Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Your Lucky Numbers Are: 4, 8, 15, 16, 23, 42; or Instant Dharma's Gonna Get You...

OK, let's get it right out in the open from the get-go. I'm an unabashed Lost fan. As anyone who knows my taste in movies and literature and such can tell you, I really enjoy a good mind fuck, (I also enjoy it if it involves my mind in only the very limited sense. Like screaming "Wheee!" over and over again quietly to myself during sex.) and for the past 6 years, Lost has provided that weekly Scanners moment of head-splody goodness I need to keep from killing everyone in the world. Yes, it very often becomes a victim of its own grandeur and yes, most of us that have stuck with it are pretty much obliged to watch to the end whether we like it or not, but despite its problems, it's still managed to swallow my soul.

I'm a nerd, to be sure, but very rarely do I succumb to the desire to really let go. Case in point: Star Trek. I loved the 2009 movie. It was one of those rare fusions of action and sci-fi that really got both parts right. (J.J. Abrams, the film's director is also one of the creators of Lost, by the way) And who doesn't love Patrick Stewart? Before he was hamming it up with hilarious results on Family Guy and American Dad (Watching one of this generations finest Shakespearean thespians as an animated version of himself hold two bowling balls to his chest and proclaim "Look, I've got girl boobs!" is one of the crowning achievements of my television watching career.) he was Captain Something Something Picard on Star Trek. And then he was Professor Goddamn X. You want to talk about handi-capable? The dude's in a wheelchair for sure, but he can kick your ass out through your mouth with the power of his mind. He doesn't need the parking space closest to the store. He can make the store come to HIM. WITH HIS MIND. Read the Americans With Disabilities Act a little closer, man. It's not there to make our lives easier at all. It's actually a cleverly worded piece of legislation enacted to restrain dudes like Professor X and me from just straight up murdering all you normals and then sleeping with your wives. The fine print really screwed us on that one. Lesson one: always read what you sign. Caveat Emptor, man.

Anyway, my wife talked me into watching some of the original Star Trek series, which is something I've always resisted. Don't get me wrong, I love Shatner. It's probably going to be mentioned at my funeral: "That guy in the coffin sure did love Shatner," they'll say. And then, hopefully add, "I wish he didn't owe me so much money." The man has become a comedic genius completely by accident, and it's all thanks to Star Trek. But I never felt nerdy enough to really get into a 60's sci-fi series with cardboard sets and evil twin goatees. But my wife controls the boobies, and the boobies control me, so I gave it a go. And you know, I really enjoyed it after all. A little heavy handed with the allegory, perhaps, but over all it's campy fun at its best. There's even an episode with a gangster planet, where everybody looks and talks exactly like Virgil Solozzo from The Godfather if he had brain damage. Now that's a very fine piece of tiramisu if there ever was one.

What was I talking about? Cake? Wait...right. Point is, I'm able to enjoy Star Trek here and there, but I'll never put on a costume and go to a convention. Why? Two reasons, really: Against all odds, I'm allowed to have sex somewhat regularly, which I'm pretty sure gets you thrown to the Rancor or something at those things (yes, I know that's Star Wars, and yes, I know it's sad that I know that), and I can enjoy something without letting it take over my existence. Nerd heresy to be sure, but I've been able to enjoy a smattering of science fiction here and there as a side dish to my main courses of Shakespeare and Dickens and whatever author is printed in Playboy this month.

Then Lost happened. I resisted it for a long time. Years, even. But then my wife borrowed the first three seasons on DVD from my brother-in-law. (side note: I'm sensing a pattern here. Either my wife likes nerdy things as much as I do or she's making sure that, if there were ever the remotest desire for adultery in my mind, no one would sleep with me because all of my tools of seduction would involve either William Shatner or the Smoke Monster. Or both. Yeah, that's hot. Wait...shit.) At first, I liked the show well enough. Interesting take on the Robinson Crusoe/desert island thing. Cool flashback stuff. I wonder what else is on. Then came the Others. And the Smoke Monster. And the Hatch. And the Numbers. The goddamn numbers. The title of this post will tell you what they are, but not what they mean because I don't know what they mean. And I doubt that I ever will. Even if, during the series finale in 3 months time, the creators of the show pull a Zack Morris "Time Out," come on screen and say "Hey everybody, here's exactly what the numbers mean. Sorry we fucked with your head for so long. Time in!" I think my brain would refuse whatever explanation was offered. There's no way it can live up to the hype I've built in my own mind. Even if they're really part of the mathematical formula for chocolate pudding forever and free blow job robots. (Bad Robot! heh. Saucy Robot, maybe.)
I've spent too much time postulating and reading theories other fans have come up with regarding the numbers, the smoke monster, Fake Locke, Desmond and time travel/alternate realities, Jacob and the Man In Black, etc. etc. that my brain will literally shut down at whatever reasoning the writers have come up with. Even if it makes perfect sense. Even if it's poetic and beautiful and brings tears to my eyes like no work of fiction has ever done since My Girl (He was just trying to get her ring back because he loved her! And then she tried to put his glasses back on when he was dead...because...because...he can't see without his glasses! BWAHHHH!!!! I LOVE YOU MACAULAY CULKIN!), I don't think I could ever accept it. This show has become my Star Trek. And all because it started out as a story of adventure and survival, and they added in the crazy drop by drop, until the sci-fi center of my brain was tripping so much balls that I didn't know whether to shit or go blind. (A very strange expression, I've always felt. It seems easy enough to do both. After all, if something were happening that would cause you to have to choose between the two, you'd probably have already done both before you realized it.)

Here's to you, creators of Lost, for sneaking a science fiction series up on us so stealthily that we were well into our secret man crushes on Sawyer before we even questioned why the fuck there was time travel on a show about a plane crash.

But, basically, if I've sold my soul for anything less than a Ferrari and unlimited water slides, you're going to read about me in the paper the next morning. I'll have done something unspeakable either to or with a polar bear. Either way, it's on your heads.

Ben Linus out like a motherfucker.