My wife and I got a babysitter last night so that we could go to a "Lost" party. It wasn't really a "party", per se, but really just us and another couple watching the season premiere of Lost and eating some great snacks, which our hosts so graciously provided. (We were supposed to bring the drinks, but it was so frantic trying to get out the door that we neglected to do anything but grab a packet to make some Crystal Light.)
If you haven't watched Lost before, you just won't get why this part was even happening. However, those of us who have watched the show from the beginning and have stuck with it have shared a singular cultural experience. Lost truly is one of the most remarkable television experiences that I've ever had. Now that we're in its final season, I'm excited to see how it "ends" but a little nervous about how it will "end".
When I talk to people about this show, they usually fall into one of three categories:
1) They've never watched it or only watched a few episodes and didn't continue with it. These are "non-fans".
2) They came to the experience late so had to catch up with everything by watching the back episodes.
3) They've been faithfully watching from the very beginning.
My wife and I fall into the latter category, and I truly feel that as far as Lost fans go, those in the second category are just second-class fans.
Here's my reasoning: you just can't have the full emotional experience of the show without being subject to the delays inherent in weekly breaks between episodes and seasonal breaks between seasons. In those intervening times, those who watched have to wait with anticipation for the following episode, all the while trying to make sense out of what had gone on before. The truest of fans participate in theorizing about the underlying meaning of the show, curious as to what the producers may have intended by this or that little detail and drawing connections between various events which may or may not have actually been connected. The show, in that regard, is brilliantly constructed and provides more than enough fodder for rampant speculation. There's an entire cottage industry in the "blogosphere" of those who think and ponder and write their ponderous thoughts.
So it was that in our party last night, we had a wonderful experience. It was really quite enjoyable as we watched both the "review" episode and then the actual show itself. There, we were able to ask the questions, "Was that when ..." or "What happened to ..." or "Where did that ..." and have our friends participate in that discussion. Even better, it was great to remind each other of little details and character connections that we had each forgotten.
Three hours later, $17 poorer (for the babysitter), and 2 hours more sleep-deprived than usual, my wife and I came home, happy at the experience and glad to have participated. We now wish we had done this before, enjoying the experience with other like-minded fans from the very beginning. Had we done so, we probably would have had an even deeper experience with the show. As it is, we plan to do it again, probably for the finale, which will no doubt be something to behold.