Thursday, July 07, 2005

Guilty pleasures

We all have them, whether it's to moon pies, WWW rasslin', or very bad TV shows.

As to the latter, TiVo has allowed me to indulge my fascination with "The Real Gilligan's Isle," the second season of which just concluded. As you probably already know, or can intuit, "TRGI," is a reality survivor-type show loosely based on the TV sit-com. Loosely in the sense that 14 people wear clothing based on the seven GI characters (you can sing along with me here if you like: Gilligan, the Skipper too, a millionaire and his wife, the movie star, the Professor and Mary Ann [aka "the rest"]) and are placed on a deserted - deserted except for a smarmy host and never seen production crew, of course - island where they compete to win prizes and 1) to be the only version of their respective characters, and 2) to be the last contestant standing in order to get a cool quarter-mill.

Whew. In the first season the producers made some effort to match the contestants' real-world occupations with the GI character role (that is, the two Mary Anns were farm girls, there was usually a caption under the two millionaires reminding us that this one was worth $2.3, that one was worth $3.1), but that seemed to get dismissed this time around. Well, okay, Prof. Tiy-e claimed to be a professor of sexology, but that was about it.

Part of my obsession with TRGI is that I can't understand why, even for $250,000, people would allow themselves to be captured on video so noxiously. And yes, I understand that a lot of it is due to skillful work by editors... but still. I mean, Mary Ann Randi was so dislikeable that you expected her coconut cream pies to curdle. One of the many ugly moments in her 15 minutes of fame was Randi's explanation about why she had ignored one of her teammates apparent near-drowning, even though she was supposedly a lifeguard in the real world.

"I've only been trained in shallow water," she told her disbelieving castaway companions.

Well, yes.

I'm into this rant because the most repellent contestant of all, "Gilligan Shawn," was featured in a short blurb in yesterday's Globe:

'Gilligan' is back on dry land

''Gilligan Shawn" of TBS's ''The Real Gilligan's Island" is back to being Shawn Manning of Quincy, regular at various Marina Bay watering holes. In the show's finale, the former doorman at WaterWorks was runner-up to ''Skipper Charlie" -- Charlie Albert -- in a race to find the shovel to dig up the flammable materials to make the fire to light the torch to flag down the helicopter to win the $250,000. While Albert was able to light his fire by pouring kerosene on a pile of sticks, Manning says he didn't see kerosene in his kit. ''If, in fact, I didn't have kerosene, it wasn't a level playing field," he said. Manning, who's diabetic, hopes to use his newfound fame to become a spokesman for juvenile diabetes causes.
What a moreroon. Interesting that Manning 's resume highlight seems to be "former doorman." He was listed as a "personal assistant" in the show, which I never quite figured out. "Do you think that means gigolo or men's room attendant?" Peggy asked me. In any case, Manning's personality is pretty well summed up by his whining about the missing kerosene. In no particular order, Manning won a competition by virtually cheating his opponent - the other "My Mom needs a lung transplant!" Gilligan; he out Randi'd Mary Ann Randi with a stream of invective that drove her to tears (although the "Back to the water park, Randi" line was pretty funny); he was rude, obnoxious, arrogant, and in need of toilet training.

I was happy to see him lose and my favorite in what was a pretty sleazy bunch, Skipper Charlie, win.

Burning questions still remaining about this season's "Real Gilligan's Isle"

- Contestants suffering an accident in the first day of both Seasons One and Two a weird coincidence?

- Did anyone know that Prof. Tiy-e couldn't swim? Why was host "Scott" the rescuer?

- Will there be a Season Three?

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