Thursday, February 28, 2008

Live Blogging Lost

Season 4, Episode 4

The dead people on Lost never seem to look dead. What do you wanna bet Naomi comes back to life on the other side of the helicopter trip?

Hold on—was that Locke on the cot? [No] Okay, I'm guessing the island is some kind of convergence point for multiple realities.

"Get on a train to Oxford"? "You can't change the future." ...or a loop in the space-time continuum?

[Do I ever hate watching this on regular tv. It's not so much the week-long gap between episodes, but the commercials really mess with the show's intensity.]

Hey - the rat in the maze: I remember reading in the Dancing Wu Li Masters 20 years ago that a scientist could build a maze in Berlin, and run his rat through it, and it would take x number of minutes to learn the maze. He could then send the design for the maze to a scientist in London, or Moscow, or New York, and he could also build the maze and run a rat through it. According to the story, each rat after the first learned the maze faster than the original rat, suggesting some kind of universal information field that the subsequent rats could access. I thought it was a cool story.

Okay—asynchronal confusion that causes a cerebral hemorrhage? I think Lost is doing its fancy freestyle tricks over that school of hammerheads again.

Penelope answers the phone, surrounded by the joy of Christmas? Bah!

The show that follows Lost? Eli Stone? It makes me want to beat my tv to death with a giant crucifix.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Nothin' But A Number

Don't look at me like that.

I didn't rob the cradle.

No, really. She was six and a half when I was born.

Yes, you would think that I was the older of the two of us.

No, I don't know what happened to my youth. I just know I was old at thirteen. By twenty-six, I was positively ancient, and my hair was going gray. By - well, let's just leave that alone. We're liable to realize I died, or something.

She hasn't gotten there yet. She's still young. No, I don't know how she does it. Somehow, I don't think that she has to work at it.

Well, I don't value it in myself. But I do value it in her, and want to protect it. So if something has to give, then it's going to be me.

She's very lucky. Let's see if she has a little good fortune to spare.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

1. Drunk 2. Stupid 3. Hilarious Gone

1. A craigslist ad:
"I have a plump rose print couch that is ugly but cheap and pretty comfy. I have slept on it and can vouch, honestly its way to big for our tiny apartment. This lovely couch to trade for some money or beer. Longneck 12 pack of budlight would be preferrable *hint hint* but we arent terribly picky. Please please please come and take our beloved couch away. Cash/beer only as well as pickup (cant deliver... sorry) Yay... look at the pretty pictures."

3. The funny Youtube video "Mandles" appears to have disappeared. Sorry.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Lost needs to strap on a pair.

I like Lost. Actually, I love Lost. It’s smart and strange and oddly familiar. I picture the meeting where it was conceived, and I imagine the pitch went something like, “What if Stephen King were writing Survivor?

I got the first three seasons of Lost for Christmas, and in early January, I set about watching the entire series with a couple of people who’d never seen any of it before. In the third season the quality of the writing noticeably declined, but the show managed to keep me riveted by introducing new characters and new intrigues, and the season finale was one of the best I’d ever seen. In moment that perfectly answered the question, WWSKD?, it even redeemed the inexcusable hippy-dippy shark-jumping episode where the survivors discover the VW bus.

People are lost and people are found. I was unhappy to see Mr. Eko killed off in the third season, but Juliet is a compelling character. From her first appearance, I looked forward to seeing Kate smack that smug, enigmatic smirk off her face. There’s at least one fight in every episode of Lost, and I wasn’t exactly disappointed by the eventual girly brawl, but boys really do hit harder, don’t they?

But let me get to my real complaint: the handling of Sun’s potentially fatal pregnancy. In a show that has given us the most internationally diverse cast I’ve ever seen on mainstream TV, that has dealt with all sorts of sociopolitical issues in a sensitive and enlightened manner (with the vilification of the former heroin addict, Charlie, being a shameful exception), that the women would be treated as expendable fetus incubators is unconscionable. It’s vile. It’s spineless. It’s pathetic. I understand the writers not wanting to bring up a question they can’t answer, or being curtailed by the squeamishness of the viewing audience, but this is a show where every other character is a murderer, a show that had an Iraqi soldier torturing other survivors, that had a father shooting innocent people to save his child. Are these scenarios somehow more palatable to the American viewer than the question of abortion? Because if that’s the case, then the writers should have preserved their integrity and come up with a plot device other than the inevitability of island women dying in their second trimester of pregnancy.

There are two doctors on the show. It’s completely implausible that one of them would not introduce the idea of terminating a pregnancy to save the mother. It’s ridiculous, and it’s already too late: it should have come up in the episode where Juliet gives Sun an ultrasound, confirms her pregnancy, and reveals that as a physician, she's presided over the deaths of nine island inhabitants in their second trimester of pregnacy. To omit the question of abortion at this point has made the show irredeemable in my eyes. I’ll still watch, but I'll watch with my lip curled in contempt.

Am I being too harsh? Am I being unfair? Lost has given me high expectations, which makes its failure here seem all the more odious, but perhaps the Lost creators face the same dilemma as Joss Whedon, creator of Buffy, who concedes that his control over the Buffy franchise only extends so far, explaining:

[I] don’t want it to have my name on it if it doesn’t reflect what I want to say. Because once you get to the position of actually getting to say something, which is a level most writers never even get to, and is a great blessing, you then have to worry about what it is you’re actually saying. I don’t want some crappy reactionary show under the Buffy name. If my name’s going to be on it, it should be mine. Now, the books I have nothing to do with, and I’ve never read them. They could be, “Buffy realized that abortion was wrong!” and I would have no idea. So, after my big, heartfelt, teary speech, I realize that I was once again lying. But I sort of drew the line. I was like, “I can’t possibly read these books!”

It’s not really the same, though, is it? It’s not like the creators or the writers have no input on the show itself, yet on It’s not really the same, though, is it? It’s not like the creators or the writers have no input on the show itself, yet on Lost, abortion is never discussed as an option for Sun. Juliet doesn't offer to terminate Sun’s pregnancy, and Sun never mentions it, either. This is tantamount to a character having a giant bug with its teeth sunk into his flesh, poisoning him, and everyone just accepts that he’s going to die. No one considers how they might remove the bug.

I’m glad that over on Slate's XX Factor Blog, Ellen Tarlin has resolved her Lost confusion to her satisfaction, but me, I’m still bothered and bewildered. And disappointed. Really, really disappointed.