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Doc Jensen

Rerun Purgatory

''Lost'' producers: We hate repeats too! Jeff Jensen talks to Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindelof about the show's mini-hiatus; plus, more reader theories

J.J. Abrams | MORAL DILEMMAS Could our castaways be part of a good-vs.-evil experiment? One reader thinks so
Image credit: Lost: Mario Perez
MORAL DILEMMAS Could our castaways be part of a good-vs.-evil experiment? One reader thinks so

'Lost' (S2): The producers hate reruns too!

It's Wednesday, which means it's time for a new episode of Lost... Oh, wait. No it's not. Not tonight, at least. Tonight is... another repeat! Apparently, for many Lost fans, waiting really is the hardest part. Writes Mark Morrison: ''Do you think that the producers of the show are concerned with the fact that they have WAY too many reruns? I have spoken with many Lost fans who say they are getting more and more aggravated by this all the time.''

Well, I suppose I can offer my two cents... but let's ask the producers themselves.

''We wish we could run the show in one continuous block,'' says exec producer Carlton Cuse. ''Unfortunately, we can't physically produce more than the 24 hours of the show we produce each season. Those 24 episodes have to spead across the entire 35-week TV season. The network needs originals at key times, like premiere week and during the three sweeps periods. The show is too valuable to the overall ratings picture of the network to run it out in one block. Therefore, massive repeats. We are victims of the way the TV season lays out. We feel our viewers' pain because we experience it ourselves.''

Adds Lost executive producer Damon Lindelof: ''The rerun issue is as frustrating for us as it is for the fans. The reason a show like 24 can run straight through is that it begins in January. ABC ultimately makes the call as to how Lost is aired and they have chosen to make sure we run original eps through every sweeps period (November, February, May) in addition to launching our season in September so the fans don't have to wait an extra four months for new episodes. We can only make so many eps a season, so the basic math works out in favor of TOO MANY RERUNS! It ain't great, but it is what it is.''

At the very least, let's hope good things come to Lost fans who wait. Patiently, or otherwise.

In the meantime, you can always write me with your Lost thoughts. Or, you can liken me to animal feces. To wit:

''Jeff: You're nuttier than squirrel poop.'' — Andy

And that, in a smelly nutshell, is what many of you thought about Doc J's recent Lost rumination on the parallels between our favorite television obsession and legendary horror novelist H.P. Lovecraft, one of the literary forerunners of Lost-esque cult pop. Click here for a recap — or by all means don't, urges Cookie McKinney: ''I do not care for your Lovecraft Theory. Too hard to follow, therefore, I'm not interested.'' Okay then! How about you, Bruce Meyer? ''JJ: Have the divorce papers shown up yet...where do you find the time???'' Oh, how you kid, you jokesters! (Actually, they arrived yesterday.)

But some of you Lovecraft fans out there have my back. ''In [Lovecraft] stories,'' writes Taylor, ''the 'Old Ones' are able to control the dreams of people through their immense power. This could be why everyone keeps having flashbacks, and why Jack saw his father and Kate saw the Horse... The people controlled by the 'Old Ones' dream of seeing a city made of a shiny black obsideon, a dark black rock, which was the first thing I thought of.... When Rousseau talked about the Black Rock, I assumed they were going to find part of the black rock city.... Sorry for ranting, but I've been thinking about this for a while.'' So have I, Taylor. Just ask my wife.

But enough about me. Let's talk about you. As in, your Lost theories. Keep sending 'em, folks, because I read all of them. And they never fail to intrigue or enlighten or... well, leave me as baffled as I often leave you. Say hello to my new friend Arthur Tulee. ''How would you yourself proceed on the show?'' his e-mail begins. ''Would you form an alliance with any particular people on the show or keep it all ad hoc and functional? Would you engage the Others? Do you have any psychic abilities, or would the island bring something out of you that you didn't know was there? Would you seek out what I like to call 'Nietszche's Abyss creature' (because everyone will sooner or later look into it: Locke has and so has Eko)? Would you find the Japanese Imperial Forces' WWII tunnels on this island and try to map them?''

Uhhhh… my answer to all these questions is Yes. I think.

Of course, Rick Lannoye has the whole darn Lost thing licked: ''I have MORE than a theory about where Lost is going. I think the entire island experience of each passenger is really a breakdown of what is going on in each of their minds while they [were] physically unconscious from the loss of [oxygen], while actually speeding on their way down to die from the plane's original crash. If the writers are smart, they'll eventually take us back to little clues about where the passengers got glimpses of the Others, who were actually kiosk attendants at the airport before takeoff, and so on. The point of all this, of course, being that, in the last moments of life, not only do past lives flash before us, but our brains, and perhaps our Collective Unconscious, will try to resolve any deep inner conflicts that were left unresolved.''

I would pay good money to find out the fake-bearded Mr. Friendly actually operates a smoothie cart at the Sydney airport.

Speaking money, James Anderson Merritt has a sneaking suspicion that someone on Lost is trying to steal Hurley's gold. Or steal something. ''All of the strange linkages between the castaways, and the uncanny coincidences, which are apparent in the flashbacks, suggest to me nothing so much as 'a long con' in progress. Who are the confederates — Locke, Eko, Sawyer, Hugo (Hurley)? And what is the prize? Hugo's fortune? Claire's baby? Locke's mobility? A life free of domination and retaliation by Sun's father?''

Like many of you, Merritt picked up on the Henry Gale/Wizard of Oz connection, but he poses an interesting question: Why haven't the Lost castaways picked up on it too? ''I found it very interesting that Henry Gale allegedly came to the island in a balloon with his wife. What was her name? Auntie Em? The story the captive told sounded like a total con to me: the suggestion that he came to the island in the same way that the Wizard came to Oz sounded like just so much humbug. I'm surprised that Locke didn't pick up on the obvious 'coincidence,' given the other literary allusions he has made. If not a 'con,' exactly, I am thinking that the island situation is definitely a game, being consciously played by perhaps Locke and at least one other castaway. Are the rest along for the ride, or are some of them also players, to one extent or another?''

Meanwhile, Eileen La Chance didn't e-mail me with her own theory, but she seems very proud of her husband's scholarship. ''My husband Pierre believes they all actually died in the crash and the ones we are seeing on Lost are in Purgatory. It's more complicated and elegant than that, but you get the gist.'' I get the gist: Your husband is one lucky guy to have a fan like you. If only my wife was as supportive. Why oh why can't she see the dark brilliance of my Lovecraftian demon hellhole theory? WHY?!?!

(Ahem.) Well, for the record, I don't think I believe in ''a long con'' — a little farfetched for me (though clearly, Cthulu demons and disembodied psychic forces are not) — and ''purgatory'' leaves me a little cold. Zachary Brandon, however, left me feeling like hell. ''The island is a metaphor for Armageddon. [The castaways] have already experienced a rapture... Since the Others appear to be scientists, perhaps it is possible that the design of their experiment is to see which can/will win the last battle: Good or Evil. In this experiment they remove all of the truly pure people from the equation (rapture) and leave only morally ambiguous and downright evil people behind. In this situation evil people (Sawyer and Charlie, who are beginning to sound like Lords Sidious and Vader from Star Wars) will deceive their way to the top (anti-Christs) while good people worry about simplistic moral questions: to torture or not to torture?''

That is a good question. But what I want to know is: How come so many of you are feeling biblical these days? Paul Koch forwarded me an impossibly long theory by someone called ''Tripping Goddess'' who believes that the Monster, the electromagnetic energy, and the island's mysterious illness all have to do with a new Ark of the Covenant built in the United States back in the mid-'50s and relocated to the island. Here's the Bible passages that at the very least make an interesting connection to the original Ark of the Covenant: Leviticus 16, Joshua 10:12, Joshua 10:13, and Habakkuk 3:11. Or, if you don't have a Bible, you can just watch the last 20 minutes of Raiders of the Lost Ark.

That's all for now. Tune later this week for a new Doc J theory — and next week, for even more of your theories. As for me... I'm off to marriage counseling. Namaste!

(To e-mail Doc Jensen your theories and thoughts about Lost, use the form below.)

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Originally posted Mar 15, 2006