Sunday, November 23, 2008

Lost Ate My Life—No shit!

I just finished reading DocArzt’s new book---"Lost Ate My Life". Actually, shipping Skate ate my life, but I’ve never been one to quibble. With all the time I’ve spent on this show, it does feel like it ate my life. So yeah, I can totally sympathize and understand where you're coming from with that feeling Doc!

I got the book (which is available here) because it was supposed to be the inside story of the fandom and naturally the biggest question I had was if Fishbiscuitland was going to be featured. It isn’t, something I consider a huge oversight. Doc, if you’re reading this, I certainly hope you consider correcting this error in future editions. I just don’t see how you could possibly have talked about Skaters and Jaters and not mentioned us! I’m sure there must have been an entire chapter about us that some editor cut, right?

Despite the fact FBL doesn’t merit so much as a single solitary line (not one single stinking mention, not even a footnote), I really enjoyed the book. I’ll admit I didn’t know that the show was originally called “Nowhere” and was inspired by Tom Hanks “Castaway.” I did know that "The Stand" was a major inspiration, but I didn’t realize that Damon ripped off Charlie’s heroin addiction from Eddie Dean. I didn’t know that Watership Down was one of Damon’s most favorite books ever. (Mine too). I didn’t realize that as early as 2004 Damon was teasing about the show being about time travel. And I didn’t realize that the very first planned Easter egg was Shannon’s mistranslation of Rousseau’s broadcast.

There was a lot I didn’t know.

But the most fun part of the book was being debriefed on some of the stuff we all lived through.

Like the great “Who’s really in the coffin?” kerfuffle last season. Remember when the infamous lostfan108 said it was going to be Locke and then Doc said “nope, that’s all wrong”? And then it turned out that lostfan108 was right after all and we were wondering where the confusion came from? Doc goes into detail about how it all happened but for those who forgot, or never knew, lostfan108—whose identity apparently still isn’t known—got his or her information several weeks before footage was available. Doc got some preliminary footage that showed Desmond in the coffin and we all know the hell that broke out after that, including the reveal that there were three possibilities for the dead man. (Thank God, it never was leaked that it might have been Sawyer. Can you say “total Skater meltdown”?) Reading about it after having lived through the incident reminded me of just how much Lost has eaten big chunks of my life!

Doc also says that lostfan108 tried to get other takers on his full exposé of TTLG and no one but Dark was willing to bite. The Tail Section was one of the places that turned it down. Incidentally, Doc's take on spoilers is one we should probably heed. He says that "to extend the metaphor of Lost as a novel, even the most ardent spoilers are only, at best, flipping a few pages ahead."

Another behind it all discussion centers on the Fuse’s infamous decision to keep Skaters and Jaters separate by creating segregated areas which neither side can view. (We all know how much Skaters use their area. When was the last time anyone posted in the hidden area? Does anyone even remember there is a hidden area? Maybe the Jaters use theirs more. Any Jaters out there willing to let us know?) I’m not sure that I agree with Doc’s assertion that the Fuse mods were just trying to be fair, since his co-writer is Hijinx, a Fuse mod, but I promised myself I wouldn’t get too sarcastic with this, so I’m trying.

Now it’s obvious that shipping is a major reason I watch Lost so Doc’s chapter on “Shipper Wars” was particularly interesting. I’m not sure if deep down Doc thinks shipping is a necessary evil, an unnecessary evil or just silly, but at least he does get that we are important to the show. Shipping after all doesn't stop anyone from appreciating all the other aspects of the show either.
Whether or not you can see aligning yourself with a particular relationship on your favorite television show, you can't help but appreciate the passion these Lost shippers have.
We all know which ship has the most passion! Hand down pants going for the prize or pink panties into the laundry basket?

No choice there, seems pretty clear to me. And he does nail the way we react. Talking about Damon’s response at Comic Con that Kate would make her choice of guys in the mini-arc, he writes:
"If you happened to be standing close to the internet at the time that piece of information hit the airwaves, you may have heard a loud ‘BOOM’ as the Jater and Skater shippers imploded like the hatch.

Okay, yeah, that’s probably true.

To be honest, I get the feeling that Doc ships Jin and Sun and Rose and Bernard since he says they have “maintained interesting and believable story lines.” I guess we’ll see how believable it is when we learn if Jin survived the explosion or not.

My concentration on the parts about shippers aside, there’s a lot in LAML that we’ve discussed at the Fishelage, including chapters on Joseph Campbell and the Hero’s Journey, Star Wars, the way Carlton joined the team and how hard TPTB try to control spoilers. It’s good to read that our take on many things is the “right” one, but since Doc is hoping lots and lots of people buy his book, I won’t give everything away. But I will share a couple of things:

According to Darlton, it’s not really possible at this point in the show’s unfolding for any fan to come up with a theory that accurately explains everything, due to the fact that there are still major reveals ahead that the showrunners claim will take the story in unexpected directions.

So maybe Darlton hasn’t actually told Docloser the ending, as she is going around claiming on the Fuse?

A tiger doesn't change its stripes, right? ;)

The elimination of Nikki and Paolo is a rare instance of the showrunners admitting that fan reaction guided the writers’ hands.

Note the word “rare.” Could it be that TPTB aren’t scouring the writing in Bubbletown for their story lines? Nah, couldn’t be.

And then there’s…. Oh what the hell. Let’s get to the good stuff.

"The fact is, we won’t know who ‘wins’ in the shipper wars until the series is over. It would be a shame to be a fan so invested in your chosen shipper group that you come away from the end of Lost disappointed just because Kate did not end up with whomever it is you felt she should have ended up with.”

It’s sort of depressing to think that Kate won’t be making her final choice until the very end, but we’ve all sort of suspected that, haven’t we?

I really liked this quote from an interview Doc did with Gregg Nations:

Honestly, I don’t think the writers take either side of the shipper fans into consideration when they are thinking of Kate and her feelings towards Sawyer and Jack. I think if they wrote the characters on the risk of losing fans, the end result would be a mess. You have to create a character and let that character breathe and grow and make mistakes and feel like a real person. So when it comes to Kate’s romantic feelings, I think they are more concerned with where Kate is as a character and where they want to take her.

Okay, I’ll buy that. Who but the Jaters think that we shippers really influence the writers? But I still want them to take her right back to Sawyer’s bed where she belongs.

Finally, the REALLY important stuff.
Yes, Doc met Josh.
Here’s what he has to say:

I’m not out to break the hearts of Skaters, honestly, [Doc, I think my heart just stopped when I read that! Do not do that ever again!!] but my first thought upon sitting across from Josh Holloway is that it is absolutely true what they say about the camera distorting the physique, and how some people are made for it. Holloway is exactly as handsome as you expect him to be, but in three dimensions he is thinner, nearly gaunt, with profound lines and deep-set frighteningly crystalline eyes….When I ask about the battle between good and evil that rages under Sawyer’s mostly unshakable exterior, Holloway waxes like a southern Joseph Campbell.

I’m guessing that since Doc met Josh at the end of last season when he was looking just a bit too thin, that’s why he uses the word “gaunt.” But "crystalline eyes"….sounds good to me.

The book has several never before printed pictures (in black and white, unfortunately) including one of Josh being as adorable as ever with Doc’s son Nick. (Everyone, say AWWW.)

Doc also interviews Jorge who is “not at all like his on-screen counterpart.” Doc says he is soft-spoken, intelligent, relaxed and pensive. There is also a short interview with Michael Emerson and NO INTERVIEW with Matt Fox. None. Nada. Not a mention. I can't imagine why he couldn't take a few minutes for an interview. Perhaps, he just wasn’t available because he was too busy. No, I know. He had to catch a plane and just couldn't spare so much as five minutes!

Um, except that Doc says Josh and Yessica really did have to catch a plane and were, in fact, running late for their flight. He even says that they were “visibly anxious” about their deadline. Nevertheles, Josh thoughtfully answered his questions and he and Yessica took a few minutes out to discuss Doc’s son’s “morally questionable choice of Sawyer as a role model. He graciously signed my son’s Sawyer figure and instructed him on the proper disposal of it. ‘If you’re anything like I was, when you turn sixteen, you’re going to start taking your old action figures out and blowing them up with fire-crackers. Do me a favor…when it comes my turn, use an M80.’ ” Doc says he doesn’t know if they made their flight in time. Let’s hope so.

Getting serious here for a minute—what Doc’s book does and why I think Fishies would like it, is it provides a look at the show we all love from inside the fandom as well as inside the writers’ room and with the cast. It’s not a book for the casual viewer, but then none of us are casual viewers are we?

Considering we still have nearly two months before the show returns, LAML is a good way to get a LOST fix while we wait for more Sawyer sightings and Skate spoilers.

So good job on the book Doc, except for that little overlooking FBL thing, which I’m sure was purely an accident. What’s the next book going to be about? Are you going to do the tell-all about the secrets of the cast after the show is over? Now that’s one book I’m really looking forward to reading!


flaknitter01 said...

Thanks, Fish - glad you're back, been missing the commentary...

docarzt said...

WOW! Thanks for an awesome heartfelt review! If we get a second edition deal, you can bet Amy and I will correct the oversight of leaving fishbiscuitland out! Are you available for an interview? ;)

Anonymous said...

Nice review Fish:)!. Don't have the Doc'a Artz book, but you post the parts that i was most interesed in :)!


Maryann said...

Way cool review of Docarzt's book!

And I hope you keep your word there Docarzt when you say if you get a second edition deal to include FBL in there :-D.

So Fish..take that offer for an interview ;-)

Anne said...

Thanks Fish for giving us the heads up. I confess that I am sooo over this hiatus and anything to speed it up and give me a Lost fix sounds fab. I'll check it out.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your insight into Doc's book Fish. Doc may be happy to know I've been convinced to purchase this book as part of a Christmas pressie! The perfect way to get a Lost fix in this endless hiatus, I agree Anne. I bet Doc will have several advance orders if there's any mention of the Fishelage in his second edition too!

~ Midnight

Anonymous said...

Good review. I really want to read Doc's book, I always tend to agree with his analysis of Lost.