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Posted at 2:01 PM ET, 04/19/2010

Profiles in 'Lost' Fandom: Meet Morgan McPhearson

By Jen Chaney

As we inch closer and closer to the final episode of "Lost," it only seems appropriate to honor the people who turned the Dharma mind-bender into the phenomenon that consumes all our waking, breathing moments: the fans.

And so we bring you Profiles in "Lost" Fandom, a series in which we chat up some of the more hardcore "Lost" obsessives on the planet in an effort to make you feel less ridiculous for Googling "Desmond Hume, time travel" or pausing the DVR to figure out the name of the Russian book Hurley snagged from Ilana. (Not that *we* would ever do such a cockamamie thing.)

Morgan McPhearson, "Lost" superfan. (Photo provided by Morgan McPhearson)

Our first "Lost" super-fan is Morgan McPhearson, a Washington, D.C. resident who was name-checked by Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse in a recent "Lost" podcast and who is in the process of writing a senior thesis on "Lost" mythology.

Get to know her courtesy of the Q&A below. Oh, and if you think you or someone you love might be Charlie-Pace-crazed enough to merit a profile, drop us a line and let us know.

Name of "Lost" Superfan: Morgan McPhearson

Age: 20

Place of Residence: Currently Washington, D.C.; originally from Louisville, Ky.

Professions: Communications major at George Washington University

Why She Qualifies as a Superfan: She is writing her undergraduate senior thesis about the “Lost” mythology and will spend the next year gathering "Lost" data as part of that process. One of her questions also made its way into the official "Lost" podcast. And no, Damon Lindelof didn't seem to fully grasp the premise of her thesis. Finally, someone confused that guy!

Celebritology: When did you start watching "Lost"?

Morgan: I started to watch it toward the end of the first season. I saw the recap before the season finale and I was just hooked. My friends had told me about it and they were really into the show, but I just never was until I saw that recap episode.

That weekend I went to a friend's house and he had Tivo'd it from the beginning. And we spent the entire weekend watching so he could catch me up before the season finale.

Celebritology: Do you watch alone or with friends?

Morgan: It really depends on the week. Now I go to a friend's apartment and we watch together because I spend a lot of time on Lostpedia and a lot of time on blogs and I just remember a lot about the show, and my friend doesn't, really. I've helped him keep up with the alternate reality. I'm like, "That's Randy Nations and that was Hurley's boss back in season two." And he's like, "How do you know that?" And I'm like, "I just do."

Celebritology: What speaks to you about the show?

Morgan: I knew it was going to be a really interesting show that I had to follow when they finally made it down the Hatch and we see Desmond. And we'd already seen him in one of Jack's flashbacks. So then I was going back into season one and seeing all the connections ... that's when I started to become kind of obsessive about the show. It was this cool thing going on. It was a puzzle, not really just a television show at that point.

They do these things that make it more intellectually engaging and very different than anything I've ever watched. It feeds into itself. I find one mystery, and kind of get that question answered, and that leads into another mystery.

Celebritology: So do you have a favorite character, or is the show more about the puzzle for you?

Morgan: It's more about the puzzle. I think there are a lot of overarching themes and a lot of people I can relate to. My mom watched a lot of the first season, and was like, "I bet you relate to Shannon." And I was like, thanks, Mom. I didn't think I was that spoiled.

Celebritology: So tell us about this thesis.

Morgan: Right now I'm looking at how "Lost" has become its own mythology and what that means ideologically for the show. I'm looking at three different aspects of the narrative complexity of the show, like how the alternate universe made sense given the plot with the island, and how that adds a mythology to the show ... They do have a lot of Hinduism and a lot of religious themes, and the island provides a lot of redemption for different characters. I'm exploring just how the show has these different religious undertones and how that helps them construct their mythologies.

Celebritology: So the thesis examines how the writers have developed their own mythology, but have also used existing elements of other mythologies as part of that process?

Morgan: Precisely.

Celebritology: Your thesis isn't due until a year from now. What sort of work do you need to do in the coming months to complete it?

Morgan: I'm going to sit down and watch all the episodes of "Lost" again and just note the different times that a theme or mythological reference comes through. I'm going to go through the show with that mindset.

Celebritology: How long will your thesis be?

Morgan: I think 30-some odd pages. We won't go into that until I take my thesis class [next year]. My friend that I watch the show with now was making fun of me and saying, "You're going to write a book on this and your professors are going to tell you to edit it down and you won't."

Celebritology: What do you think you'd like to do after you graduate next year?

Morgan: My kind of plan is to go into PR as a career, and one day be a media studies professor and maybe teach a class on "Lost" or something.

Celebritology: All right, now it's time for a barrage of standard "Lost" nerd questions. Have you watched any seasons of "Lost" more than once?

Morgan: Oh, absolutely. I've seen all of the seasons at least twice. I think season one I've seen the most, just because before every season premiere, I rewatch everything. And a lot of times when I'm sick, I go on and rewatch a lot of episodes of "Lost." So I've probably seen season one five times, maybe six? And I've rewatched every episode, except for the three most recent episodes.

Celebritology: Have you ever dressed up as a character?

Morgan: I have not. One year for Halloween, my friends and discussed it and we ended up going as something else. But I want to one year.

Celebritology: Do you own any "Lost" merchandise?

Morgan: Yes, I have a couple of books. I have "Bad Twin." I have another book that's just about the religious themes in it. I also found a T-shirt that I want for my birthday and I'm trying to get someone to buy it for me. Actually, there's two. One that has a cool "Lost" design -- it says "Lost" and has everyone's names [embedded in it]. And one that has a picture of the computer in the Swan Hatch, and says "I'd hit that every 108 minutes." It's really dorky but I think it's hilarious.

Celebritology: How much time do you spend reading "Lost" blogs or Web sites?

Morgan: I'd say a good three or four hours a week. There are times when I'm home for break and it's probably a lot more than that.

Celebritology: Have you ever read a book just because it was mentioned on "Lost"?

Morgan: I have tried to read "The Third Policeman" because it was mentioned in one of the interviews as something Damon and Carlton really looked to as a basis for the show. But I haven't been able to get into it because I just don't get it. But that's one of my goals for the summer.

Celebritology: What will you miss most about "Lost" once it's over? Although I guess you'll be immersed in it for the next year anyway...

Morgan: Yeah, I'll definitely be immersed in it for a year. I think I'll just miss the excitement of having a new episode every week. It's something new to look forward to and it's very exciting. And I'm definitely going to miss that.

By Jen Chaney  | April 19, 2010; 2:01 PM ET
Categories:  Extreme Fans, Lost, Pop Culture, TV  | Tags:  Lost, Profiles in Lost Fandom  
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Ah, to be so young and enthusiastic again!

Posted by: justmike | April 19, 2010 3:08 PM | Report abuse

I've watched since the very fist episode - even left a business dinner last year to see every single minute of the season finale - I SKIPPED DESSERT! I don't do that! Interestingly I too was raised in Louisville.

Posted by: gamecock1 | April 19, 2010 3:39 PM | Report abuse

Jen and Liz, you guys are the best and can almost do no wrong in my book, but this feature is borderline idiotic. Who is this girl and why do I care? I read about 3 questions before realizing that this person could very well have been the same idiot yammering away at a college frat party a week ago. Not entertaining, and not particularly necessary, either. Let's enjoy the end of the show for what it is, not highlight the incredibly boring fandom of some random college student. Fail.

Posted by: MarylanDChris | April 19, 2010 4:56 PM | Report abuse

Well, I guess we won't see your profile MarylanDChris : - ) Give the girl a break. She was willing to step forward to answer questions about why she is a fan. Don't belittle that effort.

Posted by: Emcdoj | April 19, 2010 6:57 PM | Report abuse

"I'm like, "That's Randy Nations and that was Hurley's boss back in season two." And he's like, "How do you know that?" And I'm like, "I just do.""

Ugh....let's hope she, like, has someone, like, proofread her thesis for her. Sorry...that's just, like, a HUGE pet peeve of mine.

Posted by: PostReader4 | April 20, 2010 9:26 AM | Report abuse

That's all I'm saying. THIS was the most interesting person to profile?

Posted by: MarylanDChris | April 20, 2010 11:17 AM | Report abuse

I understand that it's a commitment for anyone to do an entire thesis on LOST, but as a fan community we tend to be excessively informed as a norm.

Am new to LOST fandom, I watched seasons 1-5 in a 2 month long extravaganza last November. But I must say I've become truly immersed and have never been a part of a community that is so completely well informed of every nuance of this epic twisting show.

Most recappers out there have prolly filled in hundreds of pages (not counting the thousands coming from DocJenson). So yeh, to get the community to acknowledge superfan status would prolly require more than a 30-page thesis.

But it's awesome to be a fan of LOST and am sure Morgan is truly involved in this and a happy Lostie. That's all it takes!

Posted by: elwingt | April 20, 2010 2:20 PM | Report abuse

Huh. I thought it was a fun article. A slice of life from the Lost community.

I'm telling you, this season's crankiness "infection" is reaching pandemic proportions.

The symptoms:

First you become annoyed if people don't rush to give you "answers" as quickly as you think up questions. This can be stressful for workmates and family. You become, shall we say, demanding to be around.

When answers are shared, you go ballistic because either:
1.) answers are inherently less intriguing than mysteries, or
2.) you already figured that answer out weeks or even years ago. “Boooooring!”

You start viewing life as a half-empty glass. If your life is wonderfully action-filled, you complain that there is not more time to explore relationships. If you have lots of quality time with friends and family, you complain of insufficient excitement.

Before retiring to bed, you dismiss each day's events with cool disdain.

Toward the end, you are start acting like a crack addict in dire need --- brittle, anxious, jumpy. “Time is running out! Where is my fix?!”

At the very end, you are claimed and become Sayid. Nothing gets through. You decide the last five years of your life were a complete waste of time.

You utter but one word before departing this mortal coil of dashed hopes and unrealized dreams:



Apparently, I am infection-proof. Great season, great show, great fans. Rock on, Morgan! Nice to meet ya!

Posted by: MeriJ | April 20, 2010 3:27 PM | Report abuse

Well-said MeriJ.

Posted by: dojemc | April 21, 2010 8:13 AM | Report abuse

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