Monday, May 5, 2008

What kind of imaginative, brilliant, INSANE minds come up with this stuff???

I recently started watching "Jimmy Kimmel Live," partly for the hilarious "This Week in Unnecessary Censorship" segment they do every Friday, and partly because I've learned Kimmel and I share a mutual obsession. Both were on display this past Friday, when Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse were guests on the show.

It's always kind of exciting to meet an actor from a show you watch because they're instantly recognizable; for me, though, getting the chance to speak with anyone--a camera man, set designer, even just an extra--who's had even a tiny part in the production of "LOST" is a thrill. But if I had the chance to really sit down with anyone, it's the writers whose brains I'd love to pick. Lindelof, Cuse, Drew Goddard, Brian K. Vaughn--where do they come up with this stuff? What's the thought process behind it all? I don't think it's the fact that I'm a writer myself, since creating a work of fiction is so different from the narrative and opinion pieces I do; it's the difference between painting a wall and painting a mural, in my opinion. I don't consider myself an artist, not like writers who manage to create vibrant fictional characters and storylines. I'm fascinated by how they do it, especially when it comes to a show about which I fully agree with Kimmel when he called it "the best show in the history of television."

So of course, I had been looking forward to his interview with the head writers all week. And it was great--at least when they were able to get a word in edgewise. I'm sure Terrance Howard is a fine actor, but the man really needed to shut up. He was the first guest, he had his turn, and he had nothing relevant to contribute to the discussion. Kimmel was trying to have a fun nerdy conversation with the head writers of his favorite show; perhaps Howard couldn't understand what he was talking about, not being a regular viewer himself, but there are plenty of us who could--those of us who have not only seen every episode at least once but also listen to the podcasts, read the magazine and discuss the fine points of each episode on message boards, and who were looking forward to hearing what "Darlton" had to say. When the interview did manage to get going it was entertaining, and the clip from the next episode made me even more eager for Thursday to arrive. I just wish they'd been able to talk about the show during their entire ten-minute spot.

And speaking of the writers: Damon Lindelof was quoted in a British article calling the discussions many of us love to have about "LOST" "toxic." This caused a bit of a stir on the Lostpedia forums and generated a lot of comments, which can be seen at I couldn't help but think that some of these posts are a bit too kind. I'm willing to give Lindelof the benefit of the doubt and assume he was speaking of the impact some message boards can have on the creative process and wasn't referring to the fan community itself; that being said, his comment was, at best, a poor choice of words. The responses on the message board put it as thoroughly as anything I would write here, and I'm not going to go into a rant about the ingratitude of people in showbusiness who owe their careers to their fans. I've been able to personally interact with a couple of the cast members; they could not have been more gracious, and it meant a lot to me for them to take the time to answer my questions. Moreover, the cast and crew have often made a point of finding ways to interact with the fans, so this isn't meant to be a complaint. I just wish that Lindelof, and anyone else who may feel as he apparently does, would understand the fact that our habit of discussing, debating, and yes, criticizing, every single detail of our favorite show is the product of our interest in and appreciation for the story they've created. I have yet to visit a "LOST" forum that wasn't full of enthusiastic, passionate fans, and if we sometimes seem overly critical, it's only because the bar's been set tremendously high. Even if Lindelof turned out to be an incorrigible jerk--and I'm not asserting that to be true by any means--I'd still be a fan, because I'm hopelessly, pathetically addicted to his show.

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