By the time "Lost" ended its six-year run Sunday night with an epic 2 1/2-hour finale, we thought we would have answers to at least some of our lingering questions. What was the island? What was the mysterious light that needed protecting? What did it mean?
We didn't get the answers to those questions but it doesn't seem to matter much.
(Spoiler alert ahead)
There is so much to say about the emotionally powerful finale, but for today we can start here: it offered more comfort and closure than answers and, in the end, that just feels right. Having the choice between knowing why the island was worth saving or seeing Jack (Matthew Fox) and Kate (Evangeline Lilly) in a tearful reunion and walking off into eternity together -- well, creators Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindelof made the right choice.
The finale once again split time between the island and the sideways world. On the island, Jack, the anointed one, faced off against the Fake Locke-Smoke Monster (Terry O'Quinn). In the sideways world, the characters were continuing to have memories of the island but they were now full-blown "awakenings," something necessary if they were to "move on." These awakenings were exquisitely done -- Jin (Daniel Dae Kim) and Sun (Yunjin Kim) remembering their lives, love and deaths; the unexpected reunion of Sayeed (Naveen Andrews) with Shannon (Maggie Grace) who died in season two; Claire (Emilie de Ravin), Charlie (Dominic Monahan) and baby Aaron finally together again; and Sawyer (Josh Holloway) and Juliet (Elizabeth Mitchell) finding each other over a vending machine of all things.
It was all emotinally draining -- the awakenings/reunions and the explanation that the sideways world was a limbo the characters created to wait for each other when they died -- yet it was somehow joyous and definitely fulfilling. I don't know about you, but I was still awake at 3 a.m. with the final words and images running through my head.
We didn't get many answers, but we got closure for the characters we invested six years in. I say well done. What about you?
-- Toni Ruberto
My favorite bit on Betty White's triumphal march through "Saturday Night Live?" It was the final one--the only one that could have been rated PG.
Betty was playing a senile and quite nutso old bat, you see. And Tina Fey, playing a census taker, came to her door. Whereupon Betty, when asked her name, confirmed that it was spelled "L-E-E S-M-I-T-H."
And pronounced "Blar-fen-gard Blar-fen-gard."
It was absolute nutsy in a way actually redolent of the original "Saturday Night Live" where the first skit on the first show--immortally--showed us sinister satirist Michael O'Donoghue pretending to teach John Belushi how to say "I want to feed your fingertips to the wolverines."
I'd bet anything that Fey herself wrote it.
It's not that I didn't think all the zesty smutty stuff was funny. It was--especially Betty as Florence Dusty, a baker and guest on a show in tribute to dietary fiber, declaring to the two hostesses :"if there's anything I'm known for, it's my muffin." There was a succession of double entendres so heavy but hilarious that they were barely single entendres. ("My muffin hasn't had a cherry since 1939.") As raunchy and funny as the bit was, it was all too characteristic of a show that pretty much treated the unique 88-year old figure as little more than the grandmother of TV raunch.
In one skit, she played a granny doing embroidery and expressing regret that she'd never become a lesbian, thereby avoiding contact with her least favorite part of male anatomy. In another, she was MacGruber's granny, compulsively divulging secrets about his micropenis and secret breast reduction surgery.
She was just doing a lot of variations of Sue Anne Nivens, the nymphomaniac "Happy Homemaker" written for her on "The Mary Tyler Moore Show."
A lot--I must confess--was funny in a very raunchy way but it did sadden me a little, as if Abraham Lincoln were to climb down from Mt. Rushmore and flip the bird on the evening news.
But then Betty--bless her--was, in a small way, doing just that. Sure, it's true that she has become unique in American entertainment history--a figure who, quite literally, helped put TV on the air and is now, almost 60 years later, in the greatest demand on her entire professional life (stay tuned for "Hot in Cleveland" on the TV Land nework in June.) It was a little grandmotherly hug and kiss for all the world's young folk and a full bird flipped to anyone of an older generation who thinks she ought to be home sipping Dubonnet, knitting sweaters for her dog and thinking G-rated thoughts about the good old days.
The fact is she made history Saturday night. She gave the show its oldest host ever and by implication proclaimed that she is TV's only first-generation survivor at this stage in the 21st century.
If she now wants to be known as the most ribald old broad in TV history, I'm the last one to argue with her. They way I look at it, at her age, she ought to be whatever she jolly well wants to be.
The history part was hardly lost on all those female SNL alumnae who flocked back to the show to celebrate the grandmother of them all--Fey, Amy Pohler, Maya Rudolph, Rachel Dratch, Ana Gasteyer, Molly Shannon.
I wish there's been a bit more wonderment at what Betty White has become, in the 21st century world where Facebook can become a guest late night TV producer--and a bit less superannuated smut.
It was still great, indeed historic, TV.
-- Jeff Simon