Sunday, September 23, 2007
Now that I've had several months to sit and stew, there's one thing that has bummed me about Lost lately, and I've noticed it has just festered and has not gone away on its own.
But before I get to that, let me say:
As most of you here, I enjoy Lost. This is an understatement with all of the trivial knowledge I've absorbed maintaining the wiki. I am (barring Exposé) a very loyal fan.
Lost is the type of fiction that invites the kind of analysis that would support one of the largest wikis on the Internet.
The writers and props people take care to insert details that interconnect, often across episodes and even seasons. TPTB actually have faith in the intelligence of the viewer, and don't spoon feed it to you then hammer it violently into your face for good measure like Heroes. The self-consistent details are just there, so when you look harder, anywhere you look, they emerge. It's not a LOTR level of detail, but for television it's impressive, (and perhaps unprecedented in this new age of HD and online memes), and the effect is the same: I really begin to believe in this universe, that it could really exist.
It's not real, but it has a undeniable sense of reality.
Unfortunately, in Season 3, this sense has been somewhat eroded, and I have to actually work to maintain my suspension of disbelief. I don't mean storyline stuff like: "I don't believe the whole Skate interaction at the cages was realistic."
What bothers me is the really obvious stuff that just shouts out: THIS IS FAKE, and it does so intentionally. For me, the anagrams do this. There is no need for HOFFS DRAWLAR mortuary. There is no need for HERARAT Aviation. MITTELOS Bioscience: ditto.
Some fans may call these Easter eggs and eagerly consume them so that they can pat themselves on the back for being überfan-enough to know them all.
To me, these are nothing more than self-indulgent graffiti. It is a glaring sore in Lost's fabric of reality just so the TPTB can say "Kilroy was here". It is simply not believable, the names are not believable, and because it is totally inconsistent with the rest of the universe of Lost, the only explanation for the existence of these names is something that comes from outside the universe of Lost. Could Jack actually have stopped and decoded the anagram and changed his storyline? No, the message was not meant for him, or anyone else in the Lost universe. Hence, my new need for the suspension of disbelief.
The anagrams in these obvious places are completely unlike the coincidences in the crossing flashbacks of the characters, which are firmly rooted in storyline and the mythology of how the universe of Lost operates. It is also unlike small references like Eddie's Geronimo Jackson shirt, or small references to The Lost Experience (TLE) like considerably more obscure Korean sign and conversation in D.O.C.
Speaking of TLE, I had no problems with anagrams there because it was an intrinsic part of a game, and its canonicity is a grey area.
Ethan Rom I could handle, because the names are real; there really are people named Ethan and those with the surname Rom, and to me this is just part of mythology and allegory much like the use of Philosophers' names: Locke, Rousseau, Alpert, Bakunin, etc.
But a big sign with a name inconsistent with the universe of Lost? That's a visual I can't ignore, and to me it's worse than product placement. Hoffs Drawlar is just as bad as if I saw a real advertisement for the upcoming presidential election on a billboard during a flashback. TPTB shouldn't toy with the universe, even if it is theirs.