Thursday, May 11, 2006

Mr. TV Party-Pooper?

You know That Guy. Or maybe you are That Guy. (I've been That Guy in the past, but have successfully flushed it out of my system.)

"How can you call yourself a TV watcher," That Guy said to me, "and not watch Lost?"

It's my fault for having brought it up. After reading this USA Today article about fans' many obsessive theories about Lost earlier in the day, I asked This Guy during lunch whether he watched the show. After his gushing endorsement, I admitted I wasn't a fan.

I gave it a shot early in the first season (and dragged Mis Hooz into my curiosity over the phone, especially when Evangeline Lilly pranced around the island in her underwear - those must've been fun conversations for her). But it fell off my radar as I got busy with school last Spring and had to fight for TV time.

I meant to catch up on DVD at some point, but never got around to it. And once the new season started, I figured it was one of those shows where you'd be hopelessly lost baffled if you'd missed an episode. But I think there's more to it than that for me. Or maybe I just came up with this because I was so irritated by "How can you call yourself--?!"

With shows like this, the payoff never matches the build-up.

I think it's really cool that fans are so into the shows that they've come up with so many theories (it's an experiment, a shift in the space-time continuum, or all in someone's mind, etc.). And the producers clearly enjoy throwing clues at the audience, whether they're legitimate or meant to deceive. Hell, I'm envious. I kind of miss not being part of the national conversation every Thursday. And I'd want some answers, too.

But I feel like I've been through something like this before with shows like Twin Peaks and The X-Files, or movies like the Matrix trilogy. I had ideas about who killed Laura Palmer, or what happened to Agent Mulder's little sister. I had guesses about what would happen to Neo and Agent Smith, and the world they inhabited. I read all the theories I could find, and talked friends' ears off, too.

And ultimately, the ends to those stories were disappointing. The writers weren't nearly as clever as I thought they were. Maybe they had no idea where they were going with these stories in the first place. Fearing a quick hook by the network, maybe they just threw $#!+ at the wall, hoping something would stick. Or the rabid fan devotion caught them off guard, which compelled them to keep feeding a fire that eventually blazed out of control.

Or maybe our expectations were just too high.

So that's why I'm not watching Lost. Am I being too jaded? Am I being a Donnie Downer? If so, I apologize. I hate that. But it's because I care.

For the sake of those who really love the show - such as Fried Rice Friend, Mr. Donutbuzz - I hope I'm wrong, and that this is going to be different. I hope there really is something behind the curtain, and those responsible for the show aren't just taking advantage of fan interest. Because those viewers deserve to have their devotion rewarded.

What do you think? Should I still try to catch up on Lost? Or should I just fling food at That Guy next time?