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Here's What Legitimately Pisses Me Off About the Criticisms of HBO's 'The Leftovers'

By Dustin Rowles | TV Reviews | July 30, 2014 | Comments ()


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Through five episodes, HBO’s The Leftovers has become a divisive television drama, and it feels like the viewers who are sticking with the show have become the minority. But we are a minority that feels invested in this show, and the attacks against it often feel personal. It makes me feel like I’m taking crazy pills because others aren’t seeing in the series what I see.

Some people have written it off because Damon Lindelof is involved, and — given what an overall series he created in Lost (the finale notwithstanding) — I think that’s silly, but I get it. Not many people have taken issue with the writing itself, but if that was the chief complaint, I wouldn’t be bothered with that, either. Some people have asserted that they don’t feel a connection to the characters. I don’t know how anyone can say that about Nora, or Reverend Matt, but OK, fine. Sure. That’s a legitimate reason, too.

But here’s the complaint — and it’s a major one — that genuinely pisses me off: It’s those that take issue with the fact that The Leftovers is too sad, that it’s too depressing, that it’s too miserable, and that it’s all so pointless.

Well, how do I put this delicately? NO SHIT, IT’S A SHOW ABOUT GRIEVING. GRIEVING IS SAD. THAT’S WHY IT’S GRIEF. If people want to dismiss the show because they think the metaphors are too on the nose, or the writing is hacky, that’s fine. But to dismiss it as misery porn is to discount the importance of grieving, and the exploration of how we each go about it.

If you think that the show is pointless, then you’re not peeling back the goddamn layers. Maybe you don’t want to peel them back, and that’s fine. Maybe it’s fucking July, and you don’t feel like exploring a heavy thematic issue. And that’s fine, too. But grieving is not pointless, and if you’d just look beyond the characters, you’d see what this show is not about the departed themselves, or why they were “raptured,” it’s about the grieving process.

We all go about our grieving in different ways, and those of us who have had major losses in our lives know what kind of grievers we are. The factions in The Leftovers represent different ends of the grieving spectrum. There’s the feds, and the government, and a lot of people on the show who don’t have much of a voice, who are hellbent on moving on. Who want to repress the loss, forget about it, and go on with their lives. This was me. This was a lot of us. This is us carrying on, because that’s what we fucking do. We refuse to deal with our emotions, and we go to class or work the next day, and we blow it off, and that grief just festers because we refuse to deal with it. We live by emotional inertia.

But that grief doesn’t go away just because we refuse to process it. And that’s what the Guilty Remnant represents: They’re the other extreme. The side that refuses to move on. The side that wallows in their misery and wants to inflict it on others. This is that person on your FB wall who lost someone close to them and reminds you of it every single day, and you feel sorry for them, but at the same time, after a year or two, you want to tell that person that she has to figure out a way to move on, because it’s been three years and it’s time, damnit.

Kevin and Jill and Aimee: They’re the people in the middle. The people are are trying to process it and move on, but they continue to be pulled back in by their past. Reverend Matt Jamison, obviously, is our coping mechanism. He’s our religion. Our beliefs. He’s the guy our heart wants to believe in, even if our brains don’t necessarily buy it. And Nora? She’s the one who has lost the most, but has seemingly figured out how to cope with it. She’s our hope. She is love.

You know, I get it, though. Some people don’t want to watch a sad show. Some people want more levity. But you know what else had very little levity in its first season? Mad Men. Also, Breaking Bad. Comic relief on both of those shows was very sparse in the first seasons, and while those other shows are among my favorite shows ever, the issues they’re dealing with aren’t half as meaningful and relatable as grief, which is something we all experience at some point in our lives (unlike meth empires, alcoholism, or womanizing). And there is a point to the sadness in The Leftovers, and it is to remind us all that loss is part of being alive, but instead of hiding it, or using it as a weapon, we should tame our sadness. We should experience it, but we should not be crippled by it.

A reader of ours named Brent M., who listened to some of the criticisms of The Leftovers on our TV podcast this week, wrote me yesterday, and I think he nailed much of what is thematically so resonant about The Leftovers.

He wrote:

I really don’t care about The Disappeared or why they did disappear. I care about the people who are in the title: The Leftovers. Stories that have an interesting take on people dealing with loss and tragedy will always be interesting to me. Maybe that’s because I’ve seen darker parts of this world. Maybe other people don’t like this show because they are so well adjusted in life that they shit rainbows. I don’t know.

Ultimately, this is a show about love. The one emotion that we hold dear above all others, and it is ripped away from the characters and there is nothing they can do about it. Yes, it’s about loss, but the loss only stings because of the love. These people aren’t just leftover, they are shattered. Nora (and the GR) has been the show’s example of how fucked up something like this can make people, how much it can hurt, and how we try to move past it or not.

That is the perfect summation of The Leftovers through five episodes. Don’t let the Lindelofian elements, or the sad faces, or the white shirts or the bagels obscure what’s here: The Leftovers is a show about love, and there is nothing pointless about that.

—-

See also: Answers to 6 Burning Questions We Have About Gladys, Neil, the Guilty Remnant and Those White Shirts In This Week’s ‘The Leftovers’




Drew Barrymore Releases a Statement in the Wake of Her Half Sister's Unfortunate Death | In Defense of Episodic TV Reviews






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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not


  • Eric Youngstrom

    I hate the people in white.... They need to die.

  • lacylouk

    I still dont care for it. Boring, much rather prefer Ressurection or Under The Dome which has great writing and is pretty similar. Also, Justin Theroux's face annoys me.

  • Zeus McGuinnes

    I just wasn't a fan of the cast and am sick on shows that rely purely on mystery to raise interest. But then again I only watched the first two episodes.

  • DarthBrookes

    Some people only ever eat the same sort of treats that they were given as children, never learning to like the spice, or savoury, or sour tastes that the world has to offer. To these people, sugar is all they know - all they have a palate for. These people are the reason McDonalds puts sugar in every part of their hamburgers.

    A lot of people were raised on similar TV and watch only similar types of movies. Sweet, sugary stories that appease - make the viewer feel comfortable and satisfied that everything is alright and everything works out fine in the end. Where every day has to have some joke. or laugh, or funny moment to break the tension and remind us that, "no, it's not really that serious. Everybody is really having fun." These people are the reason for canned laughter and the same rom-com being made over, and over, and over again.

    Some people never develop a mature palate, because they were given nothing but pap their whole lives. Nobody ever challenged them, or had them try anything that wouldn't keep them quiet.

  • Debra Kessing

    and some people try many different kinds of movies and shows and -- like with everything else in life --- some like every one and some hate them and some are indifferent because individuals -- I agree with Idle Primate -- how DID you fit all that smug pomposity through the door?

  • DarthBrookes

    I'm sorry I hit a nerve, Debra. It's okay. Nobody said you were dumb just because you don't like the show. Re-read the comment without imagining that it's attacking you and you'll feel a lot better.

    If you'd sooner maintain your rage (maybe that's the only thing that gets you through the day) refer to my response to Idle Primate and pretend that's directed at you too.

  • Idle Primate

    wow, how do you manage to fit that much pompous smug through a doorway?

  • DarthBrookes

    Hey, isn't there a Two and a Half Men marathon you're missing right now?

    Oh, never mind. You own the box set.

  • Idle Primate

    ooh yeah, double down and retrench with the weird television hierarchy elitism. Blend it with a straw man just for kicks. it must take a lot of energy to sustain that much warped sense of superiority. Luckily the internet can bolster you with hivemind confirmation bias, keep you all warm and cosy up atop your sad little mole hill.

  • DarthBrookes

    Look, I know, it must be frustrating when people don't hate the things you do. When people can appreciate concepts and subtleties that are so beyond you. And I'm sure, in your mind, that makes the person "pompous," or "elitist." But there's no excuse for trying to shoehorn in terminology that you heard an "intellectual" say (and that you think you got the gist of) just to try to compete with my pretentiousness.

    Trust me, you can't compete. My pretension rating is over 9,000.

    Now, I'm sure you can catch the tail end of an episode of The Bachelor on... whatever channel it's on.

    (See?! Over 9,000!)

  • whippersnapper666

    I get what the show is about, it's just the show is motherfucking boring as shit.

  • gefeylich

    I don't like the cast. If I don't like the cast, I won't watch. Christopher Eccleston wasn't enough to draw me into this. Simple as that. It's also why I won't watch Orange is the New Black, Orphan Black, that dreadful thing with Lee Pace (though I love him in everything else), American Horror Story, etc. None of the actors interest me in least.

  • John G.

    Thank you for not watching American Horror Story, for whatever reason you choose. It's an offense to all things television, and that's the medium that shows American Housewives of Jersey Shore or whatever that shit is called.

  • Debra Kessing

    I only enjoyed the episode that was all about the preacher. That was about his acting skills, not the story. I think Justin Theroux is a terrible actor. Wooden doesn't begin to cover it. The GRs have 2 actors I'm a fan of, but not so much when they do nothing but look miserable and don't speak.
    I have learned to love what I love, enjoy it and not worry about the opinion of a single soul other than me on the subject. Dustin needs to learn this philosophy in the worst way. I will defend shows & actors against insults, (kneejerk reaction, I defend everything I "love") but I do not get angry when the majority simply don't like something/one that I do. Who gives a fuck ?

  • John G.

    I'm not sure where I fall on this show. I can't stop watching it, so there must be something there. It's clearly not "good" by any definition I would normally use for good. It's certainly not Breaking Bad or Mad Men.

    I don't know what it is. It's not well written. Justin Theroux is not exactly terrible, but he just doesn't fit well with what the writing asks of him. I would never turn down a show because it was too depressing. People who say that are just morons. But it's not that depressing, not really. It's just not important enough or something. The camera work mixed with middling acting doesn't sell the misery enough for it to touch me on any human level. Yet I will keep watching for some reason.

    One thing it does have going for it is Ann Dowd. Even though I can't get her role in True Detective out of my mind, so I'm a little creeped out by her, she is undeniably a phenomenal actress. I haven't read the book, and I know it's about grief and loss and the people left behind, but if they do reveal what happened to the people who disappeared, I really really hope it's not another Lindelof, God did it, cop out. Because that will be the last fucking time Lindelof.

  • Kala

    I don't think this is in any way spoiler-y (especially since the show deviates from the source material quite a bit), but the novel never touches on exactly what happened. It's sole focus is on the lives of the Garvey family and those who interact with them (one of the reasons I found the novel so frustrating, actually).

    I think it unlikely that the show will make any attempt to answer the "Why" of it all. But if it does, I'll be pissed right along with you, man.

  • Salasalu

    I loved "Lost", start to finish. But I'm out after last Sunday's show. Yes, grief is sad, but I'm not going to seek it out. Plus, Jill.

  • Maddy

    I am still undecided if I should start watching this.

  • Sars

    My issue with it is, that there is absolutely NO relief. Now, granted I powered watched the 5 episodes back to back, and perhaps thats why I began to feel suffocated by the last episode. Again, granted this is a show about grief and the process of grieving, but within that process there is always a ray of light, a ray of hope and I would expect the writers to know how to find the humor in grief... because doesnt matter how shitty your day/ life is, there is SOMETHING there thats absurd and funny to outsiders. I do take issue with the writing and with the acting. Justin Theroux is not a good actor. He comes off wooden and sad and angry and nothing else... his acting is one dimensional. The priest's accent is so off putting and he seems to be suffering from chronic constipation. Again, in grief there is always purpose. there is NO purpose to this show... nothing, nada... even the cult people make no sense... whats with the chain smoking? how are they dealing with their grief when they want people to NOT remember their loved ones and yet dont want them to forget either? This show has no direction, and its only purpose is to shroud its lack of purpose in heavy "sad" symbolism and religious imagery which makes little sense....So yea, I've given up on it, but if you want to keep going, you should. Just don't tell me the emperor has new clothes on.

  • Most of the characters on this show are just completely uninteresting. But the show takes itself very seriously and manages to convince people that it deserves to be taken as such

  • Pretty Hate Machine

    I watched the first episode and yes, it was too sad. I haven't watched any more because my life has enough depression in it. My dad died almost three years ago and in that loss, we surviving relatives have become the leftovers. He is at peace while we cope with the aftermath. I enjoy television that takes me beyond the turmoil of my everyday life. I could not wallow in the grief of the world created in The Leftovers.

    Of course I enjoy shows like Sons of Anarchy and Hannibal which are full of violence and death but those shows, while grounded in reality, don't resonate so close to my own personal tragedies.

    I watched only a few episodes of Breaking Bad for the same reasons because while some of the plots may have been a little far-fetched, it was too realistic. I could easily see a desperate teacher going to great lengths to provide money for his family by manufacturing and selling drugs. I'm sure there's more to the series than that, but I had to stop watching.

    I want my televison entertaining since reality can suck so much sometimes. It may seem shallow but I'm ok with that if it means I don't have to go back on meds.

  • Skyler Durden

    Touchy touchy.
    You know, you can both appreciate the beauty of a thing and still hate every single thing about it. The difference between me and a critic is that they have to watch. I don't. And after last week, I won't. Keeping up with the pop culture machine is not worth it to me anymore. The critics can criticize and I can take my ball and go home.

  • e jerry powell
    [Y]ou can both appreciate the beauty of a thing and still hate every single thing about it.

    Me and Spike Lee's Do the Right Thing. One time, and never again.

  • Mrs. McGregor

    Kurosawa's Ran. Yup.

  • Fabius_Maximus

    What.

  • hindulovegod

    My issue isn't that it's sad (Dead Man is among my favorite films). It's that it's poorly written and paced. The characters are too often one note, and the "themes" are so obvious my partner was able to walk in, watch an episode for 2 minutes, and guess the ending and several scenes that would appear before then. It's not a smart show.

  • Guest

    Touchy, touchy. Jesus.
    .
    I'm pretty sure that back in the "20 things (or whatever it was) I learned working for Pajiba" post from last month, it pretty specifically talked about taking shit personally as well as getting defensive when people disagree with you.
    .
    Maybe the people who don't like it just don't like it. You can't make people like what you like. And yes, it is misery porn. It might be layered, textured, magical fucking misery porn with sprinkles on it, but it is still misery porn. Personally, I hit my threshold last week. When I lay in bed afraid that those images of brutality will give me nighmares, it is time to turn the teevee off.
    .
    I am done because I don't give a shit about any of these people or how they oh-so-powerfully GRIEVE. And if I were actually grieving, like, right now - I still can't imagine wanting to watch this show. None of these characters are people I would want to share my grief with.

  • Crapola.

    I've got too much of my own grief to deal with right now. Maybe I'll revisit this show in around 10 years....

  • That's not his point though, right? He's not saying having "my own grief to deal with right not" is an illegitimate reason not to watch the show. He's saying, correctly, that that can't be a criticism of the show. Your grief is a comment about you.

  • Criticizing the show wasn't my point.

    I've seen this show talked about around here without paying much attention to the premise and specifics. This is the first article I've really read on it. So, understanding that grief is a central theme of the show, and knowing that my feelings of grief are still too raw currently, I'm choosing not to partake.

    Because of this, the "Crapola" was my honest reaction to reading the article and learning that this was a major theme of the show. It wasn't intended as a commentary on Dustin's opinion as expressed in the article.

  • mzbitca

    I've gathered I'm one of the few book readers but I'm liking it more now after the last two episodes. The first few seemed to be overdoing it on the "mystery" portion. I still can totally do without the "is Kevin going crazy subplot". I felt like it's strength was in it's characters and they were putting too much action in. I feel like it's evened out a bit, especially over the last two episodes where I feel more connected to the characters.

  • Art3mis

    I'm very much in the middle on this show. I really, really want to love it, but I just don't yet. (And for what it's worth, I think Lost was great, and I'm not even particularly upset by the ending.)

    The problem I have with The Leftovers is that I'm 100% invested in what it wants to do -- tell stories about grief, get us thinking about the people left behind, explore how society would cope with a massive unexplained loss -- but I'm not really on board with how it's actually executing those goals. Like, different types of cults and people who lost their whole family and a pastor who didn't get raptured and can't deal with it? Sounds awesome! But then the show is a whole lot of deer/dog symbolism and mopey teenagers and I'm Now Going To Say Something Profound With A Lot Of Dramatic Pauses, and I can't help but feel that it's not living up to its potential.

    I can think of a lot of individual scenes that I found very compelling (Liv Tyler hacking at the tree, the parade in the first episode with that amazing music choice over it, the insurance questionnaire scene, even the stoning) but any given episode just feels like it lacks momentum and contains a lot of shit I don't care about. So I'm still on the fence for now, but I don't think the criticisms are just "uh, why are they so sad, be funny already."

  • Kala

    You put that so well. That's my main issue with the show. While I'm all about the premise, the execution is incredibly wobbly at times. Sometimes it works, but it misfires a little too often. I'm still watching in the hopes that they find a way to make the vehicle straighten out.

  • mzbitca

    This has been my problem. I feel like at least in the beginning, they didn't trust either their audience to care, or themselves to truly tell the story well. So they came out the gate with all this dramatic, action that feels unneccesary

  • JustOP

    I like The Leftovers and don't really care that others don't. It seems to me that it's building up to something, and I don't mind whether that's some form of resolution between Theroux and his wife, any sort of explanation or rumination on how they disapearred, the validity behind that weird Prophet guy, or if it's just a continuation of the exploration of 'grief'.

    I enjoy the world, the driving force behind the story, the tone, the characters, the music. It doesn't feel like anything else on television right now, and to not watch it feels like i'm robbing myself.

  • ZestyItalian2

    Important distinction: people who are saying that the show's oppressiveness, it's punishing bleakness and crushing sadness, is keeping them from enjoying it and perhaps even causing them to quit watching the show (I am considering joining this group), should not piss you off. People have the right to not want to be made miserable.

    I was in awe of the scope of what the show was trying to say and be when I watched the pilot. A secular depiction of the rapture only as a platform for the examination of grief and loss and guilt. It stared unblinkingly into the abyss of human sorrow. It reached for something immense. But by the time I got through episode three, all about the reverend and his church, the show had triggered a sinkhole of personal grief. To me, that episode was incontrovertible proof both of the show's great quality and of my inability to keep watching it. Maybe I'm too sensitive. Maybe I'll pick it up again later this summer.

    Of course, people who cite above factors as evidence that the show is bad or poorly made are wrong and should piss you off.

  • Traditionally, TV audiences aren't particularly adept at separating poorly written/acted characters from well-written but unlikable ones. We're also a breathing double-standard, complaining about the glut of male antihero shows then wishing everything outside that box conformed more to those cliches. I believe both of those flaws contribute to The Leftover hate.

    I enjoy The Leftovers. Not because of how it makes me feel, but because the writing, acting -- and yes, the characters -- are so strong. They may not all be people I'd want to interact with on a daily basis. But they're fully realized people nonetheless.

  • John G.

    I do not agree that the writing or characters are strong, but I do agree with one thing. I literally do not understand the reaction people have when they say there's no one to root for or like you say here "interact with on a daily basis". Why would you need that to enjoy a show? I really just don't get it.

  • Before this goes off the rails, I guess I should help grease the skids.

    I don't care that Lindelof is the writer. If anything, I consider him a very good writer. Since I never watched Lost, I have no issue with him.

    My problem is that this feels like a show that wants to make serious points by telling you something is a "serious point", holding up a sign that says "Serious point" above it and hitting you with the "serious point" music while everyone looks sad and says "this is serious. Seriously."

  • SottoVoce

    The bit about the statue of Baby Jesus being missing from the Manger was an excellent example of what you've described.

  • Nail Polish Color

    couldn't agree more. They keep making these scenes with John Williams-esque grandeur and emotion behind them...only to reward you with, "Look! Liv Tyler is hacking a tree! look, Justin Theroux is jogging with his junk popping around!"
    I tried, Dustin, I really tried.

  • Jo 'Mama' Besser

    This will, without a doubt be the dumbest comment ever, but that's a pretty shade of nail polish. And this my first time ever hearing of this show, how's that for 'Outside of America and completely out of touch?' I've still never heard 'Blurred Lines'.

    It's dark down here.

  • Nail Polish Color

    This made my day LOL I effin' love nail polish, and this has been one of my favorite colors of the year (Zoya "Rue"). It allllmossst makes up for how crappy The Leftovers is.

  • Jo 'Mama' Besser

    Oh, I'm kind of laughing at myself because I assumed that I was looking at a random promotional photo that was used for a clever, disengaged and detached profile. Maybe I am the one with the hole inside of me, but I can't keep up with the irony. Unless you work for the company and you're stealth-ver-tising. It's fun that this that this made your day. I was surprised that there would be any kind of response, or thought that someone would say that it's just an advertisement and a comment on...wubba-lubba-dub-dub. But that would have been fine because it would still be a pretty colour and I don't have anything real to contribute to the conversation and I would've said so: my pride goes to other things.

    Well, thanks for that info because that colour is now on my to-get list, as I also love polish and I love pink. Your overlords at Zoya must be pleased...unless, I'm the overlord? I usually am. I still love it. I also love that I was able to derail a thoughtful conversation about art and the nature of grieving by talking about makeup and Robin Thicke. Look at what I do for This Scep'tred Website!

  • Wednesday

    Amen, Fredo.

    I watched the first episode and chose to quit at that point. And I never watched Lost or had any anti-Lindelof bias. It lost me at episode one not because it was sad, but because it had to beat me over the head that sadness was the point, that life could change in an instant for absolutely incomprehensible reasons and people would struggle to cope. I knew that, thanks. Didn't even need the closed captioning to translate it for me.

    It had all the subtlety and nuance of "Crash."

    Which is a shame because that is not what I was hoping for based on the source material.

  • LadyUncool

    I like the Leftovers like you Dustin, but I can't get angry at people who want to stop watching because it is too depressing. I understand the criticism levied at professional TV critics who just write off the Leftovers as misery porn and say it is not artistically "good" or is pointless. But I don't think its entirely fair to criticize people who want to stop watching because it's not entertaining. I think when people say its too depressing or too sad, they aren't all missing that the show is about grieving, they just don't want to watch a show about grieving. TV for a lot of people is just entertainment. The stoning murder scene that opened this episode was the most disturbing thing I saw on TV in a long time, I had to cover my eyes. So I can understand why people don't want to watch, even though I still will and think the show should be commended for being unlike anything else on TV.

  • Sara_Tonin00

    welcome to those of us who did not watch The Wire or Breaking Bad. (I understand they are good; I may get to them someday...but I still haven't watched Saving Private Ryan or Schindler's List, either)

  • I felt the same way about both Breaking Bad and The Walking Dead. People ranted and raved about both shows, and so I gave them a decent shot and I was just kind of left with a 'It's ok, I guess, but I don't really see what the big deal is.'

  • Coss

    Breaking Bad has a lot of levity, it's not all doom and gloom. The Wire on the other hand, not so much levity, it's pretty dark start to finish.

  • Al Borland's Beard

    If there's more levity in it's later seasons, I'll give it another chance. As it stands, there is enough bleakness in the real world for me, I don't need it in my escapism.

  • e jerry powell

    Let's not presume. There's only one book, and they're burning through that pretty rapidly.

  • logan

    Well since I buried every member of my nuclear family, mom, brother, brother, dad, by the time I was 49 I think I've dealt with enough loss and misery thanks.

  • Valhallaback Girl

    Personally, I don't think the show needs to be defended. It's not as simplistic as dividing the audience as those who get it versus those who don't. I think it doesn't serve anyone to put them/us into those two groups. Either you like it or you don't. I couldn't for the life of me drag myself into watching Lost but I've already rewatched every episode of this show because it's so against type. Yeah, it's a show about coping, and love etc etc but I feel the most impressive thing at this point in the show is that the ones who disappeared has become an afterthought, and I suppose that could be a representation of the viewer themselves: if you're hell bent on where the departed have gone, it's not that you don't get it, but rather where you've focused your attention on. The plot is no longer the draw for me as much as the character development has been.

    Additionally, I think it also comes down to the viewing experience itself. I watch the show with my dad, a conservative rocket scientist and my two best dudes: one a straight edge accountant and the other a preacher's son.

    I can see how this show can be frustrating and I'm not discounting that because I've found myself screaming at Kevin Garvey for being an idiot, but it's the discussion that ensues with my viewing buddies.

    Oh well, whatevs dudes. I like it and I'll continue to watch the shit out of it and sit and watch the polarizing comments but Dustin, You be got a spot on the couch whenever you want.

  • Rachel Mullins

    You enjoy charactor journeys, then give LOST another chance.

  • The Butt

    Real quick, regarding Lindelof: I think this site regularly overestimates how much of a normal viewing audience is knowledgeable of show-runners and behind-the-scenes news. I got an office full of coworkers with no idea this is from the "Lost guy," and they still rejected this show.

    Now me, I love Lost - even with the "lack of answers" (worst mistake Lindelof made was not airing "The New Man In Charge" on TV and saving it for the DVD set - there were PLENTY of answers).

    But "Lost" was filled with interesting characters. In my opinion, sans for a few moments here and there, the characters on "The Leftovers" aren't interesting. It's not about the misery or the love or Lindelof or anything besides that the characters don't interest me.

    I respect the regular "in defense of" articles for this show (similar to "Girls" before it) but sometimes, people just don't connect with characters. And sometimes they do, and it's amazing. That's the magic of the moving pictures!

  • John G.

    First, Ryan Ambrose wrote that he wouldn't weigh in and then weighed in. now you're writing "real quick" and then writing four paragraphs. It's a mad house in here.

  • The Butt

    If four paragraphs aren't quick enough for you, I'd advise against books then, sir.

  • John G.

    books are book lengthed. Comments are comment lengthed. what's quick for a comment is not what's quick for a book, sir.

  • The Butt

    Okay.

  • Rachel Mullins

    i agree with you with LOST but not The Leftovers. If you loved Lost, give this another chance.

  • Ryan Ambrose

    I haven't followed The Leftovers since the second episode, so I'm not going to chime in. But from what I gathered, it seems to be that kind of show into whose deliberate evocativeness one can read everything, or nothing at all.

    I guess it must be similar to Terrence Malick's films, where it's either "super deep" or "full of shit" depending on who (whom? Help me, grammar nazis) you ask. Now I better leave because I just compared Damon Lindelof to Terrence Malick and I'm already regretting giving the guy this much credit.

  • Brent Moore

    Rearrange your sentence. If you can substitute 'he', 'she', or 'they', then it's 'who'. If you can substitute 'him', 'her', or 'them', then use 'whom'.

    "Who" if it is the subject of the sentence, "whom" if it is the object.

  • So, just to tag on: it would be "whom you ask" because the sentence could also read "depending on if you ask him or her."

  • Ryan Ambrose

    Such are the intricacies of the English language when compared to Portuguese.

    I appreciate the answer, truly.

  • Brent Moore

    Happy I could help. English can be a very fickle bitch.

  • soitgoes

    giving us two characters to care for in a sea of unrelenting misery isn't really successful development. if these were our only two protagonists i could understand, but they aren't and we've truly been given very little reason to care for anyone. juxtapose that with rectify, which also has much to do with grieving, but has given us deeply rich and complex characters for whom we care deeply. and did from season one (which only had 6 episodes)

  • e jerry powell
    and we've truly been given very little reason to care for anyone.

    Except for the half-naked guy in the hostel, but that's probably just me.

  • lowercase_ryan

    I still don't get how people only care about two characters on this show.

  • SamuraiShampoo

    Ah the good old 'you just don't get it' defense.

  • I don't think he's actually arguing it. What he's actually arguing is: you don't get criticism.

    It's not valid to criticize any piece of art because it makes you feel bad, or because you don't want to experience what the art is doing. That can be an on-ramp to actual, valid kinds of criticism. But "This is too sad" is not using any critical thinking skills at all.

  • Ryan Ambrose

    You may have just explained why most people dislike Gaspar Noé's films, despite them being nothing short of stupendous.

  • Easiest way to defang the other side.

  • Ah the good old 'Moby Dick is just about a whale' offense.

  • SamuraiShampoo

    To some, Moby Dick is just a book about a whale. Trying to tell someone that their experience is invalid because it doesn't match your own is pretentious nonsense.

  • John G.

    saying all experiences are equally valid is not pretentious nonsense, it's just nonsense.

    No work of fiction that was simply what it was on the surface would be celebrated for years by other writers. You don't have to have the same experience with a work of fiction. You can love it or hate it, but you can't just say it's about whatever I say it's about. That's everybody is a winner nonsense.

  • Idle Primate

    but wasn't moby dick just a cheap 'syfy original' knockoff of Jaws? ;P

  • John G.

    moby dick-tasaurus versus mega-guana-don 8000.

  • Idle Primate

    Herman Melville(happy birthday to him) was working on a Moby Dick versus Mecha Dick treatment when he passed away. It's trapped in the nether regions of development hell. true story.

  • WHALE, WHAT ELSE WAS IT ABOUT?!??!!

  • lifepanels

    I'll be back later cause my head is pounding. I've got a haddock.

  • I'd tell you, but I don't want to share. I'm feeling shellfish.

  • Ryan Ambrose

    I now can't tell if this is a pun or if you're just speaking in Sean Connery's accent.

  • I did it that way on porpoise.

  • Ryan Ambrose

    Let minnow if you have any more fish puns.

  • I'm trying to think of one, but right now I'm kind of floundering.

  • Ryan Ambrose

    I'm sure salmon else will bite the bait and think of one.

  • I did think of one, but it was kind of crappie.

  • Ryan Ambrose

    Keep it brief then, because brevity is the sole of wit.

    I could do this all day long.

  • So could I. But unfortunately if you make too many puns it doesn't gain you friends, it just makes you anemones.

  • Ryan Ambrose

    We may be reaching the finnacle of acceptable wordplay here, let's agree to call it off before Dustin starts thinking that our puns are a load of pollocks.

  • Benny Gesserit

    I'll see if I can find out, I know someone.

    {picks up phone. dials. listens} "Call me, Ishmael" {hangs up}

    He wasn't home, I'll try again later if he doesn't get back to me.

  • Bhammer100

    I just took a class where we had to study Moby Dick. God damn it is not a book just about a whale!

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    there dads buddy has done this for only fourteen months and just cleared the
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