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October 25, 2014

A Lost Television Moment

by Stephanie Earp, posted Feb 2nd 2010 10:17AM


In 2000, I decided to go back to school and finish my degree. In case you're wondering, I took classics and women's studies, and I'm sure you can tell it served me well. That summer I arrived on campus about three weeks before school started, and one Sunday I headed to the campus pub hoping to make some new friends.

It was August 23, 2000, just a little after 8 pm.

I made no friends that night. Instead I practically had to jump up and down in front of the bartender to get her attention away from the television. The bar was packed and utterly silent. Everyone was watching what I now know was the second-highest rated finale of the decade, that the people in bar were only a handful of approximately 51.7 million viewers watching the 'Survivor' season finale. And I knew I was completely and hopelessly out of it.

In 2000, I decided to go back to school and finish my degree. In case you're wondering, I took classics and women's studies, and I'm sure you can tell it served me well. That summer I arrived on campus about three weeks before school started, and one Sunday I headed to the campus pub hoping to make some new friends.

It was August 23, 2000, just a little after 8 pm.

I made no friends that night. Instead I practically had to jump up and down in front of the bartender to get her attention away from the television. The bar was packed and utterly silent. Everyone was watching what I now know was the second-highest rated finale of the decade, that the people in bar were only a handful of approximately 51.7 million viewers watching the 'Survivor' season finale. And I knew I was completely and hopelessly out of it.

I'd heard of 'Survivor'. Who didn't that summer? But I had opted not to watch it, not because I wasn't interested - I was, it sounded pretty neat - but because I was busy and often out on Wednesday nights and didn't like getting addicted to summer series and thought maybe it was a flash in the pan anyway. Hey, I wasn't TV writer yet - I was allowed to be totally wrong.

I'm not trying to say it's some tragedy that I didn't watch the first season of 'Survivor', and therefore slunk home instead of watching the finale in a campus bar with all the friends I could have had, but it is a tiny bit sad.

And on Tuesday, another major television moment involving people stranded on an island is scheduled to air, and once again, I am ill-prepared. The season premiere of 'Lost' will not touch the first 'Survivor' finale in the ratings ('Lost' averages about 16 million on its best days), but it will be just as talked-about in the media, at the infamous water cooler (mine is my coffee pot these days - I work from home) and online.

You see, I haven't watched 'Lost' since 2005. And it's all because of that scene (SPOILER ALERT) where we see a Dharma Initiative logo on the flank of a shark in the final moments of 'Adrift'. It was so fleeting, in fact, that I had to rewind my recording of the show and pause it in order to make it out. The following summer, I was in LA on a press junket and I got the chance to ask the producers of 'Lost' about that moment, and a few others. Their response? "We're not writing the show for the pause-and-rewind crowd."



I was pissed, and vowed never to watch the show again. It is, in fact, one of the few resolutions I have ever made that I've stuck to. I don't work out, I smoke, but God forbid I watch an episode of 'Lost' since those strangers made me feel dumb for caring so much about their show. Take that, bazillionaires.

And now the final season is about to start, and I have my regrets. 'Lost' is exactly the kind of show I love. I love when a show has an enormous cast of characters with lots of juicy details about each one. I like a supernatural element to keep me guessing. I adore symbolic and metaphorical elements used in a show's plotline. I remembering being delighted every time Locke would talk about light and dark, when Sawyer was seen reading 'Watership Down' and discovering the names of certain characters referenced philosophical arguments about nature and civilization.

I threw away years of enjoyment and the delicious sense of anticipation that 'Lost' fans are feeling this week all because I didn't like Carlton Cuse's attitude.

What can I do about it now? I'll never catch up in time for Tuesday's premiere, but I've vowed to try to be ready when the even bigger moment comes - this May, 'Lost' will air its final episode. All those Christmas iTunes gift cards are going towards a complete re-watch of 'Lost' from the beginning, and so far I'm finding that age has softened me. I'm more forgiving of the sometimes contradictory clues and the occasionally wooden acting of the newer actors (ahem, Evangeline Lilly). But I haven't gotten to the shark episode yet - fingers crossed that this time I can make the leap.

'Lost' airs Tuesday February 2, 8 pm, CTV/ABC.

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