What goes on during a two-hour PaleyFest
panel honoring "Lost"
when the only thing you know for sure is that the cast and writer-producers will tell you little to nothing about what's coming up on the show?
How do you keep the audience entertained?
Well, first, show a clip from the next episode which no viewer has yet had the pleasure of seeing.
Second, make sure Michael Emerson (Ben Linus) and Terry O'Quinn (Locke) are in attendance.
And, finally, hire a gifted comedian who's obsessed with "Lost" to moderate.
Done and done.
PaleyFest's "Lost" night -- which close to 1900 fans attended -- got a nice kickstart with a scene from Tuesday's (Mar. 2) episode, which revealed a few things: The temple peeps are about to banish Sayid and they tell him it's because he's bad. Sayid will finally learn, courtesy of Miles, that he was dead for two whole hours and that it wasn't the temple people who saved his life. Claire will indeed make it to said temple this week and it turns out that Not Locke is not allowed in there. In fact, the temple is apparently some sort of sanctuary from him.
But the festivities only got better when Emerson and O'Quinn hit the stage, greeted by deafening applause.
And the fun truly began when Paul Scheer
-- of FX's "The League" and MTV's "Human Giant" and of course Korbi TV's Drinking with the Stars -- commenced the line of questioning.
Scheer hit the ground running with a real hard ball Q, which has been wearing on the minds of all fans: Public option, for or against it?
Terry O'Quinn is for it, in case you were curious.
Scheer admitted that he had gone to Twitter to solicit questions and that he got some very good ones and some awful ones too.
So, naturally, he started with the worst: Ask those writer dudes why there aint no monkeys on that island... Will they finally do a musical episode and, if so, will Ben and Locke battle rap?... If you could use the Sorting Hat from "Harry Potter," which house would your character go into?... "Yo, what's the deal with the island?"
Still, there actually was quite a lot of solid information that came out of the night.
Executive producers Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse have said for quite some time that they have a final image of what the series will be, but since a series is ever-evolving, has it changed? Damon revealed that certain things will definitely stick, but as they're leading up the finale -- which the writers are currently breaking, p.s. -- the question they're asking themselves is, "Is it still fair? ... Have we earned [the answers]? Every idea is challenged over and over again [in the writers' room]."
Apparently there are a lot of little questions, however, that won't be answered at all.
The writers said they tend not to tell the actors about their character arcs because, Damon pointed out, it would almost be like a "Lost" fan trying to explain the show to a non-watcher: "You sound like an idiot or crazy." For instance, there was no way they could have told O'Quinn that the Locke we saw last year was really another character who occasionally turned into the smoke monster without overburdening him.
Terry O'Quinn, by the way, was once kidnapped by a fan in Hawaii. Kind of. He told the story which started with him hitching a ride up the hill in his neighborhood -- apparently a common practice there -- and his driver refused to stop when asked. "I'm just gonna take you up a little further and show you to my wife!," he said.
Back on the subject of whether or not the actors know what's truly going on with their characters, director Jack Bender said that every time Alan Dale (Charles Widmore) shows up on set, he asks, What the f**k am I doing on this show? And they give him just enough. No more, no less. Scheer said, "In fairness, he used to ask that same question when he was on 'The O.C.'"
Instead of posing the standard soap/rom com question (Who's the best kisser?), Scheer asked Michael Emerson the "Lost" version: Who's the best hitter? Though Emerson wouldn't name names, he did say that the younger the actor, the more inflamed the performance.
Seems Disneyland is talking about replacing Tom Sawyer Island with a "Lost" theme ride and the cast and producers had a few thoughts on what it should include: Michael wants a wild ride on a VW bus with a distracted Hurley behind the wheel. Writer Edward Kitsis is interested in a dark tunnel of flashbacks/flashfowards filled with images of daddy issues. But Damon's suggestion is clearly the best: Take people into a dark room, spin them around, punch them in the face and then tell them they've just received the true Lost experience.
Malcolm David Kelley's (Walt) growth spurt between the pilot and present-day is the only reason he pretty much had to be written out of the show. Now 17, he clearly doesn't fit into the timeline of the series. Damon and Carlton, however, are working on a way to bring Walt back before the end.
And did you know that Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje (Mr. Eko) was not written out, but chose to leave "Lost"? The writers still seem a bit disappointed about it, apparently they weren't quite ready to let that character go.
Don't expect resolution to the Ben/Annie relationship.
Director Jack Bender was the one responsible for the painting on the hatch door, and there will be another Bender painting in the show before the series ends.
Expect an Ilana (Zuleikha Robinson) and Richard (Nestor Carbonell) confrontation in the near future (someone asked, by the way, whether she is perhaps really old like Richard is).
Nestor's favorite moment of the show so far was finding out who the &$%! he is. Richard Alpert's backstory is coming soon.
Carlton said that he and Damon won't be commenting on the series finale after it airs.
The whole cast actually watches the show. Terry said that as a fan of "Lost," he would be a little disappointed if Locke is really dead.
Though Edward Kitsis does want to do a Frogurt flash sideways before the season's end, no, it's not happening.
As for the Hurley Bird -- you know that bird that flew by in that one scene and sounded as if he was saying Hurley's name? -- Paul Scheer wanted to know whether or not we imagined that. Apparently not, because Damon said the Hurley Bird is on their list of things to solve.
What else? Well, KTV correspondent and "Lost" enthusiast @MarisaRoffman kept a running Tweet feed of the night.
For your reading pleasure:
3. #Lost panel will be starting in a sec. Right now we have the Simpsons Treehouse of Horror short where Homer travels through time playing4us. 4. Wow, nearly 1400 people came to the #ModernFamily panel yesterday. Today's #Lost panel has nearly 1900 audience members
5. Wow, a lot of people gave Terry O'Quinn a standing ovation when he came out.
8. I think Jack Bender just let a spoiler slip by talking about Alan Dale's on-going confusion about Widmore. Guess he is coming back.
9. Oh my goodness, Terry O'Quinn is telling a hilarious story of how a fan quasi-kidnapped him. #Lost 10. Audience is asked whether we think Locke is good or evil. Almost everyone thinks he's evil. #Lost 11. Damon says the bird saying Hurley's name will be explained. I kinda hope he's joking. #Lost 12. Potential Spoiler Alert: Carlton says they are working on getting Walt back before the series ends. #Lost 13. The main difference fans would see had #lost been on cable? "We's say the word 'f#!k' all the time" says Damon.
14. Potential Spoiler Alert: In the Alternate Universe, was Jack married to someone we know? Carlton says "yes"
15. Omg the guy asking this question is wearing a "WWJLD"...I think the pic of Locke is the one w/him and the orange smile.#Lost 16. Damon just spoiled that Santa isn't real, and there are kids in the audience. Uh oh. #Lost 17. Damon says they regret not having more diversity in the show #Lost 18. Awwww, the woman asking the question met her husband in line for the first #Lost #paleyfest panel.
19. Potential Spoiler Alert: We'll be seeing more of Charlie before the series ends.
20. Word to describe the last three episodes of the series: "Water" #Lost