Even the hit show Gilligan’s Island had its fair share of stinkers! Here’s a look at the 10 worst episodes from the series, according to IMDb.
Gilligan’s Island is like nothing else that has ever been on television (up until that point). Telling the story of a group of castaways who find themselves stranded on an island as a result of a vicious storm, it lasted for three seasons. Each episode usually featured the islanders encountering some strange person or thing, hijinks ensuring, and everything being resolved by the end.
There are, of course, many hilarious episodes of the series. But there are also, unfortunately, quite a few that land with a pretty heavy thud. Here are the 10 worst episodes of Gilligan’s Island, as ranked by the Internet Movie Database.
Feed the Kitty (1966)- 6.9
It was probably inevitable that a show that focuses on a group of people stranded on a tropical island would eventually feature a lion in a storyline and so it proves to be with this episode, which is also one of the worst-ranked on IMDb. There are a few funny moments here, such as when the lion begins to see each of the cast as a particular kind of meat, but the real highlight is the bond that develops between the lion and Gilligan (Gilligan actually takes a thorn out of the lion’s foot, in an echo of Androcles and the Lion).
Diogenes, Won’t You Please Go Home?- 6.9
Despite the fact that it’s not ranked very well by users on the IMDb, this episode is actually a rather fascinating look at the ways in which one’s perspective can change how you look at an event. In this instance, the castaways get a little upset when they find out Gilligan has been keeping a diary and, in response to him, they write their own stories about how they rescued him. Needless to say, each of them thinks that they are the heroes, none of them quite able to let go of their own egos.
They’re Off & Running (1965)- 6.8
As funny as Gilligan’s Island became in its later seasons, at the beginning the storylines were not only a bit ridiculous, they were also not all that funny. In this episode, for some reason, Mr. Howell and the Skipper are involved with racing turtles and, when Mr. Howell wins over Skipper, he ends up with Gilligan as his houseboy. There are a few genuinely funny moments in this episode, but for the most part it’s a rather forgettable one, with a storyline that makes little sense (even by Gilligan standards).
Lovey’s Secret Admirer (1967)- 6.8
There’s no question that Mr. and Mrs. Howell are two of the best parts of Gilligan’s Island. Jim Backus and Natalie Schafer had a lot of undeniable on-screen chemistry, and you could almost believe that the two of them were married in real life. Though this episode is rather weak—focusing on Mr. Howell sending letters to Mrs. Howell posing as a secret admirer—the best thing about it is that it shows just how much the two of them truly love one another. Mr. and Mrs. Howell are one of the most adorable couples of 1960s television.
It’s Magic (1965)- 6.8
Nothing spices up a sitcom like a little bit of magic, though unfortunately, the magic is a little lackluster in this episode. After Gilligan discovers a magician’s chest, he soon begins to annoy the rest of the castaways and, in typical Gilligan fashion, he decides to run away and hide in a cave. Though he ultimately decides to rejoin his fellows, the hoops that they have to jump through to get there is a little bit tedious, and the length of the whole affair rather drains the episode of the humor that it might otherwise have.
Gilligan’s Mother-in-Law (1965)- 6.8
So, it’s no secret that TV shows from the 1960s could be a tad…insensitive when it comes to issues of race. This episode reveals this when a native chief comes to the island with his daughter in tow. Things escalate pretty quickly when the daughter decides that she wants to marry Gilligan (though why she would want to, is another question entirely). In a little quirk of casting fate, the chief’s wife is played by none other than one Henny Backus, the wife of Jim Backus (who played Mr. Howell).
Forward March (1966)- 6.8
There’s nothing wrong with a sitcom that a man in a gorilla suit can’t fix, as this episode makes clear. In this case, it’s a gorilla who is lobbing hand grenades at the gang, which results in Mr. Howell taking on the role of a general and marshaling their efforts to defend themselves. It probably goes without saying that the gorilla looks more than a little fake, but really there’s only so much that you can expect from a sitcom with a limited budget. Still, Jim Backus genuinely owns the role of general, which makes the episode worth watching.
Angel On The Island (1964)- 6.8
Cleopatra was, of course, one of the most famously glamorous women of the ancient world, and she was memorably portrayed by Elizabeth Taylor in the 1963 film of the same name. This episode is a bit of a send-up of that famous film, with both Ginger and Mrs. Howell portraying the character in a play produced by Mr. Howell.
Though a rather weak episode overall, it does give us a chance to see the interesting dynamics that develop among the female characters that don’t always have a lot to do with one another.
Erika Tiffany-Smith To The Rescue (1965)- 6.7
Even though this episode is one of the worst ranked, that doesn’t seem entirely fair, especially since it features an appearance by none other than Zsa Zsa Gabor, arguably one of the most glamorous and exotic of all celebrities. More famous for being famous than for any actual acting talent, Zsa Zsa is nevertheless absolutely resplendent in this episode, in which she appears as one Erika Tiffany-Smith, a wealthy woman who wants to build a resort on the island. She is, without a doubt, the best thing about the episode, and here she shows that, whatever people might say, she does have a good sense of comic timing.
Diamonds Are An Ape’s Best Friend (1965)- 6.6
Gilligan’s Island seemed to have a bit of an obsession with gorillas, with not one but several episodes involving the giant ape. Here, however, the gorilla isn’t lobbing grenades at everyone; instead, it’s stealing Mrs. Howell’s diamond brooch. There’s more than a trace of the classic horror film King Kong in this film, up to and including the gorilla in question kidnapping Mrs. Howell because he is incredibly attracted by her perfume. It’s a little weak of an episode, a sign that the show was still finding its feet this early on.