Of all the footnotes I cut from DEMON THEORY, there’s an OLIVER TWIST / ANIMAL HOUSE one that I maybe miss the most. There was this fun, ceramic-pig oriented Pynchon-one too though, I suppose, which scuttled through PLAYBOY and I forget all-where. And more and more. This, though, it’s one that I never actually put to paper, only considered: getting to LOST via MILLENIUM via X-FILES or something — Terry O’Quinn seems to be in about everything I like. Either that or I like everything he’s in. However, it’s a good thing I didn’t have a LOST note, I think, as I now realize it would it have been incomplete, because just now was the very time I ever saw “The Creepy Case of Old Ironface” episode of SCOOBY-DOO, WHERE ARE YOU? which seems to hold, in seed-form, all of LOST:
as our intrepid crew of slueths arrives on the aptly-named Skull Island:
- Freddy: What’s a fancy place like this doing underground on a deserted island?
- Daphne: Jeepers! Somebody’s been living here!
- Velma: A lot of somebodies . . .
Too, talking the glass teat here, as I just have basic cable and can’t catch SOPRANOS or THE WIRE or any of that other supposed-to-be excellent programming, and now that THE CLOSER’s summer run is over, it’s up to the LAW & ORDER franchise to feed my need for crime-type drama. I don’t really keep up with season openers or any of that — I have no idea why there’s all these new people in the LAW & ORDERs — but if I see they’re on, I’ll watch, just because I trust the storytelling. Or, I guess, I trust the producers to keep a tight enough lid on everything that all the bad writing stays in-house, pretty much, and never sees prime time. Until Tuesday night’s SVU, that is, the one about a serial rapist (that’s hardly specific enough, I know, but, there was also a forty-years-old or so rape involved). Which I take to be something like a death knell for that particular offshoot: where the strength of the LAW & ORDER franchise has always been its insistence on keeping that “TNT” brand of drama in the present tense, in the current storyline, this episode slips just a little. Granted, like all of them, it’s about investigating some ‘past’ crime, but the past on LAW & ORDER is always told, so that trust has to be involved, instead of ‘visualized,’ which CSI, say, relies just ridiculously-much on, until it feels comical almost. And, as near as I can tell — and I’ve watched a fair share of LAW & ORDER marathons — they’ve never stumbled yet. Until Tuesday night, when, due to the fifty-two minute format, maybe, they played with the sequence for the last minute or two, so that the revealing testimony at the end was crosscut with stuff that was going to ‘prove’ that testimony later. And it was very effective, and good writing. But, too, it was the kind of writing that opens the door for just all kind of dramatic chicanery. Which leads me to believe that strange things are afoot in the writing department of the sexual crimes division up in New York, strange enough that, if they continue, SVU’s going to be able to fake it for just a season or two more. Which I’d hate to see happen, as it’s my favorite of the three ‘fiction’ LAW & ORDERs, just because it seems to have more campy twists (not say the Columbo-ish ‘reveal’ scenes on CI aren’t just a ball).
Anyway, to get back to LOST: I sure do miss the polar bears. When that two-episode pilot aired, it was the polar bears the hooked me. I mean, all this conspiracy stuff, it’s a blast, no doubt, but I also fear that, as with X-FILES, the conspiracy stuff will effectively insulate the show, isolate it, turn it into a hot-house, ‘in-club’ affair. I mean, with X-FILES, all we needed (aside from Mulder being back) was more genre-episodes, a whole string of pandering genre episodes. Which I’d like to see from LOST as well, I think. Because, fun as it is, let’s face it: the reason that plane crashed was because of the combined weight off all the backstory these modelesque Gilligans had snuck on-board, tried to cram in every overhead and fold behind each tray table. Not at all saying that it’s mis-stepped so far, or that I’m not there each and every Wednesday, but I am saying that these LOST-writers had better be really, really good, if the show hopes to have any permanence, be more than just a fad, more than just the ‘scripted’ version of SURVIVOR. Because, as everybody who’s written a novel knows, it’s easy to complicate things. The hard part, however, is finding an elegant, dramatically-effective and believable (within the paramaters set by the story) way of ‘solving’ all the complication. Which, to get back to DEMON THEORY — and which the LOST guys have already said isn’t the case, I think — probably isn’t the “St. Elsewhere” way out (see footnote 177).
Â©Stephen Graham Jones, 2006