Tuesday, May 25, 2010

[Insert 'Lost' Pun Here.]

So tonight is going to be different. Unlike most Tuesday evenings for several months, I will not be watching 'Lost'. And unlike every previous year when this fact was temporary, it's not coming back. It's over. The End. Literally (that was the finale title).

I don't want to hash out the actual content of the show, I'll leave that to critics and message boards. I just want to take a moment to consider the journey I took as an audience member. From 2004 to three days ago, the show has encompassed a relatively large percentage of my life, and has provided several great milestones with which to measure it.

I distinctly remember watching the first episode of 'Lost' on September 22, 2004. It was a Wednesday, so I was at my dad's for the evening. He was in the garage working on something, and I was flipping through channels just to pass the time when I settled on the much-hyped pilot. I say all this to show that I was only mildly interested when I began watching, but after making it through that first night, I was hooked. I sat on that sofa completely gripped and hoping that Dad wouldn't finish whatever he was doing before it was over.

I taped the show after that, because it came on at 7 pm and that was often a time still being taken by dinner. So I watched episodes after the fact. Somehow, around the second season, I fell behind in watching the recordings, and I just let it fall away completely from my viewing. To this day, I'm not sure I've seen the entire second season, and the 'tailies' never completely captured my interest because of that.

When I went to college I re-discovered the show. Communal viewing necessitated arriving early to secure the television, and I watched 'Lost' again at first just to facilitate getting a good seat for 'Project Runway', which packed the Red Room. But there's no such thing as casual viewing, and the drama and mystery roped me back in in no time. I was either watching the night of with other fans or watching the next day online, again with others. Call it peer pressure, but I was back in the fold. This time, it stuck. I watched the freighter arrive and explode, the Losties travel back and forth in time and reality, and I loved every minute of it.

And finally, it all came to an end on Sunday. Being the only person at home who really watches the show, I decided to watch the finale at a local movie theater to enjoy, just one more time, the feeling of community as a roomful of people gasp, laugh and cry together. So I made the harrowing journey downtown and found a parking space that didn't require testing my parallel parking skills. I arrived four hours early. Yes, I know, a mark of insane obsession, but I wanted to make sure I got a good seat, and I came prepared with knitting, snacks and reading. Plus, the fact that I was joined in line just ten minutes later proves that if I am crazy, at least I am not alone.

Hours later, we were sitting, waiting for the recap and finale. I was a little concerned that the guy sitting next to me would ruin the experience, because before it started they were showing epic scenes and he kept pointing to plot holes that aren't plot holes (you can't swim out of a porthole until the room fills with water because of the enormous amounts of pressure, and Jin choosing his wife over his daughter isn't a plot hole, it's disagreeing with the character's decision). Plus, he laughed a little more loudly than necessary. Thankfully, though, he was relatively silent during the actual show. Didn't inhibit my suspense or sobbing.

There was one more surprise at our screening than in others: special guest Frank Lapidus! That's right, everyone's favorite chesty pilot was filming in town and stopped on by to watch with us. When it turned out his character wasn't dead, there was even more applause all around.

About three hours later, it was all over. Some people were angry, but I was just in shock with red eyes and a snotty nose. I was almost in a daze as I walked outside, past the bright lights and thumping music of the clubs towards my car, diligently waiting for me on the street. As I drove home, I nearly started crying all over again. Because you can't just turn off the emotions when the lights go up. It didn't feel over, but it was.

I'm going to move on to other shows and other mysteries which may or may not be answered. But this wasn't just a show, it was something that started in high school, cropped up again in college, and ended in the 'real' world. Just another thing to look back on fondly and remember. Growing up. I guess it means all your favorite shows are over. But thankfully I'm not all grown up yet...

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