My personal favorite misfit archetype is Gilligan from the sixties television comedy show Gilligan’s Island. The set of the comedy is on a remote island in the Pacific where the main characters, from an array of diverse backgrounds, find themselves shipwrecked. What I love specifically about his character is that he fits into the category of a misfit yet turns out to be the hero at the end of the day, often resolving the problems he creates.
The remaining six castaways are designed to cover common aspects and characteristics of real world, relatable people. They include a brilliant professor, an older millionaire couple, a movie star, a simple farm girl from Kansas and a hardy captain. Gilligan’s interactions with his island companions prove interesting and three-dimensional because oddly enough, while playing the role of a misfit, Gilligan indirectly points out the absurdness and taboo characteristics of them all. Since the other characters are extremely relatable to viewers this is fascinating because Gilligan reveals the strange and peculiar nature in what we define as being normal.
Gilligan is also respected and loved by his friends but this attitude towards him does not translate into creditability or dependability. Each episode Gilligan is set up to fail or disappoint but through his silly responses to situations, and sometimes, dumb luck, he is able to comically save the day. While his level of intellect is lacking when compared to the other characters, Gilligan’s childish ambition to prove his worth to the team is what completes his misfit charisma.
Despite lacking common sense, Gilligan always surprises his castaway companions in a clever and ultimately comical way that has made this show and his character an American classic.