The Humor Gets LOST in the Shuffle
- Friday, January 29, 2010
LOST is about so many things - the convoluted events of the plot (just listen to Hurley in "The Lie" try to explain them to his mother - this is high comedy in its own right), the boatloads of thematic elements, the mysteries - that the fantastic humor the writers and actors have given us through the seasons sometimes gets, well, lost. So as I prepare to post Season Five, where plot events and answers start flying at a more furious pace, and we have less time for character development and interaction, I want to take a minute for a much-needed chuckle and post my Top 20 laughs of the first four seasons:
My Top 20 Funniest Lines of LOST
"Hey, maybe he left you his kidney." -- Helen, to Locke, at Cooper's graveside. And...
Cooper: I killed myself off because there were two men who were going to beat me to it.
Locke: Oh, what'd you do, steal their livers?
Good to see Locke getting a sense of humor (this was Helen's influence on him - too bad he lost her) about what happened to him. Also, bodily organ jokes almost never go out of style. See: that scene in Steel Magnolias where the family plays "Go Fish" the night before Shelby's surgery.
"The bald wanker knows something." -- Charlie, about Locke.
Bald jokes... also good fodder. I speak from experience. And you can never go wrong with 'wanker,' either, God love the Brits.
"You know how for 3 days, 10 hours, and 15 minutes I'm not allowed to use nicknames? Well you sir, Hugo, are rotund, annoying, and ruining my view." -- Sawyer.
Even when his primary weapon is taken away from him, Sawyer can still come through. And rotund is undeniably just a funny word, fat jokes aside.
"Have a cluckety-cluck-cluck day, Hugo." -- Jin, to Hurley, in Hurley's dream.
Jin can be a pretty funny guy. Unfortunately, the language barrier has prevented him from getting off many good one-liners on the show. But in Hurley's dream sequence that's not a problem. This line is boosted by the guy in a chicken suit - always a winner - standing beside him.
"Ain't that just like a woman? She keeps the house, you get the cheap-ass apartment. Hey, how'd you get Locke to take a swing at you, anyway? That's like gettin' Gandhi to beat his kids." -- Sawyer, to Charlie, who has had to move down the beach in shame.
Just what Charlie needs, as if he could feel any lower, is a move into Sawyer's neighborhood for some good old-fashioned mockery.
"She's kinda cute, right? You know, in a 'I've-been-terrorized-by-the-Others-for-40-days' kinda way?" -- Hurley, to Charlie about Libby.
Anytime Hurley talks about the Others, for some reason, it's funny. It's like the ridiculousness of our term for the indigenous folks comes back to smack us in the face. What's more, Hurley has nailed it. That's exactly the way in which Libby is cute. And Hugo's crush and the way he has to talk about it is so Junior High (again, I should know).
"Life's not so bad, right? I mean, sure, the Others are coming to, like, eat us all, and every once in a while someone blows up all over you, but we do get to sleep in every morning." -- Hurley.
Somewhere along the line the writers decided to keep putting in language about how the Losties feared being "eaten" by the others. This line combines the always-a-winner cannibalism joke with a Dr. Arzt laugh, plus a look-at-the-brightside punchline. Well done.
"So these Others, you think they're left over from the Dharma folk? My theory? They're aliens. That's why they wear the fake beards. Their heads are plastetic." --Sawyer.
This quote has everything - crazy theories, ideas about the Others, some foreshadowing, and a messed up word by the redneck. Plastetic? Classic. I would not be surprised if the writers lifted this quote straight off the fan theory boards.
"Attention, Others! Come in, Others. If you're listening to this, I want you to know that we got you bastards!" -- Hurley, over the walkie, still high over his heroic deed in his Big Blue Bus.
Hurley's not been the hero many times in his life, and here his exuberance gets the best of him. His friends are safe, and he wants his enemies to know that... even if he doesn't know what to call them.
"You're not taking drugs, are you John? I only ask because of the strict zero-tolerance policy you've enacted, and I wouldn't want you to have to start punching yourself in the face." -- Charlie.
Calling out any possibility of hypocrisy - so long as there are no real hard feelings - is usually good for a laugh. We know what Locke did to Charlie when he only suspected Charlie of using. Now, Locke is mixing up a bowl of Hallucinaton Paste (mmmm) for himself, which rightly makes Charlie say, "Um.... dude?"
"Jesus Christ is not a weapon." -- Hurley's mom Carmen, when Hugo holds her Jesus statue like a club, fearing there may have been a prowler.
It's funny because it's true (too many folks do wield the Lord as a metaphorical blunt instrument). But's it's also especially hilarious delivered in Carmen's latina accent.
Miles: Where the heck did they go, Tubby?
Hurley: Oh, awesome, the ship sent us another Sawyer.
Just what Hurley needs right now. I also like what the writers have done over the course of the series. It's not the fat joke that's funny, it's the retort to the way-too-easy, way-too-old fat person joke that gets the laugh.
"Dude, looks like someone steamrolled Harry Potter." -- Hurley, getting his first glimpse at Sawyer's new less-than-fashionable reading glasses.
This elicits the biggest laugh from Kate I've heard on the series. It was one of the first clues to how much she likes Sawyer, but still wants to see him get some comeuppance.
"Thank you, boar expert!" -- Sawyer, sarcastically, to Kate. He's convinced the boar is harrassing him, she gives him advice on how boars don't have personal motives.
Sawyer's delivery of the line is what had me laughing out loud at his frustration. Many of Sawyer's lines - and this is the prime example - make me laugh because I have a good friend who talks exactly like this, using a brand of Jack Nicholson-esque biting sarcasm that makes you laugh anyway.
"We both know all I'm gonna get for my trouble is a snappy one-liner, and if I'm real lucky, a brand new nickname." -- Jack, to Kate, who has asked him to medically examine Sawyer.
Wow, a rare comedic line for Dr. Jack! And a dead-on diagnosis of what it's like to deal with Sawyer early on.
5) "So... Seoul. Is that in the good Korea or the bad Korea?" -- Hurley, making small talk with Sun while they wait for Vincent to do his business so they can see if he swallowed her ring.
Hurley follows this up with the just-as-comical contrast between Sun's purebred puppy, and his own mutt growing up who ate all his loose change and the next day "crapped out a buck-thirty-five! (He smiles broadly at Sun, she's somewhat horrified). Oh, and by the way, they don't really let people OUT of the bad Korea, Hugo. Knowing that these two become special pals as part of the O6 just makes these awkward early interplays between two individuals from vastly different worlds all the more endearing.
Sawyer: What's your problem, JumboTron?
Hurley: Shut up, red... neck... man!
I'll admit, the delivery - which doesn't come across here on the page - is part of what makes this so funny. Hurley finally strikes back on the Nickname Guy, but even with all the months he's had to come up with a real winner with which to zing Sawyer, on the spur of the moment this is all he can muster.
"I'm gonna live alone and be one of those guys. You know, the crazy guys, with a big beard, no clothes, who's naked and throws doody at people." -- Hurley, to Libby, as he explains he's moving to the caves where nobody else lives anymore.
What is it about hermit jokes that makes them so stinkin' funny? Reminds me of the episode of Friends where Chandler was convinced he was gonna die alone, and his last few years would be spent as the creepy old man who owns many snakes, and whom the neighborhood children fear. "'Run from Scary Snake Man,' they'll say!"
Kate explains she stripped off her shirt because, "It was full of bees."
"I'd have thought Cs, actually," retorts Charlie, smiling.
The look on Kate's face as she has to pretend to be insulted is classic. At some point, someone HAD to make a joke about all the strategically chosen wardrobe malfunctions that just happen to take place on this show.
Hurley: Dude, that beer's been sitting there since before Rocky III, maybe even II. It's probably poison by now.
Sawyer [indicating Dead Roger]: Skeletor seems to like it! Bottoms up!
Hurley: That's not funny, dude, that guy had a mom, a family, and friends, oh and a name. It's not Skeletor, it's Roger Workman.
Sawyer: It's Work Man, ya blockhead! That's his job, he was a Dharma janitor!
Okay, full disclosure, I'm a sucker for anything that references "Skeletor." I am laughing right now just typing out the name. But when you throw in some Hurley-Sawyer interplay, skunky beer, partying with a dead guy, and a classic mis-reading of someone's job title, it's comic gold.
And my winner of the Funniest Episode Award goes to "Tricia Tanaka is Dead," Season Three. This is a Hurley-centric episode in which the comedic genius of Hurley, Sawyer, Jin, and Charlie (and don't forget Dead Roger Linus) is let out to shine as they try to get the old Dharma van up and running. It includes these gems and more:
- "Yeah, chase the dog with the skeletal arm into the creepy jungle, be my guest." -- Charlie, to Hurley.
- Jin: Crafty?
Hurley: Yeah, crafty. It's like when you're good at... crafts.
- "I'll be damned, y'all found yourself a hippie car!" -- Sawyer
- Jin: Good to see you.
Sawyer [shocked to see Jin speaking English]: Well look at that! Somebody's hooked on phonics.
- Hurley's mom covers the ears of her Jesus statue as she explains why his father will be staying: "I have needs." Hurley covers his own ears. "No! No! No! This can't be happening!"
- Hurley: I'll give you a thousand bucks right now to tell me if my dad put you up to this.
Psychic: The mystic arts are not subject to bribes! How dare you...
Hurley: Ten thousand.
Psychic: Your dad put me up to it.
- "Let's look death in the face and say, 'Whatever, man.'" -- Hurley.
- Sawyer teaches Jin the English for "the only three things a woman needs to hear" - 'I'm sorry,' 'You're right,' and 'Those pants don't make you look fat.'
- (also, the "Skeletor" and "Red...neck...man" quotes that made the Top 20 from above)
Hope you've enjoyed the laughs as we now launch forward into serious matters...
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