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"Lost" creators: We will not answer all your questions

Many of the questions posed during the run of "Lost" that have been keeping you up at night are never going to be answered on the show but will instead be tossed in the compost heap like an old turnip, because, the writers say, they have run out of time.


Producer Carlton Cuse, left, and producer Damon Lindelof arrive at the "Lost" PaleyFest panel discussion in Beverly Hills, Calif. (AP)

And if you're expecting they will nonetheless come through with some kind of post-finale TV special, online chat, tweet -- anything! -- to answer their rabid fans's lingering head scratchers, you need to think again. They have no intention of discussing the show after the finale airs on May 23, show co-creators Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse blithely informed nearly 2,000 "Lost" fans attending the annual TV festival of the Paley Center for Media (formerly Museum of Television and Radio, formerly Museum of Broadcasting) in Los Angeles.

Now, you think that might have irked some of those nearly 2,000 fans who had coughed up $35 and then stood in line -- some for more than two hours -- in the on-again, off-again rain on Saturday night, in order to spend slightly less than two hours in the company of the writers, and a smattering of actors, from the heavily serialized primetime soap.

You'd be wrong. It only inflamed their passion:

"Now that we're [preparing] the finale, we're not at all having the experience of 'Oh my God, we forgot to do this! " Lindelof told the sold-out crowd at the Saban Theater in Beverly Hills-adjacent.

"We're big fans of the show 'Top Chef'," he explained. "Those guys all run through Whole Foods and they have to pull all of this stuff down -- they have to get stuff they might not use in the dish. When they get to the kitchen they have to decide whether or not they're going to use it. Our process is kinda the same."

"There's a lot of little questions that unfortunately we just don't have time to answer in the amount of time that we have left," co-creator Cuse told the PaleyFest crowd.

What with trying to keep all the intertwining storylines straight, it's probably slipped his mind that the "time we lave left" was determined years ago by Cuse and Lindelof, which would seem to suggest that running out of time was something they had, um, planned.

Back in May of 2007 ABC, the broadcast network that airs "Lost," and the creative team behind the weedy tangle of a series announced it would end in the spring of 2010. The network and the producers hoped the "potentially paradigm-shifting play" (Variety) would bring back some of those millions of disenfranchised uber-fans who had started complaining about half way through season No. 2 that the show seemed to be winging it, and making them feel like perfect fools for watching. Way back then, Cuse and Lindelof issued a statement saying "We always envisioned 'Lost' as a show with a beginning, middle and end," adding that "by officially announcing exactly when that ending will be, the audience will now have the security of knowing that the story will play out as we've intended."

Nearly three years later, at the Paleyfest, Cuse told uber-fans in re unanswered questions, "Ultimately, the way we look at it is that if the characters don't care about that question, then we as storytellers don't care about that question."

Of course, what the characters do and do not care about is decided upon by . . . well, Cuse and Lindelof, come to think of it. Because the characters are, you know, NOT REAL PEOPLE.

These fine points seemed lost on the glassy-eyed fans who were madly tweeting every second of the big event:

*Wow, a lot of people gave Terry O'Quinn a standing ovation when he came out.

*Damon just spoiled that Santa isn't real, and there are kids in the audience. Uh oh.

But those of us who have been able to resist the show's insidious ability to suck your brain out through your ear -- by shouting out nursery rhymes and performing other non-rhythmic tricks -- were sore as gumboils when panelists said we're out of luck if we're waiting to find out who exactly was the economist Sayid shot on the golf course. Apparently they heard from Sayid -- he couldn't care less.

"We feel like the show should stand on its own," Cuse said. "We're actually not going to comment on the show after the finale. We want everybody to basically be able to continue the dialogue . . . We don't think it's really appropriate for us to say 'Oh, here is the official definition for what we meant by any particular moment on the show'," he said.

Let's recap, shall we? The show's creators say it's not appropriate for the show's creators to give the "official definition" of what they, the show's creators, meant by any particular moment on the show they created.

Okey dokey.

On the bright side, here are some things the writers did promise fans attending PaleyFest that they would address in the show's last batch of episodes.

SPOILER ALERT: Super-Losties should look away -- also the "Lost" Utterly Un-interested -- because we're going down the rabbit hole:

*The Hurley Bird is "on our list of things to explain," the creators said. Hurley Bird, in case you have forgotten, is the bird that nose-dived the show's main characters and mentioned Hurley's name in passing.

*We'll see more of Charlie; ditto Vincent.

*Libby's relationship with Hurley will be explained.

*Jack's baby's mother will be identified -- she's someone we've seen before, the creators teased.

*Richard Alpert's back story will be revealed and he and Ilana "will say things to each other and about each other," Lindelof promised. This was seconded by the actor who plays Alpert, Nestor Carbonell, who said that "finally finding out who the hell I am" was his proudest moment on the show to date. "It was bizarre and I can't say anything more than that," Carbonell said of the script in which he read who the heck he has been playing the past few years.

("Lost" director Jack Bender noted that Alan Dale was equally befuddled as to how he was supposed to play his Charles Widmore character without knowing the first thing about him.

Bender said Dale would ask him "What the [expletive] am I doing on this show?" and they would give him just enough information to quiet him down.

"In fairness, he also said that when he was on 'The O.C.'," joked the panel discussion moderator, comic/Lostie Paul Sheer of FX's "The League" fame.)

*We may also learn whether Disney, which produces the show and owns ABC, really does plan to dump its iconic Tom Sawyer theme-park island in favor of a "Lost" ride. Lindelof votes no, explaining that all Disney really needs to do is "put people in a black room, spin them around, punch them in the face and tell them, 'You just had the 'Lost' experience'."

By Lisa de Moraes  |  March 1, 2010; 8:25 AM ET
Categories:  TV News  
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Comments

I need to think about this a bit and figure out whether I should be angry, bitter, disappointed or just resigned to the fact that these guys are just a couple of d-bags and get on with my life. Now this all seems like just a big game that won ratings for ABC and tons of buzz.

Posted by: Ebola_22039 | March 1, 2010 9:27 AM | Report abuse

I am perfectly fine with not having answers to all the hundreds of outstanding questions answered. Any more than I don't have to know in "The Lord of the Rings" exactly what type of beings are Tom Bombadil and Goldberry or whether a Balrog has wings. I would be content if the Hurley Bird remained a mystery.

Posted by: Odwalla_AT | March 1, 2010 9:43 AM | Report abuse

They won't have time to answer many questions but they will explain something as obscure as the "Hurley bird." Who even remembers what that was. Maybe if they didn't waste precious time this season with the Temple and Dogan they could have tied up more loose ends.

Posted by: buffysummers | March 1, 2010 10:08 AM | Report abuse

Lisa -

Thank you so much for titling your post so very clearly. As it lands in the blog directory on the home page, that "I'm trying not to read ANY spoilers for the last season of LOST" thing I've been working on was just completely blown.

You couldn't have just titled it "LOST creators speak at TV convention"?

I realize if it's not "American Idol", you don't really care. Leave the LOST reporting to Liz over at Celebritology.

Posted by: Chasmosaur1 | March 1, 2010 10:09 AM | Report abuse

...and a new generation of Trekkies are born, endlessly speculating on the deeper meanings of a television script and the non-existent "back story" underpinning a work of fiction.

Posted by: sheehanjc | March 1, 2010 10:36 AM | Report abuse

While all the mysteries could not possibly be answered (nor should they be for all they matter) the writers could at least slow the rate of new question addition.

The questions raised over the years are just as many have already figured out: red herrings that meant absolutely nothing. Now it seems like simple confusion to give the illusion of intricate story-telling and obscure what will probably be a rather vanilla resolution with a lot of lose ends. Still, the producers encouraged fans to find them, like the show was a scavenger hunt for clues, and a prize was going to be given to the first person to "figure it all out". Now, years down the line, we see there really was no reason to listen to and transcribe the whipers, read the books in the background, or note the date on Aaron's sonogram. It's probably just a continuity error; and compared to the question of whom Locke was playing chess against in The Flame, the Hurley Bird "answer" takes precedence. Really, who cares who build the four-toed statue, or why it had four toes. But, if the Frozen Donkey Wheel isn't included in those few questions that are answered, there are going to be a few hacked off people.

And in reading comments from Cuse/Lindelof from 2004-2009 versus today, it appears to be a case of their mouths writing a check their butts couldn't case, or maybe a Long Con designed to confuse fans long enough to forget the details. Maybe if they had constrained the myth they were writing a little, they'd have only introduced the questions they intended to answer, or maybe gotten an earlier start on answering them. Afterall, they had a "complete story", beginning, middle, end. But did we really need the "off-Island" season if we have a view of the "sideways universe" this season? Were the mercenaries a vital part of the story? And was that "cage sex" and wasted season with The Others really necessary, or just "filler"? For the answers to these answers...don't bother to tune in! But, we've got the Hurley bird covered, ya'll!

Posted by: TheEvilMarshallD | March 1, 2010 10:37 AM | Report abuse

So, basically, they have no idea what they're doing.

Posted by: chunche | March 1, 2010 10:50 AM | Report abuse

I've heard that Disney dumped the 'Lost' ride because it would take seven years and leave you back in 1974 (when the Disneyland souvenir shops were cheaper).

Posted by: stivgdgy | March 1, 2010 10:54 AM | Report abuse

Lisa,

If you cannot print "├╝ber" (including the umlaut), please print as "ueber."

Thanks,
The Grammar Nazi (third cousin of the Soup Nazi, and distantly related to Harold Stassen)

Posted by: herrgrinch | March 1, 2010 12:17 PM | Report abuse

We've been robbed! I feel the same as when I watched "X Files" expecting its weird plot twists to be explained. Those writers or producers couldn't be bothered to respect their viewers, or filmmaking literature, either. Of course, I gave up on that show a lot earlier BECAUSE THE PRODUCERS DIDN'T PROMISE TO EXPLAIN EVERYTHING AT THE END!

Posted by: SilverSpringer1 | March 1, 2010 12:21 PM | Report abuse

Smells like they are leaving room for a spinoff or sequel, regardless of the fact they claim they are not.

Posted by: hodie | March 1, 2010 12:40 PM | Report abuse

Ca$h in - cop out.

These writer/creators have known for years when this program would end - a date of their own choosing. And they've had plenty of time to interact with fans to figure out what the more pressing "questions" are to the audience.

Yet one more reason for viewers -not- to get sucked into "serialized" dramas. What the networks don't do to you, by prematurely cancelling such series, the writers/creators will - and apparently willfully.

Posted by: jqw3827 | March 1, 2010 1:03 PM | Report abuse

The producers are borrowing from a scene in "Buckaroo Banzai: "What's that watermelon doing here?"

"I'll tell you later." We're still waiting for that answer.

Posted by: TheEvilMarshallD | March 1, 2010 1:52 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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