I have always been fascinated by the Seven Deadly Sins. They are so concrete, yet abstract; truly subjective absolutes. Strangely, though, the Seven Righteous Virtues, the “Glass-half-full” flip side list, never caught on in pop culture with quite the same emphasis. I would like to blame the film, “SE7EN,” (starring Morgan Freeman, Brad Pitt, Gwyneth Paltrow and Kevin Spacey. Great flick!), but I believe the movie to be more of a result of the list’s appeal.
I recently was considering Gilligan’s Island, (a favorite television show and another point of fascination for me,) and realized that each of the castaways was possessed of a different defining one of these aforementioned sins.
Some were quite blatant, such as Ginger, (lust,) or Mr. Howell, (greed,) while others, less so. My list:
Gilligan: Gluttony. Gilligan has shown time and again that the boy can eat. Nothing seems to motivate him more, and he is often bribed by the women-folk with banana cream pies, or coconut cream pies, etc.
Skipper: Wrath. The only castaway who routinely strikes another. He loses patience with Gilligan in almost every episode and lashes out physically. Sure, it is only a hat-smack, but severity does not define intent!
Mr. Howell: Greed. As I mentioned, this is so obvious and central to the character’s personality, that it almost overshadows his other qualities.
Mrs. Howell: Sloth. The thought of “perspiration” brings about a near panic to Thurston’s trophy bride, and her anecdotes about the servants secure Lovey’s standing as the personification of this sin.
Ginger: Lust. Ginger’s patented whore-maneuvers of man-manipulation are so dominant to her persona that she even has her own theme music with which to work her sultry seductive wiles on the love-starved male population of the island. She's SO hot.
The Professor: Pride. The only castaway with his own hut, the professor always seems to be looking down on the others as ignorant inconveniences. He holds six advanced degrees, speaks many languages, and has written a number of books, and seems to insist on being acknowledged by his title, “The Professor,” instead of by his name, Roy.
Mary Ann: Envy. Oh sure, Mary Ann is a bundle of virtues but her envy of Ginger’s lifestyle is impossible to ignore! To the point of her actually becoming Ginger after a knock on the noggin during a performance of Hamlet.
The Island of the Damned! (with your humble narrator!)
Finally, one could look at these individuals, see them for their sins and speculate that they are, in actuality, the living damned! That island, devoid of boats, lights, motorcars or even a single luxury, (that so many others seem to be able to come and go from so frequently,) is their HELL! And the show is a subliminal anecdotal allegory denouncing the practitioners of these lifestyle choices.
No, I don't actually believe a word of this basket of tripe that I have just written. Don't be silly. But, what if, by some strange twist, I am wrong and this really was the point of the show. (Kinda makes "Lost" look like Sesame Street, huh?)
Cue the haunting refrain: “Here for a long, long time.”