Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Comment on Lost

I've said all year that I don't think Lost could possibly live up to the expectations of explaining the mysteries that it started. Here is a much more articulate explanation for what I was trying to say:

When tonight's show ended, a friend sent me an e-mail suggesting I check out footnote 59 from David Foster Wallace's essay about the director David Lynch. DFW was assessing the second (far worse than the first) season of Lynch's show Twin Peaks, but I think his words might just as easily apply to the later seasons of Lost:

Like most storytellers who use mystery as a structural device and not a thematic device, Lynch is way better at deepening and complicating mysteries than he is at wrapping them up. And the series' second season showed that he was aware of this and that it was making him really nervous. By its thirtieth episode, the show had degenerated into tics and shticks and mannerisms and red herrings, and part of the explanation for this was that Lynch was trying to divert our attention from the fact that he really had no idea how to wrap the central murder case up.

Food for thought. What do you think, Shafer? Has Lost fallen victim to its reliance on mystery as a structural device? When the pleasure of a show lies almost entirely in its puzzles, a denouement that promises answers will likely bring nothing but disappointment.

1 comment:

Mommy with a Masters said...

I thought you were feeling hope, Dave! I actually think you're right, though! *big sigh* There are so many details that were so much fun to "catch" and store in our memories, just sure that eventually we would get an explanation and be rewarded for our eagle-eyed cleverness! It seems like we'll never know the answers to all those little questions. Hopefully, though, the big ones will be made clear, and we'll end with a understanding of most major things and an overall theme to take with us and ponder. What do you think? Laura