

Who were your top three? Who were your bottom three? What does this tell you about yourself?


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