March 2, 2008

lost again

something that drives me crazy about lost is that it has so many interesting ideas that it doesnt follow through on.
one that makes me the most exasperated is john locke. you can't name a character john locke and not have him represent John Locke (especially when you have another character named Rousseau who had a member on her team named Montaigne). through the first season i tried very hard to make the character fit the philosophy. i tried to see him as being a part of the struggle to establish a society, the nature of the social contract, the nature of the self and the parts of each which are inherent and the parts which are socialized. but in fact neither he nor the show really explores any of these issues in any depth. indeed locke doesn't actually give a shit about the society he's only interested in his own destiny which is often couched in terms of faith which is quite the opposite of everything john locke and his socio-political philosophy was based on!
so what im trying to express is the balance between having characters be characters and having characters be more symbolic. its alot like dickens in some ways, at their best a dickensian novel has a few main characters who grow and develop and emerge as good or evil or ambiguously both while there are secondary characters who represent ideas or virtues or what have you. i wish lost would do something more like that. buffy is a show that does that more successfully. it blends broader and narrower character arcs to be both character driven and idea driven. lost however drops hints that characters or character arcs are going to be idea driven or symbolic (ie locke as locke or locke as faith and jack as science) but it doesnt work because the ideas only drive characters or character arcs for the span of an episode. we do get faith vs. science/ locke vs. jack but only in one or two episode snippets.
the show drives me crazy because i watch and im looking for meanings to emerge and they just dont. we get narrative twists (so thaaaat's why there are polar bears on the island... thaaaaat's why the plane crashed) but those twists never seem to actually mean anything. theyre some cliche about 70s scientific utopian experiments based in eastern philosophy.
the disclaimer here should be that i have only seen seasons 1 and 2. maybe season 3 or 4 reveals everything as some brilliant metaphor but i dont have the patience to deal with that one week at a time (thank god for coming in late).

one thought that john had (he said it as a joke, but it actually made sense to me) is the idea of the island as a metaphor for the internet. its the place where you end up and youre hoping to be saved but you really just end up with a bunch of other people who are as lost as you are. the problem with the show though is that it should be this place where your inhibitions sort of dissolve, where youre willing to tell people things that you wouldnt otherwise. its not a place where you keep more secrets its where you let them go because you dont know these people and youll never have to see them in your real life. i think the show would be more interesting and even realistic with more honesty between people about where they come from...

im not sure how i feel about blogging. my thoughts feel so incoherent. maybe thoughts just are inherently incoherent.

1 comment:

Charlotte said...

blogging ... you can use it as a way to think out loud, in which case it may tend toward wordy and rambling, or alternatively for small (hopefully amusing) bites of word-and-picture. Since I don't read any other blogs except the fam, no idea what the other thousands of bloggers are doing it for.