The Very Deep Religious Allegory in Gilligan’s Island

Remember this?

I recall some years ago that someone wrote into the newspaper with the amazing discovery that the lyrics of “Amazing Grace” could be sung to the melody of “Gilligan’s Island.” Try it! It really works. And then a few others wrote in with other similar amazing discoveries. Then a killjoy organist wrote in to point out that there’s no great mystery or wonder to this – it’s called hymn meter. That’s why you can interchange “Amazing Grace” with “Joy to the World” or “Lord, Who Throughout These Forty Days.” The back pages of your hymnal probably have a “metrical index” – and now I’ve given you something to do during the sermon.

But this is a great mystery and wonder: Did you know that the characters in Gilligan’s Island represent the Seven Deadly Sins? The show’s creator. Sherwood Schwartz, reveals this in his book about the series.

Here’s the grand allegory, decoded:

The Professor – Pride
Thurston Howell III – Greed
Ginger – Lust
Mary Ann – Envy (of Ginger’s looks)
Mrs. Lovey Howell – Gluttony
The Skipper – Anger or wrath
Gilligan – Sloth

Another source decodes it differently – say what, Gilligan is Satan??

Anyway, I had no idea I was being formed in the Seven Deadly Sins as a youngster. Which character do you identify with?




  1. I thought it was just a funny tv show.

    The next thing you know people are going to come up with some allegory for The Hunger Games, Harry Potter, or Lord of the Rings!

  2. There is, of course, a sad truth to this, one I’ve encountered using this while teaching high school and college Theology.

    Students tend to raise their hands and ask, “What’s a ‘Gilligan’s Island?'”


  3. We bought the complete DVD set for our kids (5 of them…kids, not DVD’s!)) and they have worn them out, if that’s possible to do with a DVD. Now they too can identify which episode it is just by the opening camera shot!

    This makes absolute sense though…and it makes writing the storyline much easier when the characters have such clear cut flaws and attributes. Have to admit though..Harry Potter wins the award for most successful use of the maximum number of cliched and stereotyped characters in a single storyline.

  4. I always like Gilligan’s Island and hated the sequel many years after the show was canceled entitled “Escape from Gilligan’s Island!” Up until that time, in my mind they were still stranded having a good time. I think what people liked about it was that the characters as diverse and flawed as they were formed community and put up with each other and genuinely like each other. It was a fun show.
    In many ways, “The Big Bang Theory” is very similar and even funnier. I wonder what capital sins those characters are.

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