Okay, so this blog is going to be about the show “Lost,” so I’m warning you now, if you’re not interested, then by all means go visit some of my knitting blogs and quit telling me how to run my business. Seriously, I’m never going to grow up if you won’t let me, Father.
So: “Lost.” In full disclosure, we hung with the creators and producers of this show last summer in LA, and they are very smart, funny people – the pilot was among the best I’d ever seen, and I think they are doing an unbelievably good job at keeping the suspense going over the course of a season.
My favorite episode has to be the most utterly nonsensical one of the bunch: the one where we learn that Locke (the excellent Terry O’Quinn, the bald guy with the knife) was paralyzed before the plane crash. The reveal at the end was such great television that I had to yell for Tessa in the other part of the house – if crazy plot twists are wrong, I don’t wanna be right.
The show started out being Matthew Fox’s (the doctor) baby, but we’ve lost him in the last month or two, which is probably due to an old writer’s reflex; he was supposed to have died in the pilot. Funny how these ideas can work their way into later drafts, like an old prejudice that can never be fully extinguished. There are tiny bits of the Pink House movie that don’t entirely make sense unless you’d read vast plot twists of earlier versions.
By far, the most enjoyable character (for me) has to be Hurley, the obese vaguely-Hispanic dude whose big secret is that he is worth $150 million of cursed money. He got the cash by using a string of numbers uttered by a fellow inmate at an insane asylum to win the lotto – which, of course, are the same numbers that once emanated by radio from the “Lost” island itself. If, and when, they explain the “numbers” plotline, I will be duly impressed, because right now it looks like it was a fantastic idea in the writer’s room that they figured they’d worry about explaining later.
Another curious thing about the “numbers” episode: when Hurley tells his old insane pal that he used the numbers for the lottery, the insane guy freaks out and says “you let out the beast!” or something. To which I would have said, “well, you moron, you shouldn’t have repeated the numbers 500 times a day for 20 years!”
A few quibbles: I’m tired of Harold Perrineau’s problems with his son, and I’m tired of the Korean marriage. Everyone has really got to get over it. I’m much more interested in what J.J. Abrams does best, which is set up huge stakes and untenable positions for all his characters. It’s something “Alias” has always done well, and like “Alias,” he doles out his information in such a funereal pace that it can get quite aggravating. Aggravating yet titillating.
First off, we already have two bizarrely metaphysical reasons for the plane to crash: “bad things tend to happen around Walt (the boy)” and “really bad things tend to happen around Hurley, especially when he’s paid for it.” Combine this with Locke’s belief that the island offers “everyone a new beginning” and, of course, the giant polar bear that eats people and the other island inhabitants that kill at random, and the island itself is starting to look an awful lot like an ancient religion’s idea of Purgatory, Hell, or even Heaven.
I’m sure I’m not the first Jonathan Armchair to muse that the entire cast of “Lost” is actually already dead; shit, Locke’s ability to walk is straight out of the Mormons’ idea of a Celestial Kingdom, and Sayid himself said that there’s no way they could have survived the crash. The island seems to be a vacuum for lost souls, a temporary(?) resting place for the missing sock in our extra-humanist laundry.
I’m into this as long as the island itself is not there to answer questions, to teach lessons, and insert some kind of moral certitude into the affairs. The writers have already said that one of our beloved characters is going to get offed before the season’s over, so at least they’re playing with the same set of nads currently used by the writers of “24.”
Speaking of nads, “Lost” is co-written by an unusually large number of women, which has to be why it’s so compelling. I think we might be living through a Golden Age of Television right now (although I’d have to ask Va. Heffernan), given that so many shows have such excellent writing. The Tivo Revolution has really distilled the TV experience into a fine collection of cream and wheat – if you’re one of the snobs that never watches television because you think it sucks, you’re really not trying very hard, and, like Barney said in “The Simpsons” when Lisa tried to serve gazpacho at a barbeque, you should go back to Russia.