Lost: Why I love the characters lots of people hate

If you read my post yesterday, I listed some of my favorite characters from the show, and while I think my Hugo and Ben choices are pretty well received, I think my Shannon and Juliet choices are much less so. I’ve seen these Facebook games where someone posts a list of all the characters in the show, puts the number 10 next to each character, and then turns the post loose. The game is that each new poster copies and pastes the list into his or her post, subtracts one from his or her least favorite character and adds one to his or her favorite character. Once a character hits zero, they’re removed. Though this list seemed a bit strange in that it had Ben being eliminated pretty early, something you don’t usually see in these.

As before, spoilers below.

The general reception to Shannon was especially harsh and overwhelmingly negative. And yeah, she was a bitch through most of her time on-screen, but I always saw depth of character underneath that, and I thought it was interesting that the writers took such a well-known archetype and, in the end, turned it around, complicated it. There were hints of her vulnerability, sympathy, and complexity from the first few episodes: Boone’s comment that she’s a “functioning bulimic”; her conversation with Claire while Shannon is suntanning; her resistance to translating because she might mess it up.

Juliet’s character, on the other hand, was received rather positively by critics, but very negatively by a lot of fans. They criticized Mitchell’s acting because Juliet often came across as flat (for lack of a better word; what I’m trying to get at is that she didn’t react as emotionally as many of the other characters we’d come to know and love), but this is a character trait of Juliet, not a failing of Mitchell. Juliet’s story was always incredibly captivating for me, and so complex, and while she did things that I wouldn’t expect over and over again, afterward, I felt that her reactions were really the only possible ones for her character. She sacrifices much throughout the show, and when she turns on Sawyer in the season five finale, I found it heart wrenching and utterly believable that she would fall back and try to protect herself. And throughout all of season six, her death has been hanging over Sawyer’s character, driving his choices and decisions in much the way I wished the writers had done with Claire after Charlie’s death. If Juliet does not come back during the series finale (she’s not listed as a guest start for “What They Died For,” I will be a very, very sad little Lost fan.

Finally, if anyone is interested in playing along with my favorite character and who-would-win-in-a-fight bracket games, let me know and I’ll post the links here once I make the PDFs.

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