Friday, May 21, 2010

And In The End...

My mood of late? In a word...bummed.

As I get older I become more resistant to change. And I've never been a big fan of loss. So I've been feeling out-of-sorts this week: Sunday will be a big day, and while a part of me can't wait, another part of me wants to curl up in a corner and cry it out.

It's the end of an era. It's the end of Lost.

There's a lot being written in pop-culture-blogger-land about this show and its upcoming final chapter. Some have said it's our generation's MASH. I would agree, but as big a fan as my family was of MASH, Mom and Dad still gave up on the last couple of seasons and only came back for the finale because, well, most of America did.

I don't know that there's any comparison you can really make for Lost that fits. Most shows overstay their welcome. Even fans would tell you that The X-Files, West Wing, and perhaps even Friends went on about two season too long. And don't even get me started on ER.

But by setting an end date, Lost told its story mostly the way it wanted to. Never has a show kept me so hooked and so faithful from beginning to end. Though I almost didn't catch the Lost train at the beginning of its run.

I rarely do. When it comes to TV, I am a complete band-wagon-jumper. I wait and see. If more than one of my trusted friends makes a point to say, "I can't believe you aren't watching this show," then I think it's probably worth it to invest my time. Which is why I didn't start watching Everybody Loves Raymond until it had been on a couple of years, and didn't really get into Scrubs until its second season. I also don't like getting sucked into shows that don't make it past their first season; I call it the Adventures of Brisco County, Jr. syndrome. I was burned once in my youth, painfully and inexplicably, by a show I made must-see TV every Friday night only to see it get cancelled just when the mythology was getting good.

Never mind that I didn't watch the little mythology-rich show that came on after it, The X-Files, until it moved to Sunday night and half my friends were oohing and aahing over it. Hindsight is 20/20 and I see now the error of my ways.

Lost seemed a little too hip and a little too buzzy for me to want to give it much of a shot when it aired "way back" in 2004. Teachers here at school talked about it in the workroom, and to be honest, the chatter made it seem like a soap opera. Pretty people who crash landed on a remote island--yay. A scripted version of Survivor? No, thanks, I thought smugly.

But then I started hearing it from friends who aren't into soapy love triangles and overwrought hour-long dramas: "I can't believe you're not watching this show!" And I knew I'd have to cave.

Thank goodness ABC replayed most of season 1 the summer after Lost made such a splash in the pop-culture waters. That was a time when I needed both escapist entertainment and something to challenge the way I was looking at the world; Lost at its best is both.

I had just lost Dad when Jason and I started recording the reruns of Lost on the DVR. I wasn't sleeping well and saw everything around me as dim and gray. The pilot made me stand up and cheer. There was well-acted human drama with some juicy science fiction overtones, a beautiful location that looked like a tourism video, and an overall sense of, "I don't know quite what's going on in this world, but I can't wait to find out."

And now I've been waiting six years.

This show has been an important part of my life. Sad, but true. While we were recording those reruns that summer, our old-school TV (ironically, a housewarming gift from my father) died. The picture became distorted and fuzzy and we used that as an excuse to take the plunge into the world of flat-screen, high-definition television.

As luck would have it, our new TV came home with us on a Wednesday night. I met a couple of girlfriends for a date while Jason went about getting everything hooked up.

"I've got to go at 8:30," I told my girls.

"Why? You got big plans tonight?"

"Sure do! I want to get home in time to watch Lost on our new TV."

That was the first show I saw in HD, and it was like the first time I put glasses on after being diagnosed with near-sightedness in 7th grade. The beach! The jungle! The lush mountains in the distance! Jin's abs! Was blind, but now I see!

Lost and I had some good times: watching possibly the best episode ever, The Constant, knowing that the next day was a snow day and I could go ahead and have that chocolate martini while enjoying the heady romance and mind-scrambling time-jumping. Jumping out of my chair at the season 2 finale when the hatch imploded and Penny received that phone call that a signal had been found. Jumping out of my chair yet again when Jack said, "We have to go baaaack!" and realizing we'd just seen a flash-forward.

There have been bad times, too. But we won't speak of those. (Looking at you, Nikki and Paolo.)

I stuck with it even in the 3rd season when Jason was trying to convince me that Heroes was going to turn out to be the better show (we've long since given up on that particular trainwreck.) I stuck with the awful 10pm time slot that kept me up waaay past my early-riser's bedtime. I stuck with it even when they killed off characters I'd grown to love in ways that I thought were a little undignified (I still mourn Mr. Eko. And his arms.)

I stuck with it...and now it's all but over.

On Monday I will come into work bleary-eyed from lack of sleep and possibly from shedding tears. I hope it ends well and we all get most of the answers we seek. Even if we don't, even if the ending is more like The Sopranos and less like Friends and there's no happily ever after, I will still say...I enjoyed the ride. Nothing else will quite be like it.

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