Mini Doc Jensen: 'Lost' viral videos that are good... and not so good. Plus, 'Lost'-themed Haiti relief effort
It’s been a busy week in Lost land as the culture gears up for the premiere on Tuesday. Heck, it’s been a busy day. By now, you’ve probably heard that the first four minutes of the premiere are online — and I hope you haven’t watched them. If you want to hear my reasoning, go here. So instead of going on and on about that here, I’d like to direct your attention to something infinitely good that is being done in the name of Lost.
Maureen Ryan, the TV critic for the Chicago Tribune and a big time Lost fan, has organized a charity fundraiser with the goal of generating money for relief efforts in Haiti. She’s got bunches of fun pop culture stuff she’s put up for Ebay auction, including some Lost memorabilia donated by a cool fan named Ian Leino. If you’ve been thinking about donating to the cause and looking for the means to do so, please investigate these opportunities. You can get more info by reading Maureen’s own words on the cool thing she’s doing here. Please give it some consideration.
ITEM! One of the funniest expressions of Lost fandom I’ve seen in awhile. A guy named Mike used his big Italian family to re-enact key scenes from the first five seasons of Lost. The results are hysterical—and actually informative! Even Lost exec producer Carlton Cuse has enthused about the work. You can watch here:
ITEM! There’s another red hot Lost-related video making the rounds, this one produced by The Fine Brothers, the clever viral video comedians famed for their spoofy-satirical Lost videos using Lost action figures. (They must have been kinda bummed when ABC basically swiped their idea for the network’s “Lost Untangled” series. Oh, well.) You can find a sample of their older work here. Their new video is a music video, set to the tune “Downtown” (Lost fans will know that’s Juliet’s fave song), built around the theme of “answers.” As in: Season 6 better give us all the answers to all the questions we’ve always had or else fans are going to get pissed.
The video is clever. And the overall point isn’t invalid. Fans are really excited to finally see Lost come clean on Smokey the Monster, The Numbers, Christian Shephard’s empty coffin, and any number of mysteries. I will say, though, that the video feeds into what is quickly becoming an overstatement of the whole “answers” mandate. It seems to me that larger cultural story about Lost has become that the show is ONLY about its mysteries, and season 6 is supposed to be some kind of slot machine that’s going to pay out with a deluge of glittering answers. I’m not sure if that’s how Lost fans truly feel. Personally, I hope season 6 gives me a great story with powerful character resolution and answers bunches of questions in its stride, in that order or priority — story, character resolution, “answers.”
But I digress: we were talking about the Fine Brothers, weren’t we? My problem with this latest example of their usually entertaining brand of Lost satire is that they don’t stop with just calling out the fact that Lost is a show with bunches of loose ends. The video just drips with suspicion and cynicism that feels more mean than amusing. The parody song’s first verse: “When Lost first started there were all of these mysteries and we hoped it would/End well/With one season left we’re starting to lose faith but only time/Will tell.” Really? Who’s the “we” here? If it’s just the Fine Brothers, well… okay. They’re entitled to their opinion. But I would seriously question if their declining faith is shared by the larger fan base. (Or am I wrong about that? Feel free to answer in the comments below.)
My bigger problem with the song is what the brothers consider “a mystery.” Their litany of unresolved things includes the easy targets (The Monster, Richard Alpert, etc.), but also includes a couple things that I honestly think no serious Lost fan expects the show to resolve — including the “Hurleybird” in-joke of season 2. (Don’t know what I’m talking about? Point proven.) There ‘s also a so-called “mystery” that’s just a misreadings of the show: the Fine Brothers seem to think that The Man In Black took over Locke’s body. That’s not what happened. This is not to say there isn’t a mystery there to be clarified; what I’m saying is that the Fine Brothers messed up in articulating it.
Which is ironic, given how much of the song is devoted not to legit mysteries but calling out Lost on its own continuity errors. At one point, the song stops to dote on their assertion that it made no sense for Jin to go time traveling with The Island during season 5. The song then resumes and accuses Lost of sloppy storytelling by slapping the graphic “viewer = stupid” on the screen—implying that the show doesn’t respect our intelligence.
My bottom line? I applaud the wit and cleverness of these guys, and I support a critical reading of the show, especially during the final season. But this video’s snarky humor feels cheap and mean and unfair. I look forward to better, funnier videos from the boys in the future. I also look forward to hearing your thoughts below. Am I wrong? Maybe being too much of a fan here? Maybe I just need to chill and giggle along with the satirical poke?
Feel free to let me have it. Or agree with me! Also feel free to follow me on Twitter this week and into next as I rattle off more Lost theories and thoughts in advance of the premiere. @EWDocJensen is the name — go ahead and wear it out! PS: I’ll see you back here on TUESDAY with a new Doc Jensen column AND the season premiere of Totally Lost!