The CDP’s Top 100 Simpsons Episodes: #100-96.


#100 – ‘Lisa The Drama Queen

Season 20 – Episode 9 (Episode 429 Overall)

Synopsis – Lisa meets an intelligent girl named Juliet and the two create a fantasy world that takes them away from reality.


#99 – ‘The Fat And The Furriest
Season 15 – Episode 5 (Episode 318 Overall)

Synopsis – Everybody thinks Homer is a coward after television footage captures him fleeing from a bear.


#98 – ‘There’s Something About Marrying
Season 16 – Episode 10 (Episode 345 Overall)

Synopsis – Homer becomes a minister after Springfield legalizes gay marriage (to boost their damaged reputation for tourists) and Patty comes out of the closet, much to the shock of her sister, Marge, who was naive to her sister’s sexuality.


#97 – ‘The Blunder Years
Season 13 – Episode 5 (Episode 274 Overall)

Synopsis – After tricking Marge into thinking an advertising spokesman is coming to visit her, Homer takes Marge and the rest of the family to a restaurant featuring a hypnotist that uses his powers on Homer…and makes him remember a horrific childhood incident where he found a dead body in a ravine.


#96 – ‘Treehouse Of Horror VII
Season 8 – Episode 1 (Episode 154 Overall)

Synopsis – A Halloween special which is divided into three short stories:
‘The Thing and I’ – Bart discovers he has an evil twin, who is living in the Simpsons’ attic.
‘The Genesis Tub’ – After intending to prove that sugary drinks will rot teeth, Lisa creates her own miniature universe.
‘Citizen Kang’ – Kang & Kodos impersonate presidential candidates Bill Clinton and Bob Dole in order to invade Earth.

30 Days Notice.

Everybody talks a big game when it comes to kicking the Social Networking addiction. Nearly every week, I see status updates and tweets from folks who are on the verge of swearing away Facebook, Twitter and MySpace forever. They claim it’s taking up too much of their time. It’s hindering their creativity. It’s monopolizing their conversations and becoming their sole purpose for possessing an Internet connection. Where they used to look up information online and attempt to seek knowledge, they now spend their evenings keeping tabs on people they stopped speaking to nine years ago.

Amongst the relatively few arguments against Social Networking on a mass scale, the merits are unarguably limitless. The voyeurism is universally appealing; the split-second communication and instant gratification almost too good to be true. Never before have we been so easily capable of maintaining contact with anyone and everyone we want. Furthermore, it’s an easy way to keep an eye on your outer circle of friends without actually having to speak to them in person or, you know, put forth an excessive effort typically reserved for your handful of inner circle acquaintances.

I had been anti-Social Networking- some would say unnecessarily so- for years. I didn’t like the gaudy, popularity contest-mentality of MySpace, shunned the one-page Life Story of Facebook and the short attention span-rewarding micro updates of Twitter. However, when my first book was published in 2007, I knew that these communication avenues could possibly help me reach a broader audience for my writing, so I hopped on board. Since then, I’ve been on Facebook for a little over two years, and my Twitter feed can currently be seen over on the sidebar of this very page. I got hooked, and in a big way.

I remember having a conversation with Cargirl several months ago about Twitter, specifically if the enormous amount of bite-sized information we take in a on a daily basis is shortening our attention spans to the point of not being able to read (or even write) anything remotely lengthy or worthwhile. Essentially, we were speculating as to if Social Networking was killing creativity in favor of easily-digestible and 24/7 communication. She told me that since she joined the likes of Twitter and Tumblr, she had no desire to sit down and put time into an essay; all while trying to explain to me why I should join the very networks that had admittedly ruined her passion for writing. Her point was that this was to become the future of text communication, which admittedly scared the poop out of me.

My (slightly more optimistic) theory was that Social Networking was the test between whether or not one was a Creator or a Networker. Creators will always find a specific way to create, and Networkers will dabble in anything as long as they continue to meet and communicate with others. Or, to put it in more confusing terms: Creators network to create, and Networkers create to network. You could certainly do both (and they’re both equally respectable), but everyone does one in favor of the other, subconsciously or willingly. For me, everything I’ve ever done on the Social Networking front was to drive attention to my work here on the CDP, or at least that’s what I told myself for the first few weeks.

In recent months, my creativity has been hopelessly clouded by a steady stream of status updates and tweets from celebrities that have no idea I exist (Save Lisa Loeb, who is following me for some unfathomable reason). I take my iPhone into restaurants, cars and even bathrooms so I can stay constantly on top of the lives of other people who are similarly tweeting in restaurants, cars and bathrooms, and so on and soforth, forever and ever until the end of time.

Finally and with a blindsiding force, I realized something last week that made me feel equal parts embarrassed and scared. About 99.9% of that shit doesn’t matter…whatsoever. My day wouldn’t be effected in the least had I not read or participated in any of this stuff. In fact, the only thing that vigorous Social Networking has done for me is take my focus completely away from my primary objective for networking in the first place.

Also, somewhere along the way, I completely forgot how reclusive and turned off by maintaining contact with people I was. My essays used to be the buffer zone between myself and my readers; a chance for us to communicate without direct conversation. A chance for people to find out where I was coming from while being (hopefully) entertained, yet-distanced from me personally. I miss that; not because I don’t love every conversation I’ve ever had and everyone I’ve ever met, but mainly because I seem to be neglecting the one thing I’m even slightly good at. Through my writing I’ve been able to meet some wonderful people, so it stands to reason that I continue to write so wonderful people will want to continue meeting me.

So let’s get back to the very first sentence of this essay. ‘Everybody talks a big game when it comes to kicking the Social Networking addiction.’ Well, I’m doing it, yo.

When I made the decision, I thought I’d back out of it. Chicken out. Make an excuse as to why it was mandatory in my day-to-day life. However, it’s three days later and I cannot freaking wait to pull the plug on my Twitter/Facebook pages and get back to nothing but writing essays for the Communist Dance Party. I’m going to go back to what I do, erm…best?

Besides, I’ve got things to do. I have a wife of five years, a job that’s teetering on the verge of layoff with each passing day, a house that needs vacuuming and a mortgage to pay. I have books that need to be read, a city block that needs to be jogged and a checkbook that needs constant balancing. The fact that when I have friends over- actual, real, skin-and-bone friends- I spent most of my time gawking at Twitter than speaking to them, is embarrassing at best, utterly classless at worst. When my wife is sleeping alone in the bedroom while I sit in the office and look at photographs of people that I’ve been willingly ignoring for the better part of a decade…it almost feels like we should be taking medication for that kind of personality disorder. It’s a pure and simple addiction; we don’t need an angstrom of it, but it’s hard to see the forest from the trees when we’re already immersed.

Here’s what caused my own personal Tipping Point. I posted a Twitter update about something relating to the parallel between current Internet memes and the rise of Dadaism in the 1920’s. The point I was trying to make is that the 4Chan kids, LOLcat enthusiasts and even Hamster Dance fans aren’t breaking any new ground that hadn’t already been broken almost a century ago. The only thing that’s changed is the medium. I included a quote by Carl Jung; it was some pretty highbrow shit crammed into those 140 personality-sucking characters.

When I published the tweet, I took a look at the product, sighed, and thought to myself, ‘Man, I could write an entire essay about this theory.’ In reality, the thought of writing an essay about it didn’t even enter my headspace when I started brainstorming the idea, and that made me want to punch myself in the ballbag. What had happened to me? I took an idea that had decent potential as an entertaining exploration of current trends reinventing historical art movements, and instead distilled into a nearly incomprehensible blip on the radar. This is the very definition of ‘hindering creativity,’ and I need to get out while I still have a prayer. This is getting ridiculous.

I know that most of you can balance both. I respect that immensely, because I clearly cannot. If you know anything about me through my writing, you know that I’m all-in or cashing out. There’s no grey area; I have OCD-fueled tunnel-vision, eliminate deadwood by the truckload and burn clutter for kindling. This love affair with Social Networking is over for me, because it has to be for the sake of my creative evolution. I’m not better than it; it is better than me.

So, here’s the deal; pay attention, because it’s going to be pretty awesome:

1. The entire month of June on the CDP will be devoted to counting down the Top 100 Simpsons Episodes of All-Time. It’s pretty neat; I’ve worked hard on it. Also, it gives me a chance to spend June working on my next big writing project. I don’t want to drop any hints, but I may or may not have something new for you to purchase by Christmas…again.

2. On Friday, June 26 at 11:59pm, I’m pulling the plug on my Facebook and Twitter pages. Not that I think it’ll effect your lives too much, but you should know if you ever need to contact me for anything. My main online focus will be the CDP and CDP alone; you’ll know where to find me. I’m toying with the idea of leaving my Twitter account active for the sole purpose of instant sidebar updates to the CDP, but that would be it. After all, not every one-liner about poop and monkeys deserves 2,500 words. 1,250, maybe.

3. I want to see if this essay has inspired anyone to do the same, so I’m posing a challenge to all the CDP fans and alumni. If there is anyone out there that is willing to follow my lead and pull the plug on any or all of their major Social Networking ties (MySpace, Facebook or Twitter), I will send the first 3 people to bring it to my attention a free CDP button or sticker of their choosing.

I’ll keep the rules brief and loose (it’s not a huge prize, after all), but it breaks down like this. Just be honest with me, send me some sort of proof that you’ve dropped one (or all) of your Social Networking addictions and shoot me an e-mail (communistdance@yahoo.com). Something along the lines of, “Hey, I deleted myself from Twitter, and here’s proof.” We’ll work it out from there, and no fair falling back off the wagon once you get your free swag. If you’ve been flirting with the notion of finally pulling the plug, now’s your tiny bit of motivation to just up and do it already.

Thanks much. Sound off in the comments section and enjoy your weekend. June is Simpsons Month on the CDP.

CDP Wayback Machine – Obsolete Electronics Attack!



“Survivors Will Be Shot Again.”

(Originally Published May 16, 2008.)

The move into our new house has been going splendidly, thanks in part to proper planning and a lot of hard work by the Missus and yours truly. So far, the biggest casualty of the move was when I dropped a photo scanner on my ankle and gashed it open pretty good. This scanner is at least 14 years old, one of the first home photo scanners ever made, if you believe what the Missus has to say. All I know is that it’s a good 15 pounds and needed to be stuffed in the basement, under a pile of Bobby Vinton records and a red microwave we no longer need.

Personally, I wanted to just throw the irrelevant relic away (the scanner, not Chevy Chase), but the Missus assured me that it was cool and valuable enough to warrant a temporary stay in the basement. I decided (quite poorly, in retrospect) to set said scanner atop a pile of lighter cardboard boxes and carry everything down the steps in one fell swoop. True to form, it was no less than 20 seconds later that I found myself rolling around on the basement floor, quite convinced that my ankle was now in three smaller pieces.

Approximately five steps from the basement floor, I pivoted my heel, sending my oversized load off-balance. The scanner started to shift off of the cardboard boxes, causing me to rotate hard and promptly toss every piece of merchandise I had been holding onto. For a fraction of a second, everything was cartwheeling through the air in slow-motion, and I knew that I only had the reaction time to save one of them.

Furthermore, I was also out of shape enough to know that I probably wouldn’t have the reaction time to save anything.

For sure, I knew that if the scanner hit the basement floor and exploded in a fireworks display of microchips, wires and failure, the Missus would think I did it on purpose as a way to dispose of it forever. I couldn’t give her the satisfaction of having something unnecessary and wrong to hold over my head, so at the last second, I stuck my leg out to break the scanner’s fall. My theory was that the scanner would bounce off of my shoe and gently rest at the foot of the stairs. Pure damage control; wing-and-a-prayer stuff.

In reality, this massive piece of recent nostalgia dropped five feet through the air, hit its terminal velocity, struck me corner-first in the ankle, and then shattered into a million pieces on the basement floor. I took a stumble-step and dropped to one knee, due in part to survey the damage and mostly because it hurt like hell and I was crying. The scanner, remarkably, was fixable. My ankle, however, is a current shade of yellow, blue and green that forms an unnatural bulge in my left sock.

So goes the moving process. If there’s anything positive to come of this, it’s that it has been a long time since I got to write an essay about injuring myself.

Sound off in the comments section and enjoy your day.

It’s All Okay.

I have an obituary hanging in my office cubicle.

I have been displaying this obituary for over four years, ever since I found it in the back of a local heavy metal zine. I do not know the man mentioned in the obituary personally; I have never met him and have no idea who his family or friends happened to be. The obituary is as follows:

Shawn K. – Died October 24 in San Bernadino, CA.

The drummer of the metal band Prolific was hit by an airborne car battery that had been ejected from a single-car accident on the other side of the freeway.

I remember exactly where I was when I first discovered this obituary. I was eating a veggie panini at Einstein Bros. Bagels during my lunch break, and upon reading it, dropped the sandwich from my hand. For the next five minutes, I stared into space and thought about the unfathomable freak accident that took this man’s life. I thought about how it was possible that such an accident even happened. Was he behind the wheel of a car? Just walking down the street? How brutal was the single-car accident on the other side of the freeway to even launch a battery that far? It was and still is one of craziest and most bizarre deaths I’ve ever heard about.

Go back and read it again.

Whenever I read about things like this (and we all read about them every day), I instantly think about two things. One, who still believes in Fate? Who honestly thinks that it was this poor guy’s destiny to be sent into Heaven this way? Who honestly thinks that it be God’s will that children die of Leukemia, or waste away in the basement of a neglectful parent? These events always remind me that Life is random, and there is no God that decides how you will die. Period; end of argument. If you want to believe in a God that hurls car batteries at percussionists, you go for it. I, on the other hand, am steering clear (mind the pun).

And before you get all over me for no good reason, I’m not saying that God doesn’t exist, I’m saying that Fate doesn’t exist.

Secondly, and this is the most important part, I always try to take away something positive from the scattershot nature of Life (after all, that could have been me eating that car battery, and there’s always tomorrow for another crack at it). Being an Agnostic doesn’t mean that it’s all gloom and Nihilism. There’s a wealth of positivity in knowing that you’re completely in charge of your destiny, and that it can just as soon be taken away from you for no good reason. It drops the chains of guilt. Makes you focus more on the positives and the present. Makes you respect and appreciate the moments, and not waste your time worrying about being judged later.

For the sake of full disclosure, I will admit that the darkest recesses of my heart also find this story to be slightly humorous, too. I mean, how could you not? However, I find it humorous in a head-shaking, ‘That’s Life’ sort of way. Everything you work for, everything you plan for and everything you strive for can be taken away from you in ways that you could never possibly imagine. You can’t become an agoraphobic, either; this danger of a Random World needs to be embraced. It needs to be looked at with humor, otherwise most of us would never leave our homes again.

So every morning, I sit down in my office chair, take a deep sip of coffee, look up at Shawn’s obituary, and remind myself that it is completely unnecessary to stress out over insignificant business. We are fragile. We are weak. Most of us lose the plot every single day. But it’s okay. It’s totally okay.

It’s all okay.

CDP Wayback Machine – Optimism & Positivity Edition.

A Ziploc Bag Full Of Chocolate Chip Cookies.
‘A Ziploc Bag Full Of Chocolate Chip Cookies.’
(Originally published April 30, 2008.)

Yesterday, as I was packing my lunch for work, I threw in a Ziploc bag full of chocolate chip cookies. I had purchased a tub of the soft, silver dollar-sized cookies from the market last week, and thought they would bridge the Hunger Gap between lunch and when I leave for the day. This gap is normally bridged by either a Twix or vending machine egg salad, both of which usually lead to me spending the better part of the afternoon on the toilet.

I have a tender tummy.

I’m typically a creature of habit when it comes to my meals, but I’ve been taking strides to not eat out for lunch so much, as it’s bankrupting me and making me heart attack-y and chubby (I’m this close to having to buy Medium-sized shirts). I needed to find a way to spice up my lunchtime routine, and the Ziploc bag full of chocolate chip cookies would be a perfect tonic to my monotony.

As my workday trudged forth, I forgot all about the Ziploc bag. I was so bogged down with phone calls, meetings and paperwork, that it became a distant memory. So when 2:30pm rolled around, and I pulled open my desk drawer to look for a Sharpie, imagine my shock when I rediscovered the Ziploc bag full of chocolate chip cookies, shining like a white-collar beacon in my otherwise dreary day. My eyes lit up, and I leapt at the bag like Dobby the House Elf snatching a bag of gold coins. What a delightfully grand surprise!

As I sat there, shoveling the factory-made treats into my maw, I became intensely self-aware as to how funny the situation was. Here I was, at the relatively young age of 26, sitting in a cubicle at a State office, wearing tan khakis and a polo shirt, cramming cookies down my throat like they were the antidote to all of my abject misery and depression.

When I was six years old, it would have taken a Nintendo Entertainment System to instill this much joy in me. When I was 17, I’m quite certain that there was nothing on Earth that would have made me as happy as I was at this moment. Everything I’ve worked for, everything I’ve learned and all the strides I’ve made as a man and a member of the human race have boiled down to this; damn-near whizzing my pants at the forgotten prospect of eating a Ziploc bag full of chocolate chip cookies. As image-conscious as I normally am, it was probably one of the saddest revelations of my life.

I started laughing. Hard. After all, it was pretty hilarious, and it sure beat crying. I couldn’t keep my mouth shut; crumbs and bits of chocolate chip were spilling down the front of my shirt. That only made me laugh harder. I started wheezing and snorting through my nose, eventually dropping the bag into the trash and busting into an all-out guffaw that attracted the attention of those around me. Tears welled up in my eyes and I took in the absurdity and triviality of the Human Experience.

In less than a minute, I had learned a powerful life lesson. I also had a mess to clean up.

Don’t be embarrassed of what makes you happy. Even if it’s just a Ziploc bag full of chocolate chip cookies, dig your fat ass in and enjoy the moment. It doesn’t matter what you look like, it doesn’t matter how much money you make and it doesn’t matter what you thought this life was going to bring you, rest assured that this is all we have, and waiting for any other joy to arrive will be considered a waste when the last page is turned, I promise.

Happiness is a cookie. Happiness is getting five green lights in a row on your way to work. Take the time to admire the sadness in the realization that it’s the honest truth, then allow yourself to enjoy it with every fiber of your being.

Let the crumbs fall down your shirt; you deserve it.

Lost Monday – "The Incident."


Season 5 – Episode 16/17: “The Incident.”

The final Lost Monday of the year is upon us. We have much to dis-

…Wow, sorry about that. We have much to discuss.

Lost prides itself on mind-blowing season finales, and although they manage to raise the bar ever-higher each year, I think the Season 5 climax was just as good as any other. The idea that Faraday’s plan might have actually worked really tosses a monkey wrench into a lot of theories out there, setting the stage for a giant Reset Button press, or perhaps even that nothing happened, and the Islanders need to scrap together a Plan B. Either way, I dug it.

I even took enjoyment out of the cliffhanger, where in normal years I’d be hurling half-empty bottles of Blatz, Schlitz and/or Billy Beer at my television. Truth of the matter is that me and Lost have had a major up-and-down relationship over the last few years, and the best plan of action for both of us is to spend a little time apart, find new television shows to fall in love with, and resume our courtship in 2010. If it’s meant to be, it shall.

There was death, destruction, intrigue, explosions and a goddamn LOCKELGANGER! You can’t really go wrong with that, even though any Desmond-free episode of Lost is a bummer to me (Post-Season 1, of course). So, as this is about as special of a Lost occasion as you can ask for, we’re going Old School here on the CDP, with a whopping 4,500 word Lost Monday like we haven’t done in forever. Hey, for what we’ve gone through together this year, don’t we deserve it?

Open wide, unhinge your jaw and breathe through your nose, because it’s time for The Thick & Meaty!

JACOB’S 19th CENTURY FLASHBACK (GIVE OR TAKE A CENTURY).

Beneath the four-toed statue (Marilyn Monroe? Wait, didn’t she have six toes? What? That was an Urban Legend? Son of a bitch!), we get our first look at Jacob, tearing up a tapestry loom like nobody’s business, rocking a white tunic that only an omnipotent could wear without threat of a serious ass-kicking. We see that he’s roughing it a bit, catching fish with wicker traps, cooking them on wicker rocks and eating them between slices of wicker bread.

As he savors the flavor, we see what looks like the Black Rock on the horizon. It’s hard to tell because we didn’t see the part where it gets shot smack-into the middle of the jungle for no discernible reason. Jacob begins a tense discussion with another man who accuses him of summoning the Black Rock to the Island, in a manner of speaking. The non-Jacob guy claims that people brought to the Island always bring destruction, corruption, and “that it always ends the same.” He mentions to Jacob that he wants to kill him, and that some day he will find a Loophole in which to do so. This is eerily similar to a rum-soaked conversation I had with my father on Christmas 1999.

As the scene ends, we get our first full look at the Statue, which is some sort of Egyptian creature-type thing that I refuse to look up on Wikipedia right now.

SAWYER’S FLASHBACK: CASKETS AHOY!

A young James Ford sits on the steps of a church following the funeral of his folks. We see him begin to write the letter to ‘Sawyer’ that would eventually lead to…you know…the rest of his life and whatnot. Jacob appears and gives him a pen, apologizing to him about the whole murder-suicide thing before warping himself away. Just then, James’ uncle Doug shows up and tells James to move on, saying ‘What’s done is done.’

James agrees with him, yells ‘Psych!’ and strangles him to death with a short length of chain.

JULIET’S FLASHBACK: BARELY NECESSARY.

Juliet’s parents tell her and her sister Rachel that they’re getting a divorce. They say they love each other, but they aren’t meant to be together. Juliet is enraged at her parents and runs off, refusing their offers to help her cope. She cannot understand how two people can love each other but not stay together. Her mother tells her she’ll understand when she’s older.

And you know what? She does! Awesome! Apparently, Jacob missed his flight or something, because this is the only flashback that doesn’t involve him in some way. Perhaps Jacob was Rachel in disguise; never know.

KATE’S FLASHBACK: HANGIN’ TOUGH.

Kate attempts to steal a New Kids On The Block lunchbox from a convenience store while her friend Tom keeps a lookout. She’s caught on her way out the door, and the clerk threatens to call the police and her parents. Jacob pops in and offers to pay for the lunchbox, which satisfies the clerk. He then makes Kate promise to never steal again. She agrees and Jacob touches her nose.

I’m beginning to see a pattern, here. Jacob is trying to do the right thing by steering these people in the right directions concerning their lives, yet they flagrantly disobey him because they’re self-centered jerks with zero moral compass. I have yet to see this guy do anything even remotely evil.

JACK’S FLASHBACK: YOU MAKE SIX FIGURES, YOU CAN AFFORD TO LOSE 60 CENTS.

Jack is in surgery, operating on a teenage girl. He accidentally nicks her dural sac and goes into a panic. Christian tells him to count to five, and that if Jack doesn’t calm down Christian will do the surgery himself. Later, after his candy bar gets stuck in the vending machine, Jack tells Christian he’s angry that he was ‘put in a time-out’ and disrespected in front of his team. As he starts to walk away, Jacob offers him the Apollo Candy Bar from the vending machine. Jacob touches Jack’s hand for a moment and says, ‘Maybe all it needed was a little push.’

Man, Jack has his hands on more sacs than Adam Lambert. High-five. Touchdown.

SUN & JIN’S FLASHBACK: WHO INVITED THE CREEPY WHITE GUY?

At Jin and Sun’s wedding, Jacob pats them on the shoulder, tells them (in Korean) to cherish the time they have together, and saunters off to the reception, where he more or less inhales the open bar.

LOCKE’S FLASHBACK: WHO NEEDS A SPINE, ANYWAY?

Jacob is reading on a bench, while we (hilariously) see John Locke fall to his doom in the background, after being pushed out of the eighth story window by Anthony Cooper. He appears to be fairly-to-mostly dead, but after Jacob touches his shoulder, Locke gasps and opens his eyes. Jacob tells him that everything will be fine, and that he’s sorry for what happened to him.

‘Everything will be fine?’ You do know that he was murdered, right?

SAYID’S FLASHBACK: NADIA JAYWALKS FOR THE LAST TIME.

In 2005, Sayid and Nadia are discussing how to celebrate their first wedding anniversary in Los Angeles. Sayid says they need to find the perfect place to celebrate, suggesting Paris. Nadia remarks that she would settle for finding her sunglasses. As they start to cross the street, Jacob tells Sayid he thinks he’s lost and asks for directions, touching his shoulder as he does so. Nadia continues across the street, turns back to face Sayid and Jacob, saying that she has found her sunglasses. She is immediately pummeled by a car. Sayid runs to her and she tells him to take her home.

Clearly, Sayid is just bad luck for Nadia. Everytime she’s around that guy, there’s drama. And when I say ‘drama,’ I mean ‘rampant torture and ocassional death.’

ILANA’S EXTREMELY SQUARE-HEADED FLASHBACK.

Ilana is in a hospital, heavily bandaged, Invisible Man-style, when Jacob comes to visit her. In Russian, he asks her to help him and she says she will. Thanks for that.

HURLEY’S FLASHBACK: AIN’T NO HAM LIKE ASYLUM HAM.

In 2007, Hurley is being released from prison. He tries to convince the guard that he shouldn’t be released because he is a murderer and current, reigning and defending Prison Competitive Eating champion. The guard says he’s been discharged and should go to a cab standing in front of the building. Hurley shares a cab with Jacob, and on the seat between them is a guitar case. For the duration of the ride, Jacob impresses both Hurley and the cab driver with his haunting acoustic take on ‘Classical Gas.’

Jacob asks Hurley why he won’t go back to the Island. Hurley says he believes he is cursed and has caused all of the death and tragedy that has surrounded him. Jacob tells him he is blessed to have the ability to speak with the dead and that he is not crazy. He tells Hurley about Ajira Flight 316 and tells him all he has to do is be on that plane. As Jacob leaves the cab Hurley tells him he left his guitar. Jacob says it’s not his guitar. Hurley eats the guitar.

ON THE ISLAND – 1977: DROPPING A DISCO BOMB, BABY!

Juliet, Sawyer and Third Wheel are on the sub leaving the Island. Kate convinces Juliet and Sawyer that they need to stop Jack from detonating the H-Bomb, so they get the captain to surface the sub and make their way back to the mainland. Someone gets pistol-whipped and an innocent two-way radio loses his or her life. Semper Fi, CB.

When they arrive on the island, they are greeted by Vincent, who has been in the care of Rose and Bernard for the past three years. Rose explains to the trio that she and Bernard are now retired and live a quiet life near the beach, scavenging food and avoiding detection from the Dharma Initiative. On Kate’s request to show them where the barracks are, Rose points them in the direction of the barracks and they leave. And thus closes the chapter of Rose and Bernard in what could be the weakest way possible. Seriously, the writers just forgot about them.

Meanwhile, in the tunnels under the Dharma Initiative’s barracks, Jack and Sayid dismantle the hydrogen bomb in order to remove its core (mostly Sayid, to be fair). Richard Alpert and Eloise Hawking assist Jack and Sayid in entering the barracks via the basement of one of the houses (Ben’s, right?). When Eloise is about to enter the basement to secure the area, Richard knocks her out to prevent her traveling with them to detonate the bomb because she is pregnant.

Who is she pregnant with? Another gripping Lost mystery!

Afterwards, he leaves Sayid and Jack on their own. As a plan to remain undetected, Sayid dons a Dharma jumpsuit in order to fit in at the barracks, but Roger Linus recognizes and shoots him in the intestinal region, all because of that little ‘tried to murder your kid’ incident. A gun fight emerges, but Jack and Sayid escape with Jin and Miles in a van driven by Hurley, who drives toward the construction site of the Swan station while Jack treats Sayid’s wounds. Hurley has to stop the van when he sees Juliet, Sawyer and Kate standing in his way. During this drive, the H-Bomb, which has been rigged to detonate on impact, gets conked around more than Pete Townshend’s guitar.

Jack and Sawyer discuss the situation away from the other survivors. Sawyer expresses his opinion that ‘what’s done is done’ and that they shouldn’t try to change the past (fine time to start following uncle Doug’s advice, jackass). Jack claims that it his destiny to change the past and that John Locke has always been right about the island. Jack and Sawyer get into an epic fist fight, which is broken up by Juliet, who now agrees with Jack that they must detonate the bomb. When Sawyer asks why she’s changed her mind, she tells him it was the way he looked at Kate. She tells him that although they love each other, they are not meant to be together, and that if they never meet then she will never have to lose him.

Come on, Juliet. It’s better to have loved and lost, than to never have loved at all. You could have missed the pain, but then you’d have to miss the dance. Garth Brooks, bitch!

With everyone now on the same page, Jack enters the construction site of the Swan station at the same time that security officer Phil arrives with a team of weasely, armed, 70’s men. On the orders of Radzinsky, Dr. Pierre Chang continues drilling into the energy source beneath the construction site. A massive gunfight ensues, wherein the survivors gain the upper hand, allowing Jack to drop the bomb into the pit at the same time the drill hits the energy source.

The bomb, however, does not detonate, because Jack is a failure. Suddenly, all metal items are being pulled into the pit (as is the custom of electromagnetic energy), causing Phil to be stabbed by a rebar, Dr. Chang’s arm to be trapped by a falling beam and Juliet to be dragged into the chasm by a chain. Miles manages to lift the beam and release Dr. Chang’s injured hand. Meanwhile Sawyer grabs a falling Juliet’s hand. His and Kate’s efforts to save Juliet are futile, although to be fair, it didn’t seem that Kate was trying very hard. After a tear-jerking goodbye where Juliet realizes Sawyer’s deep love for her, she lets go of Sawyer and falls to the bottom of the pit.

Severely injured, Juliet sees the bomb lying next to her, undetonated and cushioned by the mud. Realizing her mortality, she picks up a rock and hits the H-Bomb 8 times until it seemingly detonates.

Spooot!

ON THE ISLAND – 2007: THE LOCKELGANGER EMERGETH!

Locke, Ben, Sun and the Others follow Richard toward the remains of the four-toed statue (just the foot in present day), where Jacob resides. Locke assigns Ben the task of killing Jacob and provides motivation by reminding Ben of all the bad things that have happened to him. The group stops to take a brief break at the survivor’s old campsite. Sun sees the crib Locke made for Aaron, and when she turns it over she finds Charlie’s ring with “DS” engraved on it.

Touching. It allowed me to take a moment to embrace the idea of Charlie and Claire off of my television.

At the same time, a group of survivors from Ajira Flight 316, including Ilana and Bram, paddle a canoe to the main Island, with Frank Lapidus and a giant metal crate from the cargo of the plane. When Frank wakes, they tell him he may be a ‘candidate’ and could be a friend to them. They reveal the (super secret) contents of the crate to a dismayed Frank. The group travels to Jacob’s cabin where they find the ring of ash around the cabin disturbed. Ilana enters the cabin and finds it deserted except for a scrap of cloth bearing a picture of the Statue. Ilana tells the others that Jacob hasn’t been to the cabin for a long time and that someone else has been using it. She orders the cabin set on fire, and the group proceeds to the Statue.

A quick word on Frank Lapidus, played to perfection by Jeff Fahey. When I was 10 years old, I saw the cult classic The Lawnmower Man, where I instantly proclaimed it to be my favorite movie ever for the next three years. I even remember watching the Oscars that year, completely bewildered as to why The Lawnmower Man wasn’t nominated for Best Picture. I, of course, was an idiot, but the point is that I love Mr. Jeff Fahey. Dude rules, end of story. Where Frank Lapidus could just be a secondary, whiny character, Fahey gives him a comedic timing, a stunned acceptance to the surrounding circumstances, and he easily steals every scene he’s in. Pretty impressive, considering the relative auxiliary nature of his role. I salute you, sir.

Moving on, at the remains of the statue, Locke demands to be led to Jacob, and brings Ben with him against Richard’s wishes. Richard pushes a stone door open, and Ben and Locke enter a chamber in the base of statue. Locke hands Ben a knife, telling him that ‘things will change’ once Jacob is gone. No kidding, things will change; the total tapestry output of the Island will probably decrease by 100 percent.

Outside, the Ajira group arrives, and Ilana asks for ‘Ricardus.’ Richard identifies himself and Ilana asks, ‘What lies in the shadow of the statue?’ Richard replies in Latin, ‘He who will protect/save us all.’ Ilana reveals the contents of the crate: John Locke’s dead body.

Uh-oh. If Locke really is dead, and always has been dead, then who’s kicking it with Jacob?

Inside the chamber, Jacob deduces that Locke represents his old rival (Skinwalker!) and that he has tricked Ben into coming there. Jacob tells Ben that whatever he has been told, he still has a choice. When Ben asks Jacob about all the times he has been neglected, putting to him the question, ‘What about me?’ Jacob’s only reply is, ‘What about you?’ Ben promptly loses his shit and stabs Jacob repeatedly. Jacob whispers to Locke, ‘They’re coming.’ Locke rolls Jacob into the fire pit in the center of the room and Jacob burns.

Inverted smash cut, Season 5 over.

You know, I think that sometimes concerning Lost, fans tend to get too caught up with the question of ‘what’s going on; I want answers!’ over the question of ‘am I being entertained?’ I think by now, people should understand that a lot of their questions have already been answered in an indirect way, more questions will be revealed during the final 17 episodes of the series, and there might even be a few questions we’ll never get the answers to. However, what’s most important is that you keep coming back every week and enjoying the hell out of the ride. For as hard as I am on this show from time to time (and believe me, there were plenty of reasons to criticize this season), I defend it because it’s awesome. It’s visionary, it’s genius, it’s in good hands and they’ll tell me what I want to know when they feel it’s right for me to know it.

Now let’s bust out the cardboard, track suit, boom box and Grandmaster Flash cassette, because it’s time to Break It Down!

1. In retrospect, the idea that John Locke wasn’t who he appeared to be following his ‘death’ is fairly clear. The idea that the Island was telling him where to go, the constant pummeling into our heads about the irrefutable truth that ‘dead is dead,’ his perfect timing of Island activities, his newfound sense of purpose and seemingly senseless murdering of Jacob. Looking back, it seems as if Jacob’s rival found a worthy host in Locke’s husk, and used it as his Loophole to finally get what he wanted. More information to come on this guy as Season 6 kicks off, but until then…damn, that was a total surprise to me.

2. H-Bomb detonation or not, I’m sorry to report that Juliet is indeed dead. Elizabeth Mitchell will be playing a major role in an upcoming ABC television series, and quite frankly, she can’t do both shows at once. They gave her a send off that was full of emotion, wonderful acting and nobility, and I thought it was a great way to send off her character. For someone who was introduced as such a cold and manipulative bitch, her transition was handled masterfully by Mitchell, and I commend that.

3. The ‘Black Swan Theory,’ as coined by Nassim Nicholas Taleb, refers to an event in history that might- by it’s sheer unlikeliness- change the course of history, and might come as a surprise, even though in hindsight, it all appears to be plausible and foreseeable. The unlikely events during The Incident, the name of the site being The Swan and the surprising (in an empirical sense) change of the title card from black to white echo these assumptions. Something to chew on. I also liked the subtlety of Jacob wearing a white shirt, while his ‘nemesis’ was wearing a black shirt.

4. This episode continues the tradition of having a significant plot device of the season be pulverized by explosion in the Season Finale:

Season 1 – The Swan Hatch.
Season 2 – The Swan Hatch…again.
Season 3 – The Others (Dynamite!).
Season 4 – The Kahana.
Season 5 – The Swan Hatch…once again (and arguably, the H-Bomb).

5. The desire for Jacob’s nemesis to find a Loophole in which to finally kill Jacob seems to have resulted in what amounts to a massive con involving the need to deceive Locke, Richard, Jack, Ben and most everyone that has ever been involved with the Island ever. As is the case with Lost, the most important character on this show is the one we know the least about. Did we even catch that guy’s name?

The ratings for Lost continue to be through the roof on a weekly basis, but they tend to keep dropping each season as casual fans get too confused and jump ship (yeah, I’m blaming the casual fans; I cannot understand how someone can passively watch a television show). For those that know how to keep focused and interested, here are a few tidbits that even you may have missed. Make with The Numbers!

4 – At the very beginning, we see Jacob cooking a ‘Red Herring’ on a ‘Black Rock.’ It’s stuff like that which reminds me that the Lost writers and producers are geniuses.

8 – In Kate’s flashback, the lunchbox she’s trying to steal is the one that she and Tom (also in the scene), buried as a Time Capsule. In addition, Tom is seen playing with the toy airplane. In the Blooper department we see packs of Medium cigarettes behind the counter, which weren’t introduced until 1991. It would seem to me that the flashback took place prior to ’91.

15 – Speaking of the Jacob-injected flashbacks, I like how he managed to touch each of the castaways in some fashion, leading to speculation about his ‘powers’ and intentions. Also, concerning the Sayid flashback sequence, I don’t feel as if Jacob was responsible for Nadia’s death, but actually that he was responsible for saving Sayid’s life by having him avoid the runaway car.

16 – In the very first episode of Lost, Jack gets Kate to sew him up by telling her a story about a botched surgery where he allowed himself to count to five and get his bearings back. This is the very same surgery that we see in his flashback.

23 – When Sawyer is greeted by Vincent on the beach, you can see the treat in Sawyer’s hand, which Vincent proceeds to eat. Also in Sun’s flashback, she’s wearing a different dress than the one she was wearing in the Season 1 episode ‘…In Translation.’

42 – One of the biggest Lost Nerd mysteries since Season 2 was the story behind Dr. Chang’s hand. Although it was never mentioned, referred or eluded to, the word around the Internet campfire was that Dr. Chang had a prosthetic hand in all of the Orientation films (filmed after the ‘Incident’). This suspicion was confirmed when we got a beautiful shot of Chang’s mangled arm following the destruction of the Swan Hatch.

This is one of the many reasons why I love so much. For 90% of the fans out there, this was just another dude getting injured. But for the hardcore fans, it was vindication. Just more proof that the show can be appreciated on multiple levels.

Still though, this episode raised questions concerning where the show will be headed in its Sixth and final season. Let’s spotlight a few of the more interesting ones, shall we?

1. Who is Jacob’s nemesis?
2. Why did he want to kill Jacob?
3. What is the ‘loophole?’
4. How did Jacob’s nemesis take on Locke’s appearance?
5. How does he know everything that Locke knows?
6. How does Jacob ‘bring’ people to the Island?
7. How did Jacob come to be on the Island?
8. Why did Jacob choose to visit each person at pivotal moments of their lives?
9. How does he get on and off the island?
10. Why did Jacob arrange events to lead up to people returning to or reaching the island?
11. Why did Richard say he does not age because of Jacob?
12. What is Ilana’s connection to Jacob?
13. Why was she heavily bandaged?
14. What is Frank a ‘candidate’ for?
15. What is in the guitar case that Jacob left with Hurley?

Awesome stuff. Lots of ground covered, lots of new avenues to explore; let’s spotlight just a handful of greatness from ‘The Incident,’ with Five Awesome Things!

1 – Kate’s New Kids On The Block Lunchbox. I always preferred Donnie, because he was a bad boy.

2 – Jack and Sawyer’s epic fistfight. More specifically, how bloody each of them got in less than a minute.

3 – Juliet’s deathbed (deathhatch?) noble act in detonating Jughead with a rock. Proof that either love conquers all, or a nuclear blast can turn every atom in your body into a single-file line, shredding you of your very genetic makeup. Whichever happens to be stronger at the time.

4 – Both Locke falling from the eighth story window, and Nadia getting racked by the unobservant pedestrian/hitman. I love CGI human obliterations like that; they always crack me up. In fact, the only reason you should every watch the pile of crap that is Bride Of Chucky is for the brilliant scene where the dude gets demolished by a semi (it’s at around 1:45 in the clip).

5 – The mere theory that the flesh of Radzinsky and Horace Goodspeed were horrifically melted off of their bones in a unfathomably nightmarish spectacle of gurgling death.

Well, there you have it, another year of Lost in the books. Sound off in the comments section and enjoy your week. I hope you enjoyed this season of Lost Friday/Monday, and to keep it going just a little bit longer, here are links to every CDP recap this year. Thanks much.

Season 5 – Episode 1/2 Review.
Season 5 – Episode 4 Review.
Season 5 – Episode 5 Review.
Season 5 – Episode 6 Review.
Season 5 – Episode 7 Review.
Season 5 – Episode 9 Review.
Season 5 – Episode 10 Review.
Season 5 – Episode 11 Review.
Season 5 – Episode 12 Review.
Season 5 – Episode 13 Review.
Season 5 – Episode 14 Review.
Season 5 – Episode 15 Review.
Season 2 Caption Edition.
Season 3 Caption Edition.
Season 4 Caption Edition.
Season 5 Caption Edition.