Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Lost Finale:

so as everyone in the english speaking world is aware, ABC's LOST had it's final episode on sunday. the lady and i watched in a room owensboro, kentucky comfort inn and suites, where i had a hearing the following morning. got a little applebees to go and a 40 oz, and settled down for the spectacle.

basically, i thought it was a really good finale. locke vs. jack, as it was from the beginning. a little weird how quickly smokey locke went down, and that kate did him in rather than jack. but enjoyable all the same. this finale brought a degree of closure, but still left an intriguing number of unanswered questions to think about. how long did hurley run the island? how long did kate, sawyer, etc live when the got off the island, and what did they do? the flash sideways/alternate reality set up well as a purgatory/heaven reunion scene. which, i think, is the kind of thing people wanted to see. (btw, the whole flash sideways plotline kind of echoes this flick).

of course the critics / message boards seemingly could not disagree more. but whatever. what were they expecting? seriously? there is no conceivable way all of the loose ends could have been tied up. i suppose it would have been more austere and "real" just to have jack die and do away with the whole flash sideways. but it would have been less enjoyable.

the problem is that tv critics / pretentious fans always want to view television as art. without retreading previous ad nauseum discussions, i do believe there are some shows that qualify (yes the wire, also mad men, sopranoes, friday night lights). these are shows that, from the beginning, have sought to have literary narratives. they have sought to be realistic/naturalistic/whatever. LOST has never sought those things. it was about entertainment. it was a network tv blockbuster. it has more in common with heroes or flashforward than it does the wire; it's just that it's a lot better than those shows. LOST has definitely floundered at times, but at the end of the day that's what it was. an addictive, slightly dumb but very entertaining tv show. and there ain't a thing wrong with that.


Blogger Zig said...

I'm a little confused by your last paragraph. Are you implying that genre shows can't be considered art? And in that case, aren't The Sopranos and Friday Night Lights examples of genre shows? Regardless of that answer, I disagree with the original implication. Not counting Twin Peaks***, the show that really made me reconsider the possibility of tv as an art form was--hold your laughter--Buffy the Vampire Slayer. BtVS has more in common with Lost and Heroes than it does The Wire, but it's every bit as artistic/artful as the other shows that you listed.

Unfortunately, however, too many people within the various art worlds share a similar perspective regarding what constitutes art. As a result, all tv shows, genre movies, and comic books have only recently begun to be taken seriously. The next big one will be video games. Of course, video games are an entirely different story. There is certainly a lot of potential there, but it's still in its nascent stages.

Can you tell that I'm still bitter about the fact that BtVS only received one Emmy nomination for writing, which didn't come until Joss Whedon wrote a silent episode in the show's 4th season?

***Most people didn't really compare Twin Peaks' artistic merits to other tv shows because it was created by a prominent arthouse filmmaker in David Lynch, it only lasted two seasons, and it was broadcast well before tv's new Golden Era.


5/26/2010 11:52 AM  
Blogger Huevos McGringo said...

you make a fair point, probably "art" was not the right level to use. maybe i should have used the high brow, or "literary", or "realistic". i don't know.

anyway, basically i think it's silly for people to object to an ending as dumb or "fake" when the premise of the show is wildly fictional. lost never sought to be "gritty". i don't even think it ever sought to be meaningful. and i do not think the ending represented any real departure from the tone of the show. people are acting like they were cheated by the ending being too happy or hollywood, when the show was silly entertainment in the first place.

people always hate on finales, critics in particular. the wire ended perfectly, but i still saw lots of gripping online.

5/26/2010 12:21 PM  
Blogger Huevos McGringo said...

no, i do not consider FNL a genre show. not really the sopranoes either.

5/26/2010 12:22 PM  
Blogger Zig said...

Hmmmm...I think that I still disagree with you. BtvS is every bit as literary as any of those other shows. I can't say that I'm a fan of Lost, but I'd probably be arguing the same thing if I felt like the ending betrayed the show in any way.

As for realism, Dark and I had a conversation about this stuff a long time ago. He made a very good point on this subject, which I will poorly recapitulate here. A show doesn't have to be even remotely realistic in order to be good. However, the characters still need to act realistically given the constraints of that universe, however ridiculous they may be. An easy example of this would be the Pixar movies. Personally, I think that the Pixar movies tend to say more about the human condition than a lot of "art films" do.

But as another example, take the ending of Kill Bill. What if The Bride had forgiven Bill for all of the terrible stuff that he did to her? It wouldn't have just been a betrayal of the revenge genre, but also the character of The Bride herself. Given all of the crazy stuff that Bill did to her, forgiveness wasn't an option. Viewers would have been justifiably angry with this ending. For the first three-and-a-half hours, one could probably make the argument that Tarantino wasn't trying to make anything "meaningful" at all, and that he was only trying to entertain us. But the right ending changes everything.

Now, again, I can't say anything about the ending of Lost. I didn't see it, and I'm not a fan. But depending on their complaints, fans may have a right to be angry. Perhaps they envisioned something different for the show, which the ending didn't address.

That being said, you're right about people hating on finales. But it might have more to do with the medium itself. If a show lasts more than a couple of seasons, it invariably goes through some pretty dramatic changes along the way. People who enjoyed the earlier seasons may not be fans of the later ones, and vice versa. Also, tv shows need a much larger number of plotlines just to sustain themselves. Thus, wrapping up all of these different storylines, while also appealing to a wide variety of devoted fans, is nearly impossible.

5/26/2010 3:09 PM  
Blogger Huevos McGringo said...

i can't really argue with what you're saying, zig, and i am not saying that genre shows can't ever go wrong. perhaps my view is best summed up in the sentence from above: "i do not think the ending represented any real departure from the tone of the show." the bride forgiving bill would have betrayed the tone/feeling of the movie. an uplifting finale for the wire, where marlo went to jail, all the kids went to college, and lester was the deputy ops under commissioner daniels, would have been inconsistent with the show. lost was always random and ramshackle (at times undecipherable), and there were dozens of loose ends and inconsistencies that honestly could not have been effectively been tied up. the ending was kind of sad, kind of up-lifting, and kind of ambiguous. i think it was well constructed. and i think that with a show of this ilk, having an ending that featured a bit of a "reunion" was a good thing.

5/26/2010 3:51 PM  
Blogger Huevos McGringo said...

btw, i can't believe you've written two comments that long re: the finale of a show you don't even watch. even i don't argue that much.

5/26/2010 3:52 PM  
Blogger Zig said...

Either knowingly or no, I think that I just took all of my hatred of Lost and turned it into an excuse to try and harass you into watching Buffy. I still get pretty worked up about that show. I mean, you do know that Veronica Mars completely stole its basic structure from Buffy, right?

As for my hatred of Lost, I know that you're not one of the insane, die-hard fans. But those people drive me crazy. They're worse than the people who think that the Star Wars movies are the best movies of all-time. At least the Star Wars folks are partially basing their feelings on irrational nostalgia.

5/26/2010 6:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"comfort inn and a little applebees to go and a 40 oz, and settled down for the spectacle."

...besides the Lost part (I never really got that show), this sounds amazing. really.


5/26/2010 11:53 PM  
Blogger il Gatto Grande said...

Damn, I've missed out on almost all these long-running shows. I never saw Lost; I only saw one episode of Sopranos; and only saw like 2 seasons of The Wire. But I did just get HD Tivo with streaming Netflix - which makes for INSANE tv-watching, btw.

But yeah, as to your bigger point, these critics who jerk off over this high-brow stuff need to get a life. It's all in the execution. Will Ferrell movies are essentially their own "genre" now, but some of them are funny as fucking shit. "High brow" is basically its own genre, too. You know exactly what you're gonna get when you go to most art-house flicks. Some good; some bad.

5/27/2010 9:54 AM  

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