In the black-and-white world of 1964, five tourists visiting Hawaii set out on a doomed three-hour tour aboard the S.S. Minnow. Under the command of a man known only as the Skipper, the boat ran aground on a Pacific island somewhere west of Honolulu. The survivors named the island after the Skipper's first mate, Gilligan, an incompetent who preferred to keep his last name secret.
(On a side note, an Arizona sheriff in 2012 alleged that one of the castaways, Mary Ann, was responsible for planting a future president's birth certificate in a local hospital's records while in Hawaii. He also has alleged that Don Ho and Jim Nabors were one and the same individual.)
These unfortunate castways compose the ideal demographic model for forecasting and analyzing elections.
It is my thesis Barack Obama is the Professor and Mitt Romney is Thurston Howell III and the outcome of their race to determine who will govern the island, though tighter than the Skipper's polo shirt, can be predicted with confidence.
Let's examine one scenario that begins with Thurston Howell III announcing his candidacy after he is struck on the head by an errant coconut.
He runs as a "job creator," citing the lucrative employment he has offered Ginger, a movie star, as a servant fanning him on the porch of his hut and serving him Mai Tais.
Howell mesmerizes his fellow castaways with his belief that "trickle down" will save them all. Furthermore he asserts the Addams Family is real and a suburban homemaker named Samantha is bewitched and a twitch of her nose can make Dick York, deficits and recessions disappear.
When he claims Barbara Eden is an actual genie who lives in a binder, he loses Ginger's support and Mary Ann's vote.
Howell declares he will balance the budget by giving pearls to all the millionaires on the island.
When Gilligan points out the only millionaires on the island are the candidate and his wife Lovey Howell III, Howell bets Gilligan 10,000 coconuts that his assertion is not true. He declares his plan for governing the castaways is buried somewhere on the island in Al Gore's lock box and vows that upon his election he will open it.
The Professor asks to see it and is rebuffed. The Skipper adores Howell and threatens to fire Gilligan if he votes for the Professor.
Thurston Howell III wins and insists they stay on the island because he says the island is reminiscent of the Cayman Islands and is a "simply fabulous tax shelter."
First lady Lovey Howell III confesses to Ginger, the movie star, she wants to go home. Ginger says, "Which one? The beach home in Malibu, the condo in La Jolla, the cabana in the Bahamas or the villa on the Riviera?"
Gilligan laughs and wins the scorn of Howell for the remainder of the show's run.
In episode 14, while everyone is asleep in their huts, Howell unravels every castaway's safety net and uses the rope to weave a hammock for himself. In the morning he claims he had no idea how the hammock got there.
The castaways struggle. Howell clings to his economic theory, his yachtsman's cap and his hidden supply of pineapples.
Due to budget cuts, the Professor's raft research and development program ends and he is forced to teach creationism. Gilligan loses his collective bargaining rights and the Skipper outsources Gilligan's job to guest star and comedian Bill Dana, reprising his role as José Jiménez.
In the second season "Jose" portrays a leper who washes up from a nearby leper colony. Howell calls him an "illegal with a pre-existing condition" and insists on throwing him back into the sea. Jose stays for four episodes but then he succumbs because the nearest emergency room is in Burbank.
Life becomes increasingly difficult for 47 percent of the castaways. Howell blames their troubles on laugh tracks, illegal immigrants and gay marriage. Lovey Howell III and her secret paramour, Ginger, abandon their forbidden relationship.
A distraught Ginger asks Gilligan to construct a closet out of bamboo "Where I can live out my life - alone and heartbroken." Gilligan has not seen such anguish since Herman Munster hit his thumb with a hammer.
In the last season, Ginger accuses the Skipper of groping her during a volcanic eruption. Howell confronts Ginger and demands to know if it was a "forcible" or "legitimate" grope and blames the whole thing on her tawdry cocktail attire.
Howell defends the Skipper, who has had to share a hut with Gilligan for 32 episodes. Ginger demands her right to choose who gropes her and declares she'd rather be assaulted by Uncle Fester than the Skipper. Howell calls for a trans-vaginal ultrasound.
Sharp words and coconuts are thrown. By torchlight the enraged castaways ask Howell how he plans to get them off the island.
In his best Mister Magoo voice he informs them they can always self-deport, like "José Jiménez did back in Season 2." They never get off the island. In the season finale sea levels rise. They perish.
Scenario two: the Professor wins and the Howells are asked to throw in their fair share of coconuts with the rest of the castaways.
Even Ginger, the movie star, pitches in. Led by the Professor, everyone works together to build a raft and eventually Gilligan, Ginger, Mary Ann and Lovey get off the island.
Howell can't bear to leave his pearls and coconuts behind. The Skipper stays behind with him and spends his days in the wreckage of the S.S. Minnow, dreaming of the past.