I liked Lost, and I watched all the episodes, but I wasn’t a Lost obsessive. It’s like Game of Thrones to me: A show I can watch and enjoy and not get terribly bent out of shape about it because it’s not one of my shows, you know? One that I feel personally invested in because I read the book or identify with a character or got sucked into the mythology.
In fact, it wasn’t until Lost was over before I really began to fall in love with it, and much of that had to do with Damon Lindelof, who I ultimately became invested in personally because of his sense of humor about Lost on Twitter, and his candor about the show (and it’s failings) in interviews. I really began to view the show from Lindelof’s perspective, understand what a gargantuan undertaking it was, and appreciate just how impossible it would’ve been to write an ending that would’ve satisfied the majority of viewers.
In other words, I really began to like Lindelof as a person, which made me better appreciate the show, which has me insanely excited about HBO’s The Leftovers coming out at the end of the month, and this paragraph from a profile on Lindelof in the NYTimes has me even more excited:
Having seen the pilot for “The Leftovers,” I can report that it is lovely and scary and haunting; that it is full of overtones of sadness and undertones of magic; and that it is a spiritual cousin to “Lost” while also being a very different show.
This show, I get the sense, will be the kind of show I’ll want to invest in, and take ownership of. In that same profile, however, in addition to noting that The Leftovers will Not end like Lost, Lindelof revealed why he quit Twitter, and anyone who followed Lindelof both on Twitter and in numerous interviews over the years could have called it: It’s because he was tired of people sh*tting on him. He hated that George R.R. Martin had shat on the Lost ending, and he hated that people on Twitter used the Breaking Bad ending as an excuse to crap all over him again.
Lindelof was devastated. He’s a zealous consumer of culture writing, and those critics who blasted “Lost” were ones he otherwise respected and agreed with. He tried not to care, to remember that he loved the ending and maybe that’s all that should matter. “But it’s like no, that’s not all that should matter,” he says. “I didn’t make the [finale] up in my head and sit in my room and basically weep and applaud myself for having designed this great TV show in my brain. I put it out on the airwaves for millions and millions of people to watch, with the intention of having all of them love it, and understand it, and get it.”
‘I’m thinking, Where did I go wrong? What can I learn from ”Lost”? How can this not happen again?’
That didn’t happen. Sure, a lot of people liked the ending. But four years later, the negative reaction to the ending still haunts Lindelof. Until last year, his Twitter bio read: “I’m one of the idiots behind ‘Lost.’ And no, I don’t understand it, either.” There, he welcomed his detractors, retweeting their most virulent insults.
“The tweets were unbearable,” his wife, Heidi Fugeman Lindelof, told me. ” ‘You ruined the last six years of my life?’ He was flogging himself constantly.” Then came the finale of “Breaking Bad,” which he watched at his house with Peter Berg, an executive producer on “The Leftovers.” Following the episode, Lindelof signed onto Twitter to say how much he loved the show and to read other fans’ reactions. His whole feed, however, was full of fans spurred by the finale of “Breaking Bad” to start in all over again on “Lost.”
That’s when he knew he’d had it. “I’m inviting it,” he realized. If he was calling himself an idiot, “then you’re allowed to call me an idiot.” Lindelof quite intentionally deleted the account on Oct. 14, which is the date of the Sudden Departure in “The Leftovers.” This was his last tweet: “After much thought and deliberation, I’ve decided t” — ending in midsentence.
This is what he was thinking: “I do not like the feeling that I experience when people talk about how much ‘Lost’ sucked. I can no longer acknowledge it. I spent three years acknowledging it. I hear you. I understand. I get it. I’m not in denial about it. That said, I can’t continue to be this persona. I can’t continue to acknowledge you, because acknowledging you invites more of it, and it really hurts my feelings. Nobody cares that my feelings are hurt. It’s my job for my feelings to not get hurt.”
It’s little consolation, I suppose, but I cared that the guy’s feelings were hurt, and I absolutely understood why they would be. I hate that he ended up leaving Twitter, too, because the man had a helluva sense of humor and was a rare sane person in a sea of outrage.