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Lost Is Its Own Monster: The Bitterness Fiesta


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#1

Coca Lite

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Posted Dec 2, 2004 @ 7:24 PM

After that pilot episode (both halves), I thought this would be the best show on television. How is it that this show has, since episode 3, been on such a linear and steep decline in quality? I would like this thread to be a refuge for my fellow disappointed viewers, who, like me, are still tuning in mostly because the show initially held so much promise. This can also be a great place to show how much smarter than the writers we are because we know how to make their TV show better. Probably they will read our posts and fix up the show to our exact demands.

Most of it is due to the over-reliance on flashback as a way to drag out the A-story to daytime-TV-level slooowwwness. Can we recap the information we have about this Island?

- Transmission sent for 16 years by a woman looking for her 'child.'
- Unspecified 'sickness' on island.
- 'Monster' on island.
- Island 'makes' Locke's legs work.
- At least one polar bear live(s/d) there.
- There is a 'bad guy.'

After TEN WEEKS. Meanwhile, each week I learn tons of information about what one of the principal characters was up to in the months before he or she got on the plane. This relates to anything how? I'm not sure, but the creators think we need about 22 minutes of backstory per episode.

For example: Sawyer has a complicated backstory involving confidence man operations and lots of money, and I'm-gonna-kill-yous, and he's so hurt because of something that happened with his father, waaaa. Now, he did not change his on-island behavior due to remembering this story in slow-motion. He did end up changing his behavior a little when Hurley made the golf course and Kate was nice to him. Every character is like this. Their backstories are irrelevant.

Remember the beginning, everyone? When the plot moved along, when pilots were getting flung into the air, before the writers forgot that Hurley was totally there when they read from the passenger manifest and so obviously knew about it except his amnesia was important for ensuring that the big reveal of the Bad Guy would come hilariously timed with the Bad Guy staring scarily at the Former Oasis Member and Irrational Pregnant Psychic-Believer?

I feel like the show has become Rosencrantz and Gildenstern Are Dead and every character is playing Questions: "Who are you?" "Why do you want to know?" "Don't you know about the girl?" "What girl?" "Is it OK if I go now?" Scene. Gems like 'rape cave' keep me around, but I'm really getting worried. Share the disappointment with me. Wallow in our collective misery and deep, dark bitterness.

Edited by Dan Kwa, Dec 6, 2004 @ 7:56 PM.


#2

Hobbette

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Posted Dec 2, 2004 @ 7:32 PM

The back-stories, though some of them can be quite cheesy and sometimes boring, are vital. I read a while back that TPTB said that all or most of the characters' lives intertwine somehow, either directly,or through a third-party. I do agree that in recent weeks the momentum has been lagging, but I think it's to create a contrast to make the really great ones pop out.

#3

traz12

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Posted Dec 2, 2004 @ 7:41 PM

I can understand the bitterness about the backstories and agree with it to some extent. Theoretically, I like the device. It should give depth to the characters, and I like that, since I'm all for character-driven stories. I'm even more for it if this is true about all the characters somehow being inter-related. But I would have to agree: why so much backstory? Sometimes it seems like we're spending more time in the past then in the present, and the present is where we REALLY want to be. (I know, I know: part of this is so that they can stretch out the overall story even longer, thus better maintaining the story over the overall series, but that doesn't make it any less maddening). Overall, though, I haven't really caught the bitterness over this show yet. And I'm hoping I won't.

Edited by traz12, Dec 2, 2004 @ 7:43 PM.


#4

A Big Potato

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Posted Dec 2, 2004 @ 8:05 PM

A bitterness thread after less than half a season? That's pretty quick.

#5

traz12

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Posted Dec 2, 2004 @ 8:13 PM

Some people like to be bitter. To each his own.

#6

Steggy

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Posted Dec 2, 2004 @ 8:15 PM

It's the bitterness thread! Those defending the show need not apply!

Edited by Dan Kwa, Dec 6, 2004 @ 7:55 PM.


#7

Hegel88

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Posted Dec 2, 2004 @ 8:21 PM

If I thought that was the entire concept I would stop watching; however, I am not yet sure I like the other concepts either.

#8

silverpatronus

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Posted Dec 2, 2004 @ 8:39 PM

It's the bitterness thread! Those defending the show need not apply!

Edited by Dan Kwa, Dec 6, 2004 @ 7:55 PM.


#9

dzhim

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Posted Dec 2, 2004 @ 8:42 PM

Don't forget:
- Island raises Jack's father from the dead

I too am getting tired of this show bringing up new questions and then ignoring them. Have we heard a single word about the pilot-eating, tree-crushing monster since Locke went eye-to-eye with it in the fourth episode? Did anyone try to find out who whacked Sayid in the head at the end of the seventh episode? Is Jack still seeing visions of his father now that the sixth episode is over? No, I guess each of these questions will be left to ruminate a few weeks longer before the characters finally get around to asking them.

Frankly, it was about damn time last week that we finally got some answers about the French woman's. It was seven episodes after the survivors first heard the message, and only about two or three of the characters seemed interested in tracking down that signal.

Argh.

#10

catnip

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Posted Dec 2, 2004 @ 8:54 PM

I love the idea of a "bitterness fiesta". I should throw one of those for the people I work with.

I have mixed feelings about the flashbacks. Depending on where the show is headed, Claire's could turn out to be very relevant to what's happening on the island, and I think the island story has been advancing more rapidly in the last couple episodes than it had before. And I think Sun's, Locke's, and even Charlie's were interesting.

So I don't share your bitterness. But I love a good fiesta.

#11

traz12

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Posted Dec 2, 2004 @ 8:56 PM

I love a good fiesta.


Don't we all!

#12

Gentle

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Posted Dec 2, 2004 @ 10:17 PM

I am bitter they are doing flashbacks cause they are easier to do than creepy suspense.

I am bitter they gave the boring Matthew Fox the lead and took it away from an equally boring but female actress. I think it would have been more interesting with Kate as the leader of one tribe.

#13

idledandy

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Posted Dec 2, 2004 @ 10:34 PM

I like the flashbacks. I like the balance. The show can't keep its suspense if too much happens on the island in each episode. Thus if it were totally island-centered it would be either too slow or too cheesy. The flashbacks let us know more about the characters. They let us know what brought them to the island. They let us see what these people were like before the island and how that differs from how they are now.

Obviously some are going to be more compelling than others. For example, Locke's and Claire's were the most interesting. Sayid's was the least. I do like that there's more to be told about each of them. As far as I'm concerned they can keep doing the flashbacks for the length of the series and I'll still hold my breath waiting for Wednesday.

#14

terebi

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Posted Dec 2, 2004 @ 10:55 PM

I just wish the writing had held up - the first two episodes, I don't remember hearing any groan-worthy dialogue, whereas nowadays it all is, and only the halfway decent performances keep it from sliding into Cheeseburg, PA.

I really missed Jin and Sun this last episode - I really missed Michael and Walt. Creepy Ethan is not worth no sight of Sun in her camisole.
edited to attempt to remove all the empty space.

Edited by terebi, Dec 2, 2004 @ 10:57 PM.


#15

Russ Mel

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Posted Dec 2, 2004 @ 11:09 PM

I too am getting tired of this show bringing up new questions and then ignoring them. Have we heard a single word about the pilot-eating, tree-crushing monster since Locke went eye-to-eye with it in the fourth episode? Did anyone try to find out who whacked Sayid in the head at the end of the seventh episode?


Word on this. The monster seems to no longer be an issue and they seem to have abandoned that thread about who hit Sayid in the head just before the radio signal triangulation thing. I think JJ Abrams is too good to just let these things fall completely away -- I think they'll probably be picked up later on. But some MENTION of them from one episode to the next or some acknowledgement that those story threads still exist would perhaps give a feeling of cohesiveness, I think. I'm not totally bitter -- still like the show but do agree that there are loose ends all over the place and that could present problems from a viewership perspective.

#16

Juliebijoux

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Posted Dec 2, 2004 @ 11:09 PM

I am bitter because today as I was driving home in traffic, still having nightmares about an evil man who is pretending to be a plane crash survivor and wants to kidnap a pregnant woman, when I was suddenly reminded of another show with prophecies....

Is this J.J.'s logic?

So... what if Felicity was a spy? Wait no, better idea. What if there was a special Rimbaldi prophecy that Sydney had to be raised by her mom or something really, really, really bad would happen. Oh! And she's born on an island.

Seriously, if he had only left out that baby prophecy...

Edited by Juliebijoux, Dec 2, 2004 @ 11:15 PM.


#17

Tarheel

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Posted Dec 2, 2004 @ 11:41 PM

What if there was a special Rimbaldi prophecy that Sydney had to be raised by her mom or something really, really, really bad would happen. Oh! And she's born on an island.

Can I add to the parallel universe?
Don't forget Daddy Issues, Juliebijoux! We gotta have Daddy Issues, too!
Jack got saddled with most of them, but there was also a line about Daddy Issues when Claire was arguing in the flashback last night, and the Michael/Walt storyline is one big Daddy Issue waitin' to happen. Sun's clearly got some Daddy Issues too. (What if Sloane were Korean? and his daughter's husband accidentally got mixed up in his shady dealings and torture and mob stuff...)

I am bitter they gave the boring Matthew Fox the lead and took it away from an equally boring but female actress. I think it would have been more interesting with Kate as the leader of one tribe.

Only if they had cast a stronger actress. I'm not that impressed with Evangeline Lily, and I'm pretty bored with Kate already, especially since we have another JJ Abrams favorite developing there: The Love Triangle. (What if Sydney were mellow and brooding with a dark past, and Vaughn was a swaggering Asshat, and Reporter Will was a troubled doctor...)

#18

lauri8

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Posted Dec 3, 2004 @ 12:22 AM

This is essentially a duplicate of the "Lost Hopes" thread started by catnip. A lot of the same issues are discussed there.

#19

Sheep

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Posted Dec 3, 2004 @ 3:34 AM

Don't forget Daddy Issues, Juliebijoux! We gotta have Daddy Issues, too!
Jack got saddled with most of them, but there was also a line about Daddy Issues when Claire was arguing in the flashback last night, and the Michael/Walt storyline is one big Daddy Issue waitin' to happen. Sun's clearly got some Daddy Issues too.


Bwahahaha, you will love the name of one of the upcoming episodes, if you don't already know it...

#20

Spaz Cadet

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Posted Dec 3, 2004 @ 5:27 PM

Actually, Sayid's being bonked (which I'd forgotten about it helps to have CRS sometimes) can now be explained by the presence of Others who are able to maintain some pretty decent haircuts and dentalwork for having been on the island at least 16 years.

#21

WynterWolf

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Posted Dec 3, 2004 @ 7:01 PM

I too am getting tired of this show bringing up new questions and then ignoring them.

I think JJ Abrams is too good to just let these things fall completely away


Unfortunately, JJ is famous (infamous?) for doing just that [/bitter former Alias fan]

#22

QueenAnne

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Posted Dec 4, 2004 @ 1:02 PM

I read a while back that TPTB said that all or most of the characters' lives intertwine somehow, either directly,or through a third-party.


Well, for a good long stretch there it looked as if we were developing a theme where most of the characters had done something illegal - Sun, Sawyer, Kate, Charlie, for ex. Unfortunately Locke, Sayid, and Claire (though if she'd signed the adoption papers, we might've had a chance) kinda break this chain, which throws us more into the "everyone has a deep dark secret, which seems fairly obvious because otherwise there'd be no point to having backstory" mode. (I know this isn't particularly bitter, but I did want to point that out.)

But yeah, I am kinda bitter about the pace at which the island gives up its secrets. I had missed the Rousseau episode due to a videotape malfunction, but my friend summarized things for me, and since he fell asleep (!) during the pivotal 15 minutes of her revelations, I remember him winding up and me asking him incredulously, "That's it? The full quota of creepy island revelations for this week?" Even when I found out the meat of what he'd missed during his little catnap, it still could've been fitted in in about 3 minutes of the show. I mean, I think everyone's backstories are fun and interesting, no question about it, but there should be a better overall balance.

ETA to clarify that Jin was looking like a possible criminal in Sun's backstory, not that Sun was doing anything criminal.

Edited by QueenAnne, Dec 4, 2004 @ 2:31 PM.


#23

Dan Kwa

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Posted Dec 5, 2004 @ 7:00 PM

This is essentially a duplicate of the "Lost Hopes" thread started by catnip. A lot of the same issues are discussed there.


Maybe so, but I enjoy bitterness, so have at it.

#24

tonnaree

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Posted Dec 5, 2004 @ 7:08 PM

Can we have some cheese dip and margaritas with our bitterness?

#25

catnip

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Posted Dec 6, 2004 @ 4:55 AM

No. Just strong black coffee and unsweetened chocolate.

I'm getting bitter about the "1000-mile stares" (TM someone) that the characters give before having flashbacks. This week, for example, Jack asked Claire a question about her pregnancy, and she went into one of those stares. I'm surprised he didn't immediately diagnose some neurological problem.

#26

OLynn

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Posted Dec 6, 2004 @ 8:54 AM

I too am getting tired of this show bringing up new questions and then ignoring them.

Oh, I'm going to enjoy this thread. Now you know why Alias fans drink. Welcome to our world.

#27

dream wanderer

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Posted Dec 6, 2004 @ 9:22 AM

I'm confused. Do those of you who are 'bitter' want the answers right away? We have a 'monster' on the island. We have weird happenings. Do you want these mysteries answered as soon as they are introduced?

Where is the fun in that?

I'm not making fun of your complaints but I'm not really sure what it is you want the writers to do.

#28

dzhim

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Posted Dec 6, 2004 @ 10:36 AM

I don't demand answers right away, but I'd sure like it if the writers pretended that they were going somewhere with the questions. As far as I can remember, nobody has even mentioned the Iron Giant since the episode where Locke somehow evaded being eaten by it. These people are just chilling out in the jungle all day long, and not one of them seems to be concerned about being eaten or ripped apart. I mean, here's a viable reason not to join the cave crew: "No thanks, I prefer death by heat stroke, dehydration, or slow, gradual blood loss due to an injury that a doctor could have fixed in thirty seconds, to death by a Dinozord." That's much better, IMHO, than "No way I'm going to the caves with all you fucking conformists!"

I mean, it could be as simple as adding a conversation like this:
Jack: "Kate, have you seen Lance?"
Kate stares off into the distance.
Jack: "Lance, you know, skinny guy, red hair. Glasses."
Kate turns slightly and stares off at a different point on the horizon.
Jack: "Guess not. Hmm. Must have gotten eaten by the monster. Guess we're down to 45."

I could easily tolerate these questions being pushed to the wayside occasionally, if something would ever be followed up on. (I watch 24; I'm no stranger to loose ends.) But the only island plot that has had any resolution (or, the only island plot that hasn't been completely forgotten by the next episode) was the French woman's distress call.

For the record, I think that was handled well when they finally got around to mentioning it again. They didn't have to answer very much of the question, and they basically just shifted the question from "Who was there before?" to "What the hell is going on?" And I also enjoy (most of) the flashbacks, right up until they start taking up too much time for anything else to happen on the island.

#29

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Posted Dec 6, 2004 @ 10:43 AM

But some MENTION of them from one episode to the next or some acknowledgement that those story threads still exist would perhaps give a feeling of cohesiveness, I think. I'm not totally bitter -- still like the show but do agree that there are loose ends all over the place and that could present problems from a viewership perspective.


This sums it up really well for me. I don't want TPTB to solve all the mysteries too quickly, I just want some acknowledgement that they haven't forgotten about them. Sayid's bash on the head being an excellent example. From a castaway point of view, it would be bad enough that there was someone preying on Claire, a person who is vulnerable. Knowing that there is someone capable of sneaking up and knocking out an ex-Iraqi Republican Guard would scare the beezeejus out of me. And yet it didn't come up at all when Claire's 'attack' happened. That would have been a perfect oppportunity for a one-liner ("I wonder if it was the same person who knocked out Sayid?"). It wouldn't have taken any time away from the plot, it would have made Claire's nightmare even more real, and it would have made the consistency fairy very happy.

I'm nowhere near the bitter stage, but I'm definitely wary of expecting too much.

#30

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Posted Dec 6, 2004 @ 10:53 AM

But some MENTION of them from one episode to the next or some acknowledgement that those story threads still exist


A. Men.

Polar bear? Iron Giant? Head-bonker among them? Distress signal?

I don't see how Frenchie/distress signal/Others/infection will be acknowleged in the upcoming ep since our intrepid leaders will be off looking for Claire, even though there is probably a link between the two occurrences.

I'm all for mystery, but at least have the characters recognize/discuss the dangers/weirdness, or do they honestly think those were aberrations and best forgotten for the good of team morale?