Never Say Never Again: Embracing Lost.

It turns out Evangeline Lilly is hot.

It turns out Evangeline Lilly is hot.

For the last two months, I’ve been holding my fingers to my ears, closing my eyes, and humming anything from Appetite for Destruction whenever ABC or ESPN would show the commercial for LOST, but now that Season Four is back tucked away at the Netflix shipping station in Queens, I can finally relieve myself of pretending I’m a three year old who doesn’t want to listen to his Mom. How did that happen?

As recently as last March I said frequently that, I’d never watch the show.  What changed? Or why did I hold out for so long? I knew it would take over my life. I’ve always said that I’d never do cocaine or ski because I know I’d like it and they’re expensive. But the side effects in this case aren’t crippling addiction or broken limbs, they’re emotional.

While sometimes that emotional toll pays off with dividends on shows like Six Feet Under, TV has third degree burned me in recent years, ruining shows like Dead “oh yeah we’re totally gonna do some bullshit movies after” wood, the last two shitty years of the X-Files and infamous last entruncated ball swallowing festival that was Gilmore Girls.

It has given me fear of serial TV commitment. I imagine that is another reason why reality TV does so well: because the characters are intentionally disposable. One season, maybe even one show and poof they’re voted away. But in drama, you become invested and begin to feel like you have an unwarranted stake in these people’s lives. LOST had all the marking of a heartbreaker. It’s on a major network, its sci-fi, there are a million character arcs, and the worst, it’s conceptual. It’s only destiny seemed to be going on for about three seasons too long and fizzling out into whatever disappointing conclusion they can drum up in the month or so after they find out they’re cancelled.

It was only towards the end of last season when JJ (Abrams) and the gang started talking about actually ending LOST after two more half seasons, that I actually started getting interested.  It was an amazing bit of forethought and not going for the cheap money grab that you rarely see in TV. It’s like when you’re favorite team stops signing former All-Stars past their prime, develops their farm system and makes a killer deal for a stud young pitcher. You wonder why everyone can’t do that.

So I dove in head first, chewing up disc after disc like a fat kid in front of the Entermann’s samples at Costco and haven’t regretted it one bit. Great short title sequence, engaging storytelling, superb acting, and more B list celebrity sightings then you can shake a torn down palm tree at (so far my favs are the unearthing of Jolie’s galpal from Gia and Jeff “the King of B” Fahey).

The pilot episode was one of the greatest pilots I’ve ever seen: mysterious and compelling from second one. In fact, that was pretty much the first two seasons. By July, we were into Season three and watching two discs in one sitting.

The best part of catching up on a major pop culture phenomenon is that it’s like being one of those people who had never had stereoscopic vision before. You never knew what you were missing. You were perfectly content with life and had adjusted perfectly to your handicap and then suddenly everything is deeper and more lush. I get it why Evangeline Lilly is hot. I can use Hurley as my new fat guy reference (retiring Louie Anderson for now). I can quote scripture like Mr. Ecko (never really did that). I can go to the LOST bar and get a shot everytime someone dies. But best of all, I can scream at the top of my lungs, “Whahh’s my baby Chaaalie,” like a petite Aussie gal and it gets a laugh every time.

After a drought of a few months, Season Four was released to my queue and brought everything together and now I watch and listen to those premiere commercials for every possible clue I can hear. I have only taken the night off for TV once (not including NE related Super Bowls) in the last five years and that was for this years 30 Rock premiere. Tonight, like Mr. Locke, I look to complete this walkabout that led me from being completely LOST illiterate to a full fledged magical island Darma initiated junkie. So, I’m gonna sit back and push off into the next two seasons on a raft to nowhere hoping LOST like so many others doesn’t end up in ambiguity, confusion or worse, cancellation.

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