This is a crucial stage right here – deciding whether or not to get on board The Event – and I am perched squarely on the fence about it.
There’s no doubt it’s trying to follow in the footsteps of LOST, and to me that’s a bad thing. If I knew six or even three years ago what I know now about LOST, I never would have watched it, plain and simple.
LOST is like an abusive, long term relationship in my past – it may well have ruined any posssibility of a healthy relationship in the future. I was absolutely in love with LOST and absolutely appalled by the ending.
I’ve found a lot of people who feel the same way, and a lot of people who feel differently, and I do know this much – there are smart examples of people on both sides of the debate. So I really don’t want to hear it if you think that being appalled by the end of LOST or reluctant to sign on to a new version of it equals me being stupid.
In return, I promise not to label anyone else as stupid for watching or liking The Event. That’s not what it means when I point out a part of a show that I think is stupid. I like lots of shows in which stupid stuff happens right and left.
You can tell me how important the journey is all you want, and you’re right. The journey is important. But the destination is also important. In fact, I would say it is equally important. So a fantastic journey followed by a dud of a destination is 50%.
That’s an F in any classroom, but it’s a stellar batting average. So the question is, do you look at a show you’re watching as if you’re a teacher giving it a grade, or as if you’re a fan watching a baseball player?
Well, since I’m a writer, I’m slapping a grade on it. And if the show is doing a bunch of stuff that I would never let myself do, and then passing itself off as artistic and smart for doing all that – well, they’re going to lose me.
And it’s okay – they can keep you, and it doesn’t make you stupid, and it doesn’t make me stupid, because it’s just a television show.
So I guess I just want to be very clear with The Event, regarding my expectations of it . At the end of LOST, a lot of people were telling me that I should not have expected much of a rational resolution. What happened where, and why people were time-traveling and why people were building hilarious structures and where rules were coming from and where the four-toed people went, that apparently wasn’t the point.
Sometimes folks would even demand that I show them a link to where Cuse and Lindelof actually said they’d answer the questions. As if the existence of the questions themselves wasn’t enough.
Right here at the beginning, I’d like to say that it’s really easy to throw around a bunch of mystery, and then later not resolve it and claim you’re being artistic. It’s really easy to tell me, “Oh, you would have understood if only you’d watched these eight podcasts and read these ten books.”
That’s not how I see things.
I’m going to watch this television show, not take a graduate level course on it.
I expect the story to be contained within the show, much like East of Eden was contained between the front and back covers of the book. Much like practically any great work of literature or film stands on its own, I expect this television show to do the same.
See, allowing your story to flow all over history is a lack of discipline, not the presence of depth. That’s more like hiding your lack of a story within the Giant Story of the World.
Agatha Christie never put out a press release stating, “I hereby promise to tell you all whodunit by the end of this book.” She didn’t have to, because that’s a reasonable expectation of a mystery novel.
If she ever started putting out mystery novels in which, at the end she told you that it was your own shallow expectations that had failed you, and that you should go and read Dante’s Inferno to try to piece together who did it, she would have started losing readers in droves.
The standard response to this is – “Oh, Tom needs spoon fed.” And sure, you can call it whatever you want. The way I see it, a storyteller is taking us on a trip. He or she is driving, we are in the passenger seat. They’re either going to take us somewhere cool, or drive around for a while and then drop us off in the middle of nowhere.
I hope it’s the first one, makers of The Event. Because after LOST, if I get the feeling it’s the second one, I’m jumping out of this car at the next red light and running like hell – and I don’t think I’m alone.
For now, I like it, and I’m watching, and I have my theories about it, and I find it fairly engaging. I am, however, suspicious of it, and I’m not going to be a brainless cheerleader for the show – they’ll have to earn my respect and they’re on their way to doing that.
I’ll post some of those theories this week.