Today's LAT picks the strike-weary brains of four TV showrunners who are returning to work after three weeks of agonizing about the fates of their series, storylines they were forced to abandon, and early-draft scripts they may soon need to rush into production, hoping to illustrate the back-to-work chaos facing a town scrambling to pick up where it left off in early November. My Name is Earl's Greg Garcia, for example, is publicly promising that anyone who fritters away their precious time with unproductive chatter about which agency's picket line snacks were the most delicious (the debate, of course, begins and ends with CAA's baby-filled scones) risks an immediate shitcanning. ("[T]hat's all I've heard about for the last three months. And now it's over. I'm not going to sit and listen to them talk about it now. If you say the word 'strike' and you're not talking about bowling, you're fired.") Meanwhile, Lost's Damon Lindelof frets that his staff's been laid off for so long that they may have lost their already seemingly tenuous grasp on what the hell is going on with their magical, polar-bear-and-smoke-monster-infested island:
If all goes as planned, the producers will begin talking about stories with the writers on Wednesday, Lindelof said. The difficulties, he added, might lie in remembering all of the characters, mysteries and island secrets.
Like the Dharma Initiative? (If you don't know what this is, it will take the length of another strike to explain.)
"Everything I've forgotten about the Dharma Initiative is best left forgotten," Lindelof said. "The good news about time away from the show is that you remember the good stuff. If you've forgotten about it, it's probably best not to be reminded. We're looking forward to executing the resolution of Season 4. Who are all the members of Oceanic 6? What happened to everybody else? What is the secret the Oceanic 6 are keeping and why are they keeping it? And who are these freighter folk?"
Though the show's hardcore fans might be a little disappointed that Lindelof seems so cavalier about allowing some of the Dharma Initiative's superfluous backstory to dissipate into the ether of their strike-induced hiatus (really, does anyone care about the shadowy organization's bio-engineering of top-hat-wearing turtles anymore?), the accidental wiping clean of the LOST SECRETS: DO NOT ERASE!!! whiteboard in their writers room by a studio custodian could be a creatively liberating turning point. Freed from the already-loose shackles of consistency, they can now take the series anywhere they please going forward, quietly dropping characters without explanation (would anyone really notice if the Scottish guy disappeared?), or have the Oceanic survivors that have more firmly implanted themselves in the producers' memories re-explore promising elements of the past, like having mysteriously healed quadruple-amputee Skip Locke lead an expedition back down The Hole.