Wednesday, May 26, 2010

More on Lost

After being out-of-pocket busy basically all day on Monday, I have had a little bit of time to digest some of the things people are saying about the Lost finale this past weekend. To those I will offer a few comments:

For starters -- and this is an objectively true statement I am about to make here -- it does not make a show good simply because it "makes you think" or because people talk about it a lot or think about it a lot outside of the show. Obviously many people could write a show that makes the viewer "draw his own conclusions" or "fill in the dots" by simply not telling you anything. They could show a lot of crazy or thought-provoking images for an hour with no coherent way of tying them together, and people would be left to "draw their own conclusions", while the show could actually suck. Balls. Shit, that's basically exactly what Heroes was/is (is that show even still being made?) -- one of the worst, most thoughtless shows ever made, that was so unmitigatingly stupid that sure, it had very smart people spending hours every week thinking about it, trying to piece it together and make sense of it all. But does that make Heroes a good show? The answer to that is obvious. So, it is clear in an objective sense that simply because the writers told us nothing in the end about Lost and left us completely wondering ourselves and talking amongst our friends, this does not in itself have the slightest bit to do with making Lost a good show, or making the finale a good episode, or anything like that.

And while we are on the topic of the viewers having to draw their own conclusions, I wish wish wish the Lost defenders out there could see the things that they write objectively instead of through their own personal prism. Instead, what we have is an army of Lost devotees who are out doing the writers' dirty work for them, proclaiming the show to have been great and to have answered everything we needed to be answered, and that to me is the saddest part of all this.

After taking the time to trash me and my intellect in the comments to my blog, Jordan's post about the Lost finale has got to be the best out there among the people I actually know. This thing has more gold in it than a prospector's pan in 1849 (god I am so good with the similes):

"Interestingly, the one mystery not conclusively revealed was what exactly the island is and what was that light at the center that “had to be protected.”

Oh. My. God. When you're starting off your post like this, you just know it has got to be good. So this is the one mystery not conclusively revealed, huh? Pure, 32 karat gold right there. And this is written by a guy who just accused me (not him) of having never actually watched the show. Ugh that is so classic, farrr too classic to even respond to. Let us just move on.

To continue from Jordan's post, the pure gold continues like the eternal light springing up from deep within the heart of the island, that thanks to Jordan we now all know what it (obviously) was:

"My best guess, which to me is essentially obvious but also irrelevant, is that the island is essentially an Eden. Not the Eden, insofar as I do not think the show took a literal approach to the Bible comparisons. Rather, it is the well-spring of all life, both of this world and separate. The island itself has some odd properties, which incidentally would make sense in context. If the island is also the source of life (or maybe “souls” moreso than life), it may be the source of other things as well…like time, or perhaps electromagnetism."

Essentially obvious, huh? And irrelevant. So not only am I and 10 million other viewers totally wrong and we somehow missed this key and very obvious, overtly-stated explanation of the nature of the island (I'm just guessing here, but perhaps that is because Jordan's explanation was never given, is clearly not obvious, and in fact is almost certainly idiotically incorrect), but in fact it is obvious! And on top of that, it's also not relevant what the island is! Thank you for making that conclusion for us, which we deserve I suppose since we are all so motherfucking obtuse that we did not see when the writers made it obvious that the island = Eden. Of sorts. It is so clear now, thank you for "filling in the dots" for us. Hahahahahaha.

"The island is protected by some supernatural force. Specifically, throughout time, there was a guardian of the light. The first guardian we meet is Jacob’s “adopted mother” but there were likely those that came before her. That is one of the unexplained mysteries that fall under the banner of what is this island and how did it come to exist. We don’t know that answer, but how could we? Was the show supposed to show the big bang, the creation of the universe, and the formation of our planet and/or life, as coming from this hidden wellspring Eden?"

Wow. I mean, what do you say? So, so far we have explained away the fact (read that: F A C T) that the writers never told us what the island was, by claiming that they not only did tell us but that it was in fact "obvious". Now we've also explained away their not telling us about the origin of the island, because -- if I can follow the apparent "logic" used in the paragraph above -- there's no way we could possibly know the answer to this because to do so would require the writers to go back to the beginning of time and the Big Bang in order to do so. This is logic at its finest, ladies and gentlemen, please run to hire this guy to be your lawyer.

And the shit just keeps rolling downhill in this post:

"Jacob is forced to take over and takes vengeance on Smokey by throwing him into the wellspring/light, which kills his body but leaves him a bodyless sentience. WTF is that all about? I don’t know, but like the show tells you, its best just to accept it. Let it go. Why didn’t it affect Desmond the same way? Because Desmond had some sort of resistance to the island’s forces, which we learned when he survived the explosion of the hatch and was able to see the future, or when he lived through the time-travel sickness in the episode, The Constant. But in the end, you have to take that leap of faith. Smokey turned into Smokey, but Desmond lived because, well, that’s what happened."

Like the show tells you, it's best just to accept it. Let it go. Nothing to question here. The main villain (the only villain in the end) of the entire 6 seasons, the guy who was shrouded in mystery until the third to last episode of the series, we should just "let go" the minor issue of...you know...his very existence. His whatthefuck is he? Who is he? What happened when he went into the light? We should just let it all go of course! Why? Because the show told us to!

You can go ahead and read the rest of his Lost post to see all the other "maybe"s and the "probably"s and the "presumably"s peppered throughout the rest of Jordan's explanation of what happened on the island in the finale, just to get a flavor for what was so "obvious" in addition to not being relevant about that aspect of the finale.

And then of course there is the whole resolution of Sideways World, which Jordan again has the obvious (and I suppose also irrelevant?) explanation for:

"The last season, though, was the Sideways World, which was a mystery. Until now. Now we know that Sideways World us nothing like a flashback or flashforward. It’s something different. Its the place you go when you die, before you can move onto the afterlife (perhaps a return to the light…on the island!).

Admittedly, this last part was not clearly explained, but apparently, somehow, the Losties had bonded to the point that they were going to move onto the afterlife together. They “created” a place where they could meet before crossing over. This does not mean that they died at the same time. Time has no meaning in this afterworld, as we know from some direct statements to that effect by Christian Shephard. So whenever those characters died, be it before Jack (the incestuous step-siblings and Locke) or way after Jack (Hurley and Ben, who acknowledged that the story went on post-Jack by mentioning how well they did as the respective new #1 and 2). They all return to this sideways world.

How did the sideways world come to exist? My guess is that it always existed, in a sense that there is a waiting room for each of us, in the Lost world. The group may’ve been anchored together by Desmond, who said fairly clearly before unplugging the wellspring that he had already seen the afterlife and that he could maybe take everyone with him. So perhaps he was the bonding point that allowed all of them to meet up after the end.

That covers most of it. Any questions? Feel free to ask."

Now how could we have any questions after an obvious and complete explanation like that? Oh sure, Sideways World was a purgatory, hmmm? And how did the Losties create it (Christian Shepherd says at the end that the Losties created it for themselves to be together)? I am going to guess that on their flight out on the Ajira plane, maybe Kate and Lapidus whipped up Sideways World in the in-flight blender somewhere in the airspace over Fiji? Or maybe Sawyer formed Sideways world out of a dump he took mid-flight? Or maybe it was Miles and Claire who thought creating an entire fucking alternate reality would be a cool thing to pass the time out of their airline meal in the middle seat between them while they taxied down the runway at LAX?

I could go on and on and on about Jordan's post, combined with his unbelievable comment on my blog yesterday, but alas I do only have the time for one more thought today, to all you Lost-defenders out there: You come off -- objectively here, now -- sounding like a goddam horse's ass if you equate what the writers didn't tell us about this show with "drawing one's own conclusions" or "filling in the dots". The fact is, only a complete assmuffin bottom-2%-intellect in the history of the Earth would even consider publicly attaching their name or identity to the notion that the viewers not even knowing (1) what the island is, (2) the identity or nature of either of the two main characters who the whole story ended up being about even were, or (3) how or what the alternate reality that comprised about 90% of Season 6 after never being mentioned previous even came from, constitute minor enough omissions to be described as "filling in the dots". A better comparison using that utterly inapt analogy would be not to failing to "fill in the dots" but rather to failing to give us the numbers to connect the dots to, the magazine with the connect-the-dots puzzles in it, in addition to failing to provide a writing implement, the invention of paper, even any usable language or form of communication to work with in the first place, or the creation of life on earth to want to complete the dots puzzle in the first place. This is not "draw your own conclusions" television, folks. Putting aside the unintentionally comedic attempts by Jordan and others at justification for Lost's unthinkable gaffes, which thinking people immediately dismiss as the rantings of a blind denialist, if you're going to be a defender of the show out there, and you care if people think you are dumber than fucking Fluxer, you need to at least make some attempt to stick to this reality, the one we all live in on the present-day Earth -- as opposed to the one "obviously" created by the Losties in their own private little purgatory that we all get to create whenever we want to in life (who knew?). This means you need to actually address the actual shortcomings of the actual show instead of just attempting to explain them away as not actually unclear, not relevant, or otherwise.

It's kind of like poker, in a strange way. Some people play poker over time by denying the truth and simply ignoring the problems they might have because they don't want to accept that they are beat in a given hand, that they have not broken even this year, that they are not a good player overall, etc. Others who are successful rise above this "obvious", self-serving denialism and learn to see things for what they actually are, rather than allowing themselves to get emotionally involved in things to the point that they lose all ability to be objective. Although I can conceive of a response to the Lost finale from someone who addresses the show's shortcomings in real, intelligent ways and still overall enjoyed the show (not that I have seen that yet), to simply state that the show is great because it leaves the viewers to fill in the minor details and in particular because they did explain all of the outstanding mysteries (save for one) is simply being the proverbial ostrich in the sand.

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5 Comments:

Blogger l.e.s.ter said...

Hoy, your questions will only lead to more questions.

1:45 AM  
Blogger BadBlood said...

Clarifications:

1. Never seen a single minute of any episode of Lost.
2. Was a big fan of Heroes, Season 1.

Based on the wikipedia entries on the series, it looked like Lost had quite a coherent start to it through the first 2+ seasons. And then, perhaps just like what happened with Heroes, the writer's strike hit.

The strike killed Heroes, Season 2 and all the planned episodes with myth-arcs and continuity story lines were crushed into afterthoughts. It was really astounding how they made a decent series into tripe.

I wonder if the same thing happened to Lost, where the strike killed its momentum and forced the story line down unrecoverable paths. Based on what I've read, I think I'm glad I missed it.

1:53 AM  
Blogger HighOnPoker said...

Well, I for one was surprised at the reactions to your last post that basically agreed. Maybe I was working in a vacuum, but I had no idea so many people didn't understand the ending. Frankly, when I read your last post, it came off as the same way you slam my post: you start with the general conclusion that Lost sucks and then you seek out the support.

My point is simply this: If you read a poem and are shocked that there is no storyline, then you didn't understand the point of the poem. LOST is not a poem, per se, but it isn't what you seem to think it should be, which is a pat story with everything explained. It is a character study, so those things you complain about are not important to the art of the story.

Here is another example. Its like complaining that a Picasso cubist painting is unrealistic because you prefer photo realism. Just go look at some photorealism if you don't like cubist art, but don't get vehemently angry about Picasso being a jerk and a moron because he didn't paint in a photorealist style.

But as I said, I am shocked by how many people, particularly in your comments, agreed with your assessment, so that's something I'll have to consider.

3:04 AM  
Blogger HighOnPoker said...

Minor edit. Lost isn't just a character study, but an exercise in storytelling. Hence the flash backs, forwards and sideways. It is also a sci fi piece, where you have to accept some leaps of faith. Star Wars did not explain how everyone understood what Chewbacca was saying, but you accept it because the point is not to explain how things will be in the future, but to tell a story within the context of this fictional world. I think Lost did that effectively.

3:06 AM  
Blogger Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

While I am not at all sure based on your commentary so far that you understood it, sadly the rest of all understood the ending just fine.

3:26 AM  

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