I am one of those crazy people completely devoted to the show ‘Lost.’ There are programs here or there that I enjoy but I watch them all on my computer. Lost is the only TV show I must watch in real time. Lost is both ridiculous and great.
For those of you who haven’t seen it, you should see it. But not this season. You have to go back and start from the first season and watch everything from the beginning. I purposely got my mom addicted to Lost because I had to have somebody in my family to talk about it with, and neither of my brothers even owns a TV. I watched the first season with my husband, but both he and a friend I used to work with decided they preferred my summary and analysis the next day better than actually watching the show. That’s sort of flattering, but not very satisfying. Ian would patiently read in bed during the show and then ask me to tell him the episode I’d just seen after it was over. Now he’s completely out of touch with it, so he listens to me spout off about random things that make no sense.
Which isn’t saying much because very little of Lost makes sense, but it’s a whole lot of fun. It’s the ultimate TV watching experience for nerds like me who like keeping track of tiny details and drawing from a broad base of liberal arts knowledge. Any scraps of information you know about philosophy or mythology or the bible or Star Wars or The Wizard of Oz or Alice in Wonderland all pay off. It’s nice to feel in on a reference that isn’t spelled out for you. It’s nice to be treated like an intelligent viewer.
But the most fun for me is that nearly every week I am surprised. I am so seldom surprised by stories told in movies or TV or even many novels that it’s a treat to gasp and then call my mom on the phone and ask, “Did you see that coming?!” And we never see it coming, because it’s insane while still seeming smart. The cliffhanger from the last season was the biggest cliffhanger I’ve ever watched on anything. I couldn’t even begin to guess what would be happening this season. Then the new season started and I still don’t know what’s going on. It’s fascinating.
And it’s a fabulous distraction. For one hour a week I don’t think about if my husband is in danger in Iraq or if there are bills to pay or how I’m not exercising like I should be or all the things I could have done better with my children or at work. Lost throws too much at me in an average hour. It’s extremely diverting. As deeply as you want to look into anything there is a payoff. If there is a TV on in the background on that show, it’s usually showing a connection to someone else you know about. Numbers pop up that seem meaningful. Names on signs are anagrams that provide clues to some plot point. The central themes are all about faith and science, destiny and the connections between people, evil and light and our sense of purpose. There are polar bears and hieroglyphs and a frozen donkey wheel and a submarine and enough other absurd sounding things that you sound like you’re just making stuff up if you try to explain any of it to the uninitiated and uninterested. But if you are into it, it’s both thoughtful and exciting. The body count is unbelievable. So while you are contemplating the differences between the philosophies of Locke and Hume to gain insight on a certain character’s motivation, someone onscreen is being strangled or shot with flaming arrows or knifed in the back unexpectedly. Six years in and I still don’t know who the good guys are for sure. I love it.
The kids have been pretty accommodating about my request for my one show. They know when we get back from choir practice that they must go straight to the bathroom to brush teeth and then go to bed. For the girls it’s what they would do anyway, but they know to be more efficient about the whole bedtime routine when the clock is running down for the start of Lost. Quinn doesn’t want to go to bed that early, but he agrees to it on the condition that I promise to come get him if there is a ‘kid part.’ I always tuck him in and assure him the second a kid part happens I will open the door and let him know. (There are no kid parts–did I mention the body count? And as cheesy as I find the Smoke Monster it would scare my kids silly.) So I get an hour to myself. (Well, myself and the biggest cast of characters I’ve ever tried to follow on one show, plus my mom on the phone saying, “What does it mean?”)
There are only a handful of episodes left before the program wraps up. I’m hoping after this many years of investing in one crazy storyline I’m not disappointed (still grumbling under my breath about the finale of Battlestar Galactica), but it’s been a fun ride regardless. I’ve got my kids so well trained on Tuesday nights I’m tempted to let them think the show is still running past May. Maybe I can use that hour to read or write or just sit in silence without anyone asking me for anything. It’s a Lost hour I don’t want to lose.