Last Tuesday at around 6pm, I probably should have been getting work done for school. Instead, I was perusing Facebook and reading all of my friend's status updates in a desperate attempt to avoid doing anything productive at all. The debate among several of my friends seemed to revolve around one of the hardest decisions of all time: LOST, or Glee?
Being a marketing person, I immediately wondered whether the folks at ABC and Fox realized that put two shows that appeal to a lot of the same people in competing time slots? Most likely not - afterall, at first glance, a show about a high-school choir that wears a lot of glitter and a drama about plane-crash survivors and time-travel would seem to have little in common. But, my Facebook status updates would suggest that their audiences have a lot of overlap.
So, do are the same people who are entranced by watching a football team dancing to Beyonce's "Single Ladies" also care deeply about John Locke's quest for meaning and an epic battle for survival against a creepy Smoke Monster?
While their subject matter is vastly different, both of these show speak to the same part of the human soul - the part of us that will always feel like we're alone, and like we don't quite fit in with the world around us. "Other" in Glee means wanting to dance and sing onstage in a community that values football and cheerleading. It also apparently means having slushies thrown in your face every day (this never happened to me...even though I was in five choirs in High School...go figure...). "Other" in LOST means alienation of a different sort - what does it mean to do the right thing? What parts of ourselves can we share with others?
Every character on LOST has a secret - even though they are together in survival, they are often spiritually alone. Furthermore, the survivors as a whole are alienated by their shared past - they have endured something the rest of the world cannot understand and would never believe.
The concept of the "other" is a recurring theme in LOST - black vs. white in backgammon, Losties vs. others, good vs. evil, John vs. Jack, Jack vs. himself, Jacob vs. MIB... Glee explores otherness in the search for success and acceptance, whereas LOST explores the search for understanding and meaning.
One curious thing that Ben, my boyfriend, pointed out is that while LOST has the more unbelievable premise, Glee is the more unbelievable show. While Glee is set in the "real world", no teacher in a school could ever behave the way Sue Sylvester does and not get fired. Furthermore, her motivations are unclear - she seems to be cruel for the sake of being cruel. In LOST, even though the situation is fantastic, the characters and their motivations come from a very real place. The way the show explores human nature and free will is fascinating.
I'm getting off topic.
Point being - we can all relate to a time when we've felt left out or isolated - whether you are a high school nerd, an experienced time-traveler or just a former music major trying to survive MBA 6241 - Corporate Financial Decisions. We might not get a slushie thrown in our faces literally, but sometimes the metaphorical slushie of life is hard to avoid. We all have secrets we are afraid to share, even with those closest to us - our parents, friends and loved ones.
Feeling alone is an all too familiar part of life, so it is not too surprising that these are two of the most popular shows on television. Fortunately, we're all in it together, and we are all connected by the amazing and beautiful world around us. And also, the Twins won today. Life is great :)