Thursday, January 31, 2008

Look dude, all I know is the sky turned purple. After that I don't ask questions. Just...make myself a salad and move on.

Let's face it, I grew up watching television, specifically science fiction and fantasy. Things like Star Trek, The X-Files, Batman, Spiderman, Hercules, Twilight Zone, Buck Rogers, The Greatest American Hero, My Favorite Martian, Buffy, Tales from the Crypt, and a whole bunch more I can't think of right now. I simply love episodic fantasy.

Right now, Lost is my favorite. For the last couple of weeks, Mel and I have been watch every episode in preparation for the season premier, which just so happens to be tonight (on ABC, 7:00 ct). To say that I've been looking forward to this would be an understatement. To quote a friend, "I'm chuffed".

Dude, I know how this works. This is gonna end with you and me running through the jungle, screaming and crying. He catches me first because I'm heavy and I get cramps.

I don't exactly know what I like about Lost. What's not to like? The writing is great, the acting is good, the storylines are appropriately credible, and you grow to generally like each and every character - even the bad ones.

Something else I like is the humor. Peppered into this gritty story about plane-crash survivors living on a genuinely freaky island who's previous inhabitants seem to have it out for them are jokes that are legitimately funny. And at the same time, oh so true.

No, John, unfortunately we don't have a code for "There's a man in my closet with a gun to my daughter's head". Although...we obviously should.

Lost also seems to take itself seriously in just the right amounts. Characters aren't afraid of telling each other how stupid their decisions were. The characters are fallible, gritty, and in search of something. Being on the island turns their wandering into a journey.

Two days after I found out I had a fatal tumor on my spine...a spinal surgeon fell out of the sky. And if that's not proof of God, I don't know what is.

Something else I like is that the story is metaphysical. While even the causal watcher can see the "man of science vs man of faith" motif being played out, the more subtle overtones of the debate are also present. The answer between science and faith in real life is tricky and complex; neither is wrong, and neither is right. Lost, at least in my view, plays to this subtlety well. The right questions are always asked at the right time, and the answer is always murky. Sometimes this murkiness leads to violence and anger, sometimes it leads to peace - sometimes it leads to both.

10 comments:

Eric said...

I might have told you this already, but I polished two whole seasons in a weekend. After every episode I said, out loud, I hate this show, this is the dumbest show in the world.. polar bears? hatches? I have it.. I usually couldn't finish my gripes before I put another one in. That went on until I ran out of episodes.. I hate lost, sooo much.

I think it's subliminal, or genetic. Every watch gray's anatomy? You get this weird feeling that everything is playing out just the way a girl would want it to.. It's like Secret, it's PH balanced for a woman. Lost is the same way.. It's designed to irk you, even annoy you, but something forces you to keep going, like those nasty bites of hot-hot salsa, the only thing that cures it is more of itself..

Anonymous said...

Relevance. Purpose. Meaning. Lost has these things, or does it? It sucks you in; it spits you out. I understand; but if I don't, are THEY stupid, or am I? That maze ends with her; but no, she was allied with the bad guy. Bad guy? He's not really a bad guy, he is really a hero.

Do they care whether you watch? Of course they do; they couldn't stay on the air otherwise. But does it really matter?

No, you will discover that you are not important to them. They will use you to keep their ratings up and go off the air leaving you utterly unsatisfied and wondering whether they were ever going to draw a line, whether straight or not, to a conclusion. You will become irrelevant to their existence because they will not exist. Irrelevance is a difficult pill to swallow. Be ready.

Benjamin said...

Eric:

Yeah I remember that back when I posted on Lost a year or so ago. I can see how it would be like hot-hot sauce for some - in fact, I think my wife feels that way about it.But for me its more like intellectual flirting. You almost get to some substance, and then it retreats back to being a tease. But, because you like the thrill, you keep going back to it for a little more. It's like skydiving.

Anonymous:

Being postmodern, I find that relevance, purpose, and meaning are defined as I see fit. Lost has no metanarrative that makes it have "meaning". Instead, I control that value for all things with which I interact. I choose to assign intellectual and entertainment value to Lost. I choose to buy into its metaphor. I choose to be party to its flirtation, even though there is little substance. The conclusion, in my consumeristic interaction with entertainment, belongs to me, not to "them". Do I hope the story continues to have value to me? Sure. But I'm not dependent upon "them" for relevance, meaning, purpose, or satisfaction. At least in my interaction with entertainment, I'll tell "them" when they've become irrelevant, not the other way around.

'Course, Lost will be over in 3 half-seasons anyway, so I guess it's a bit of a moot point.

Anonymous, who are you?

Anonymous said...

I am a "Lost" fan as well as a fan of your blog.

Benjamin said...

Ah - a Lost fan. Well, I guess we swallow the jagged little pill of irrelevance together. And probably enjoy every minute of it.

Now I suppose I have another mystery to ponder...

Anonymous said...

And what mystery is that?

Benjamin said...

Just trying to figure out who you are, that's all. No biggie.

ChrisJ said...

Ben,

I am hooked on Lost. I watched season 2 and 3 all the way through off ABC.com. I found it annoying watching one episode at a time each week but addictive watching a whole season at a time. Do you think the magic numbers are the key to getting back to the Island? The radio station was broadcasting them out. Also we know who Four of the Oceanic 6 are if we count Aaron, so what is your thoughts of the other 2.

Benjamin said...

I dunno, Chris. I keep thinking I know who the other one(s) of the Oceanic 6 are, and keep being wrong. My prediction is Sun, but I have no idea. (I think we actually know 5 of the 6, if you count Aaron.)

I'm also not convinced there is anything to the numbers. I'm beginning to think the numbers are a straw man. But again, I could be wrong. If I were to guess, the numbers are part of some equation that determines the future or some other nonsense, but who knows?

One thing is for sure, I enjoy each and every week. Except for that episode about Nikki and Paulo. Gag me.

ChrisJ said...

You knew when they did an episode of Nikki and Paulo that they were going to die. Also, Kate's baby sitter looked like Julliet's sister. Was that her? And if you go to abc.com they have enhanced versions with comments and little trivia struff about the names of the characters and other things.

Chris