Lost (TV Show)

Lately I’ve been re-watching Lost, the TV show which ran for 6 seasons from 2004 – 2010. The show was unfortunately a victim of its own unsatisfactory ending and has never been remembered fondly since. It is also known for having too many unanswered mysteries, despite the fact that nearly all of them were resolved by the end! However I’m finding the re-watch to be absolutely gripping. To get the most out of it, I’d recommend shifting your focus from the sci fi/fantasy aspect of the show and enjoying it as a strong character drama. Some of the themes that run throughout involve love, loss, loneliness, friendship, family conflict (especially absent, cruel, and dead parents), survival, good v evil, science v faith, free will v fate, and the question of what happens to us when we die. I find the show a really interesting fictional format to explore all of these issues.

I was 18 when it started, and a decade later I see the show in a different way than before. I’m only on the second series at the time of writing this, but the female characters are not being written very well in my opinion. Whilst they are many in number they don’t have many storylines outside of their relationships to a man or outside of motherhood. (E.g. Rose, Claire, Sun…) One exception is Kate, a very strong and independent woman who  can rescue herself and others as well as any male character. However, even whilst she’s off roaming the island to move the plot forward with the men she’s caught up in a whirl of sexual tension love triangle. Most of her angst and character motivation comes from the fact that she unintentionally got the man she loved killed. I’m looking forward to seeing how the female characters are written throughout the rest of the series. I hope it gets better, but I don’t think it does! Sigh.

I realised this morning that I couldn’t remember seeing any LGBT characters in the show. It’s always a great shame in any sci fi/fantasy show when this happens. It subconsciously conveys the idea that things such as smoke monsters, seeing dead people, and tropical islands that travel through space and time are all more normal and easier to understand than the fact that someone isn’t straight. Double sigh. This is an especially big fail in Lost’s case when you consider the sheer number of characters that must total up to several hundred. Surely more of them could by gay, lesbian, bi or trans? Surely there could be more same-sex characters and couples as background extras and minor characters? WRITERS, IT’S NOT THAT HARD TO DO!!

What makes me doubly sad is that a decade on, they still haven’t changed. A lot of the same producers and writers for Lost went on to work on the show Once Upon a Time. Sadly it’s still a case of creating a world where murder, mass murder, dragons, magic, torture, children being the same age as their parents, being able to travel between worlds… etc etc. all regularly occur BUT GOD FORBID WE HAVE AN LGBT CHARACTER! Once is also just as bad for not casting BME people in anything other than small supporting roles. Though oddly the show does a lot better than most shows in terms of awesome female feminist characters…BUT IT SHOULD NEVER BE EITHER/OR IN THESE CASES. A SHOW SHOULD BE ABLE TO HAVE A DIVERSE CAST, DIVERSE CHARACTERS *AND* WELL WRITTEN FEMALE ROLES!!

And breathe.

So how many LGBT chracters are there in Lost? According to this website there are two gay males and one assumed bisexual (Hurley’s sister in law). Who leaves Hurley’s brother for another woman.

*throws laptop out the window*

Please excuse me whilst I go and sulk in the Swan Station with a poler bear and dream of representation in the media.

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2 thoughts on “Lost (TV Show)

  1. I’ve watched the entire series back to front more times than I can count and it usually depends on my mood as to how generous I am about it’s representation of LGBT people and women.
    Given that the island was like it’s own world within the world, there should have been at least one main LGBT character or same sex relationship. However, this was over ten years ago now and major tv shows with main LGBT characters are still rare. Oitnb is probably the best big series for representation but part of the reason imo is because it’s a women’s prison so it’s reasoned away by a lot of people but in a different setting it might be different. There’s still complaints now that there’s not enough men in the show which is ridiculous. Lost does disappoint but given the context it’s exactly what I expected and it isn’t the wholly the responsibility of the show, but of our media.
    I think the criticisms you made of the women in the show have valid points but are somewhat harsh. For one, Michael is solely defined as being a father. Fatherhood is an issue explored as much as motherhood. There’s Claire, then Kate and obviously The Mother but there’s also Michael, how Charlie wants to act as a father to Aaron, Christian Shepard, Locke and his issues with his dad, Ben’s struggling father, Sawyer is a father who abandons his kid and he never really gets over that and then in the flash sideways Jack’s whole story is about being the father he never got to be.
    Also, I don’t just think women are defined by their relationships but that everyone on that island is and love was kind of the one consistent message on the show. Sawyer was the ultimate rogue character and yet became defined by his relationship with Juliet. Sayid and Desmond were also strong characters yet defined by their love. Even Locke who was meant to be the one who loved the island the most, never let go of his love for Helen.
    Kate was the weakest woman until season 6 imo. Literally everything became about her different loves. Her childhood best friend, her husband and the smoke tedious Jack or Sawyer thing (which was sleep inducing by season 3). Season 6 Kate actually knew who she was and was far more independent, even if she fell into the old trope of being a mother to do it (and Lost loses points for that).
    Sun I found interesting. There was loads of racial stereotypes involved with her and Jin at first (something Lost did with a few characters) but although she did love Jin she also often just did wherever she want. Sun became one of the most devious and capable people on the island but she never became a villain, she was just her own person.
    Juliet was another strong character. She was preyed on by Ben but she did what she had to and was never really defined by him given that she ditched him soon as she could. Rose did love her husband but he largely just followed her plans – it was Ross who stood against Locke in season 4, her who stopped her husband’s sign and her who led them to living alone in the jungle. Charlotte was pretty independent too – she just loved the island.
    The only major character outside Mother, The Man in Black and Jacob to not reveal any romantic and sexual interest was Eko. Given that the show literally ended with everyone coupled up – except Boone but someone had to have unrequited love- I have questioned whether he was supposed to be asexual, but I’m probably clutching at straws and it’s more likely he just left before the writers could figure out what to do with the character.
    It’s also a shame that Lost had no polyamorous relationships.
    Looking back, I really can’t decide whether the show was strong by exploring how weak almost all the characters were or just unimaginative and restricted with how it could portray relationships.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hey,

    Thanks for such an interesting, well written and thought provoking comment.

    I agree with your points about how fatherhood and relationship to a woman take up many of the storylines for men too, and how in some cases the male characters are defined by them. Thanks for pointing that out to me. I stand corrected.

    “Also, I don’t just think women are defined by their relationships but that everyone on that island is and love was kind of the one consistent message on the show.”

    I loved this sentence. Yes.

    I think one reason I feel disappointed with Lost when it comes to female characters is that from what I’ve re-watched so far, I feel like the male characters are the ones driving the plot forward. Or that they are the ones with the more central roles and positions of power. That they are the ones with more lines and screen time. They seem to be the ones building the raft, discovering the hatch, etc…which feels like a stark contrast to a character like Claire who sometimes has a handful of words per episode. Or Sun’s storyline of finding a wedding ring. But again, perhaps you can shed somelight on this for me as you know the series a lot better than I do. Am I right? Wrong?

    Also, I just did a very brief count of how many female characters get an episode where they are the central character featured in the flashbacks. For Season 1, it’s 6. Season 2, 7. Season 3, 8. That’s quite low for seasons of around 22 episodes, and that’s including the episodes where the flashbacks are shared. Eg. a joint Jin and Sun flashback episode. A quick count of the main characters results in roughly double the number of males than females.

    I should have worded my blog post and points of criticism better than making a sweeping statement.

    “It’s also a shame that Lost had no polyamorous relationships.”

    I agree. Poly relationships also receive virtually no representation in film and television.
    Have you head of the word “headcannon”? In my head Kate, Jack and Sawyer are in a poly triad, or add Juliet in to make a poly quad!

    Like

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