Fangirl Thursday: Let’s Get Lost



It’s been 10 years since we watched Jack Shephard dramatically open one eye, stumble through a jungle, and come upon the harrowing wreckage of Oceanic Flight 815. It’s been 10 years since we met Kate, Sawyer, Charlie, Claire, Locke, and so many other characters who would make us laugh, cry, and fall in love right along with them over the course of six seasons. And it’s been 10 years since we saw a polar bear, discovered a smoke monster, and realized we were in for a journey like nothing else we’d ever seen on TV before.

That’s right, friends; Lost turned 10 years old on Monday. Ten years ago, I stood in front of the tiny TV in my kitchen and watched what I still consider to be the greatest pilot of all time. I knew I was in for one heck of a ride after learning all about J.J. Abrams’s crazy ways of weaving stories through my years spent loving Alias, but I don’t think any of us knew exactly how crazy this ride was going to be.

I learned so much from watching Lost, and those lessons have stayed with me for the last 10 years and will continue to stay with me for much longer. I learned that no character I love on a TV show is safe at any time (not just in premieres and finales), and that’s helped me get through every season of Game of Thrones, Once Upon a Time, and even The Good Wife.

I learned that sometimes your choice of favorite character changes as you grow and change yourself—from Kate to Charlie to Sawyer to Juliet. I learned that you don’t choose your “ships;” they choose you. (I spent so long wondering why I wasn’t more invested in the Jack/Kate/Sawyer triangle, only to discover that my heart was apparently saving all of its feelings for the unexpectedly perfect pairing of Sawyer/Juliet.) I learned that I love any and all plots involving time travel. And I learned that nothing makes me happier as a fan than when a character or a show can still manage to surprise me.

The most important lesson, though, that I learned from Lost was taught to me in the pilot and reinforced in the series finale: It’s all about the characters. For all the polar bears and smoke monsters, the reason I loved the pilot was because it made me care about these people beyond just their observations of the mysteries unfolding around them. The pilot opened with people just trying to survive and help one another do so; the mysteries came later. And I tried to never forget that. For as much as this was a show with possibly the most complex mythology to ever grace network TV, what made it work was its commitment to creating and developing characters that made us care.

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Fangirl Thursday: Making an Impact

parks prom

We’ve all seen those lists popping up on our Facebook feeds—“15 Movies that Changed My Life,” “10 Books that Stayed with Me,” “10 Albums that Have Defined My Life,” etc. We’ve probably even made one or more of those lists ourselves. (I’ve done both the book and movies ones.) But I haven’t seen any of these “challenges” devoted to television.

That’s about to change.

I am the woman I am in no small part due to the movies I’ve watched and the books I’ve read in my 26 years. However, I’m also the woman I am because of the TV shows I’ve watched and the television characters I’ve loved. More than any other form of media, television has given me characters and stories to grow up with, to be inspired by, and to learn from over the course of many years.

Therefore, today I’m making a list of the 10 TV shows that have had the deepest impact on me. And I’m challenging all of my fellow nerds to make their own lists and post them in the comments!

1. Sesame Street: My love for television as a medium and my respect for it as a positive force in people’s lives can be traced back to mornings spent watching Sesame Street with my mom. It was the first TV show I was ever exposed to, and I want it to be the first TV show I expose my own children to someday. I love Sesame Street not only for the things it taught me (Spanish, letters and numbers, the continents…) but also for how happy it made me as kid and still makes me as an adult every time I see Grover or Big Bird or Cookie Monster spreading joy to a new generation of kids.

2. Boy Meets World: This was the first show to teach me that a piece of media can mean different things to you at different times in your life. I grew up with these characters not only when the show first aired but also through reruns that seemed to air just when I needed them in high school, in college, and even now. Boy Meets World’s series finale is one I treasure as an adult far more than I did as a preteen watching it for the first time, and it gave me some of the most profound advice any TV show could ever hope to give: “Dream. Try. Do good.”

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Daily Dose of Feelings #1

The idea for this feature (and the idea for yesterday’s discussion of the emotional power of television) came from a recent YouTube excursion to rewatch some scenes from the series finale of Lost. One thing led to another, and I ended up sitting on my couch, crying my eyes out over one scene in particular—a scene that I’ve continued to watch for the last two weeks on a near-constant repetitious loop.

Fifty (or more) viewings later over the course of three years, the reunion between Sawyer and Juliet at the hospital vending machine still hits me the same way it did that May night when I saw it for the first time.

Even if you’ve never watched Lost, even if you have no idea who these characters are or what they mean to each other, I dare you to watch this video and remain unmoved. I’ve watched a lot of television in my almost-25 years on this Earth, and this is by far the most beautiful scene I’ve ever watched.

The background is relatively simple (for Lost at least): Sawyer and Juliet were happy and in love, and he was ready to propose before she was violently torn from his grasp by electromagnetic forces on the island, eventually dying in his arms. In this scene, both of them are wandering around a kind of “spiritual waiting room” in which they have no memory of their past life until they meet their “constant,” the person who wakes them up to the reality of their lives (and deaths). In this case, Sawyer and Juliet are each other’s constant—each other’s soulmate.

There are no words for how much this scene still fills me with a sense of pure relief and happiness. It truly feels like you’re watching two people with so much history of joy and pain finding each other after a lifetime apart. The chemistry between Josh Holloway and Elizabeth Mitchell in this scene is the standard by which I judge all other actors’ chemistry because they make me feel every intense emotion as it sweeps through them—from initial attraction to the pain of horrific memories to the speechless joy of holding one another again.

Holloway and Mitchell were truly breathtaking in this moment. I love how she falters a little when she remembers falling to her death, but what I love most is that this time he’s there to keep her from falling—and he’s not letting the chance to hold her slip through his fingers ever again. When he says “I got you, baby,” as his voice cracks, I feel like someone is stepping on my chest while simultaneously making my heart grow 15 sizes. There’s something so gorgeously intimate about it, so real. And when Juliet cries and laughs at the same time you can feel her relief like it’s your own—a relief mirrored in Sawyer’s smile, a smile so bright and so hopeful it’s like nothing we’ve seen him express before.

And don’t even get me started on the kiss. Her giddy anticipation. His passionate intensity. The most mature, honest, and beautiful love story on Lost got its happy ending—all to the sounds of Michael Giacchino’s perfect score.

In the immortal words of Juliet, “It worked.” The goal of this reunion was to remind us just how epic this love story had become and just how good these two actors were together—while making us cry buckets of tears. I’d say it worked perfectly.