Pardon me, but I’m feeling a little Lost*

You know, back in college, I used to be quite the 'Smoke Monster' myself. Then I quit. Twice. (Thanks for the photo, Sam!)

HARLEM — Confession time: I have never seen an episode of Lost. Not one. If the lead character or characters hit me over the head with a mallet tomorrow, I honesty couldn’t identify he or she or them. And the ‘Smoke Monster’ I’ve been reading about on the Twitter? I’d have no clue.

Same goes for Avatar, The Blind Side (though I read the book, it is awesome), The Hurt Locker, Inglorious Inglourious Basterds, Precious, A Serious Man or Up in the Air.

I did see Up, and I’m glad I did, because there’s a sequence in the beginning of the movie that’s outstanding. The entire story is told with visuals and music, not a single word, yet it’s poignant. I love storytelling. Excellent stuff.

But the rest? No clue. I hear Avatar has blue people, and that people who have seen it want to off themselves, not exactly a hearty endorsement if you ask me. Yet, I keep hearing I’ve got to go. And I sure would love to check it out before heading to spring training, because once I get to Tampa, forget it.

Honestly, I’m a bit upset by my complete lack of knowledge. Last time I was up on the pop culture, NBC was crushing the prime time ratings. I hear that this is no longer the case.

I watched Heroes from the start, so I’m kind of married to it, despite the fact that it’s gone into the toilet. Community, a new sitcom, is very good too. But I love it because I went to community college myself, and the person who wrote the show obviously did as well, because it’s freaking dead on.

I once got on an Alias kick because I have a thing for the espionage thing — and for attractive women running around in their underwear.

Top Chef was fun, though I didn’t see any of it this past season. I watched Project Runway for a season. Yeah, I’m secure enough to say it: that Tim Gunn fella sure is stylish. I also got into Dirt and The Riches, a couple of FX shows.

Both have since been canceled.

So clearly, I’m out of the loop.

The problem is so many of the shows require a huge investment right at the beginning. Lost is the best example. Every time I’ve mentioned to a fan of the show that I’ve heard good things, they tell me I’ve got to start at season one and work forward. Which is simple enough, because during the season, it would be easy to buy DVDs and watch them on flights.

But what about 24, Mad Men, The Sopranos, Entourage and The Wire? I hear I need to start the beginning of these too. I’m sure It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, though I wouldn’t know first hand. Never seen it.

Jersey Shore, as far as I can tell, is a reality series about a situation regarding a chick named Snooki from Staten Island. That’s all I got.

Obviously, I can’t get to all of these shows. So what’s a scribe to do?

Which is why I now turn to you, let’s hear it. If I had to pick two shows to catch up during the baseball season, which should they be? Do I really need to experience Avatar? Is there a blog or website or news source that I can read to stay up on all this stuff, so that smoke monster references don’t go sailing over my head on Twitter?

Can you give me a pop culture education? Let me know.

* See what I did there? Lost, as in the TV show, get it? Clearly I need to stop blogging after bar stints…

— 30 —

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19 Comments

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19 responses to “Pardon me, but I’m feeling a little Lost*

  1. Sam

    If you’re going to catch up on 2 shows during baseball season, I’d go with The Wire and It’s Always Sunny, the best TV series I’ve ever seen and the most consistenty funny in a long time.
    Televisonwithoutpity.com is a good site to keep track of TV happenings

  2. Lost is not so hard to catch up on with a NetFlix account. The first 5 seasons are available for instant streaming, so you can watch them on the road on your laptop.

    I’ve gone through the love and hate cycles with the show, but now I’m back in love with it. But I am glad that it’s ending this year.

  3. Marc Carig

    Already some very helpful advice. Thanks guys!

  4. First off, it’s actually Inglourious Basterds, not Inglorious Basterds.

    Second, forget TV, it’s not worth it. Screw Heroes, it’s horrible. But instead of turning of NBC, just tune in an hour earlier and watch Chuck, because it’s more fun than any other show on TV.

    Actually, if you watch Chuck and Entourage, there’s no reason to watch anything else. TV is crap. Spend that time reading, or writing, or watching movies.

  5. I second Chuck. Its totally fun and clever, and when you’re watching TV, it should be fun and relaxing. I’d also say you should watch stuff that is available on Hulu, so you can watch stuff whenever you want. Trin and I like Legend of the Seeker (I even got the books, I’m so geeky!) and Castle is pretty fun too — and both are on Hulu.

  6. gayle

    The West Wing although that may be before you gave up on pop culture. Totally agree with you on Lost too much time needed as well as I dont want to wait 5 years for the answers

  7. Watch The Soup on E. They do the hard work of sifting through countless hours of banal crap and deliver it with the same contempt for pop culture that all of us watching have but don’t want to feel left out.

  8. Drama Boy

    The Wire is easily the best show ever made. And yes, you must start from the beginning. David Simon and Co. will reward you for the investment. Little things that happen in episode 1 will come back in the finale. First cop show to ignore the obvious cliche’s and show you the other side of the streets.

    Breaking Bad is worth a look too.

    Also, and a Bay Area guy should know, Tim Goodman at the Chron is one of the best TV critics out there. His blog, http://www.thebastardmachine.com has a great archive of his work.

  9. Megan

    The Wire is the best show ever produced. Watch it immediately. There’s an entire season about newspapers, for pete’s sake.

    The Sopranos is the second best show ever produced. Watch it after The Wire.

    There’s no reason to see Avatar, though it’s entertaining for the first two-plus hours. For a man who appreciates Marriott points as much as you do, Up in the Air is required. And The Hurt Locker is a master work — the definitive piece on the Iraq War so far.

    As for how to stay on top of it all, my solution is simple: check in with Owen once in a while. He’s a master cultural educator.

  10. Pingback: Great storytelling, an unfortunate Frenchman, and the fate of his boys « Marc Carig | Off The Record

  11. Michael

    Watch Lost. Seriously. I caught up on 45 episodes when I tore my hamstring last summer and couldn’t walk for a week. Within 3 weeks after that, I was up on the entre series, and man was it worth it.

    I’m not big on TV either, and like you, NBC and “Must See Thursdays” was leading the pack the last time I actually cared, so maybe my advice sucks, but I vote for:
    1) Lost
    2) Dexter

    Your Favorite Bowling Mate

  12. larry

    I finally caved and watched, I have a number of friends who watch and since I’m open-minded about many things, I figured I’d give a try. It’s interesting but a little puzzling to figure out.

  13. rufuswashere

    “Friday Night Lights” is sensational.

    Intense human and family drama. Great acting. Compelling plot lines.

    (Bonus: Some incredibly attractive females — including Derek Jeter’s future wife?)

    And I’m no football fan, and probably 99% of the time I’ve spent in Texas has been in one of their giant airports.

    First few years are available on Netflix instant watch.

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