I’m Fine Being LOST

LOST Final Season

Last night, the first episode of the final season of LOST aired on ABC.

Last night, 12 million people tuned in with great excitement and anticpation.

Last night, the brain child of JJ Abrams, and the creative genius of Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse began it’s final chapter.

Last night was pure euphoric joy.

Over the past five years, LOST has touched a nerve with many viewers. For some, it’s the richly dense mythology. For some it’s the depth and beauty of the characters. For others it’s the way the story so meticulously plays out. And for the rest, it’s just plain fun.

However, many people after last night’s season 6 premiere found themselves further frustrated by the, quote, “lack of answers to the myriad of questions and puzzles LOST has built up over the past five years.”

If you watched, then you know what I’m talking about:

  • A seeming dual-reality of the characters both “on the island” and “off the island.”
  • A strange temple, with stranger temple people
  • The “Man in Black” doubling as Locke AND Smokey
  • The death and resurrection of Sayid (or is it?)
  • etc
  • etc
  • etc

Rather than begin the process of unwinding the large string of yarn the writers have been weaving, they seemed to make the web even more difficult to untangle. And apparently this has got some people up in arms.

I, for one, am perfectly happy with more puzzle pieces being added to the already uber-complex 5000 piece puzzle, even if it means in the end there are some pieces that never make it in to the puzzle.

________________________

I’m an artist by many accounts, and so my brain is wired a little differently from a non-artist.

One artist friend I have, his name is Steve, writes plays and sketches.

I remember Steve writing a play one time and sharing it with me and some others. We offered some critique after reading through it, mostly centered around the fact that the “main point” wasn’t clear enough. He kept arguing that he didn’t want to “spell it out for everyone, and remove their obligation to have to think.”

Ultimately he DID end up making the script clearer, but not for the sake of “art,” rather for the sake that the play needed to communicate certain truths. In other words, it was more purpose-driven than art-driven.

But his argument has stuck with me.

And artists, for the most part, get this.

We don’t want to have to “explain” everything about our creation. We don’t want to spell it all out, and explain EXACTLY what we were thinking and what it all means.

Great art is open for multiple interpretations, regardless of what the original artist intends. And that’s okay. In fact, it’s good.

________________________

LOST, I believe is a 21st century work of art.

And as such, I feel less inclined to have to KNOW precisely what the writers MEAN about EVERYTHING.

For me, the journey is half (if not more) the fun. The puzzles, the mysteries, the plot twists and turns, are thrilling and addicting. And if, in the end, it doesn’t all work out the way I want it to, or things get left unresolved, I don’t think I’ll consider the past 6 years of watching LOST a “waste.”

Last night’s premiere blew my mind.

And I’m okay with half of it still scattered on my living room floor.

I’ll probably leave most of it there for the next 16 weeks, knowing that it won’t do any good to pick up it because it will be re-blown in seven days.

After the series finale on May 23rd I imagine I’ll need a day to recover. Partly because I’ll be in mourning at the conclusion of my 2nd favorite show of all time, and partly because my mind will be numb from trying to wrap it around all that the writers will ask me to.

So Damon and Carlton, if you read this, please know that at least one person will not cry “foul” if you don’t answer every question and solve every mystery.

Some things, like eating Mexican food and watching LOST, are better during the process than what comes out in the end.

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2 thoughts on “I’m Fine Being LOST

  1. Well said.

    As an artist myself, I am constantly battling the way I communicate with my art. I like to leave it open for interpretation as much as possible, but I also recognize the need to provide information on occasion. I hate insulting people by “dumbing it down”, but sometimes it’s necessary for those of us not wired to understand the abstract ideas communicated through art. This has been a struggle for me. To me, the recap shows they ALWAYS do provide that service adequately. It’s like labeling a painting with a short narrative or writing performance notes in a program for modern dance.

    Sometimes it IS just about the aesthetic experience, and more than likely that is exactly what our beloved LOST writers were doing this whole time. I think most of the criticism lies with the people that just want to be entertained after a long work day and don’t want to think about anything. Unscripted TV, for the most part (or “illiterate programming” as our friends at Studio 60 more harshly described it), has ruined the chance for genius, artistic television to be acceptable en masse. Single Tear.

    This show is definitely art. I hope to see more of this type of television in the future.

    On a hilarious side note: Did you see that Jimmy Kimmel clip where Damon, Carl and JJ were demonstrating how LOST was supposedly written? They had like a glorified Mad Libs book that they filled out. Good stuff.

  2. Great points. I (art-brained) noticed this a little myself in arguing with my wife (non-artist) after the premiere. She was in the annoyed camp because she thought there would only be answers this season and no more questions. I loved it! My favorite part of the show has been the constant theorizing and re-working of theories as to what it all means. I want them to keep my brain twisting right up to the end. My response to my wife was that there are 16 episodes for them to answer questions. What would they do if they just answered them all in the premiere? It would be a boring 15 episode epilogue that nobody would want to watch. We need to be enjoying the journey. It’s going to be over soon and we’re going to miss all the headaches and brain squashing they loved to throw at us.

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