Lost It

Salt Lake City Weekly | March 15, 2005
Since the beginning of the current television season, The Only TV Column That Matters™ has fallen into a Thursday morning ritual that goes a little something like this:

Friend/acquaintance/co-worker/stranger: “Did you see Lost last night? I love that show! It’s my favorite, the best thing that’s been on TV in years. I’m so glad that a network has finally made something besides another stupid reality show; it’s so cool to have a suspenseful, character-driven drama with great writing and acting. Lost has really restored my faith in network television.”

Me: “I totally agree. I especially liked the new, totally unexpected twist last night where …”

Friend/stranger/co-worker/stranger: “Aaahhh! [Fingers in ears] La, la, la, la—I’m not listening! Don’t tell me! Here’s the deal: I missed it. I’ve missed the last six or seven weeks, actually. Did you tape it? Could I borrow it? If you have more than one episode, that would be fantastic—I’ve just got to know what’s happening!”

Me: “So, Lost is your favorite TV show, but you never watch it?”

Friend/stranger/co-worker/stranger: [Exasperated sigh] “It’s not that I never watch it, it’s just that something always seems to come up and I miss it. I looovvve the show, but I just haven’t seen it for a month or so because of, you know, stuff.”

Me: “I realize that things come up and not everyone’s lives conform to a prime-time TV schedule, but do you have a VCR? They’ve been around for 30 years and pretty much every household on the planet has one …”

Friend/stranger/co-worker/stranger: “Oh, I have a VCR/DVD combo, state of the art, cost me thousands of dollars.”

Me: “You know how to program it to record then, don’t you? All current VCRs allow you to set a weekly or even monthly timer to record any particular show at the same time every week. ABC has Lost is in reruns for the next month, so it’s a good time to catch up. You’d just have to set it for Wednesdays at 7 and leave it, simple.”

Friend/stranger/co-worker/stranger: “Yeah, well, it’s been blinking ‘12:00’ ever since I got it. I do have the manual and everything, but who has the time to learn all that programming?”

Me: [Patience waning] “OK, then maybe you should look into a TiVo, or a similar digital video recorder. DVRs are even easier to program than VCRs—you’d only have to push a couple of buttons and the computer inside would be set to record every episode of Lost that comes on, forever—literally, forever! There’s almost no reading or thinking involved! Just click, click, bam! This amazing show that the whole country’s buzzing about, the one you absolutely love but can’t seen to catch, waiting on a hard drive for you to watch whenever you want!”

Friend/stranger/co-worker/stranger: “I do have TiVo, I use it to pause and rewind during documentaries on PBS. I haven’t figured out all of its features yet; I’ve only had it for two years. Perhaps I’ll just wait for the DVD set—do you know when that’s coming out?”

Me: [Blood pressure rising] “September! Lost: The Complete First Season will be out on DVD in September! But, it’s been on TV—free, broadcast TV—since last September! Now you’re going to wait five or so months to pay $60 to catch up on your supposedly favorite f--king show that’s been on for free?! ABC is not HBO or Showtime! It’s on every week, no cost!”

Friend/stranger/co-worker/stranger: “OK, I give—I’ll let you tell me a little about what’s been happening on the show. But only a little!”

Me: [Crumpled in resignation on the floor] “Ugh. Fine. The island is on the moon, Kate is really a dude, Locke’s legs are bionic, and Hurley has been eating one crash survivor every week—at 48, that gives Lost about two seasons and a movie. Oh, and Boone and Shannon are actually only step-brother-and-sister, and their tension comes from having slept together once.

Friend/stranger/co-worker/stranger: “Ha! You almost had me with that last one—can’t wait to get the DVD. I’m pre-ordering on Amazon right now …”

Bill Frost can be reached at frost@slweekly.com

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