By Lisa de Moraes
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, March 2, 2010; C06
Many of the questions posed during the run of "Lost" that have been keeping you up at night are never going to be answered on the show but will instead be tossed on the compost heap like an old turnip, because, the writers say, they have run out of time.
And if you're expecting they will nonetheless come through with some kind of post-finale TV special, online chat, tweet -- anything! -- to answer their rabid fans' lingering head-scratchers, you need to think again. They have no intention of discussing the show after the finale airs on May 23, co-creators Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse blithely informed nearly 2,000 "Lost" fans attending the annual TV festival of the Paley Center for Media (formerly Museum of Television and Radio, formerly Museum of Broadcasting) in Beverly Hills, Calif.
Now, you'd think that might have irked some of those nearly 2,000 fans who had coughed up $25 to $75 and then stood in line -- some for more than two hours -- in the on-again, off-again rain Saturday night in order to spend slightly less than two hours in the company of the writers, and a smattering of actors, from the prime-time soap.
You'd be wrong. It only inflamed their passion:
"Now that we're [preparing] the finale, we're not at all having the experience of 'Oh, my God, we forgot to do this!' " Lindelof told the capacity crowd at the Saban Theater.
"We're big fans of the show 'Top Chef,' " he explained. "Those guys all run through Whole Foods and they have to pull all of this stuff down -- they have to get stuff they might not use in the dish. When they get to the kitchen, they have to decide whether or not they're going to use it. Our process is kind of the same."
"There's a lot of little questions that unfortunately we just don't have time to answer in the amount of time that we have left," co-creator Cuse told the uber-fans.
What with trying to keep all the intertwining story lines straight, it's probably slipped his mind that the "time we lave left" was determined years ago by Cuse and Lindelof themselves, which would seem to suggest that running out of time was something they had, um, planned.
Back in May of 2007, ABC and the creative team behind the weedy tangle of a series announced the show would end in the spring of 2010. Nearly three years later, at the Paleyfest, Cuse said of any unresolved plot issues: "Ultimately, the way we look at it is that if the characters don't care about that question, then we as storytellers don't care about that question."
Of course, what the characters do and do not care about is decided upon by . . . well, Cuse and Lindelof, come to think of it. Because the characters are, you know, not real people.
These fine points seemed lost on the glassy-eyed fans who were madly tweeting every second of the big event. For example: Damon just spoiled that Santa isn't real, and there are kids in the audience. Uh-oh.
But those of us who have been able to resist the show's insidious ability to suck your brain out through your ear -- by shouting out nursery rhymes and performing other non-rhythmic tricks -- were sore as gumboils when panelists said we're out of luck if we're waiting to find out who exactly was the economist Sayid shot on the golf course. Apparently they heard from Sayid -- he couldn't care less.
"We feel like the show should stand on its own," Cuse said. "We're actually not going to comment on the show after the finale. We want everybody to basically be able to continue the dialogue. . . . We don't think it's really appropriate for us to say, 'Oh, here is the official definition for what we meant by any particular moment on the show.' "
Let's recap, shall we? The show's creators say it's not appropriate for the show's creators to give the "official definition" of what they, the show's creators, meant by any particular moment on the show they created.
* * *
Jerry Seinfeld's reality series "The Marriage Ref" attracted 14.4 million viewers following the Closing Ceremonies of the Vancouver Winter Olympics on Sunday night.
That's nearly 6 million more viewers than NBC's average audience in the time slot last season with programming that was not football. This may fall under the category of Damning With Faint Praise. Let's try this: The premiere of "The Marriage Ref" is the season's fourth most successful new-series launch -- and NBC's second best of the TV season to date:
1. CBS's "Undercover Boss" (39 million)
2. CBS's "NCIS: Los Angeles" (19 million)
3. NBC's "The Jay Leno Show" (18.5 million)