The Appetizer: Recapping the NY Times Interview Before the Big Meal
- Friday, May 21, 2010
The producers gave a flat-out "No" to questions of whether the actors or the fans were ever responsible for suggestions that found their way into the show. However, on rare occasions, audience reaction to certain things might cause them to consider putting in an explanatory scene here or there. One such example was how people kept pondering why Hurley would never lose any weight (Lindelof did humorously expose human prejudice via this example, saying that nobody ever asked why Kate's hair retained such a sheen, or why Sawyer's beard never grew unruly, oh, but the fat guy? What's with him?). So, they put in the scene about his secret stash of ranch dressing and other foodstuffs in the jungle. Which later would even give the character a nice obstacle to overcome. And interestingly enough, even Nikki and Paulo were conceived as a way to please fans who used to complain about "all these other survivors" of the 815 crash who never got to say or do anything! And we all know how that turned out: "Who are these characters? Why are they taking up episode time from the ones I already love?!" Which is why in Expose they wrote the great line for Sawyer to say on behalf of the viewers: "Who the hell is Nikki?"
How did the producers go about deciding upon and setting up the endgame of the final season? They described it as planning your own funeral. What they really wanted to go for was the emotional response and a spiritual quality. Yes, it will be about the mystery, but mostly, it will be about the characters.
Interesting Q & A
When asked what some of their inspirations were that they drew upon for their careers and the writing of this series, Cuse pointed to serial Westerns he grew up watching (like Gunsmoke) for their narrative styles and ongoing stories, and Lindelof pointed to Twin Peaks for its "What the hell just happened?" manner of storytelling and David Lynch's writing and direction. It was the first time he ever realized how a TV show could "leave the space of the box it's on" and spawn hours of discussion with someone, in that case, his dad.
Some of the ongoing questions / problems some fans seem to have with the show were cited as: Why was Claire's psychic so insistent? What makes Aaron so special? What was the deal with Kate's toy plane (one of my own pet peeves)? Why do you torture us with lines like "every question I answer will only lead to another question" from Mother? And, respectively, they took us through these questions. The psychic would later reveal himself to be a fraud [incidentally, one friend once told me that one of the DVD extras contained a deleted scene where Malkin was paid to make sure Claire made it onto 815]. They never really said Aaron was special; the psychic wasn't legit, the Others only wanted to study him b/c of their fertility issues, etc. Kate's plane was nothing more than what it was; no hidden microfilm inside or anything. And Mother's line about questions and answers? Like it or not folks, it's the truth - about the show and about life (which they illustrated with a mini Q& A session of their own. "Where did the universe come from? The Big Bang. What started the Big Bang? Uh...." and so forth).
Ever wonder why, if the Smoke Monster can't kill the candidates, why Smokey tried to drag Locke down that hole at the end of Season One? One audience member did, and Lindelof's two-part answer involved the following: First, "what are the rules?" Is a rule breakable (just with consequences, of course, like in our lives?). Second, what they wanted to explore in this scene was Locke's faith journey. He had previously looked "into the eye of the
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