I never miss an episode of “Lost,” “Fringe,” or “V.” Although my wife and I are both left/liberal, we watch both MSNBC and FOX News. Melissa, my wife, thinks it’s important to listen to the other side.
It can get tiresome because “Lost,” “Fringe,” “V” and MSNBC vs. FOX are all the same show: They’re all about two radically opposing forces gearing up for war, and possibly the apocalypse.
“Lost” is hard to summarize, but in very, very general terms it involves a mysterious island, and there is a guy named Jacob (who is now dead, don’t ask) and another guy who dresses in black. If the Man in Black leaves the mysterious island it appears that the universe is going to go kabluey. So all the stars and co-stars of the show, living and dead, are choosing up sides and war is approaching soon, because there are only five episodes left (out of 121).
“Fringe” is a tale of parallel universes. There are two worlds with the same people, cities, buildings, landscapes, etc. But things don’t happen in exactly the same way in the two universes. For example, there is still a World Trade Center in the other universe, and Leonard Nimoy has a great office in it.
One of the regulars on the show is dead in the universe he lives in and alive in the universe he doesn’t. We’ve known this a long time, but he just found out about this last week, and boy was he pissed off! Anyway, a lot of jerks are messing with stuff they should leave alone and it seems likely that the two universes are going to smack against each other and everything is going to go kabluey. As there were two Leonard Nimoys in J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek, that means there are four Leonard Nimoys and that is just too many, no matter how much you like him—and probably too many even for him.
In “V” a bunch of huge flying saucers hover over many of the world’s leading cities. The aliens, who are called Vs are presenting themselves as visitors who want to share their technology with Earth because they are nice. But actually they are planning world domination and human annihilation. They all look great, but underneath their human exteriors, they are actually disgusting lizard-like creatures. There is a growing resistance called the Fifth Column (I’m not making this up!) and they are led by Elizabeth Mitchell (who perished in “Lost” along with her reputation as a good actress), a priest, a turncoat V and a terrorist. A battle is heating up between the Fifth Column and the Vs and things are about to go kabluey.
On Fox News there is a guy named Sean Hannity and he honestly believes that Barack Obama doesn’t have the credentials necessary to be President, as he was only a community organizer with 10 minutes of governmental experience. Sarah Palin, who dropped out of various schools and one governorship, has what it takes in his world. And he, Hannity, who dropped out of NYU and Adelphi University to become a general contractor and a bartender in Santa Barbara, has what it takes to make these kinds of profound sociopolitical judgment calls. And of course, Obama is a radical socialist-terrorist-communist who wants to take away all your money, your freedoms, your right to bear arms and arm bears, leaving you totally broke and forcing you to ask the government for permission to do anything you want to do with the money you don’t have—because you paid it all in taxes. Now this is a bit odd, because Hannity seems like a very smart guy who can throw a football really well.
But Hannity’s behavior makes perfect sense if you pay attention to the name of the weekly show he had until last year: “Hannity’s America.” You see, Hannity is in America, just not the same America that, say, Rachel Maddow lives in (i.e., the one with facts). He is in the other, parallel universe, and in that one, there is another President Obama who is a total moron and the chairman of the Vladimir Ilyich Lenin fan club. If you find this hard to believe, let me prove it to you. If you watch the end of every episode of Keith Olbermann’s show on MSNBC, you will notice that it ends with breaking glass. Olbermann pretends to be tossing his papers at the screen, but he can’t mask what is really going on—Hannity is throwing one of his footballs at Olbermann from his parallel universe.
The leader of the Vs is an incredibly beautiful woman named Anna, who comes out of nowhere and becomes the most famous woman in the world overnight. She gives hypnotic speeches that dazzle the faithful. Anna gives special media access to TV journalist Chad Decker, with the proviso that he not ask any questions that would put the Vs in a bad light. Although Anna is pure evil, trying to destroy the world and every human being on it, Decker doesn’t see any reason to nose around, and he readily agrees to her stipulation. (Note: Chad is played by Scott Wolf, who was on “Party of Five” with “Lost” star Matthew… FOX! Coincidence?)
One of the most popular characters on “Lost” is John Locke (Terry O’Quinn). Locke is a man of faith, an inspirational character. But this season, the Man in Black is using Locke’s body. He looks exactly like Locke, but he is a very scary guy. Sometimes he turns into a black smoke monster and murders people by the gross (as opposed to Jacob’s benevolent white tornado, which only kills grime).
From their vantage point in Hannity’s parallel American universe, Mitch McConnell and the Tea Partiers have correctly identified Barack Obama as the Black Man who is actually the Man in Black—he may look just like Barack Obama, but he is actually Osama bin Laden. This is why people often seem to slip up and call him Osama. These aren’t slip-ups so much inter-reality flare-ups between parallel worlds, similar to what we are seeing more and more of in the sideways world of “Lost” in Season six.
Osama/Obama has slipped through a “Fringe”-style cosmological wrinkle between the other universe along with the other Nancy Pelosi, who was really getting a lot of stuff done on that side. The Republicans were stunned by their sudden ability to round up votes, as well they should have been. They weren’t the same people!
Another continuing trope of “Lost” is the idea of “others.” First you meet others that are people like you who were in the back side of the plane that crashed on the island. Then there are some other others, that are different from the first others. In fact, there are some other other others, and this season we found out about some other other other others that live in a temple, and possibly some other other other other others, that whisper. Anyway, you get my meaning: There are so many others, it’s hard to figure out who you can trust. The only thing that’s clear is that there are lots of people that are not like you; they are heavily armed and you don’t know what the hell is going on.
And that’s as good a description as any of the America presented every night on MSNBC and Fox News.
Reid Rosefelt is a veteran film publicist based in New York City. He has promoted hundreds of films, for such diverse moviemakers as Jim Jarmusch, Pedro Almodóvar, Errol Morris, Ang Lee and Werner Herzog. His personal clients have included The Sundance Institute, IFC and HBO Films, as well as Harvey Keitel, Ally Sheedy and the late Adrienne Shelly. His production publicity credits include Desperately Seeking Susan, The Godfather: Part III and, most recently, Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire. His blog can be found at http://my-life-as-a-blog.com/.