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Lost’ in translation

Jess Shaffer and Kaitlyn Conway | Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The plot of “Lost” focuses around some sort of sick, twisted quasi-experiment of stranding planeloads of people on a remote island, completely out of contact with the outside world. The series’ aim, on the whole, must also be a sick experiment. What sick experiment? It tests viewers’ abilities to suspend all knowledge of what being stranded an island entails hygienically. It tries viewers’ patience to follow and endlessly convoluted and inexhaustible plot and character supply. And it experiments with the TV audience’s commitment to a show that apparently is so jam packed that missing one episode will leave you in a jungle of confusion almost as incomprehensibly mysterious as the island itself. There is no doubt that the characters of “Lost” are not the only ones suffering from this forsaken island. In fact, even we, the TV watching public, are nothing more than guinea pigs in a cruel, cruel joke of the series that is “Lost.” Where you lead, I will follow?”Lost” is a show that should be watched daily. Yes, daily. Once a week is just not enough. This is not because it’s so irresistibly addictive. Instead, a daily refresher is entirely necessary to keep up with the completely random plot developments that are not only unpredictable but also unnecessary and ludicrous. Seriously, this show attracts new, random, and arbitrary plot lines faster than free pizza draws non-interested passer-bys to obscure campus events. The pre-episode recap is just not long enough to summarize the twist and turns that leave viewers tangled up in knots week to week. So the only solution is to watch every week. Or if you have a life, and can’t quite budget that in on a weekly basis, you have to entirely abandon the task of trying to comprehend what’s going on. There is no “picking up”‘ this series. In fact, there is no casually following “Lost.” You’re options are careful attention to your addiction or complete ignorance of what’s happening.

Hygenic heistIf your plane crashed on a tropic jungle, how much deodorant, makeup, hair products, and shaving supplies would you have? Additionally, how long would this store last you? Apparently on “Lost,” chins, legs, (though I prefer not to think about it) armpits, stay completely smooth and hairless. Apparently faces and hair remain spruced and clean, looking attractively disheveled and the diet of the average inhabitant of a desert island is the exact formula for maintaining weight. Many “Lost” characters have better hygiene than the typical college student. Alas, maybe this is still another undeveloped plot line. The island has special powers to keep its victims clean and fresh. Now that’s a code that should be cracked. Maybe this is the big secret of the series.

No man is an islandWhile no man may be an island, it seems that there is a seemingly endless supply of people on an island. Luckily for the series, this island has just the right amount of only semi-important people. Hence, minor characters are fortunately expendable, allowing the series to kill people off for dramatic purposes without losing the core cast. Additionally, there are always new people to add into the “Lost” universe. I guess I got confused in the geography lessons of my youth. See, I thought islands were land locked, making it therefore implausible for such a continuous new supply of fresh cast members to appear. I also thought a main premise of the cast being stranded is that this island is lost, incapable of being found. So either this is only a figurative island that in reality is attached to the door of a Hollywood casting center or everyone knows about this island except for the poor souls living on it.

The plot thickens We all like a good plot, a nice cliffhanger to leave us wanting more at the end of our favorite show. “Lost” takes this a step too far. This show has an endless supply of plot twists, throwing in a surprising amount of new, interesting, and mysterious finds for an unknown island. The ever-growing cast of characters never lacks for something new to explore, or to provide them with the tools of survival. This has even been known to include a shower. The plumbing behind this has never been explained. This has also been coupled with massive amounts of death in the form of minor characters. But don’t worry-the main cast members won’t kick the bucket until a dramatic, infuriating season finale, marking the end of yet another season of shows that have done absolutely nothing to explain the mysterious goings on of the island

Let’s blow something upAmong these numerous plot twists is the revelation of massive amounts of explosions. Some of these are found on the (plot twist!) pirate ship that had landed on the island. These are used to open the hatch, which leads us into another long, twisted season of ‘what does it all mean?’ At one point, there’s even enough to blow up a submarine. Let’s not talk about how implausible that is on a not-so-deserted island. There also seems to be a gratuitous amount of guns on the island, which are often misfired and used to kill the minor characters that no longer have a place in the labyrinthine storyline. We can see how “Lost” draws people in. The never-ending mystery is fascinating, but the frustration caused by the fact that you never learn anything and can never catch up makes the show less pleasurable to watch and more like a hopelessly tangled knot you only work on because of stubbornness. The day “Lost” will finally start to resolve itself is the day that the velociraptors will finally appear on the island.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

Contact Jess Shaffer at jshaffe1@nd.edu and Kaitlyn Conway at kconway2@nd.edu