Monday, May 24, 2010

Oh Get LOST!

Yep, I'm referring to the television series LOST.  Now before you click away because you a.) think this is yet another in a seemingly endless stream of LOST speculations about the series finale that was on last night, or b.) are worried this post will be full of spoilers... I assure you it's neither. Whichever side of the island you're on, you're safe. Unless of course the black cloud of smoke comes out of the trees at you.  In which case, you're doomed and don't have time to read this anyway. See you in another life, brutha! :o)

No, I'm not posting to discuss details of the show LOST. Instead, I just wanted to take a moment to ask a question of my readers as it pertains to storytelling.  See, the human family has a very long history of storytelling that goes all the way back to the garden of Eden.  Every family has stories, every community, every country, every culture.  Some are true stories, some are made up stories, and they come to us in a wide variety of ways.  Some are oral, told by older folks and have never been written down.  Some are simple cave drawings or complicated heiroglyphs. As technology has advanced they come in print form in the style of books, magazines, graphic novels, and good old fashioned comic books.  They come to us in the form of movies, computer gaming and television shows.  It seems everywhere you look you can find a story, in some version.  We love our stories, and we love the really good ones with twists and turns, surprises, failures, victories, reunions, moral backbone, heros, good v. evil... and on it goes.

Here's the scenario, then the question:

Let's say 50 people all read the same book last week.  Let's say it's an AMAZING book with diverse characters, good v. evil plot, suspense, drama, humor... it's just one of those books that simply has it all.  A fantastic story that you're really glad you read about, and will likely read again some time in the future.  Let's also say that it was just a given that when everyone finished the book yesterday, when they all got together today, the story in the book is what they would be discussing today.  Not many people in this world would have an issue with that, would they?

So why then, when the story is delivered via prime time, network television series, do people get SO upset about others discussing it?  Is it because it's a tv show and people generally hate tv shows?  Is it because it's not a story they've followed so it's just annoying to them to hear/read so many others discussing it?  Is it (for Christians) because the show was on on a Sunday and fellow Christians were talking more about this story than they were about the Lord (very much in the same vein as sports fans do when the superbowl airs on Sunday)? Yes, that's a serious question. They all are.

Today on FB, twitter and numerous news bits, I've read comments about how the series finale of LOST (and tonight's series ending of 24) is not only the talk of the watercooler, so to speak, but the most annoying thing in the world for those who have either never watched either show, or just don't care about either show. I can certainly understand the lack of interest in the wave of discussions.  I don't care for the superbowl myself, and hear/read a zillion comments about it on Superbowl Sunday every year.

The thing is, it isn't just LOST or 24.  While anyone who really knows me already knows I'm a total LOSTIE and wish Jack Bauer lived next door (although those closest to him tend to get killed, so maybe he should live a few doors down?), they also know that I know it's just a story.  My life doesn't revolve around the tv, but I do have my favorite shows and I'm certainly not ashamed to admit it.  I have favorite cds too, and books, and games, and pants.  I'm not afraid to admit that either but there are some folks out there who get right bent up over the fact that folks actually enjoy the storytelling in the form of a tv show.

So I said all that to ask this:

Why is a story in ANY other form apparently okay and/or acceptable, but a story told via television shows so incredibly annoying to so many people?  What is it about the tv, that gets under people's skin the way it does?

Graphic design by Carla Rolfe