Elevator Pitch – Gender-Swapped Gilligan’s Island

PitchGet this: A gender-swapped reboot of Gilligan’s Island.

What is it? A television comedy-drama based on the classic comedy of the same name.

Background: Cross-casting in story-telling is all the rage these days, but too often it comes with a political chip-on-the-shoulder that spoils the art with toxic ideology. For example, I am not at all interested in the new Ghostbusters, even though I’m not offended by the demographic identity of the leads, and I actually like most of the leads they cast. But, I don’t know if it’s supposed to be a comedy flick or an election-year litmus test. According to Judd Apatow and director Paul Feig, the latter. I’m not interested in playing the “with us or against us” game, regardless of whether the far Left or the far Right are hosting the false dilemma.

Even so, I am deeply intrigued by demographic swapping. And, I must admit I am a little obsessed with Gilligan’s Island. I watched the show in syndication incessantly as a kid. I referenced the show prominently in my supernatural hard-boiled novel On The Head of a Pin.


So, here’s an elevator pitch for a Gilligan’s Island reboot series for my hypothetical network RePlay.

Melissa McCarthy is the clear choice for the Skipper, Joan Gumby, because she’s got the physical comedy chops. Christine Baranski is a natch pick for the stuffy patrician Ms. Howell, and you’d have to find a goofball for her husband. Let’s hypothesize Ray Romano.

You’d need a Channing Tatum type to play Grant Ginger (name swap!) and for farmboy Mario an attractive but less over-the-top masculine actor. Zachary Levi?  Hmmm… for the Professor? Maybe Kate McKinnon, or Aisha Tyler since they both can pull off the sort of distant gravitas the character needs.

Most importantly, Tig Notaro as Gilligan. I think McCarthy and Notaro would play well off each other.

The reboot could be in a modern setting, but the one-way radio that kept the original castaways connected to the world would have to stay. Don’t want to make it too easy for them to escape. And, maybe instead of a three-hour tour our new castaways were actually moving from O’ahu to Maui, which would explain why they had so much of their stuff with them.


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