Friday, February 26, 2010

Losing Friends, One Fanboy at a Time

Are you people for real?

I conservatively estimate that 80% of you have been going on and on and on about this for years; some of you I trust in matters aesthetic, some of you, certainly not, but until now, that didn't really affect our friendship. And I know that tastes differ, but 80%? That's a pretty tough to debate number, and you people are everywhere. Talking about it, asking people to not talk about it until you catch up, having parties and countdowns about it.

Well, last night, we attempted to join your ranks. Despite my long-held belief that it was a pile of dross, I attempted to clear my mind and heart of prejudice long enough to sit down and watch...

the pilot episode of...





And I repeat my self: are you people for real?

It was EXACTLY everything I feared it would be: intellectually lazy, preposterous, and an unironic, unintended demonstration of the idea that there's nothing new under the sun. Just so you don't think I was hasty, we watched the entire first disc - four episodes, each more laughably pathetic than the previous.

My friends, my friends, are you perhaps familiar with the website TV Tropes? Cause the writers of Lost are certainly familiar with it. I know this because every hackneyed, overused, underachieving one that exists has been used in the creation of Lost and, not to put too fine a point on it, but has any of you watched Predator recently...? Is no one concerned at the central-casting stereotypes that populate this island: I'm a bad boy, I'm a girl with a past, I'm a sidekick, I'm a redshirt, I'm a terrorist (btw, the darkest Iraqi ever discovered, possibly because he's Indian, though I realize that my complaints about never casting Arabs in Arab roles is fodder for another day), I'm Jesus Christ who gives a shit? I can't believe that four episodes went by without anyone saying, "well, back when I was in 'Nam," that's how caricaturish this ensemble is.

So, before every one of you has a chance to erase me from your contact lists, I'll simply say that Lost is the aughts' Twin Peaks; a show that makes the X-Files look realistic. Now that I have empirical experience with the show, I will return to mocking the rest of you and sadly for you, you will not be able to fall back on the, "but you've never even seen it" defense.

I have. It sucked. Let's move on.


  1. Eh, I don't know you. Just found this on Twitter with the #lost tag. I'm sorry you don't like the show. I guess it is not for everyone. But I wouldn't be able to live with myself if I didn't defend it at least a little. I would like to know which TV shows or movies you do like. Certainly they don't have any "tropes" or stereotypical characters?

    I love the characters on LOST. Pretty much each and everyone one. While they may seem stereotypical on the surface - I believe there are a lot of things that make then unique when you really examine them - their motivations and back stories.

    And really, a trope only really becomes a trope because it has been known to work on repeated occasions. If someone does something with a character or story and no one likes it, then of course no one is going to do it again. You look at trope as though they are bad things, but I would think of them more as time tested and proven methods of telling a story - so I would never dismiss a show simply for using them.

    Anyway, I appreciated your thoughts on the show and it's a shame you can't enjoy it as much as us crazy LOST fans do, because it is one heck of a ride.

  2. Touche, Shaun - yes tropes become tropes for good reason; my complaint was that it seemed, through these first four episodes I watched, that the writers of Lost didn't feel the need to do any legwork. Instead of asking the audience to do any sort of mental acrobatics, things were so explicitly spelled out (the doctor pocketing his extra booze - I wonder what we discover about his past as time goes on...) as to render what may have had the potential to be interesting television (for the moment, I'll leave out my personal bias against unsustainable leap-of-faith plotlines) to be merely another consumable - the packaged food version of TV.

    Obviously, the setting will recall for most, things from our shared cultural heritage - Lord of the Flies being the predominant one - yet none of the characters seems conscious of this, as if they exist in a cultural vacuum (though I am pleased to note through a brief imdb search that they have not yet killed and eaten the fat guy). I don't need a show to be so meta as to render the boundaries between fiction and life unnecessary, but if situations analogous, and in some cases exactly replicative, from popular fiction/media in the culture being depicted are treated as novel, it irks me. Like populating horror movies with characters who seem to have never seen a horror movie so that they repeat the same mistakes that even your three-year-old would avoid, "but mommy, aren't you never supposed to split up in a horror film?"

    And as I struggled to answer your question, what television shows do I like, I realized I'm not a hyperconsumer of scripted TV. Currently I am enjoying NCIS (in my mind, while teetering on the edge of shark jumping, still the natural successor to the original Law & Order from a plot development standpoint); recently watched the first two seasons of Sons of Anarchy. Historically, well, crap, I was a West Wing fanatic (a great example of having characters with so many surface similarities yet being able to define them differently without devolving into caricature), loved the HBO series Rome (but mostly because it reminded me of I, Claudius). So I guess I'm a drama kinda girl (though obviously, like every member of my generation, I have the tv set to record The Simpsons and Family Guy). But before I get tarnished with the "doesn't like sci-fi" brush, I am also an owner and frequent re-watcher of Firefly and an ongoing joke in our household is how often I am ready to put Dune in the DVD player (previous comments about David Lynch's lame tv show notwithstanding).

    So, I guess, in the end, I'm kind of jealous: I like a good tv show as much as the next girl, and am frequently saddened by how few of them get made. Judging by the sheer number of my friends who like Lost, I was just hoping it was going to confound my expectations.

    And thanks for reading and taking the time to give me the fanboy :) perspective!

  3. It's funny that you bring up "Lord of the Flies" because I think in a early episode Sawyer even says something to the effect of "It's lord of the flies our here, doc!" I think LOST is very culturally aware. There is even a LOST book club for discussion about all the various books that are referenced on the show. Not to mention when Hurley tries to rewrite Return of the Jedi sans Ewoks because, "Let's face it. Ewoks suck, dude."

  4. Not exactly germane to serious discussion, but am I the only one with an eight-year old's sensibility who thinks naming the morbidly obese character a faux-adjectvie meaning to vomit totally owns?