Gilligan's Island (1964 – 1967)
How did I miss this crossover for so long? Oh wait, I know: because it kind of sort of didn't even happen even though it did. Allow me to explain...
For those who have never watched TV in their entire lives, back in the 60s Gilligan's Island was the ultimate cheese sitcom. As explained in the theme song (oh how I miss show's whose premise was explained in their theme song), a bunch of tourists set sail on the S.S. Minnow with it's skipper and his first mate Gilligan for a three hour tour... a three hour tour. The minnow gets hit by a terrible storm and they all end up shipwrecked on a deserted island. Hilarity ensues.
Now, in the late 80s/early 90s ABC had a very successful block of family friendly sitcoms on Fridays called TGIF. For a half second CBS seemed to want to try and duplicate ABC's success with their own block of family friendly sitcoms. They even picked up Family Matters, a sitcom that had been a huge piece of ABC's TGIF.
One of the shows CBS created for this block was Meego. It was like someone sat down and created a list of things that would make kids love a sitcom and just cynically threw them all together. So start with an alien that crash lands and is trapped on Earth (kids loved Mork & Mindy, kids loved Alf). But maybe the alien ends up living with a family and acting as their male nanny (Charles In Charge). Then cast Bronson Pinchot from Perfect Strangers as Meego! And then for the kids get that Jerry Maguire kid everyone loves, that Jonathan Lipnicki! And then for his sister that other popular child actor, that Michelle Trachtenberg. Do I smell a hit? Nope, but it rhymes with hit.
The show lasted only six episodes. Six episodes aired but thirteen were produced. This crossover happened in episode seven. So it never aired, at least not in America on prime time TV. So it did happen but the only people who saw it were living it Crapsulvania and even they probably were probably going, "Is this the only thing on? Meego?"
So... the crossover. Meego gets to missing his mom. He gets his communications system out of his ship and decides to try and call his mom. The thing looks more like a police CB radio and seems to operate like one. He starts picking up a weak transmission but not from his mom. Did the guy on the other end say his name was Gill?
Nope, it's Gilligan from Gilligan's Island! Cut to the desert island and Gilligan yelling for help into a radio – partly made of coconuts of course – desperately explaining that he and his friends have been trapped on an island for 35 years! Next thing you know his fellow castaway The Professor pops up and grabs the radio yelling for help too! Then castaway Mary Ann runs out telling them to ask the guy on the radio to bring moisturizer when he comes to save them. She's been wearing the same bell shirt for 35 years and her mid drift is turning into shoe leather. The three of them start fighting and arguing over the radio mic. On the other end of the line Meego feels uncomfortable that he seems to be causing trouble and the changes his radio frequency. In keeping with the plot for almost every episode of Gilligan's Island, the castaways get so very close to rescue but in the end don't quite manage to get off the island.
I will say it's a shame Meego did not last on CBS for one more episode because this episode would have been the most interesting and maybe only redeemable thing about it. It was actually a funny and cool bit. It also is the last time Bob Denver and Russell Johnson would appear as Gilligan and The Professor respectively before they each died. So, again, it would have been nice if people could have seen that.
It is very strange though that the castaways were still trapped on that island. In 1978 in the TV movie Rescue From Gilligan's Island the castaways were all, obviously, rescued from the island. At the end of the movie though they ended up again shipwrecked on the island. Then in the next reunion movie they were rescued again. They then turned the island into a resort! I think the powers that be were trying to revive Gilligan's Island as more of Love Boat/Fantasy Island series. Anyway, when last seen that was how things stood for the castaways. Based on this Meego episode it would seem the gang managed to get shipwrecked on that same damn island a third time! Dudes, stay home! The cast of Lost didn't have as much bad luck with desert islands as you guys!
This crossover is unique for another reason. A lot of shows did episodes "crossing over" with Gilligan's Island but in almost every case it wasn't for real. It was almost always some sort of dream sequence with someone imagining they were meeting the cast of their favorite show. The Meego crossover is the very rare instance where another show actually crossed over with Gilligan's Island and treated the characters like they were real people, actually established it as part of the same world as their show. So as prefab and crap as Meego was it did manage a very impressive crossover. It just didn't manage to get it on the air.
Check out the crossover moment here...
Other Meego Crossover Links
Meego and Family Matters
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