Critical Approaches to Culture + Communications

A Weblog by Ron Burnett (Founded in 1994 and now celebrating 23 Years!!)

This site began as one of the first academic sites in Canada when the World Wide Web was in its early phase of development. I have maintained it through many iterations since 1994.

LOST.....

It amazes me that J.J. Abrams who is the creative force behind such television shows as Alias and Lost, is — well — so lost!

He creates plots that he himself cannot finish or understand. His narrative labyrinths becomes more than just a fun maze. Instead, he generates so many different levels to every story that he tells, that the characters lose their force and the main narrative drifts into a confusing and often unclear place. It is an irony that Lost as a show is drifting into an unknown island of misunderstanding and elliptical memories. Now, I am willing to believe, because I actually respect Abrams, that he knows that we are deep into the subconscious of the characters and that the show is an exploration of how memories work on all of us. I can accept that he has built the story around how the present and the past come together within the human mind and that we all live on the borders of reality and fantasy.

I could even accept the role of the "others" as metaphors for the conflicts that we all experience both within ourselves and with the people and communities we know. But, for better or worse, this is a television show and at a minimum, the references and the metaphors need to connect.

Okay, so maybe this is the ultimate postmodern show. Abrams doesn't care if we don't care anymore about Sawyer and his hurt-puppy look. He doesn't care that Kate's teeth are whiter now than they were when she fell from the sky onto the island. He isn't bothered by the fact that VW buses appear out of nowhere and that Hurley starts driving one though there is no gas in the tank and he is able to stop without brakes. Maybe, all this illogic is just Abram's way of talking about the fantasy worlds of his characters. Maybe this is a fairy-tale. And if so, great. But, how often does the same story have to be told?

And, who cares? Why should I care? Isn't caring at the centre of all stories? Even the most oblique of Jorge Luis Borges's narratives gives you the sensation that you will need to think about what he has said, how he crafts his sentences and why. In Abram's world none of that matters anymore. Any connections are okay. The constraints are off which could make for interesting television under certain circumstances.

Abrams did the same convoluted thing with Alias which leads me to believe that he is lost in the world of images, more excited about effect, tone, aesthetic and atmospherics than about story and character. Maybe he should be more honest about his intentions and just go off and make some experimental films.