External Reality on TV Program Lost Term Paper

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TV series Lost": (1st episode) Synopsis of program- Stripped of everything 48 survivors scavenge what they can from the plane for survival. Some panic. Some pin their hopes on rescue. A few find inner strength the never new they had. The band of friends, family, enemies and strangers must work together against the cruel weather and harsh terrain. Intense howl of the mysterious creatures stalking the jungle fill them all with fear (Lost web site http://abc.go.com/primetime/lost/about.html )

Modern challenges seem somehow different than those of the previous generations. People seem more and more fragmented and fractured, with families spread across countries, continents and even the globe struggling to remain connected through the only means possible, the electronic super highway, cell phones with no long distance charges, cheap airline tickets and a few other more costly means. Challenges faced by these people and the families they comprise seem to be more and more common among American's in their quest to acculturate themselves to diversity.

This fragmentation and what some would call globalization creates exposure to varying cultures and ideas that challenge and sometimes confound those who are trying to remain connected. Additionally, the divorce rate, has changed the face of culture, in the U.S. And other countries:

Then, between 1960 and 1980, the rate of divorce surged by nearly 250%. ... The highest by far in the industrialized world. About half of all marriages undertaken today are likely to end in divorce. Forty percent of all first marriages will suffer that fate, compared to only 16% in 1960. Upwards of 60% of all remarriages will not endure. (Galston 12)

The fear of global terrorism, in this real life example of a post September 11th airline scare can be seen as the kind of fearful event that has in its worst possible outcome been portrayed in the storyline of Lost.

The passengers boarding the Virgin Atlantic Airways flight from London to Los Angeles were wary, but everyone began to relax after takeoff. In mid-flight, over Canada, an attendant noticed a suspicious object behind a seat. Immediately, the cabin erupted in panic. The plane made an emergency landing in Edmonton, Canada, the passengers were evacuated, and a bomb squad was dispatched. The suspicious item? A cell phone. (Schmidt and Winters 46)

Escalating violence in general and the fears, founded or unfounded, of each country's and therefore each individual's utter reliance on broad global systems for obtaining goods and services they need to survive led many to fear the loss of such systems and the fearful disconnectedness it might cause.

These fears, made less and less unrealistic by the events of September 11th are clearly reflected in the story lines of ultimate survival that are either reality TV or simple dramatic adventure Genre, as is Lost. In other generation similar fears have surfaced through art, the nuclear age, followed by the cold war and of coarse most recently the fear of international terrorism and its disastrous effects. The narrative structure of the work Lost demonstrates the ideals of today's problems and fears through an escalation of events that climax in human conflict and then human resolution. The narrative is a microcosm of what American's see happening in their everyday lives, minus the sand and fear of death and/or starvation.

The sudden and fantastic explosion of what some call reality TV has demonstrated to the media and the loyal public that the world we live in today is full of previously unheard of challenges and that art follows life. (Reiss and Wiltz 52) Though the ABC series Lost is not reality TV in the true sense it has the same dramatic pull and demonstrates the fears and standards of today that are challenging the world and its inhabitants. Lost is a synopsis of the modern human condition, with a multicultural dynamic, messages about globalism and basic human struggles, in it Art reflects Life and Life reflects Art.

The cast of the survival series lost reflects the demographic of diversity, including characters that average Americans might fear in a general sense, and yet try to accomidate in apublic sense. One of the most substantial example sof such a situation is reflected in the unknown possibluity of the dister of the crash being caused by terrorism and the Middle Eastern Character Sayid "Sayid (Naveen Andrews) is a Middle Eastern man who must wrestle with the racial profiling directed at him by some of his fellow survivors." (Lost web site http://abc.go.com/primetime/lost/about.html) In this interchange is expressed the fears of the common American that those who would harm us, with terror could be living and traveling among us at any given time. Real situations of unspoken fears can be dialoged in this dramatic setting. The characters can say what they really feel, or what the writers believe many feel but are afraid to say, as long as political correctness prevails. Yet, this also shows the struggles of those who as racial minorities, profiled in terrorist classifications might go through when falsely accused of connections with terrorist activities.

Another example of the reflective nature of the series is the Korean couple who are continually misunderstood and therefore challenged to survive in this already so depraved a setting. "Jin (Daniel Dae Kim) and Sun (Yunjin Kim) are a Korean couple whose traditions, values and language are foreign and thus causes much to get lost in the translation." (Lost web site http://abc.go.com/primetime/lost/about.html) This particular situation reflects the fears of diversity that so many American's might feel but not express. The reflection in Lost of the increasingly diverse population and the stereotypes that it engenders through the interchanges of lives is seen through this and other storylines.

Through the character Sawyer the dramatic interpretation allows the viewers to draw conclusions about the potential failures of isolationism in this intense setting or in every day life. "Sawyer (Josh Holloway) has an air of danger surrounding him, and his intense sense of mistrust for everyone around him could prove to be fatal to his fellow castaways." (Lost web site http://abc.go.com/primetime/lost/about.html) The demonstration of this fear of others through this character is that which leads the survivors closest to failure.

Additionally, the fractured state of the American family is demonstrated through two key relationships. "Michael (Harold Perrineau) has just gained custody of his nine-year-old son, Walt (Malcolm David Kelley), after the death of his ex-wife -- they are a father and son who don't even know each other ... " (Lost web site http://abc.go.com/primetime/lost/about.html) Behind this relationship is a demonstration of the struggles that children and parents endure in divorced and separated families. Something almost every American can sympathize with, yet cannot fully grasp the answers to. The second relationship addressing the changing American family and also the draw of individuality within and without families is that between brother and sister.

" ... Self-centered Shannon (Maggie Grace) -- who actually gives herself a pedicure amid the chaos -- and her estranged controlling brother, Boone (Ian Somerhalder) -- constantly bicker and must learn to get along if they are to survive. (Lost web site http://abc.go.com/primetime/lost/about.html)

The demonstration of the mirrored miscommunications between parents and siblings can be seen as a demonstration of the appeal this drama would have to real people in America. Real brothers and sisters diverge in through, action and lifestyle even living under the same roof, an aspect of increased individualism in our culture.

The setting of the work brings to mind some of the concepts that have been pounded into the brains of American TV viewers over the past few years with reality TV often set in tropical "paradises" challenging to really survive in when deprived of the factors of "paradise" that most people seek when they travel, hotels, rental cars, restaurants, even shelters. Through the character Locke, the viewers come to appreciate…[continue]

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