Sunday, July 29, 2007

Looks Like I Finally Made It!

It took two years - but I finally did it.

I've now joined the ranks of such "evil" websites as and My Blog is now blocked at work. Behold!

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I've been "deemed inappropriate for bank usage"!

I'd like to think that my Blog finally triggered some sort of warning system due to the high number of co-workers visiting the site each day... and shutting it down was thought to directly lead to more productivity and a higher stock price... but it's probably just another example of "the man" trying to hold me down by preventing me from receiving any sort of "entertainment" (read: happiness) while I'm supposed to be "working".

What does that mean for you? Well, it's going to make it trickier for me to post / comment while at work (only during my lunch hour, in case my boss is reading this). On the other hand, I can still freely get to the Message Board, so maybe that's all the more reason for you to visit it once Lost returns in 2008!

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Annual Emmy Rant

Another year, another fairly puzzling round of nominations from the Emmy voters. Sigh.

It just really makes me ask the question, "Who is really off-base here? Me or them?" Because clearly we have very different views on what the definition of the word "Outstanding" means. To me, it means something that stands out for being excellent, not something that stands out for having high ratings or being simple to understand. I guess part of the problem is with the whole nomination process, which just shows that Emmy Voters don’t actually watch TV. Instead, each show must submit one episode that the voters (allegedly) watch, and base their voting off of that. Clearly, this skews votes to favor simpler shows with “standalone” episodes over more complex shows with season-long story arcs. I suppose it’s impossible for someone to watch every episode of every show (which would be the most fair way to determine the nominees – can’t we train robots to do this?), but it just seems like there is something fundamentally wrong with the whole process.

But I digress. Looking at the nominees, there are a number in each category that I can get behind, as well as some that leave me scratching my head. Without further ado, here is my annual Emmy rant...

Outstanding Comedy Series
  • Entourage
  • The Office
  • 30 Rock
  • Two And A Half Men
  • Ugly Betty

Rant: Truth be told, television comedies are in a sad state. Entourage has its moments, but is also starting to feel a little stale. Ugly Betty is more of a “dramedy”, which makes it feel out of place here the same way that Desperate Housewives always felt out of place in this category.

Thank God for NBC’s Thursday night lineup, which in my mind contains the only comedies worth watching on major network TV. It’s good to see The Office and 30 Rock nominated, but disappointing to not see My Name is Earl, which had an outstanding season that delivered more consistent laughs than any other comedy this year. I probably would have also thrown in The Sarah Silverman Program, which was undeniably different, and at times absolutely hilarious.

Pick: The Office. While 30 Rock had some great episodes later in the season, it also started out very slow – and to me, this should award overall greatness for a season. The Office is the gold standard for comedy right now – a critical darling with a cult following that provides numerous quote-worthy scenes each episode.

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Outstanding Drama Series

  • Boston Legal
  • Grey’s Anatomy
  • Heroes
  • House
  • The Sopranos

Rant: Here’s the category I have the biggest problem with, and not just because of my obvious Lost-bias. Is it a coincidence that the highest rated dramas on NBC, ABC, and Fox are all nominated? Seems a little fishy to me, especially when the two best dramas of the past year – Lost and Friday Night Lights – were not nominated. Instead, we get Grey’s Anatomy, which took a major step backwards from its second season, and House, which is nothing more than a vehicle for Hugh Laurie to deliver his one-dimensional Dr. Cox impression.

As for Heroes, I truly enjoyed this show this season and anxiously await its return to TV. Having said that, there is no way I would have even dreamt of nominating it for Outstanding Drama. It’s an entertaining show, but I don’t think anything about it stretches any of the actors. Heroes is a real-life comic book, with accompanying cheesy dialogue and cliffhanger endings each week – but it’s a little like nominating a summer box-office action movie for Best Picture… it just doesn’t feel right.

Pick: The Sopranos. Simply because no other show has any chance. Hollywood is still enamored with this show (Brian’s opinion? Fantastic acting and great directing, but David Chase is a terrible storyteller), and with a field of competitors like these, it’s the only one worthy of a statue.

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Outstanding Lead Actor In A Comedy Series

  • Ricky Gervais as Andy Millman, “Extras”
  • Tony Shalhoub as Adrian Monk, “Monk”
  • Steve Carell as Michael Scott, “The Office”
  • Alec Baldwin as Jack Donaghy, “30 Rock”
  • Charlie Sheen as Charlie Harper, “Two And A Half Men”

Rant: Surprisingly none, other than this – if Tony Shalhoub wins again over fantastic comedians like Gervais, Carell, and Baldwin, I’m going to go crazy.

Pick: Alec Baldwin is awfully tempting, but I have to come down on the side of Carell for this simple point. Baldwin overacts, Carell underacts. Both achieve great results, but I think the latter is much more difficult to pull off, and deserves more credit.

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Outstanding Lead Actor In A Drama Series

  • James Spader as Alan Shore, “Boston Legal”
  • Hugh Laurie as Dr. Gregory House, “House”
  • Denis Leary as Tommy Gavin, “Rescue Me”
  • James Gandolfini as Tony Soprano, “The Sopranos”
  • Kiefer Sutherland as Jack Bauer, “24”

Rant: My feelings about Laurie have been made abundantly clear over the years, so I’ll spare you a re-hash. I’d also question Kiefer Sutherland being nominated for 24. To me, if you’re someone who just got back from months of torture in China – and you go back to being normal action-hero Jack Bauer within four episodes (hours) – it’s either a product of bad writing or bad acting. As embarrassing as this season of 24 was, it doesn’t deserve any nominations.

Also – I would like to see ANY of these actors exhibit the range of emotions that Matthew Fox showed during “Through the Looking Glass”. Apparently the Emmy Voters are only looking for one-trick ponies. Go back and look through the nominees and tell me if any other than Leary ever deliver anything more than their standard “shtick” for their characters. Spader is a smart ass, Laurie is a cocky bastard, Sutherland is a tough guy. They all do it well, but once you’ve got it down – how hard is it to keep doing it each episode?

Pick: I would love to see Denis Leary pull this one out, but he’s competing against the juggernaut of James Gandolfini as Tony Soprano, one of the iconic characters of this generation. I would be shocked to see anyone other than Gandolfini walk away with this one – but I’m okay with that. He delivers a nuanced, powerful performance each episode and carries the show.

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Outstanding Lead Actress In A Comedy Series

  • Felicity Huffman as Lynette Scavo, “Desperate Housewives”
  • Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Christine Campbell, “The New Adventures Of Old Christine”
  • Tina Fey as Liz Lemon, “30 Rock”
  • America Ferrera as Betty Suarez, “Ugly Betty”
  • Mary-Louise Parker as Nancy Botwin, “Weeds”

Rant: Want proof of the sad state of comedy on TV today? Look at these nominees. Does anyone actually laugh at Desperate Housewives? Huffman’s a great actress and all, but is she comedic? I don’t think so.

Pick: There are really only two choices here – Tina Fey and America Ferrera. If you vote based off of generating the most laughs (which would seem logical, given it’s a comedy category), Fey gets the win. If you vote based off of which makes you feel warm and fuzzy inside, Ferrera gets the win for her ugly-duck, fish-out-of-water performance on Ugly Betty. Not surprisingly, I go with Fey.

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Outstanding Lead Actress In A Drama Series

  • Sally Field as Nora Walker, “Brothers & Sisters”
  • Kyra Sedgwick as Dep. Chief Brenda Leigh Johnson “The Closer"
  • Mariska Hargitay as Detective Olivia Benson, “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit”
  • Patricia Arquette as Allison Dubois, “Medium”
  • Minnie Driver as Dahlia Malloy, “The Riches”
  • Edie Falco as Carmela Soprano, “The Sopranos”

Rant: The only show I’ve actually seen here is The Sopranos, so I suppose any rants on my part would be out of place.

Pick: Edie Falco. It’s true – the Sopranos are going to absolutely dominate the Emmys this year.

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Outstanding Supporting Actor In A Comedy Series

  • Kevin Dillon as Johnny Drama, “Entourage”
  • Jeremy Piven as Ari Gold, “Entourage”
  • Neil Patrick Harris as Barney Stinson, “How I Met Your Mother”
  • Rainn Wilson as Dwight Schrute, “The Office”
  • Jon Cryer as Alan Harper, “Two and a Half Men"

Rant: I totally support these nominees. Good job, voters!

Pick: This is a tough one. Piven and Wilson are the fan favorites – but Patrick Harris is equally fantastic. Since the Office is the funniest of all these shows, I suppose I’ll go with Dwight Schrute – if for nothing else, than for his performance when impersonating Jim this season. That was the funniest scene on television this past season.

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Outstanding Supporting Actor In A Drama Series

  • William Shatner as Denny Crane, “Boston Legal”
  • T.R. Knight as George, “Grey’s Anatomy”
  • Masi Oka as Hiro Nakamura, “Heroes”
  • Michael Emerson as Ben, “Lost”
  • Terry O’Quinn as John Locke, “Lost”
  • Michael Imperioli as Christopher Moltisanti, “The Sopranos”

Rant: T.R. Knight, you don’t belong. Did the voters pity you because of the whole Isaiah Washington feud? Masi Oka, you’re damn likeable, but the “Ya-sa!” was getting a little tired by the end of the season. Shatner, I feel like you win this every year, and every year I am shocked (also, you seem drunk during your acceptance speeches).

On the other hand, I love the nomination of Michael Emerson – if you remember, this is something I was pitching pretty hard last season, and this year’s nomination is a welcome sight.

Pick: Emerson. He’s one of the most complex characters on television, elevates the scenes of any other actors he’s with, and can scare the hell out of you with one simple look into the camera. O’Quinn and Imperioli are both great – but neither quite matches the powerhouse of Benjamin Linus.

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Outstanding Supporting Actress In A Comedy Series

  • Jaime Pressly as Joy Turner, “My Name Is Earl”
  • Jenna Fischer as Pam Beesly, “The Office”
  • Holland Taylor as Evelyn Harper, “Two and a Half Men”
  • Conchata Ferrell as Berta, “Two and a Half Men”
  • Vanessa Williams as Wilhelmina Slater, “Ugly Betty”
  • Elizabeth Perkins as Celia Hodes, “Weeds”

Rant: Some pretty predictable nominations here – but are there really two “supporting actresses” on Two and a Half Men? I feel like Sheen / Cryer / Fat Little Kid are the only characters in 75% of the scenes.

Pick: Jenna Fischer. It’s long overdue. I remember reading in Entertainment Weekly about her audition for the show. She was supposed to deliver some sort of dialogue, but instead just gave one of her signature “stare at the camera and convey more of a message than a five minute monologue could” moves, and won the producers over. This is why she deserves the Emmy. I don’t know how you learn to do these looks – but she and Krasinski have it down to an art form.

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Outstanding Supporting Actress In A Drama Series

  • Rachel Griffiths as Sarah Whedon, “Brothers & Sisters”
  • Katherine Heigl as Isobel “Izzie” Stevens, “Grey’s Anatomy”
  • Chandra Wilson as Dr. Bailey, “Grey’s Anatomy”
  • Sandra Oh as Cristina Yang, “Grey’s Anatomy"
  • Aida Turturro as Janice Soprano, “The Sopranos”
  • Lorraine Bracco as Dr. Jennifer Melfi, “The Sopranos”

Rant: Yuck. Three Grey’s Anatomy nominations for what was the worst season of the show’s three year run? It’s nutrageous. Aida Turturro is one of the characters on TV that I hate the most – but I don’t know if that means she’s doing a great job or a terrible job. She gets me to react, so I suppose that’s a good thing. Bracco is nominated as part of the Sopranos love-fest this year, but hasn’t really had anything interesting performances since the rape storyline a few seasons back (which was conveniently never resolved, thank you David Chase).

Pick: I would be okay with Wilson or Turturro, but I’m not in love with either performance. Since I’ve never seen Brothers and Sisters (since I’m a heterosexual male), I can’t comment on Griffiths either way. Can I pick Connie Britton for Friday Night Lights instead? Or would she be considered a "lead actress"? Either way, can we just give one to her?

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Outstanding Individual Performance In A Variety Or Music Program

  • 79th Annual Academy Awards, Ellen Degeneres, Host
  • The Colbert Report, Stephen Colbert, Host
  • The Daily Show With Jon Stewart, Jon Stewart, Host
  • Late Show With David Letterman, David Letterman, Host
  • Tony Bennett: An American Classic, Tony Bennett, Performer

Rant: If Stephen Colbert loses this year to Bennett (like he lost to Barry Manilow last year), there will be riots across the Colbert Nation.

Pick: Stephen Colbert really deserves some sort of acting nomination (Outstanding Actor in a Comedy?) because unlike all the other nominees, he’s not just being himself. He’s playing a character – an absolutely hilarious character – that makes me laugh as much as any traditional comedy on TV. If he wins, expect his acceptance speech to go down as one of the all-time greats.

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Outstanding Variety, Music Or Comedy Series

  • The Colbert Report
  • The Daily Show With Jon Stewart
  • Late Night With Conan O’Brien
  • Late Show With David Letterman
  • Real Time With Bill Maher

Rant: None. For the question, “What are the five best variety, musical, or comedy series on TV?”, these are the answers.

Pick: Liberal Hollywood will probably pick The Daily Show again, while the rest of America would probably prefer Conan or Colbert. Like any true American, I side with Colbert.

Outstanding Reality-Competition Program

  • The Amazing Race
  • American Idol
  • Dancing With The Stars
  • Project Runway
  • Top Chef

Rant: No rant here. I only included this category to serve as an excuse for me to write about how much I love Top Chef… which I’ll now do.

Pick: Top Chef. It’s honestly one of my favorite shows on TV, and seems to only be getting better with each successive season. It lacks all the awful things about most reality shows (unnecessarily mean judges, unnecessarily mean competitors, unnecessarily long “results shows”) and instead packs each hour-long episode with pure cooking entertainment. Compared to other cooking shows on TV, it clearly attracts the best chef talent, and I am continually impressed with the amazing dishes they put forth with little to no preparation time.

I wish that Tom Colicchio was my boss at work. Unlike most reality show judges, he is more like a coach, honestly pulling for each contesting and wanting them to improve. He’s fair, funny, and I someday hope to eat inside one of his restaurants.

Top Chef is fun, entertaining, and educational (to some degree – although most dishes are about two miles over my head). It’s the best reason for anyone to watch Bravo.

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…and there you have it. It feels good to get all that anger out of my system! Hopefully now I can return to my normal level of easy-going happiness… that is, until Emmy Night, when I’ll probably again be cursing, throwing things, and vowing to never watch the Emmys again… until next year.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Lost Rewind - "The Moth"

Episode Review: You know, when this episode started, I groaned a little on the inside. In my mind, I remembered Charlie-centric episodes as always being some of the worst of the first few seasons of Lost (a thinking I stand by all the way up to the beautiful “Greatest Hits”, actually) – but in re-watching it, this episode isn’t half bad. Rather than being a simple “rock star with a drug habit”, it actually had a nice “circle of life” twist to it, with Charlie starting as the “clean brother”, Liam starting as the “druggie”, and then the two swapping roles over the course of the flashback. Even better, the on-Island action showed Charlie growing, taking a stand and attempting to kick the habit, brining the storyline full circle.

Like so many other characters, this one flashback seemingly told Charlie’s full backstory. Unfortunately, unlike the other characters on Lost, this really was all that there was worth telling about Charlie’s pre-Island life. Combined with his slipping back into drugs (which may have been realistic, but didn’t do a lot plot-wise), Charlie seemed to enter a rut after this episode. But for this one week, he’s the center of a pretty solid story of redemption.

Deeper Meaning Explanation: Another straightforward deeper meaning this week, with Locke spelling it out for the viewer. He shows Charlie a moth struggling to escape its cocoon, and explains that if he helped the moth escape, it would die because it wouldn’t be strong enough to survive. Likewise, if Locke were to take Charlie’s drugs away from him forcefully, he wouldn’t be strong enough to kick the habit. Instead, Locke makes Charlie ask for the drugs three times, giving him the free will to choose. Charlie is a moth.

Furthermore, the moth appears multiple times in this episode, eventually serving as a “hero”, leading Charlie out of the caves, which saves Jack. Similarly, Charlie – who always seemed to be worthless and “in the way” during the first few episodes of Season One – finally has his chance to be a hero. Moth Power!

Original Thoughts:

Original Deeper Meaning Guess: Moths are usually drawn towards light, which ultimately burns them (a la a "bug zapper"). I believe that tonight’s episode centers around Charlie (aka the Band Guy, the Druggie Guy, or the Hobbit Guy - not Charlie from Party of Five! His name on the show is Jack J ) Metaphorically, Charlie is a moth drawn to the light, which I think is fame and / or drugs. However, much like our flying insect friends, it ultimately will burn him and bring him down. This episode should give us insight into Charlie’s former fame and fall from grace, perhaps caused by the drug addiction to whatever that stuff in the baggie is (I apologize for not being "hip" to the drug culture).

  • Pretty close, but it’s also pretty embarrassingly simplistic. It’s funny how much crazier the Deeper Meaning Guesses have gotten over the years. I also enjoy the reference to the confusion during the early days of Lost about characters’ names and the Party of Five reference. Before you mock me for knowing and loving it, I present to you the following – Party of Five featured both Jennifer Love Hewitt and Neve Campbell in their glory days. Enough said.

Original Episode Preview: Tonight’s episode has some sort of avalanche occur in the cave and Jack is buried in it. Will Jack die? Will this force everyone to move back to the beach? Is this the island warning them to stay away from that cave?

  • Interesting thought about the “warning” of the Island about the caves, but it looks like that never panned out. Instead, the Survivors naturally and logically moved away from them with the discovery of the Swan Hatch.

New Thoughts

Kate. Two weeks in a row where I’m puzzled by Kate. She claims to pity Sawyer since he has no one to go back to off the Island. Yet she has less than no one, and is also on the run from the law. Likewise, when the big “split” occurs between the Cavers and the Beachers, Kate stays on the Beach, holding out hope for wanting to be rescued. Is she just going overboard with trying to keep up her alibi, or did the writers originally intend for her to actually have someone waiting for her back in the rest of the world?

Fate. I loved Sayid’s matter of fact logic in this episode when talking about the plane crash. When Kate comments on how lucky they were to survive, he replies “No one is lucky enough to have survived that crash”. It’s true. But as we’ve learned, there really wasn’t anything “magical” to the fact that our Survivors survived… it was the result of an accident by Desmond not pushing the 108 button. In the end, the only real explanation is fate.

Locke. Speaking of Sayid, this episode also featured the beginning of one of the most drawn out and least satisfying mysteries thus far on the show, when Sayid is knocked out while trying to triangulate the distress signal. We learn much later (38 whopping episodes – during “The Greater Good”) that Locke was the one responsible, with him giving a fairly lame excuse that trying to find something that said “it killed them, it killed them all” didn’t seem like a good idea.

Rather, it’s pretty clear that Locke was on Team Island from the start, ever since his encounter with Smokey in the third episode, and the number one mission of Team Island is to keep our Survivors from getting off the Island. Although they didn’t have any smart phone at this point, finding the radio tower would mean they could turn off the signal, opening up the possibility for outside communication (little do they know about the Looking Glass, but we digress).

More importantly, this storyline represents one of my big fears for Lost – this was something that could have been revealed much sooner, but was dragged out (for reasons unknown) to the point where the audience had totally stopped thinking about or caring about it. When the storyline was finally wrapped up, it didn’t have much power behind it. I just hope that other dangling storylines (like the skeletons in the caves) aren’t explained in a similar awkward way. There needs to be a reason to re-visit them, to refresh the audience’s memory, and then a logical explanation for their resolution.

There would be nothing worse than the final season of Lost featuring a number of these “quick and dirty” storyline wrap ups. I’m not saying I think it’s going to happen – just that’s it’s a potential danger.

Okay - that's all for this one.

Message Board Discussion.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

These Are A Few Of My Favorite Things

It may come as a surprise to some of you, but I do spend a good amount of time thinking and discussing things other than Lost. Here's an example of one of those cases that turned out pretty great...

My friend Scott (he went to Miami, but he's okay) approached me earlier this week with an idea for a Blog Post that involved two of my favorite things in the world (no, not Skyline Chili and puppies - that's kinda nasty) - The Dave Matthews Band and the National Football League.

The task? To assign an DMB song to each NFL team that best represents them. After initially thinking this would be impossible, we actually found that it came pretty easy... and turned out pretty accurate and hilarious.

Probably the only people who will fully appreciate it are the rare combination of people who enjoy the hard hitting action of the NFL (meatheads) with the peaceful grooves of DMB (hippies) - which may just be Scott and myself, actually - but for all the other potential meathead hippies out there, enjoy:

If anyone else has any suggestions for any posts, let me know. We're always looking for fun topics for his Blog or mine. Anything to break up the monotony of the work day!

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Lost Rewind - "House of the Rising Sun"

Episode Review: Another week, another episode dealing with a fundamental “need” for our Survivors. We’ve seen them deal with the life and death that came with the crash, the need for food, the need for water, and this week – the need for law and order on the Island. For me, this was the first episode of Lost that was just “okay”. There is nothing really wrong with the episode, but nothing outstanding either.

The Sun / Jin flashback is serviceable, adding a twist to the typical “husband dominating wife” storyline (although it’s somewhat ironic that after this episode, we view Sun as the victim and Jin as the ruthless one in the relationship – whereas we’ll come to learn the exact opposite is true down the road). It’s the on-Island stuff that doesn’t really sit well with me. I understand that there’s a deeper symbolism with the watch representing Sun’s father (and his control over Jin), but Jin going absolutely crazy on Michael for wearing it still doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me.

Speaking of not making sense – how are our Survivors getting water these days? I can see the Swan Hatch providing water during Season Two… but how about during Season Three? The Survivors are all still living on the Beach, not in the Caves, the Swan Hatch is Imploded… hmmmm…

Deeper Meaning Explanation: The writers always seem to come up with their most punny episode titles when it comes to Sun and Jin. This one is straightforward enough, referring to Sun “rising up” against Jin and plotting to leave him (even though she chickens out at the end). “Rising Sun” also provides a little double-meaning since it’s both refers to our character Sun, and the region of the world she comes from. Lastly, we have the song “House of the Rising Sun”, whose lyrics refer to a person tied to a negative influence that they are unable to leave… just like Sun being tied to Jin.

Original Thoughts: Finally! Past Brian decided to try and save time at work by writing up his thoughts about the episode rather than individually having to talk to each co-worker about it. Here’s what I had about “House of the Rising Sun” back in the day. The simplicity and shortness of the thoughts seem quant nowadays – but really, Lost wasn’t that complicated of a show during these initial episodes. It was about getting to know the characters, and the characters surviving. The heady stuff didn’t really start until the arrival of CFL and the Hatch. But enough justification about the crappiness – here they are (original in Italics, comments on my comments after):

Did you notice last week when Jack and Kate were in the cave and Jack picked up the one white stone and the one black stone? This was almost the exact same thing we saw in the pilot where Locke picked up two backgammon pieces and gave his "there is a good side and an evil side" to everything speech to the little kid. Is one of the groups going to become good and one evil?

Ah, one of my favorite early predictions – that our Survivors would split into two groups (one led by Jack, one by Locke) with one being “good”, and one being “evil”. I also enjoy that I didn’t know all the character’s names at this point. So very professional.

Remember the comic book from the pilot with the picture of the polar bear in it? I read an article in TV Guide saying that the creators of the show picked that comic specifically. In researching on the internet, I found that the comic deals with an alien life form that the good guys are fighting who turns out in the end to be a good guy. Symbolism? They think the island and the beast, etc. are evil - but they are really good?!?

Wow – it’s somewhat surprising to me that I was already pitching my all-time favorite theories this early on – that the audience thinks the Survivors are the good guys, but in reality they’re the bad guys – we just happen to get to know them better, and instinctively start siding with them. Even with what we know now about the Others, based on Jack’s absolute misery in the flash-forward, maybe this theory isn’t so far off…

Why didn’t Jack admit to Kate last week that he was checking her out? We all were checking her out, it’s cool to admit it! And how genius are the show writers to craft a scene where both Jack and Kate are ripping off their clothes as fast as possible? Hello ratings! God bless angry swarms of bees!

…and my love for Kate being scantily clad was there from the start as well. I love their excuse of “there were bees in our clothing, so we had to take them off”… right…

So the Korean girl speaks the English - now she can be in cahoots with everyone else on the island, while keeping up a secret identity with her husband so he doesn’t beat her!

Oh, if only I knew. Past Brian – don’t be fooled by jezebel Sun! She’s the cold-hearted bitch! Jin is a saint! If only I could warn him…

What a cruel twist of fate that Jack and Kate are in different groups on the island! Get those kids together so they can make out!

TV Love Triangle rule #1 – keep the lovebirds apart. It was evident from the start.

What happened to the Beast, who has been oddly absent since the Locke episode? Did Locke somehow tame it / kill it / overcome it?

Still a good thought – both Locke and “the Beast” seemed changed by their encounter. I’d still like a full disclosure of what happened during that scene.

Is anyone going to mention the Polar Bear or the French girl ever again?

Patience, Past Brian, patience. Little did I know that CFL would become a full-fledged character on the show, or that we’d see polar bears at least two more times on the show.

New Thoughts

Skeletons. A largely forgotten part of this episode, until the following article ran in Entertainment Weekly last year (from Lostpedia):

In an article, Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse answered the fan question, "What is the meaning or significance of the two skeletons that Jack and Kate found in the cave of season 1?"

CUSE: The answer to that question goes to the nature of the timeline of the island. We don't want to say too much about it, but there are a couple Easter eggs embedded in "Not in Portland", one of which is an anagram that actually sheds some light on the skeletons and hints at a larger mythological mystery that will start to unfold later in the season.

LINDELOF: There were certain things we knew from the very beginning. Independent of ever knowing when the end was going to be, we knew what it was going to be, and we wanted to start setting it up as early as season 1, or else people would think that we were making it up as we were going along. So the skeletons are the living -- or, I guess, slowly decomposing -- proof of that. When all is said and done, people are going to point to the skeletons and say, "That is proof that from the very beginning, they always knew that they were going to do this."

One, the anagram, could be Mittelos -- "Lost Time" or "Time Slot" -- and there could also be something embedded within the Room 23 video.

The other may be the reversed audio from the Room 23 footage. When played backwards the words "Only fools are enslaved by time and space." is repeated extremely clearly. It is possible to make the names "Adam and Eve" from the letters of this phrase.

To me, this is pointing towards Adam and Eve being victims of what I affectionately call “Funky Time”… but I’ve pretty much ditched that theory after the season finale, since it revealed our characters seemingly returned to the world a few years after they left it, funky time-free. Since Jack ends the episode with the black and white stone, you could theorize that somehow Jack goes back in time (with Kate) and becomes those statues – like the Island is in some sort of infinite time loop… but it just seems like a huge stretch to introduce such a complicated concept this late in the game. The story of Lost is beyond strong without needing such trickery, in my mind.

Jack claims that the two have been dead for at least 40 or 50 years, which makes them pre-Dharma. They could be Island Originals, but why would they be buried in the Caves, as opposed to set out to see on a burning raft, a la Colleen? You would think their traditions surrounding death would be consistent.

So it remains a mystery. Watching this episode three years later, we’re really no closer to understanding the mystery of Adam and Eve – and that’s part of what makes Lost such a great show. Someday, we’re going to be able to go back and watch these episodes from an entirely different perspective. However, if Jack and Kate do end up being Adam and Eve, how ironic is Kate’s statement in this episode of “I don’t want to end up like Eve”? Or Michael’s statement of “time doesn’t matter on a damn island”? There are definitely clues there, that might be blatantly obvious – but I still refuse to buy into them…

Locke. Locke continues his “Salvation Tour”, this week focusing on Charlie (for those keeping track at home, it's now been Michael, Jack, Charlie). Should we really believe that Locke is savvy enough to realize that Charlie is a former junkie trying to kick his habit? Or is this information the Island has provided him? Likewise, did pre-Island Locke strike anyone as the type of person who would listen to and know “Driveshaft”? More pre-Island knowledge, or just another side of Locke (the pop-rock loving boxman) that we haven’t seen yet?

He says “The Island will give you what you’re looking for… but you might have to give the Island something in return”, an early hint that Locke is on Team Island – something that I think is going to become more and more important as the show progresses.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Lost Rewind - "White Rabbit"

Episode Review: One of the great things about these early episodes of Lost is that with one flashback, you pretty much got the idea of what each character was all about. Kate’s showed that she was a girl always on the run. Locke’s showed that he was a guy who was always put down by society around him. In “White Rabbit”, we learned that Jack had some serious leadership and daddy issues. While there is much more to each character (as we find out later), each episode served as a nice little summary of their major life drama.

This episode also dealt up another realistic on-Island dilemma for our Survivors – a lack of fresh water. There are hints of their happy little society falling apart Lord of the Flies style, with characters hording supplies, losing their tempers, and blaming each other – but luckily Jack steps up and provides one of the signature speeches of the series, his “Live Together or Die Alone” manifesto.

All in all, it’s another very solid episode that realistically moved the plot forward on the Island. But early on in Lost, it’s clearly the flashbacks that drove the storylines, not the on-Island action. If you think about it, what really happened over the course of “Tabula Rasa” through “White Rabbit”? Our Survivors have started to form a little society and are dealing with base physical needs while getting to know each other. If we had a series of episodes with this little action nowadays, people would flip out and claim the show had lost its way. But back in the day, we were all gently easing into the story – learning the players and setting the stage before the huge mythology of the show would start to appear.

Deeper Meaning Explanation: Locke comes out and explains the meaning during the episode, but “White Rabbit” refers to Jack’s Dad. One of our first (of many) references to the Alice in Wonderland, the white rabbit leads Alice through a hole into Wonderland – just like Jack’s Dad leads him to some much needed fresh water on the Island. Locke tells Jack that “I looked into the eye of the Island… and what I saw was beautiful”, hinting that maybe his father is alive, and wondering what would happen if Jack were to catch him. In a way, it’s symbolism that the Island itself just might be a type of “wonderland”, and the vision of his father might be the Island’s way of leading Jack into it.

Original Thoughts: Wa wa wa. One more week without original thoughts.

New Thoughts: A few good things to ponder this episode, starting with a question that lingers to this very day…

Jack’s Dad. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – but here’s where I said it first – Christian Shephard is Dead. While there were a few tidbits that probably appealed to the “Christian Shephard is Alive” theorists out there – most notably the empty coffin and Locke’s “what if your dad was alive” speech – I think the truth is much simpler.

Flashbacks show that Jack was unable to get his father’s body onto the plane due to proper paperwork not being filled out. Yet he is adamant with the lady at the ticket counter that he needs the coffin to be on the plane. It seems pretty clear that the airline simply put the coffin, sans body, on the plane as a means of appeasing Jack while adhering to the rules. The episode also shows that Jack hasn’t really slept since the crash, probably explaining him suddenly having visions of his father. His mind is playing tricks on him due to exhaustion.

There’s always the possibility that Christian Shephard was a manifestation of Smokey (you could argue that it intentionally lead Jack to the water – but it also almost killed him – so maybe both were just coincidental?), but the simplest answer is that it’s all in Jack’s head.

Jack. Speaking of Jack’s head, it’s ironic that this episode featured his father telling him “Don’t try and save everyone. You don’t have what it takes”, especially when you consider that Jack tried to save everyone during the Season Three finale by calling Naomi’s Crew – and it looks like that plan is going to backfire terribly. Maybe father knows best after all?

Locke. Lastly, we have John Locke who continued to be a little creepy, and seemingly knows more than he’s letting on. He continues his mission to save everyone from their own demons during his talk with Jack (which convinces Jack that he needs to be a leader for the Survivors), but also makes the comment about “knowing where to look for water”. He doesn’t find it however – but instead is conveniently around to save Jack from a cliffhanger-death.

If the Island and Smokey are working on the same side, this pretty much eliminates the possibility of Jack’s Dad being Smokey, doesn’t it? Assuming that the Island is giving Locke “all-knowing” powers, why would it try and kill Jack only to have Locke turn around and rescue him? Seems like a waste of time and effort to me. Yet another reason I’m chalking up Christian Shephard to a hallucination.

Short and sweet this week. Comment on the Board here, or below below.

(No pressure, but every passing week with little to no comments increases the likelihood of me pulling the plug on the Lost Rewinds and focusing my attention elsewhere… )