Wednesday , April 24 2024
There are some nights that television leaves me scratching my head. Last night was among them.

One Confusing Night of Television: My Name Is Earl, Lost

Sometimes I don't understand television, I well and truly don't. Last night on My Name is Earl, Earl's “living in a sitcom in his subconscious while in a coma” continued. The show has been using this as a way of making fun of traditional sitcoms and the fact that they use the same plot lines over and over and over again. It's not a particularly smart or witty observation; all observers of television could tell you that sitcoms use the same story devices over and over again. But, I can forgive a show for pointing out the obvious, that's not my complaint; it's just the background information you need to understand my complaint.

Anyway, on the show last night, while Earl was in his mental sitcom, Randy was in the real world going around with his comatose brother. He placed Earl's unconscious body into tons of stupid scenarios. It was like I was watching a 22-minute version of Weekend at Bernie's.

So, what you have is a television show that has spent a lot of time in the last four or five episodes (excluding last week's) telling the viewer how traditional sitcoms do the same thing over and over again. Then, in the final episode where Earl remained in a coma (he woke up at the end of the episode), the show took well-worn plotlines from Weekend at Bernie's and Weekend at Bernie's II.

How are we supposed to accept that? Are the producers of Earl trying to tell us that their show is smarter than the average sitcom because rather than recycling old television shows they recycle old movies? That can't be the message they were trying to send, but it's certainly the one I, and I think a lot of the audience, got.

The other message I got last night was on Lost. I think, and I may be wrong about this, but I think Charles Widmore was in charge of the Dharma Initiative. The way Ben and Widmore's conversation went, with Widmore reminding Ben that Ben took everything he had from Widmore, certainly means that it's a possibility. I think it's a fascinating one and I wonder how it is that Desmond's ending up on the island relates back to it all. I refuse to believe that Desmond dating Widmore's daughter and then ending up on the island is simply coincidental.

I think Lost has done a great job constantly changing itself and reinventing the story as they go along. I can't imagine the show without Ben, and he didn't appear at all in the first season. I sincerely hope that the producers knew where they were headed when they started (that they knew things like the fact that The Others controlled the black fog). It would make it better for me knowing that there was a plan all along.

I was, sadly, troubled by one thing last night. Was it really necessary to have three unknown survivors of the Oceanic crash die last night in rapid succession? Sawyer seeing people get shot may have been traumatic, but it felt a little like the Red Shirts getting killed in the original Star Trek. They were present solely to be killed, and the second two peoples' motivation for running out of the house immediately after seeing someone get shot absolutely baffled me.

Maybe I was just more confused because I had already spent so much time contemplating Earl earlier in the night, but I don't think that's it. I think it was just a confusing night of television in general.

About Josh Lasser

Josh has deftly segued from a life of being pre-med to film school to television production to writing about the media in general. And by 'deftly' he means with agonizing second thoughts and the formation of an ulcer.

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