I’m sure that most followers of Pileus are too sophisticated and intelligent to have wasted any time watching ABC’s Lost over the last six years. But I’m one of the unfortunate ones who got sucked into this hugely successful drama. I started to dislike the show not long after I started watching it. But lots of addicts hate what they do and are ashamed. I certainly am.
The pull of the show was obvious: a bunch of unusually beautiful people get stranded on an uncharted island that has mysterious powers and mysterious inhabitants. Will they survive? Add in some decent acting, some humor, and high production values and you have a hit.
But I felt early on that I was just being toyed with for the amusement and financial gain of the creators. Perhaps they felt they were just being “artists” by not wrapping things up in tidy packages. While it is true that a lot of great literature raises and tackles important questions without answering them, great art is honest about this process.
Lost, on the other hand, specialized in raising hundreds of relatively trivial, yet maddening questions, and then refusing to answer them with the sole purpose of drawing viewers back and, likely, for the amusement of the creators. For instance, Claire (a brand new mother) simply disappears without explanation when the cast was on one of its various cross-jungle tracks. No one knows how or why. A couple of seasons later, Claire is found again, still on the island. The first question out of any normal person’s mouth in this case would have been “What happened to you?” But none of them ever ask this question. Nor are we privileged to learn how a nuclear bomb can be set off on the island with apparently no implications for anyone or the island. You know, little stuff like that.
I won’t bore or aggravate readers with long lists of unresolved Lost questions. In the final episode on Sunday, all the “good people” ended up in the afterlife and went to heaven together (so much for avoiding tidy packages). But by that point, I was too ticked-off to care about any of them very much. The show had become so frustrating that I lost interest in any of the characters–sort of like an addict who gets to the point of not even enjoying his fix.
My larger question is this: is there a larger question in all of this? Does this whole frustrating experience teach anything (other than the obvious point to use more discretion in choosing TV shows)?