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Fantasy Island - Hungry Christine/Mel Loves Ruby - Review

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Someone asked how this version of the Fantasy Island  compared to the original series. So, that question was very much on my mind as I watched this pilot. I think they were successful in capturing the spirit of the original show.

I don't remember Mr. Roarke being quite as hands on as Elena Roarke was in this episode. That could be a function of my memory fading over time, or the reality that a woman is going to approach some situations in a different way than a man would. I liked the way they handled Elena's interactions with her clients.

I liked the way they gave a nod to Ricardo Montalban with the altar in our first view of the island.

It also underlined the idea that that the Roarkes have been guardians of the island for generations. I did like the implication that Elena isn't the first woman to hold the job.

The only question that kept nagging at me during the opening of the episode was how she could possibly walk on a sandy beach in those spiked heels.

Guests:  Christine Collins
Fantasy:  A news anchor who wants to eat without consequence.

(May I just take a moment to scream..... Please, Can I have that fantasy too, please?)

Her melt down, when the new reporter brought in donuts, was spectacular. I liked the subtle visual message about the double standard between men in women.

Christine is ranting about all she has to do to remain looking young, thin and perky while sitting next to a grey haired male anchor who was totally planning to snag himself a donut.

Luckily, her meltdown netted her a vacation on Fantasy Island and not a “pink slip”. Her fantasy? To eat as much as she wants without gaining an ounce of weight.

Of course the island also delves into why Christine is so fixated on food that she denies herself everything. The source of her issues rest with her stepfather.

(Aren't parental figures 101 in therapy? After going out of the way to mention she has a therapist, why was this revelation such a shock to Christine?)

Her stepfather started destroying her self image the moment he married her mother. His affect on her was so lasting that she even excised her memories of the depth of her mother's love

Roasting her step-father on a spit was a really interesting way to let the audience know that the show would have some dark moments.

(I was trying to figure out if she took a bite. Given what Elena said as Christine was about to leave....I think she did.)

Guest:  The Akudas
Fantasy:  Provide the dying Ruby a weekend without the pains of age and ill health.

Ruby Akuda has cancer and not much more time, so she and her husband visit the island to let her have a few days without the pains of age and ill health.

This story was a little odd for me. I was expecting more of a Valentine or romance novel vibe. What we got was uneven. It felt like the writers were trying to introduce romantic conflict, but why, when you have a couple of 50 years on a trip facing a painful and final good-bye.

I got that the point was finding Elena's Tattoo. But given the desired conclusion, I didn't quite get the point of having Mel doubt the 50 years they had shared by revealing Ruby’s bi-sexuality.

Having him ask the question of whether she loved him as much as he loved her, left me feeling as though all the reassurances in the world wouldn’t stop him questioning whether he had made his wife truly happy.

If they had cut the bisexuality story point all together, the episode would have played out exactly as it did.

If the goal was to let the audience know this side of Ruby, so we would know what types of stories to expect for her character in the future, an approach that would have worked better for me would have been if Mel knew already.

This would have underlined the idea that they'd shared a wonderful 50 years of marriage by implying that their love was so strong she was able to trust him with that part of herself long ago?

The end of the episode would have been much stronger for me. I wouldn't have been questioning motives throughout those final scenes.

Despite my issues I still felt this was a strong reintroduction to the Fantasy Island universe. I'm definitely going to be watching more.

What did you think about the episode? Feel free to chime in here if you have any additional thoughts on the episode.

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