Land of Lost Plots

May 28th, 2007

Recently, I’ve accidentally been watching a lot of Lost. I know I’m not alone here, but the catch is that I don’t really like it.

It’s nonsensical and arbitrary, and the characters aren’t very convincing. Taken as traditional narrative, it has all the grace and follow-through of a Rube Goldberg machine. But the plot of Lost doesn’t strictly follow conventional plot structures, to a degree I haven’t seen on prime time since Twin Peaks.

It relies on a kind of dream logic wherein, every so often, things happen not as the result of other events, but because they’re related thematically, or because it’s aesthetically pleasing for them to do so. Still, it doesn’t feel completely rudderless — there’s clearly some kind of plan, even if the writers don’t have it all worked out beforehand. The “truthiness” of this kind of narrative lies in its emotional resonance, and the show seems to understand that. Those kinds of plots are my favorite, but this one is dressed like “Survivor,” and is on ABC, which confuses me.

Regardless — I think it’s significant that the main characters in both Lost and Twin Peaks are openly depicted struggling with the conflict between rationality and intuition. If I were better-educated I’d stick something in here about the zeitgeist, and political climates.

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