Gilligan’s aisle

The 10/2 Wayno/Piraro Bizarro:


(#1) (If you’re puzzled by the odd symbols in the cartoon — Dan Piraro says there are 4 in this strip — see this Page.)

A pun on isle ‘island’ vs. aisle ‘a passage between shelves of goods in a supermarket or other building’ (aisle sense b in NOAD (below)). But none of this makes any sense unless you know significant details of an American tv comedy from about 55 years ago: Gilligan’s Island (1964-67), in particular, that the show was about seven castaways from a shipwreck, including the goofy Gilligan, attempting to survive on a tropical island. Hence the tropical fruit-flavored rums and liqueurs. (It’s a nice subtle touch that the cartoon Gilligan appears to be lost in his attempt to choose a bottle.)

So: Gilligan’s aisle … Gilligan’s Isle … Gilligan’s Island.

The full NOAD entry:

noun aisle: [a] a passage between rows of seats in a building such as a church or theater, an airplane, or a train: the musical had the audience dancing in the aisles. [b] a passage between shelves of goods in a supermarket or other building [AZ: a metaphorical sense, turning on the resemblance between a supermarket aisle and a passage between rows of seats (sense a); metaphorical passage, alley, way, street, row, rank, or other items could have served for a supermarket sense, but aisle was the figure that got chosen]: I spend much of my time at the shops, wandering through the aisles. [c] Architecture (in a church) a lower part parallel to and at the side of a nave, choir, or transept, from which it is divided by pillars: the tiled roof over the south aisle.

About the show, see the section on on it in my 8/18/14 posting “Ruthie misinterprets”:


(#2) Featuring Bob Denver as Gilligan

2 Responses to “Gilligan’s aisle”

  1. kenru Says:

    Apropos of nothing, my first reaction to this panel before reading the subtitle was Maynard Krebs, recognizing the character. Then I read “Gilligan’s Aisle” and understood the pun. But I never followed the TV show “Gilligan’s Island” which was too silly for me. Yet I did faithfully watch the previous sitcom, “Dobie Gillis” which had the same actor, Bob Denver, playing Krebs. Funny how memory works.

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