Monday, May 24, 2010

Not on the Island

I am an admitted pop culture junkie. I can rattle off all sort of facts and stats about film, television, and theatre without batting an eye. I know stuff I shouldn't, based on my age, know -- like the lyrics to commercial jingles from the 1960s. If I woke up tomorrow and was no longer able to teach, my dream job would be to work for Entertainment Weekly writing crap like this all the time (or being a researcher for A&E Biography -- seriously, how cool would that job be?).

And yet, there are chinks in my pop culture armor. Many pop culture phenomena have come and gone without my participation. I've not seen more than a couple episodes of The Sopranos. I've never seen a Nightmare on Elm Street movie. I've never read nor watched a single installment of the Twilight series. (Even though I do own all four books.) The only episode of Survivor I've ever seen was the season one finale and that was only because I couldn't find the remote control. (There's a much bigger story outside of that -- I was in the middle of this big project and "trapped" in such a way that I couldn't get to the television to actually change the channels. I'm not such a lazy ass that the loss of a remote means I'm stuck on the same channel forever.)

What I am about to say to you will shock you, I am sure.

I've never seen Lost. Not even one second.

There are several reasons for this. First off, I have to admit that when the show debuted, my thought was that it sounded like kind of a lame premise for a show and that it surely wouldn't last very long. I mean, how much drama can you get out of being shipwrecked on an island. Even the wacky Gilligan's Island folks had to constantly ship guest stars in to keep things interesting. I kind of figured the show would have a nine-to-thirteen episode run before being cancelled and forgotten.

I was wrong.

Once the show proved to have legs and developed that pop culture buzz, there was another problem for me. It seemed like the kind of show that would be hard to jump into. Add to that the fact that it debuted before I had DVR. The reason why DVR is so necessary in my life is because I have so many other things going on that I can't be there to watch tv "live" many nights. Lost was on at a time when I just couldn't be there to see it.

As time went on, too, it became really apparent to me that Lost was not the kind of show I would necessarily be all that into. Smoke monsters? Boxes with buttons that do who-knows-what? Sideways universes? Some sort of initiative having to do with Jenna Elfman? (The Dharma Initiative . . . get it?) I'm not a big fan of alternate realities and complicated fantasy sort of plots. It's why I've never gotten on board too much with the Star Trek thing (although I did LOVE the most recent movie). I generally don't want to spend six years trying to figure out what the hell is going on on a television show. It's not that I don't appreciate shows with long story arcs -- hello, I love me some Buffy! It just seemed like this show was so filled with twists and turns and "WTF?!" moments that it would leave me frustrated.

And so while the rest of America was coming together to bid adieu to a great 21st Century pop culture icon, I was curled up watching two mediocre pop culture icons from the 1980s battle it out for the worthless title of "Celebrity Apprentice." And when it was all over, I did not feel the need to scratch my head in confusion or throw my remote in frustration. I just sort of shrugged, said, "Just as I thought," and headed to bed.

And that's my definition of pop culture gold.

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