Not a post for fans of Lost.

Dear Lost,

I’m leaving you.  I know you don’t believe me, but it’s true, and you’re going to have to find a way to accept this.  Yes, I understand we’ve been together several seasons now, and I will admit, some of the moments were really great.  But it’s over.  

When we first met–what was it, March? April?  Well, I know you want me to tell you that I thought you were amazing, but actually, I was holding back from the beginning.  Maybe that was what went wrong, but don’t latch onto that or anything and try and blame me.  I own a little, but you own most of this, and out of respect for what we had, I’m going to do my best to explain it to you now.

I think I always wanted you to be something you weren’t.  I was excited when I thought you were going to be about a large pack of diverse characters stranded on an island.  I thought that would be really interesting, and I was eager for more.  And at first when the paranormal elements started coming, I thought, wow, this could be even better.  I knew from all the hype I’ve heard over the years that you were supposed to be full of mystery, and so I assumed that I was in the hands of a real storyteller, spinning me out, reeling me in, surprising me and amazing me.  But it just didn’t happen.

You really started to lose me with the polar bear.  I didn’t mind that you had one, but that you had one in the first few episodes and then it dropped off entirely, that was when my misgivings started.  And I didn’t hold back for no reason.  You just kept doing it.  You’d lay out some concept, some threat, and then if it wasn’t convenient for you, you just ignored it.  I’m not sure if you thought I was drunk or just spellbound by your amazing aura, but I wasn’t either.  I mean, I was willing to overlook Sharon looking like she just wandered out of Talbots even after being stranded for two months or whatever it was, and the apparently endless supply of shampoo (even before the hatch) and razors, but it was the polar bear and the black smoke and everything else that you just whipped out for your own convenience that really made me mad. 

But what I can’t forgive you for is the characters.  You’re fucking the characters over.  You have no consistency.  One minute Kate is so tough she’d drug Jin just to get on the raft, and she’d manipulate Sun to do it, and the next thing you know she’s in a goddamned shower with the fucking Others, blithely stripping down and soaping up, because you know, that’s so damn smart to do when you’ve been drugged and kidnapped by psychotic reclusives.  And the Michael shit at the end of season two.  The poor man didn’t have much there anyway, so I guess he was an easy mark, but I’ve never seen a bigger puppet to a writer’s wet dream of a plot twist.  And it just goes on, and on, and on.  Sometimes you seem to catch it and backfill, trying to plug motivation in after the fact, but that doesn’t count, and you know it.  Or maybe you don’t.  Maybe we just see story that differently.

I know you think you’re clever, and frankly, that’s your biggest weakness.  You really think you are so smart, so amazing, so full of wonder and weird mythology–and for some people you are.  But not me.  I don’t see clever, I just see a lot of masturbation, and now, given the first episode of season three and the spoilers for the next few  episodes I had to go read so I didn’t waste more time, clearly this is just going to get worse and worse. I mean, you all live in Hollywood, where they practically pave the fucking sidewalks with copies of McKee’s  Story. Character and setting is story.  Plot comes out of story.  You know this.  But that’s just the problem, isn’t it.  You think you’re better than what you know.  You think that all the story that everybody’s told since for fucking ever is just old now, and you, clever you, are going to bring in something different.  Or maybe not.  The problem is that I don’t know what the hell you’re doing, but I do know it’s annoying me, and I can’t handle it.  So I’m quitting now before I start foaming at the mouth and shouting incendiary remarks into fan forums.  I don’t want to do that to myself, and in memory of what we had for awhile, I don’t want to do that to you.  

We just don’t see story the same way.  You see it as cleverness and withholding and the occasional gotcha.  You see characters and concepts and even the very setting as mere tools to move around and make the story you thought up.  You see yourself as the god force in the middle of your kingdom, directing your puppets to do what you will, and you include your audience in that list of tools and cast of puppets. And that’s all I am to you, too.  You don’t respect me.  I’m just another pair of eyes, another mind to trick and twist, another sucker.  

I want more from story than what you offer. I want real characters, characters who stay true, who feel so real that I ache to meet them.  I want worlds so visceral that I swear if I closed my eyes I could walk into them.  And yes, I want mystery and wonder.  But I don’t what a cheap fuck, some slap and tickle that’s all at my expense and for your pleasure.  I want real mystery and real wonder, built from those real bases.  I want continuity, damn it, and I deserve it.  And I’m going somewhere else to get it, because it’s very clear to me that if I keep hanging around, hoping you’ll change, I’m only going to end up being another one of your whores.  So good-bye, Lost.  I wish you happiness, and I hope you continue to make those who like your kind of story happy.  But now that it’s over, I have to make a confession, now that it doesn’t matter anymore.

I never liked your flashbacks.  I faked it pretty much every time.

Sincerely,

Heidi

4 Comments on “Not a post for fans of Lost.

  1. Lost never broke its contract with me quite to the extent that Ugly Betty did, so it will always have that at least. That, however, is not much to hold on to.
    I will never understand why all TV shows have to screw up. Even Buffy did it with Season 4. It got it’s footing back again, but it was never quite the same after that.

  2. I have never watched Lost, but I have been very curious about it. I had already heard rumblings like in your blog, so I’ve avoided it. It just sounded like the writers didn’t know what they were doing and often changed their minds. One of my coworkers said the reason the show is called lost is because you’re frickin’ lost when you’re watching it.

  3. One flashback I loved: Locke, in the first season.
    It kept me warm for a long time.
    but then, well, EVERYTHING you said about character vs. plot.
    I also have the same problem with True Blood. I cannot believe people are raving about this and want it to be Emmy-nominated. It’s a clever concept, great setting, and with absolutely stupid characters who don’t seem to grow at all, just react to the latest plot twist the same way they reacted to the first one.

    • I was never offended much by the back stories either. I frequently found them more interesting than what was going on on the island. Ultimately though, they suffered from the same problem as the main plot – not enough information to keep you from scratching your head and wondering what the hell THAT was all about.

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