Saturday, July 22, 2017

Can't stop the John Watson's Island!

Turning every episode of Gilligan's Island into a parallel universe sitcom called John Watson's Island doesn't happen overnight. Can it happen over the course of one summer? We shall see.

31. The Diogenes Club. Since most of the castaways are not as used to John Watson writing his memoirs as Sherlock is, they start becoming suspicious about how they are being portrayed when he won't let them read his first drafts. Each of the castaways then decides to write their own version of episode fifteen's events ("The Newgate Squire") and we see those played out as if they were from the real episode, with Irene, Moriarty, Mycroft, Mary, and Lestrade each being the hero who saved them all from the Australian penal colony guard instead of John. Sherlock destroys each version by citing details disproving each story after they're told.

32. The Sighin' of the Two. When Mycroft Holmes splits the seat of his pants, he realizes that the island has taken his normal daily routines from him and that he's putting on weight. In order to keep on the strict regimen he prescribes for himself, Mycroft has himself handcuffed to Lestrade and orders the inspector to keep him on track. Much hilarity and awkward romantic moments follow that are network-television enough that the viewers are left to their own interpretations of what exactly went on in this episode. Fans have many arguments.

33. The Missing Tree-Forter. When a trunk containing a magician's act washes up on the shore, Mycroft suggests they use the props to frighten off any primitive Scotsmen who might wander on to the island. Irene Adler says she was a magician's assistant early in her career and can teach everyone some tricks. Moriarty wants to learn how to saw Sherlock in half, but Irene convinces him to learn the disappearance box trick instead, and Moriarty makes Sherlock disappear. Only when it comes time to make Sherlock reappear, the second half of the trick won't work. John realizes that Sherlock is taking another one of his "hiatuses" and comes up with a plan. The castaways make a wax dummy of Sherlock and start pretending it's just the same as having him there, which makes Sherlock, who has been watching from behind a large rock crypt, irritated enough to return.

34. The Resident Painter. After Professor Moriarty finds a freshly painted portrait of a child hanging in his bar one morning, the smell of cooking breakfast lures painter Jean Baptiste Greuze out of the treeline. Greuze claims to have faked his death and came to live on a nearby island where the magic waters have kept him alive to an age of over one hundred and seventy years. Seeing Irene, Greuze decides she is a muse sent by the gods and starts painting her portrait. Sherlock and John talk to Greuze while he paints and find he has a way off the island. Moriarty hears this, then tells Greuze he knows where some fabulous scenery is, takes him to the top of an island waterfall, and pushes him off, killing the painter. He tells the others it was an accident, but that Greuze's death means his collection of paintings will retain their current value, and that Irene's half-finished portrait will be a nice bonus for her.

35. John Hamish Moriarty. After John Watson pushes Professor Moriarty out of the way of a falling tree, Moriarty decides that he owes his life to John, and makes him heir to his fortune and criminal empire. Taking Watson as an apprentice, Moriarty starts teaching John in Crimelord 101. John goes along out of niceness, but soon notices Sherlock drifting away, Lestrade refusing to go fishing with him, and Mary telling him it is a poor life choice.  John tells Irene of his situation, who tells him what she thinks he should do. Moriarty starts noticing that Watson was much more stupid than he previously realized (and he acts a lot like Nigel Bruce), and eventually tells John he has changed his mind and that the criminal empire should die with Moriarty.

36. Ye Olden Punched Nose. John Watson comes up behind Sherlock while Holmes is experimenting beating the corpse of an island bore and gets hit square in the nose. John's nose swells up comically large, and the castaways realize that they have no medical knowledge to help the doctor if something happens to him. Watson decides to teach the castaways first aid, but Moriarty keeps using the lesson practices to try to kill Sherlock in various manners. Sherlock finally anesthetizes Moriarty with island-berry-ether he's concocted in case surgery is needed. Mary convinces John to let her put a mud pack on his swollen nose, but when it dries he has a rock-hard face mask that won't come off. John winds up sitting in front of 221B Island Street looking like a beggar and the other castaways bring him food out of pity. Finally, Sherlock gets tired of John's absence, gets a bucket of water and a sponge, and peels the hard clay mask off, telling them all that his time at medical school will suffice if John needs help in the future.

And so ends the first season of John Watson's Island.  Thirty-six episodes. Current seasons of CBS Sherlock Holmes comedies would only do twenty-four, but since even in its alternate universe, John Watson's Island could only hold out three years, making its total run still less than five and a half seasons of a modern show.

Conan Doyle, however, did pretty well without a writer's room for this two twelve-episode seasons of Adventures and Memoirs  in The Strand Magazine.

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