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Sunday, January 31, 2010

Debate: To Watch or not to Watch

That is the question. The first 4 minutes of Lost's final season premiere have been leaked, in part because ABC thought it would be a good idea to send it to 815 contest winners. Related to that, ABC showed the first hour in Hawai'i last night meaning spoilers and synopsis are already on the inter webs.

Now, reading spoilers is one thing, and its not something I am want to do except in extreme circumstances. The only time I've looked at spoilers is when I am afraid a show I like is headed in the wrong direction, to decide if its going to be worth or a waste of my time. Having already committed to Lost, and yes at times it feels like a long relationship, I don't need to read anything.

However, what could be the problem with sneaking a peak at the first 4 minutes?
A-The problem is that in those first 4 minutes the biggest question of the entire show thus far will probably be answered: did the time line reset itself?
B-Well, the comic-con videos suggest that already, and they proved with the whole donkey wheel thing that what they show is important if not canonical.
A-But the point here is the element of surprise. To have a pure, natural reaction to something is a rare experience.
B-and you can have that from the 4 minutes-
a- but what I'm saying is that its better to be experienced communally.
b-but what if you're watching it alone? And how many millions will TiVo it or "start over" it or watch it online? It's not the one shot deal TV used to be.
a-yes, but it's still experienced as part of the show proper. For all we know it could be taken out of context, and its never satisfying or fair to view something out of context.
b-True, but if it is taken out of context, why would ABC release it? It could be taken out of context, and maybe its not even the real beginning but a way to clog up the leaks. Why woul;d they release it if they didn't want it seen? They'd know that it probably would be leaked.
a-that's a lot of "if's." I just would rather see it in its entirety.
b-It seems to me the question here is what is the phenomenological relationship between parts of a whole in terms of television viewing.
a-go on...
b-TV, at least here in the USA, is broken up by commercials. And with the invention of DVR people pause and start all the time. If you are concerned about seeing it out of context, the question should be, not should you watch it, but what is the difference between watching it today, and having a break of two days, compared to watching it then, and having a three minute break? Is one truer than the other?
a-But TV is written to address commercial breaks-
b-and also from week to week.
a-yes, but those aren't pieces of a whole
b-but doesn't a show like Lost expect to be viewed as a whole, thus making any viewing of any part of it incomplete?
a-no, as much as it is a serialized show, if you tried to piece it together as a whole singular work it wouldn't work; there is either too much over-lap, or not enough filler in certain storylines and individual scenes. But, phenomenologically isn't it more satisfying though to have an emotion freshly experienced than to try and re-live it via memory? Then I should have a greater emotional impact watching the show and experiencing it in that sequence, even if it is incomplete; I would be short-changing myself of my maximum sensory experience.
b-But its not like you wouldn't re-live it again by seeing the 4 minutes again.
a-but it would not be new.
b-though wouldn't seeing the 4 minutes excite you more? And due to its clandestine nature wouldn't the watching of it even be pleasurable in its illicit nature?
a-But excitement isn't a parabolic process. It peaks and you can never reach that peak again no matter what you do, until you are excited about something new.
b-Though let's say that this isn't you finding your Xmas present, but rather seeing that it has wheels. You can't tell anything else about it but it has wheels. You know that much. You can still be surprised.
a-but if I went in cold I can imagine it being anything in the universe. Knowing it has wheels limits it to things that have wheels.
b-but your mind is now more concretely trying to figure out what could it be that has wheels. Where if its anything, your mind is all over the place, it would be less focused, and more likely to drift onto something unrelated.
a-let's use another analogy; if you come home and see one person with a happy b-day hat on, and you weren't expecting a party, you'd suddenly know you had a surprise party. Having seen that one person, the whole experience is lessened. The only surprises then would be who all is there, what kind of cake did they get, etc.
b-why not watch it? What are the negatives?
a-It ruins the surprise, makes the event that is the premiere not as fun, and plus you have to wait 2 days, 48 hours or more, to finish it. And what would be the positives?
b-It would increase your excitement as you focus in on the premiere. It wouldn't ruin the whole show for you, ABC knowingly gave it to people. And the options of what happened are already limited, its not like they're going to reveal Hurley's a woman or something.
a-I just looked at a screen shot it has a "property of ABC stamp over the image."
b-really?? yuck.
a-and that would be a whole other conversation then...
b-but you would technically be watching something new when you watched it on Tuesday. It'd be higher quality and technically, without titles, a different work.
b-and they showed the same footage to TV critics, not the entire episode.
a-but they routinely see things before hand.
b-and wouldn't it be better to see it yourself rather than have some a-hole spill the beans. Like what if some guy on the subway is talking about it. How can you avoid something like that for 2 days in today's world?
a-true. But would it be ethically right to view it? The people who already have seen it were contest winners, and TV critics, that's their job. I did nothing to earn it.
b-But they've seen it already. They had privelage of seeing it first. You haven't.
a-for that very reason.
b-and they got some other cool stuff too.
a-true. What would John Locke say? The character not the old English guy.
b-He'd say that it happened to be leaked for a reason. Open it.
a-I think he'd say that its best to wait. What would Sawyer do?
b-flip a coin.
a-ok. let's do it.
b-heads you watch, tails you wait.
b-tails. You going to wait.
a-come to think of it you got lots of points with that whole a-hole argument. I'd rather be surprised early than not at all. Best out of three.
a-of five
a-seriously? what are the chances
a-does any row in Pascal's Triangle have the Lost Numbers?
b- just watch it already.
a-what are the chances though that somebody would say something
b-The national internet usage rate is 74.1, as of 2009. New York is one of the highest areas % wise of internet use. And the people you're around, students, working professionals, it would be everyone. You have a combined total of 24 classmates in the 2 classes you have Tuesday. Counting the teachers, 27, since one has two. You probably are surrounded by 100,000 people on your way to and from class? Plus the chances you hear something on the news...
a-so its remote.
b-yes, but there's a chance.
a-And that's a chance I won't take.
c-we'll that's good you resolved it but ABC has just today placed an HQ version of the 4 minutes on its official site as a "sneak peak."
a-we're there.

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