An Open Letter to the Television Program Lost
It is with no regret whatsoever that I must inform you that our relationship has come to an end. Now it is time for you to go.
We have been seeing each other – off and on – for about two and a half years now. Oh, I remember well the heady flush of our romance when it was new and exciting. When I first met you, you struck me as unique and strangely fascinating. You sure were pretty to look at. We spent so much time together then. Those nights spent watching your Season One discs and getting to know your many hidden stories and secrets (through the flashback sequences especially) were so much fun. We laughed when Hurley said funny things and added the word “dude” to every line he said. We cried when Rose told the story about how much she missed her husband Bernard. The “mythology” bits of the story – the smoke monster and an erstwhile polar bear – were quaint and charming.
In retrospect, though, I think we both knew it wasn’t going to last. First, you changed. Slowly, almost imperceptibly, you stopped being about the characters and started to obsess about something called The Hatch and the alleged backstory behind The Others. At around that same time, you stopped coming around regularly – your episodes got repeated and you had nothing new to say to me. Quite frankly, I was already a little disenchanted with some of the things you were saying. I mean, seriously, this business with “The Others”? You know what that struck me as? That struck me as one of those stories I used to write in eighth grade English class, where the bad guys didn’t get a name because I couldn’t think of one before I handed in my composition. By the time Walt and Michael were being grabbed off a sea-faring escape raft by powerboating hillbillies, I was in full fledged doubt about you.
Remember what you did next? You invented about twenty more characters – the folks who had been seated in the Tail Section of Oceanic 815 – and then spent a season killing them off. I didn’t particularly like any of those characters. Some of them I quite actively DISliked, especially that Ana Lucia. I complained to Spouse that all Anna Lucia ever did was scowl menacingly and sneer threats at the camera. I opined that the pacing on the show was becoming aggravatingly glacial and that the plot was becoming cumbersome and juvenile. It seemed to me that you were very much making this all up as you went along.
It’s pointless to recapitulate the host of silliness that followed. Suffice to say that since around the time you killed off all of the Tail Section types, making the previous season a complete waste of effort. There have been exploding submarines and people kept as prisoners in a zoo; forced surgeries and exploding hatches; buttons that need to inexplicably be pressed lest the world come to an end; a soothsaying Scotsman and something called the Dharma Initiative. It seems like I haven’t had a clue what the fuck you’re trying to say to me for quite some time now. The one redeeming character that you did come up with – Mr. Eko – got killed too and I haven’t a clue why.
Your characters don’t say anything to one another anymore. They ask questions of one another, stare menacingly (and intensely, ALWAYS intensely) at each other – AND NOBODY EVER FUCKING ANSWERS. Interrogators inexplicably let their inquiries float off into space, unaddressed and unresolved. Everybody points guns at each other. Each episode begins with one group of people holding another group at gunpoint or otherwise as captives, frequently for no adequately explained reason whatsoever. Each episode contains a “dramatic” reversal where the people who were held at gunpoint to begin with end up taking their captors by surprise – and holding them at gunpoint. Sigh.
Anyway, I’m just letting my bitterness turn this into something personal. Suffice to say that I’ve lost interest. That was probably inevitable, given that I’ve lost the capacity to care about any of your characters. They don’t actually do anything other than react with intense stares and pointed guns to unspecified threats to their existence. So far from caring about your characters, I have actually started to kind of hate them. The last straw came when I watched this past Thursday’s episode – five days later, on tape, and only when I ran out of other TV to watch – and you showed me some shit about future Sayid meeting some guy on a golf course, making a bet about whose iron shot would be closer to the hole, then pulling out a gun and shooting him. You didn’t tell me who this guy was, or why Sayid was shooting him. It wasn’t particularly shocking to me, because there’ s more lead flying around this – ahem – deserted island than there was at Guadalcanal. It wasn’t particularly dramatic, because I long ago lost the capacity to be gripped by any sense of mystery on this ridiculous melodrama. Do you want to know what my reaction to this event was? I laughed uproariously at the absurdity of this hackneyed bullshit.
The upshot is that every time I spend time with you, I end up feeling like you’ve wasted my time and I’ve cheapened myself. I am angry at you, and I feel like you have broken promises you once made to me.
Whatever, I just don’t care anymore. So we’re done. I think it best that we not see each other again.
Oh, and by the way: it’s not me – it’s you.
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