Lost and Doctor Who: A Comparative Essay

8 03 2013

Because there is so much going on in my actual life and my emotional health (I’m way less emo, you guys), but I can’t seem to find the time – well, actually, the energy – to write about it. So let’s nerd out instead, mkay?

Season 5 of Lost is eerily relevant to Doctor Who. I’m sure a lot of that is the whole time travel thing. Certain plot lines, complications, and literary devices are particularly inclined to time travel stories. And, of course, both shows contain intricately-developed characters which lends itself to having similarities in that aspect, too. But what these two ingredients amount to is an insane overuse of caps lock by yours truly. Let’s examine this.

Earlier in the season we have Some Like it Hoth/Father’s Day in which Miles = Rose and we have the emotionalness of going back in time to meet your dead father for the first time in your memory. And also meeting your baby self. But in only one of these stories does the TARDIS stop working and weird gargoyley-buggish things come to “clean the wound”. In Lost there are pretty much no physical ramifications of messing around with time. Except possibly getting shot by your mother while she’s still pregnant with you. But I mean “physical” in the sense of the universe, not individual people.

And, of course, there are characters that exhibit similar traits. For instance Locke (whose name I just typed as “Jocke” which will become funny to you in a minute) has, from day one, taken it upon himself to imagine he knows what’s best for people, without actually considering or listening to their personal opinions. For instance, early in the show Locke sent Boone on a trippy trip by dosing him with hallucinogenic… plants or some shit with the goal of helping Boone… like… see his point of view or something? Most people choose to do such things using archaic tactics such as “having a conversation”. But Locke is highly evolved. Or an asshole. Hard to say.

The Doctor tends to do this sort of thing, too. While I think the Doctor is slightly more justified than Locke since he’s usually operating on limited time and generally acts to save lives rather than to just give people island-made LSD, I also think he’s generally wrong for assuming he always knows best. I haven’t forgiven him for, among other things, what he did to Donna. When we meet Donna she’s fairly aimless. She’s rooted in the world. She senses that there is more out there, but she isn’t able to figure out how to reach for that so she flounders in her life, never really going anywhere. Just waiting. And then she meets the Doctor and travels with him and finds her path. She becomes this wild, wise, strong goddess. And then the Doctor takes all that away from her. He thinks that living a vapid life is better than death for her. In reality what he fears (beyond merely adding another loved one’s demise to his conscience) is his own death. Despite her begging him not to send her back to empty ignorance, he does what his own fears tell him is best and erases all her wisdom and knowledge.

At this point in Lost, Jack “Emo Jack” Shepherd has evolved as a character from the Man of Science who worked against Locke. He’s now reached the point in his personal growth where he becomes Locke’s disciple and is acting now entirely on Faith. Hence “Jocke” giving me the giggles. You, too? No? *ahem*

Jack is following through on Daniel’s plan to reset time back to before Flight 815 crashed. Before Charlie got clean and fell in love with Claire. Before Claire got to meet her baby and decide to keep him. Before Desmond found Penny again. Before Sawyer found peace (um, through, you know, murder). Before Eko found his brother. Before Shannon found… sunscreen? Before Kate didn’t change or grow even one little bit. Sorry. I got nothing there. Every single person was effected massively by that plane crash (excepting, of course, Kate). Every single one of them made some emotional growth. And Jack wants to undo all that in the name of “saving” them. Define “save”. Because, honestly, River being locked up in some computer FOR FUCKING EVER AND EVER AND EVER WITH NO END EVER EVER is not my idea of being saved. And taking away all my emotional growth that I worked really fucking hard for? Also not my idea of being saved.

I just got a little verklempt. The Cleveland National Forest is neither in Cleveland nor is it a forest. Talk amongst yourselves. Also: Buttah.

You’re lucky I steered away from that Dumbledore reference earlier. This post is positively swampy with the fandoms.

Arguing against Emo Jack we have Sawyer trying to explain that Flight 815 was a fixed point in time and shouldn’t be changed. He’d considered the idea of going back to change his own history. To save his mother and father. Just as the Doctor talks about wanting to save his family, his species, his planet. But there is always a consequence. Loss of wisdom, imbalance in time, a Universe ruled by Daleks. The wisdom is to know which is the righter answer. And that doesn’t come easily nor without consequences of its own. Pain, guilt, self-hate.

At some point, though, the reason for which I may have missed because I was busy tweeting all this in caps lock, Sawyer jumps on the Jocke wagon. So they scamper off to detonate the bomb that will reboot the Universe. I mean. The bomb to try turning it off and on again. I mean. The bomb that will create The Incident which will (no it won’t) cause the Dharma people to never build the Hatch (they totally will) so Desmond won’t ever crash the plane (he still does). What seems futile (because, for their goal, it actually was) does, in fact, get them back to present day with smart phones and Google, so it’s not a total loss. Except that Sawyer doesn’t suddenly have parents and he can’t just remember Juliet back into existence (the plus side, of course, being that she never becomes a plastic Auton with guns for hands). Otherwise it’s pretty much exactly the same.

So I don’t know if it’s just that I’m too wrapped up in fantasy worlds, or if this is the Truth of Literature (where Literature = television), but this seems, as I said above, eerily relevant. I don’t think the writers were specifically inspired by/plagiarizing each other, I guess I feel it’s just the magic of story. But dear god how I love the magic of story. And being nerdy. Being nerdy is great fun.


Improving my Home

16 06 2011

I have a million things to do today so what do I do? Well, first I tried hunting down more geeky lols, but the internet wasn’t delivering any. At least not any good ones. I do have this one saved on my computer from ages ago, and even though it’s old, I still can’t not giggle when I see it:

And then after that I decided to go dig through my box of Stuff I Won’t Get Rid Of because I wanted to find the taxi and bus I got when I lived in England as a child. In the process I found letters from an old boyfriendish type person (which are sad because he passed away a few years ago), embarrassing journals, my glossary of Scottish slang they handed out when we went to see Trainspotting, the actual ticket to Trainspotting along with tickets every other movie and concert I attended from 1993-1999, a very tiny Barbie, and a collection of various sands from Hawaii that my grandpa gave me.

And then! I put my mad photoshop skillz to work once again for you! You can say many things about me, but you can’t say I’m a terrible procrastinator.

Living room as it is now:
living room as it is now

And here’s a rough and thankfully not realistic (in terms of the lack of straight lines) sketch of what I would like it to be:
living room plans

I definitely want a futon or some sort of couch-to-bed thingie so we can have guests over. I’m really quite excited about the possibility of guests. And for one or both couches, I’ve decided I want a collection of geeky pillows.

I’m not really sure what I’m looking for in terms of art on that wall. I put a rainbow to represent my love of color, but I’m not tied to the image of a crappily-photoshopped series of wobbly lines. I am open to suggestions here. Either for prints or projects. I don’t think I want a photo of mine up there because how do I choose just one? That would be like picking only one of your children to hang up on the wall. Er. Well, you know what I mean. I am half-tempted to get a bigass print of vulvas to hang up there. But that might discourage the potential guests and render the futon obsolete.

In the dinette, I’ve drawn you a highly sophisticated sketch of one of those shelf-things that goes above a toilet. Or, if you know of something classier, that’s cool, too. But I like the idea of leaving the floor space open to set the futurecat’s bowls under. On the shelf we’d keep the fruit bowl, napkins (no need for hovernapkins, although I realize my drawing hints at the idea), salt and pepper shakers, and Stuff (which will, apparently, be stored in a pinkish bowl). Cupboards or open shelves are both acceptable.

dinette with a shelf

Now. My friend Anna made this awesome photo wall and I am totally stealing her idea. But the question is, does it go in the dinette, above the freezer (which will have a nicer tablecloth someday) or in the bedroom behind the bed? And the flip side of that question: what goes on the wall that doesn’t have a photo wall? For the record some ideas I’ve had in the past for home decorating were tiki-based and Disneyland-based. That’s two separate things, not one.

another blank wall

And there is also this newly blank wall below. This might be a good place for a piece of art I have in mind based on this poem.
blank wall

In addition to all this, I’m forming a list of things large to small I’m needing for the house to slowly make it more mine. I’m keeping it here for one central place to have it while also keeping the info out there just in case someone happens to know of the existence of some of these items. I realize not all of you are local, but I’m throwing this list here in case you happen to come across an excellent deal online. For you local people, if you see something from the list somewhere or happen to know of anyone getting rid of any of this, I’d love any tips to help keep things are cheap as possible.

~Random old frames for the photo wall
~Shelf for dinette
~Bookshelves for the bedrooms
~Bunk bed for the kids (and mattresses and sheets)
~Shelving for the closet(s)
~One or two of these from Ikea
~Windchimes of all sizes
~Skirt hangers
~Pavers for the patio
~Geeky pillows
~Tablecloth for the freezer (red)
~New bedspread for me

Other Things I’ve Become Obsessed With

3 05 2011

Probably the first obsession I had as a child was over Really Rosie by Maurice Sendak and Carol King. But I’m going to start later, after the New Kids on the Block obsession. I mean. You know. If I had one. Which I didn’t. Hey what’s that over there??? Oh, it was nothing after all. Moving on then!

1. 10,000 Maniacs As a child growing up, the churches I was raised in were sadly very negative and fear-based. I was warned against many things including evil music which may lead me “astray” and, eventually send me to hell. So when my 7th grade friend told me she was listening to 10,000 Maniacs I panicked a little bit that I’d chosen a friend who liked Satanic heavy metal. Go ahead: HAHAHAHAHAHA! When she finally persuaded me to listen I was absolutely hooked. It was my first experience with music (of my generation) that sang about more than just love or big butts. Now that I look back some of the lyrics are cheesy or elementary, but at the time I just felt so passionate about the subjects of the songs. Natalie Merchant was my idol, I absolutely adored her. I even punched a guy at school who dared to insult her nose (and I’d do the same again to defend hers or any other nose I happen to respect). I’ve never forgiven my mom from not letting me go to their concert because “people do drugs at concerts” and I guess she was afraid I might fall onto a joint and accidentally inhale it? (For the record I was not allowed to go see Nirvana’s last San Diego show because “don’t they fall down on stage or something?”) I did end up seeing Natalie Merchant herself in concert once and that was great, but just not the same. I told all my friends they should call me even in the middle of the night if they happened to see 10,000 Maniacs or Natalie Merchant on TV (life before the internet was so hard *sigh*). I decried the replacement of Natalie with Mary Ramsey. I called record stores regularly to see if they had rare copies of the original vinyl records the band put out. When we were in London I grabbed a copy of In My Tribe that had “Peace Train” on it since it was no longer available on CD in the US. I was utterly enveloped in 10,000 Maniacs for years and years and to this day, even if for no other reason than sentimentality, I hold them close to my heart (you may remember that my minivan is named Natalie Bubbles).

2. Jurassic Park I didn’t see this movie right away. In fact I didn’t see it for months. I wasn’t really interested in it until it came to the $2 theater in January the following year. I remember having a bag of Cheetos in my hand which I gently put down, uneaten, about four minutes into the movie. And I was glued to that story for approximately the next six or seven years. That night I had a hard time walking home because I was fairly certain a tyrannosaur would come bounding out from behind a building (and this was the original movie, not the sequel in which tyrannosaurs did, in fact, come bounding out from behind San Diego buildings). Over time I came to (almost) literally believe velicoraptors lived under my bed. This was not helped by the fact that my high school boyfriend pretended to get dragged under (which was one of the awesomest things he ever did. And he did a lot of awesome things). I had to run in from the hallway and leap onto the bed, lest they reach out and pull me under. I read the book and then the sequel, dutifully saw both following movies the night they opened (both of which were still pulling heavily from the original book). I bought the soundtrack and the toys and carried a tiny Jeff Goldblum with me wherever I went. I was so obsessed that I think I colored my friends’ high school experiences – we all made a point to use the metal service stairs in the mall so we could thump down and pretend we were the tyrannosaurs. I was so faithful to the damn movie that I even rode the ride at Universal Studios more than once. And I don’t do big scary rides. I lived, breathed and ate Jurassic Park until….

3. Hitchhiker’s Guide I was aware of this as a child. My mom had the book and the game for the Commodore. But she told me it was “for grownups” so I assumed it was some boring copy program. I assumed the book was the manual for the program. When I saw Summer reading it in 11th grade (her 10th) I thought maybe I was mistaken and I read it over the summer. And by “read” I mean “consumed voraciously”. I’d never read anything like Douglas Adams’ writing before and was hooked. The way he saw things and the way he used his words to express his humor seriously changed me. Aside from reading everything he wrote that I could get my hands on, I pulled out the computer program and found out I’m terrible at it, I watched the BBC miniseries and found out the 80’s were terrible at special effects and makeup, and I made all my friends who would would listen to me read the books, too (final count: two more friends). And with this obsession I colored not only my friends’ high school experiences, but possibly the entire school’s. Summer and I, as leaders of the drama club, used the series to promote our club. We made signs that said things like, “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy has this to say about Stage Company: Mostly Harmless.” And our fellow students looked at us like we were maybe a little bit insane. I’m sorry, fellow students. (I’m really not.) Being drama nerds, we got creative with our lockers and the day we were assigned them we brought in paints and wrote geeky Hitchhiker’s Guide phrases all over them. I even drew the green guy. (Interestingly, the school officials had a big problem with our, er, graffiti, but instead of confronting us directly, they spoke to the rest of the school about it and enforced it in all the buildings besides ours. Moral: Drama Nerds are scary.) In college I went so far as to adapt a scene from the book and make it into a short film (which was TERRIBLE and I hope to GOD it’s been lost to time). When we went to Europe in 1996 we got hold of a phone book and started trying to call Douglas Adams. As it turns out there were a shitload of Douglas Adamses in London so we gave up pretty quickly. (Update: OMG I wrote down some or all of them in my travel scrapbook! Although I guess it’s too late to try again. *sigh*)

4. Lost I just told Karen the other day that we first started watching Lost just as season two was ending and we threw internet safety to the wind and watched the entire second season online illegally in a week. She looked alarmed. Which is probably the right reaction because I think the sheer intensity probably aged my brain about 6 years in that week. And I don’t regret it. Lost was that awesome. Especially second season. That finale is still one of my favorite episodes ever. By the time this obsession happened I was a Grown Up so I didn’t have any lockers to paint and I’d rather buy real toys for my kids than buy myself Display Only toys, so this obsession was slightly more internal. But I did spend hours each week reading various internet forums and discussing various theories with Alex and making various inside nerd jokes with anyone else who would listen ever and some who would not.  I even had a Dharma Initiative birthday party.  I’d like to rewatch the series from the beginning sometime now that I know where it’s going (and all the places it’s not).

And there have been other things like the books by Madeleine L’Engle and the story of Harry Potter that may not have qualified as full-blown obsessions but they are just as important to me as the listed items above and are now an important part of the fabric of my life and I can just as geeky about them as I can about my obsessions.

And, again, looking at this list, comprised entirely minus one item of Geek Things, I’m just continually astonished at how long it took me to realize I’m a nerd.  But that’s still another post.

Lost: Still Trying To Wrap My Brain Around It

10 07 2010

I guess that means I am still LOST?  Har.

Also: Thar be Spoilers here! Consider ye’self warrrrrned!

For the last sixish weeks, I’ve been struggling with feelings that the finale was somehow inadequate. I was always a Very Good Little Fan, never complaining when they gave no answers, always having faith that Darlton (Damon + Carlton) knew what they were doing and where they were going. But I can’t help feeling like the finale left me stranded. I haven’t been able to put my finger on it until this week, when The Husband said something about how he kept hoping he’d find more meaning if he went back and watched the earlier seasons. Meaning. That’s it! In the end Lost didn’t have one great meaning, after all. It had a lot of little important meanings, scattered around like the luggage of Flight 815, but nothing cohesive to pull the whole series together.

I can’t help relating Lost to the entire Harry Potter series, but when I do, it doesn’t even begin to compare. Rowling HAD A PLAN the whole time. She had a message in mind – one great meaning the story was intended to relate. She conveyed it with one storyline and got us to the end gracefully, like a beautifully choreographed ballet. Like Heroes after Season 1, in the end it seems Lost sort of jumps around, changing the rules when the plot doesn’t work anymore. It is clear that the writers did know, ultimately, where the show was going. Not only Adam and Eve and the black and white stones, but also the backgammon game and, especially, the book Bad Twin prove the existence of Jacob and the Man in Black way back in the first season. There was a time when the writers were fighting for an end date so they could stop stuffing random details and endless mysteries into the show for no reason. I respected that and was glad the show was going to be able to end with integrity. The only problem is that the writers didn’t stop adding meaningless fluff until it was too late and the show had a cluttered and disjointed feel to it. Certainly the essence of the show, the good vs. evil, the faith vs. science, and the musings on destiny and time have remained constant (har!) through the whole thing, but all the random mysteries just add confusion to what should have been a fully beautiful piece of art.

In their defense, I know that working on a 6-year-long TV show comes with hazards of its own – like working with the schedules of the actors (or, you know, the DUI’s of the actors), for instance. I’m not unforgiving. But I do feel that the final season, while awesome on its own (and I will go into that later), and clearly closely linked with the first season, leaves the show as a whole with a scattered feeling and one main question that never did get answered: What . the . fuck??

Christian Shephard ~ (By the way, Kate’s line in the finale about his name was teh awesome.) Years ago during one of the summer hiatuses, the creators released some “mobisodes” which they swore up and down were canon. One of them shifted the entire show’s premise by about one degree – not so much as to change what the show was about, but certainly enough to change what I felt about it. It was exciting. It made Christian’s character far more important than I had ever expected. And it, ultimately, went nowhere. The mobisode was from before we had ever met The Man in Black (turns out his name was totally Samuel, btw), of course, but by this point we knew that Smokey had the ability to impersonate people so that question was raised very early on in the show’s lifetime – was the Christian that Jack chased in Season 1 actually the Smoke Monster? I felt this mobisode gave a very clear answer on that – NO. Why on Earth would Smokey choose Christian’s form to appear to a dog who not only never knew the man, but who could not tell Jack who had sent him? There’s no reason that doesn’t involve some serious backpedaling. I believe the writer’s original intent was that Christian was separate from Smokey, something different, something intriguing.

During the final season, they were obviously as desperate to give answers as the fans were to learn them. They doled them out by the handful, in brief conversations that could be missed if you blinked. Utterly uninspired. In Christian’s case, Jack met The Man in Black, asked him if he’d impersonated his father, MIB said yes, and jears ensued. And that was that. End of story.

The Husband believes Christian had never actually died (apparently they mention in the show that he was never embalmed), and I think, at the very least, he was intended for something greater (or perhaps just different) than what they had time for.

Some of the other answers they tossed out haphazardly in the final season were about the whispers and about the Black Rock/Statue/Richard Alpert, the latter three being all answered in, literally, one fell swoop in a scene which may very well be, in my opinion, the lamest scene ever in Lost. (I take that back – it’s second only to Jack’s DIY beach surgery. Nothing can top that!) The fact that the whispers on the island were the souls of those “stuck” there (but the island was totally not purgatory) was an acceptable answer to me, but I didn’t care for the way it was handed out in a two-line conversation starring the ghost of Michael.

Adam and Eve ~ Yes, Darlton, we see that you did, indeed, come back to the skeletons from the cave. But rubbing it in our noses like that just looks desperate.

Sideways World ~ I love what they did here. Completely. In fact the entire final season had what I wanted from Lost in general – a meaning. It came back full circle, the one big point of Season 6 was Sideways World and what it meant. It was beautiful, emotional, and well-crafted. The entire final scene had me glued to the screen, crying. There is a general belief that Sideways World was similar to Tibetan Buddhism’s idea of of the afterlife. That only serves to make it more beautiful. Despite the parts I am frustrated with in this series as a whole, I would not change the ending for a million dollars. (Well, OK, maybe for a million dollars. What? I could really use a million bucks.)

Other thoughts:
Shannon & Sayid – REALLY? Oh, barf. I have heard people say that the reason Shannon triggered Sayid’s awakening was because the Island was the only place they could ever truly be themselves. Anyone else she had been with in her lifetime only knew the superficial snotty Shannon (although one can ask: was there more than that to her? doubtful.) and, of course, Sayid had shitloads of baggage regarding Nadia, even though she was clearly the love of his life. So, despite the fact that the idea of Sayid falling for someone like Shannon makes me vomit a little in my mouth, I guess I can see the theory that they were more purely themselves while together. (Even so, can’t he have gone back to Nadia once he was “awake?” Please?)

Sawyer & Juliet – On the other hand: *SWOON* I love Juliet so much. And I love Sawyer so much with her. I never shipped anyone before these two, but I seriously LOVE them. LOVE. One more time: LOVE. I also love how they tied in her conversation with him from the first episode this season with their vending machine scene.

Walt – I never expected much in the way of answers about him. I kind of liked the mystery. I wish they had gone into WTF Taller Ghost Walt appeared at all or the astral projections in general, but in the grand scheme of things, I’m OK with speculating.

Jacob – Honestly, I expected him to be a little older. And more magical.

Jack – I kind of ended up liking him. I’ll wait until you have all recovered from fainting. Better now? OK. Sorry to have sprung that on you. Anyway, for five and a half seasons he was an asshat. Whiny, bitchy, jearey, completely dysfunctional. As a written character he is a work of art, multilayered and complex. But as a person I just want to smack him. And, yet, at the very tippy end of the show, he goes into that dark place, he finally makes his damn Hero’s Journey, and he comes out wiser and actually finally heroic.

Kate – I still don’t like her.

Hurley & Ben – Perfect ending. Perfect! I had been saying that I felt Hurley would make a better protector of the Island than Jack, and precisely because he’d never ask for it. And I’m so glad they heard me because I turned out to be so right (no surprise, really, I’m often right). And I am glad he brought Ben along because I grew to really love Ben. I also love that Ben knew he wasn’t yet ready for the church. He had more work to do either in seeking forgiveness or in forgiving himself.

But the biggest question of the show: WTF is the Island, man? Part of me wishes they had been more specific about it. Part of me wishes I was OK with them handling it the way they handled it, because it was kind of beautiful. But, while it’s obvious that the Island is the source of humanity’s essence – perhaps the place our souls came from, a sort of Garden of Eden (totally Summer’s thought there) – it’s not really clear what the scientific properties of the island have to do with that. And, perhaps more disturbing to me, the fact that this Island is so largely populated throughout time, the fact that people come and go from it, the fact that people have wars to try to get to/save/use the Island and yet it’s not known, even in distant myth, to the the characters of the show. As viewers we have speculated about it being the fountain of youth, a sacred Egyptian spot, or one of a few other ideas, but it’s not really any of those things (of course, it could be argued that it is all of those things). I think it might have been a little more grounded if the writers had more clearly alluded to whatever source or sources they were pulling from, even if they were to make up their own mythology, as Rowling did with her Hallows. In other words, if you are going to write a myth, it makes for a far greater and more believable story if you mark clear boundaries for the tale. And if there is one thing all the fans of Lost agree upon, it is certainly that we like a believable story.

While looking at Lost as a whole story, it appears that it is muddled with too many random details and too many false starts. I certainly don’t regret spending the last years of my life on this show, as some fans have complained, and I still love the show, its characters, its secrets, and its mythology (however convoluted and incomplete). And where they had worked to create an end date so the show didn’t wind up being some anti-climactic X-Files, due to poor planning they fell short at least a season in having enough time to follow through on what I feel were some of the most promising story lines. Lost is incredible. Literary, fantastical, spiritual, full of broken people trying to find themselves along their path. No, I value every hour I put into the show. And now I shall re-watch it from the beginning.


18 05 2010

Last week Threadless announced this cool shirt and I bought it that instant. It arrived Friday night, just in time for me to wear on my son’s birthday – to his party and out to dinner afterward. Apparently, he was too busy thinking about Legos all day to notice because this morning when I put it on again we had this conversation:

E: Mommy! When did you buy that shirt from the computer?!
Me: Last week, silly. Don’t you remember I wore it on your birthday?
E: *thinks* No, Mommy. You must have had your back turned to me.

Oh sure, Lost, NOW you tell me.

10 02 2010

Lost Party Pack.


10 04 2009

I don’t know why, but every time I see this, it sends me into fits of giggles.