“Lost” IS Just a Television Show

May 25, 2010


Lately, I’ve been surrounded by hype I do not understand.  For those living under the proverbial rock, the TV show “Lost” aired its series finale (and, save me Jesus, 24 is coming up.  Ugh).  Even though I never got into it, this show was special.  You can count on your hands the number of shows that generated this kind of rabid following.  Even a classic like MASH, whose last episode was the most-watched TV show in history until the last Superbowl, didn’t engender that kind of loyalty.  That can be attributed to a lot of things, but I think a big one is our obsession with pop culture.  Nothing wrong with it, as long as you see it for what it is. 

Pop culture is the “contemporary lifestyle and items that are well-known and generally accepted, cultural patterns that are widespread within a population“.  Pop culture is a phenomenon of the late 20th and early 21st century mass media, as opposed to folklore, which comes from more local or pre-industrial society.  Another difference is that folklore has been used by many societies to pass cultural knowledge from one generation to the next.  Some how, I don’t see that happening with pop culture.  That’s not to say there aren’t some good messages out there, but they’re few and far between.  “Lost” may be one of those few.

Let me say for the record, I’ve never understood the obsession with “Lost”.  In fact, I haven’t watched more than maybe 10 minutes total.  There are several reasons for that.  I hate serial shows.  You know, the ones that you have to watch EVERY week or you’ve hopelessly lost the plot line and have to wait for that season to come out on DVD to figure anything out.  This comes from the fact that my job doesn’t really allow for that kind of dedication in viewing.  Being a firefighter, I can’t just say “Oh, that house fire can wait until Lost is over”.  People tend to frown on their homes burning down and about the only acceptable excuse for not being there is death or injury.  And, don’t say “DVR it!”  That never works, because some ass always spills the beans about every cliff hanger that you’re waiting to see.  Another reason is that everyone was raving about Lost and my contrary nature refuses to let me enjoy anything that approaches that level of popularity.  Finally, I’ll admit that an ex was crazy about it and I just couldn’t go there.  I have nothing personal against the show, even if I did call it “mushroom dream” and “a bad acid trip” while teasing some of my friends who were obsessing over the final episode.  And, even though I swore on another blog that I’d never watch it, I’m considering it after looking at a couple of synopses.  The way the show deals with conflict of faith and science especially intrigues me.  But, I see it for what it is: A TV show.

I wondered how long it would take for a “Lost” Bible study or Sunday school lesson to come out and I’m not disappointed.  Abingdon Press has had a study out since Season 4.  I didn’t find a Sunday School lesson yet, but I did find a book called “The Gospel According To Lost” by Chris Seay.  In the product description, Amazon has this to say,”Lost is NOT just a television show (now you know where my title came from). It has become larger than that-a massive story filled with mystery that has garnered over twenty million participants. Some might call them viewers, but one does not just watch Lost, one participates in it. It demands that you dialogue with the story, seeking theories and comparing yourself to characters. Lost breaks all the formulas for television, and in doing so has drawn together millions of people on a shared journey that explores life, faith, history, science, philosophy, hope, and the basic questions of what it means to be human. It is the seemingly infinite ideas, philosophies, and biblical metaphors that make this story so engaging.”  Wow, maybe we should fire all the preachers (hmm), close up the churches, sit at home and watch “Lost”.  Okay, maybe that’s a little snarky, but I can’t help it.  You don’t just watch Lost, “it demands that you dialogue with the story” and it has “drawn together millions of people on a shared journey that explores life, faith, history, science, philosophy, hope, and the basic questions of what it means to be human.”  Geez, how anything, book or movie, live up to that kind of hype?  I’m going to try and watch the first season on Netflix soon and I hope it can deliver.  I’m not holding my breath, though.

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