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Losing "Lost"


The TV show "Lost" finally ends on Sunday, and I have a confession to make: I don't like "Lost." Also, I've probably watched more episodes of "Lost" and know more about "Lost" than anyone else who thinks the characters are boring and doesn't really care about their flashbacks, flash-forwards, flash-sideways, secret crimes, shocking deaths, shocking returns from the dead, sweaty trysts, love triangles, J. Crew-model physiques, mind-bending transformations into embodiments of good and evil, or famous philosopher namesakes. They're just a bunch of actors in tight shirts to me.

But, while I don't love the fictional people or stories of "Lost," I'm fascinated by the story of "Lost" as the series that finally succeeded in taking sci-fi weirdness, alternate realities and other such stuff mainstream. It should have been "Twin Peaks." It could have been "The X-Files" or "Buffy." But ultimately "Lost" was the show that geekified Middle America.

In that spirit, I offer some Lostie links.

On Thursday the 20th, a guy from the New York Times interviews Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindelof, who've had creative control of "Lost" for quite a while now. (Forget J.J. Abrams; he's off doing Star Trek movies.) You can see the interview live at the Palace 9 in South Burlington at 8 p.m. for $10.

Why bother? Well, Cuse and Lindelof are reputed to be ... a bit full of themselves, which could be amusing, especially if the interviewer doesn't take a softball approach. (They're also known for scattering the word "fuck" liberally in their scripts, suggesting that the characters are mentally cussing, like, all the time, which you probably would too if you were stranded on a time-traveling island with a smoke monster.)

Middlebury professor Jason Mittell, whom I profiled last summer, teaches courses on TV. He loves "Lost," and he's blogging up a storm about why he's still hopeful that the show will answer the right questions even if it doesn't explain everything. Warning: spoilers! Here's a good quote: "Really? We need an episode dedicated to the engineering marvel of the Frozen Donkey Wheel? Lost is a show featuring time travel, smoke monsters, and clairvoyance -- do we really need to understand how everything works enough to recreate the island in our basement?"

Finally, I came across this cheat sheet to "Lost" for people who feel obliged to watch the finale even if they haven't followed the show since season 1. It is, shall we say, a bit tongue in cheek, but I found it genuinely helpful. Favorite "faker's rule": "Claire has replaced her real baby with a squirrel baby. Any conversation about Sayid or Claire will eventually circle around to the squirrel baby, so make sure you're the first one to bring it up."

Whoops, here I am writing, and the next-to-last episode of "Lost" is on. Better go see what's got into John Locke now. C'mon, writers. You've got, like, 45 more characters to pair up and/or kill off!