A little while ago the folks at TVSquad.com came up with a list of “TV’s Greatest Women,” by which they meant not real women like Barbara Walters and Oprah Winfrey who actually accomplished something in life, but characters.

Mary Richards from The Mary Tyler Moore Show was No. 1 out of 75, which is cool, and Lucy Ricardo from I Love Lucy was No. 3, which seems a lot less cool. Elaine Benes, one of Seinfeld’s self-absorbed retinue, was No. 7, one ahead of Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s selfless avenger. Marge Simpson was 24th, Miss Piggy 26th.

Shirley from Lavern & Shirley was 42nd, while two the most-talked-about female TV characters of all time, Ginger Grant and Mary Ann Summers of Gilligan’s Island were…conspicuously missing.

You gotta be kidding me.

Yeah, Gilligan’s Island was stupid. But stupid in a great sort of way.

The question on everyone’s mind since 1964 has been, “Ginger or Mary Ann?” As in, which one would you rather…you know? Okay, so maybe that particular question has not been on the mind of everyone who isn’t male. But my question is, has anyone ever thought of asking females?

Not exactly the same question. More like, “Who would you rather..you know…be?”

This question never occurred to me until today, when Mary Jo said it. Marriage can be great that way: Opens the mind.

What Mary Jo actually said was, “Who wants to be Mary Ann, cooking and sewing and being nice all the time? Maybe I’d like to be Ginger. At least every now and then.”

My subsequent hasty and far-from-exhaustive search of the Internet found a gajillion sites devoted to asking men whom they’d prefer as a sex partner—as though, one time, the answer would come up Ginger.

No, really—Mary Ann is always the answer. Always.

I found just one place where what women thought was addressed, though rather obliquely. Here’s what women had to say on a forum at a site called City-Data.com:

When I was a little girl, I used to dress up in my mom’s full length slip and high heels and pretend I was Ginger. I thought she was so pretty.

Mary Ann totally had more sex appeal.

Mary Ann…..simply put she isn’t as high maintenance.

Ginger might have been the sex symbol but Mary Ann was prettier.

Mary Ann was very pretty, in a more natural way. Ginger looked more “store bought.”

BTW…why are Mary Ann and Ginger wearing pumps with their bikinis?


Good question, that last one. How many men are going to think of that? “Wait—they’re wearing shoes?”

Surprisingly, the women in this chat seem to be on board with men in general, voting 4 to 1 in favor of the farm girl from Kansas—but not necessarily because she’s “hotter.”

So, whattaya think, ManWARiors? Let me know who you’d rather be—glamorous, but high-maintenance Ginger or sexy-sweet Mary Ann. And why.

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