Why do we love LOST?

For the better part of the late 90’s and early 2000’s, I didn’t really watch much television other than sporting events.  I’ve always been more of a film guy.  I didn’t realize it at the time, but what annoyed me most about the silver screen was how it didn’t really have a direction – most TV isn’t really “going” somewhere. I never really got into the whole reality TV thing because, really, how close is it to reality to have a couple dozen gorgeous women pining over that guy who just says the cliche lines at the cliche times?

After I got back from Cairo in 2007, my spiritual director and I talked and she told me I needed a hobby of sorts.  Saving the world wasn’t exactly a hobby, but watching someone do it is.  So I picked up 24 and learned to see Jack Bauer do it in 24 hours.

After the other series I picked,  Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, got cancelled (it was good, but 30 Rock ended up being better) I needed another show. I picked up Arrested Development on hulu and used it to laugh after long, 12-hour days on campus that required laughter instead of drama.

(Yet another great show that got cancelled. Morons.)

After polling several friends, I took the advice of my then supervisor and picked up LOST. She absolutely adored the show and I couldn’t imagine why someone would love a show so much…but I was soon to be disproved.

I kinda wanted to start a conversation among my friends who I know are fellow LOSTies and ask you a real simple question: Why do you love the show? What about it hooked you?

I think it was the season finale of season 5 that made me consider why I enjoy the show so much.  It is the opening dialogue scene between Jacob and the Man-in-Black:

Jacob: I take it you’re here because of the ship.

Man in Black: I am. How did they find the island?

Jacob: You’ll have to ask them when they get here.

Man in Black: I don’t have to ask.  You brought them here.  You’re tring to prove me wrong, aren’t you?

Jacob: You are wrong.

Man in Black: Am I?  They come. They fight.  They destroy. They corrupt.  It always ends the same.

Jacob: It only ends once.  Anything that happens before that, is just progress.

This scene epitomizes why I love LOST.  It’s screams of parallels from Job 1 where God and “ha-satan” (we call him Satan – literally translated, “the accuser”) discuss the reason for which the righteous servant Job is obedient to God.  Ha-satan says Job serves God because He’s a cosmic gumball machine.  Give God what he wants – get what you want.  Ha-satan’s question, “Does Job fear God for nothing?” is an assault on humanity’s capacity to do what God does: give unconditional love.

Jacob goes on throughout the season finale to meet all of our LOST Favorites – Jin and Sun, John Locke, Jack, Hurley, Sayid, Kate, Juliet, and Sawyer – touching each one of them mysteriously for some reason.  It’s as if he’s been watching them, walking alongside them on their journey of encountering the ongoing threats to this one thing that we all seek to receive and give most: unconditional love.  Are they capable of this?

We hear all the buzzwords with LOST – incredible depth of character development, a plot that has a clear trajectory and a definite endpoint to which everything is converging, clear identification with the villains and the heroic flaws, the new connection with the post-postmodern generation.

I think it’s deeper than that.  Those are devices – not the stuff that makes this the best stinkin’ show I’ve ever seen.

It’s the longing that we have as human beings to make wrongs right, and wondering if the innocence that we once had could ever be recaptured again.  Jack wanting to erase the past and start over.  Sun and Kate both leaving their children, biological and adopted, to seek and save their lost loved ones. Sawyer just wanting to have the chance to do one thing right in his life. Sayid, in my opinion the most complex character of all, desiring most deeply the innocence he lost even way back when he killed a chicken to protect his younger brother.  Even Ben going straight and honest, and sharing his deep pain and anger that causes him to kill the one who…who what?

And that’s the beauty of LOST.  The longer we go, the deeper we get, the more questions we ask. It was first about a hatch with a beam of light. Now we are talking about the deeper question, is humanity capable of unconditional love?

What do you love about LOST?

1 Response to “Why do we love LOST?”

  1. 1 Kathy Khang February 4, 2010 at 4:50 am

    So, I can’t resist…I told you so! 😉

    Seriously, I am hooked on the show because it provides light entertainment (looks like Hurley is going to have some great lines this season!) covered in a tangled web of questions. For me, my obsession with the show is a bit like how I approach life – the longer I watch/live the less I understand and know but I continue to watch/live because I don’t need all of the answers. The journey is compelling enough.

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February 2010

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