What Oprah and LOST Have in Common

Oprah’s big secret is out: she has a sister. Wow, that WAS surprising – not. In fact, when Oprah’s big secret was finally revealed I was reminded of another secret. The secret of the island. The secret of the flash sideways. The secret of the donkey wheel. The secret of the numbers. What does our momentary fervor over Oprah’s big secret, and our obsessive certainty that LOST will blow our minds, have in common? Simple. Both are subject to the rules of real life. Let me explain.

Oprah engineered her big reveal in much the same way LOST built its big mysteries: it seduced us with the sense that the final revelation would be somehow life altering. Oprah discovers she is the long lost sister of President Obama. Oprah discovers that she possesses cells capable of infinite division. Or simple: Oprah brings on Dr. Oz, who has just figured out the cure to cancer. Wait, maybe the government selects Oprah to reveal that we have been in communication with an advanced Alien race. No, none of those things happened because they are things that would have happened in fiction – unless that fiction is LOST.

The let down of “oh, she has a sister – whoopie” reminded me of another let down: they are all dead, and the source of the island’s power is a glowing rectum contained by a stone butt-plug. Think this through with me a little more folks: Oprah’s surprise was mundane – for anyone but her, of course – because this is reality, and in reality things just don’t live up to the hype. Somehow, the writers of LOST got the idea that their stories should work the same way: build up the expectation of a mind-blowing reveal, only to low ball the expectations. Brilliant. Did the LOST guys suddenly start producing Oprah?

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  1. Spoilers Guide January 25, 2011

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