It’s come to my attention that you’ve plowed through two seasons of LOST in five days. You think it’s “a pretty cool show,” and you’re probably going to finish it later this month. Well, that’s not going to happen, mister. You have just watched forty-nine episodes of endless mysteries where every “answer” leads only to more questions, and the fact that you aren’t furiously pissed off and cursing J. J. Abrams proves you aren’t mature enough for this seminal life experience. This isn’t just “some piece of content to binge.” This is LOST.
I am instituting a new policy: You can watch only one episode each week. And in between episodes, you will obsess and theorize and stew and vent and wonder why the hell you even bother watching this show before inevitably returning next week. Just like we did when I was your age.
You think you can just hit “next episode” and breeze through this show? No. People my age suffered to get through LOST. Walt’s powers? The polar bear? The numbers? The bird who said “Hurley” in the first season finale? We had to wait years for any semblance of resolution. And oftentimes, it was grossly anticlimactic, but we loved it, damn it. Getting answers when you ask for them? That’s not life. And that’s not LOST.
And in case you can’t tell, I’m pronouncing LOST in all caps because that’s how important this show is.
Streaming? We didn’t have streaming in my day. When I was your age, we watched it on ABC every Wednesday at 8 p.m. Then every Wednesday at 9 p.m. Then a couple of years later, every Thursday at 9 p.m. And then a few years after that, every Tuesday at 9 p.m. Also, we’d occasionally watch it on the website the next day if we missed it or forgot to TiVo the episode. Appointment viewing on broadcast TV—those were the good old days! Summers? You’re going to take those off. It took three long months to find out what was in the hatch! All it took you was one click of the remote. This is why people say that your generation is so coddled.
Why am I being so unfair? Why can’t you just binge-watch like all your friends do? Well, the questions you should really be asking are: Is the Island actually Atlantis before it sunk? Are the Others secretly the survivors’ clones? Is Jacob really Claire’s baby from the future? Is the Smoke Monster a field of telepathic nanobots? See? These insane ideas haven’t entered your head, because you’re intent on speed-running your way to the finish line, and everything will blur together, and you won’t be able to tell season 3A apart from season 3B. It makes me sick.
Son, I wish I could be where you are right now. The world is at your fingertips. Able to experience LOST for the first time. Don’t take this for granted. Appreciate the series. Hit pause, screengrab the map on the hatch door, and try to decode the hieroglyphics and anagrams. Wear your Drive Shaft T-shirt out in public and nod at the rare person who gets the reference. Watch “The Constant,” call it the greatest episode in television history, and work it into your wedding vows. And when the series finale isn’t 100 percent satisfactory, harass Damon Lindelof to the point where he deletes his Twitter. Sorry. His “X.” This generation, christ…
Hell, you watched all of The Office in a month. For people like me, it took years for Jim and Pam to get together. For you, it was a weekend. And did it feel earned when they finally kissed? Of course not! Yes, you “watched” seven seasons of 30 Rock. But did you really watch them? Can you quote the entire “Reaganing” episode? And we’re not even going to get into your Simpsons bingeing, young man. You can pull this shit with Suits. But not LOST.
Shows like this are rare, and you need to savor this. I mean, look at you. You’ve grown up so fast, and sometimes it feels like I binge-watched your childhood. I wish I could go back and appreciate those little moments all over again. Your first steps. The first time you tried ice cream. Our first trip to Disneyland. I want to see that same genuine joy and surprise in your eyes whenever you discover a new DHARMA Initiative station. Because these moments don’t come along later on in life. Trust me.
You might be asking if there’s a reason behind this. If I’ve actually planned out my parenting strategy long-term or if I’m making it up as I go along. Well, you have to trust that there’s a plan. That’s the only way to get through life and LOST: by accepting the frustration and learning that it’s about the journey, not the destination.
Okay. Good talk, kiddo. See you in another life, brother.
What’s that? You don’t know what that means? That’s Desmond’s catchphrase! The guy in the hatch who had to enter the numbers every 108 minutes? You’ve seen those episodes! You should know him! God, I miss the aughts. We have to go back!