I'm Lynnette Porter, author of Unlocking the Meaning of Lost: An Unauthorized Guide. I recently met Jimmy Wales who told me about the Lost Wiki and suggested I spend some time here. I am new to wikis and look forward to being involved. I should mention that Jimmy also introduced me to BillK, who is showing me how to post, format and link. Without him, I fear this page would be a mess! There's more about me below.
Season 3 First ImpressionsEdit
As soon as I can after each episode airs, I will post my impressions. I'd love to hear your reactions on my talk page.
- First Impressions: A Tale of Two Cities
- First Impressions: How Much Do the Others Know?
- First Impressions: Locke's Dreams and Visions
- First Impressions: Dreadful Sorry, Clementine
- First Impressions: Rationalizing Death
- First Impressions: Kate's Choices
Who am I, and what am I doing here?Edit
By day, I’m a mild-mannered university teacher, but by night I’m a dedicated, some would say obsessive, Lost fan-scholar. I tend to express myself by writing—articles, books and blogs, so a wiki felt like it might be a great place for me to be.
Writing (as well as TV watching) has always been a passion. My doctorate is in English, with specializations in rhetoric, composition, and technical communication (and a reading area in Victorian literature, which has come in surprisingly handy when analyzing Lost). Never question the value of a Ph.D. in English! Popular culture, especially television and film, has always been important to me, personally and professionally. Although my M.A. is also in English and technical writing, my B.A. combines history and radio/TV/film. My professional affiliations echo this (what some people have called “strange”) mix of academic degrees and experience. I’m a fellow in the Society for Technical Communication and a member of the Tolkien Society, Popular Culture Association, and Popular Culture Association in the South. As one colleague delights in telling me, I can turn even something as relaxing as watching TV into work.
Why did I begin watching Lost?Edit
The polar bear! Friends on a Dominic Monaghan fan list (one of my other research-and-writing interests is J. R. R. Tolkien) mentioned early in 2004 that a polar bear was seen on Oahu, where a pilot featuring Monaghan was being filmed. Polar bear on tropical island—that got my attention. I sweated out ABC’s pickup of the pilot probably as much as the series’ creators and actors.
When Lost debuted in September 2004 (in the U.S.), I was ready to record the episode and take notes. I think I was a bit shocked after the first hour. I wanted to see more, and not just because it was exciting television drama—which it was. Already the layers of meaning and possibilities for character development intrigued me. My initial feeling that Lost would be THE show to watch that season was borne out within the first 15 minutes of the pilot.
How is viewing Lost different from other TV-watching experiences?Edit
Lost is the only program during which I frantically make notes during commercials and immediately play back the recording after an episode airs. But most people don’t do that, although some Lostaways (I hate the term “Losties”) tell me that they IM each other during the program.
Lost makes the audience respond, whether it’s as simple as wanting to watch new episodes each week or as complex as spending many hours updating websites for Lost and its creative team, discussing new developments in forums like The Fuselage, or reading the latest book seen on screen. This fandom is articulate and passionate, and Lost provides something for every type of fan.
What makes Lost important as entertainment?Edit
In no particular order, Lost has
- An international, diverse, and highly attractive cast
- A beautiful, exotic location
- Intriguing plots with plenty of twists
- Great writing and acting
- Excellent production values—including writing, directing, cinematography, score, special effects, editing
- Multidimensional characters
Why do I like to lose myself in Lost?Edit
So when Lost came along, it was the perfect series for me—it allows me to analyze every aspect of the story, characters, and structure and then gives me plenty to discuss with millions of Lost viewers internationally. That’s why I started taking notes for a book about Lost way back in March 2004—I was certain that Lost would either overcome the stigma of the polar bear in Hawaii or die trying, and either way would be interesting to watch.
Writing about Lost is one of my favorite avocations. I often teach courses about research and writing, and Lost gives me everyday experience with both. As I tell my students, the “work” of writing is much more fun if you like what you’re writing about. Unlocking the Meaning of Lost: An Unauthorized Guide is my sixth published book. Since its publication by Sourcebooks last April, co-author David Lavery and I have been working toward the second edition, which will be published next April, as well as another Lost book.
Since Lost debuted, I’ve spent more hours than I’ll admit taking notes during multiple re-viewings of each episode, researching references dropped into the show (I admit that I wasn’t up on my Dickens), and browsing and chatting in dozens of websites. In many ways I’ve become lost in Lost, a maze within a maze, and what began as a “hobby” has taken on a life of its own. Lost is a “perfect storm” type of series—the high quality of the series itself, its innovative marketing and interactive tie-ins, critical acclaim, and global distribution. It churns our thoughts and emotions and leaves us treading water in its wake. Lost can win us over with its charm but then lead us down a dark alley of despair; it makes us smile as well as cry; it frustrates us and keeps us spellbound.
What makes Lost significant television?Edit
Lost tackles personal issues that resonate with audiences universally. Lost also presents larger issues about the nature of good and evil, the possibility of redemption, and the future of our world. The themes are larger than those illustrated in most TV programs, and they aren’t specific to one culture or country. Lost presents questions and experiences to which anyone can relate. Sadly, it might just take a television show that turns into a popular culture phenomenon to make viewers look at themselves and the world around them in a different way.
A new friend said to me last month, as we debated reasons for the Lost phenomenon, that the series won’t make people like Iraqis just because they like Sayid, who’s only a character played by a British actor. Lost won’t make people stop calling each other names just because a DVD segment shows how silly Sawyer’s sexism, racism, ageism, etc., can be. Lost won’t solve the world’s problems because it shows how bad “good” might be and makes us question how we define good and evil, much less what to do about it. Well, that’s probably true.
But if Lost keeps showing us that stereotypes usually are far off the mark, and everybody is connected to each other in some way, then just maybe it’ll get people to think about their lives, or bigger issues facing everyone in the world today. They (We) might realize that, as Jack once pointed out, we’ve got to figure out how to live together, or we’ll surely die alone.
Lost isn’t educational TV, but if it happens to get people talking about plot points or character developments, and if those entertainment-based examples are memorable and meaningful to at least a few people, then that’s not so bad, either. IMHO, Lost is more likely to give us something worthwhile to discuss than any other TV series airing in the U.S. today. Lost, as entertainment, can get away with quite a bit, even within the demands of ratings and advertisers.
What do you think?Edit
My hope is that you’ll leave me your thoughts on my discussion page so that we can discuss what’s meaningful—or not—about Season Three. I’ll share my insights as I analyze themes for my writing and I hope you’ll share some of your insights as well. Thanks for reading!
I would like to link this page to other ones on the Lost Wiki, but I haven't figured out how to do that yet. Thank you.