About Matthew Fox and Lost

Let's have a chat about Matthew Fox, aka Jack in Lost...

Nice beard, Jack

People seem to be under the impression that I dislike Matthew Fox.

I can understand where people get this idea from, seeing as the very mention of his name in my previous pieces was generally followed by me saying something very mean about his sideline in moisturizers (Damn it, I did it again).

The truth is that this couldn’t be further from the truth.

I really did like the way Fox played Jack, in the first two seasons of Lost. But now, much as I felt when writing my initial article on Lost, I feel like a battered girlfriend, who’s only staying here because I remember the good times.

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The problem is that while other actors around the lead have at least retained their status from these earlier seasons (with characters such as Linus and Locke having greatly improved), the writers seem to have used Jack as a vehicle by which they can slow everything down.

Again, I point to the fact that Lost was designed to be a three-season show which, halfway through writing season two, was extended to six seasons.

I truly take on board several of the comments made by regular readers of all things Lost-related. Varoh 1, who has heartily defended Fox’s casting, asking aloud, “What is he not doing that upsets you so much? Would you prefer a Heath Ledger inspired Joker interpretation or maybe he should play the part in blackface.” Varoh added (while possibly cradling a framed picture of his beloved Fox, presumably shirtless and displaying his usual poker face) “Honest to god sometimes I think people half overhear what they think is a popular opinion and then just regurgitate it without the ability to justify their stance.”

I can understand why he’s defending him, really I can. I don’t want to see a small-screen version of Ledger’s Joker as the lead, nor do I yearn for Papa Lazarou.

I also understand where you’re coming from in your latest comments, stating that “Fox is, to borrow from the parlance of the show, playing our proxy. He’s an averageish Doctor. He’s supposed to react in ways similar to those which the typical guy would. Passive agressive, low key, temper eruptions and (because its television) heart on his sleeve.” Also, I understand your point about impinging on the other characters, and I can see why you’d think that by over-writing the part of Jack, and making him too cool, too honest or too enigmatic, that he’d take away from the impact of characters like Linus, Locke or Sawyer; and I understand that what the writers are trying to do is make Jack the “normal” guy, the anchor of the piece.

Your points are concise, well thought out, intelligent, compelling, but I disagree with them.

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The thing is, I just don’t see it anymore…and when it got to that point, that’s when I had to start writing about it.

I never watched Lost to yearn for normalcy. Everything about it screams “different”, as spadefuls of unsubtle abnormality slapped you in the face for episode after episode of the show.

So why make the lead guy an Average Joe…and more to the point, why try to almost transform him from the most brilliant spinal surgeon ever (with emotional issues to boot) in seasons one and two, to Doctor Sensible now? I just don’t get it.

I do feel that a number of fans, myself included, are frustrated at the way that Jack is being used to explain everything, and that the fact that Jack-centric episodes regularly mean another change of pace in the direction that we, as fans, don’t necessarily want.

Perhaps, re-reading my last piece. I have been focused a little bit too much on Fox’s performance as opposed to the episode as a whole. I was, however, more than a tad frustrated at how the writers have once again slammed on the brakes after promising so much more.

I agree that to some extent I am voicing my frustrations at a show by venting at a lead character, because the writers have clearly invested so much time in this guy, and because I can’t imagine for a second that the director’s looking at Matthew Fox and thinking-that’s exactly the look I was thinking of, vacant, expressionless, 1000-yard stare (and I was trying to be so nice).

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Maybe it is the writers’ fault, I don’t know. All I know is that the writers don’t have a face which I recognize, and as tickytic 18 pointed out in the comments to the last piece as well, “I’ve accepted that sometimes I am going to want to punch (Fox) in the face.”

I honestly used to like Jack.

He’s the lead character, and as such, should be the talisman of the show (he’s certainly still getting the lines and the promotional push to be considered as no less than the lead) and yet, he isn’t “that guy”.

People tune in now to see Locke or Linus or even Sayid, because Matthew Fox is a supporting actor in a lead role, and that’s become woefully apparent as everyone else around him continually out-acts the guy episode on episode.

I bought into this show and got hooked on it on the basis that it was never going to be considered normal. I don’t care about the primetime slots, the Disney money that bankrolled it or anything else; it’s a fantasy geek drama show and that’s why I love it, so I can’t accept “normalcy” as the sole redeeming feature for the face of the show…

I just can’t.

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I’m not saying Lost, or Fox is awful, far from it. I’m just growing weary of this drawn-out conclusion, I’m tired of the best reason to watch being the flashes forwards, when we find out things that, traditionally, we wouldn’t have found out for a good few more episodes. All I want, and I don’t think I’m alone in this, is for the pace to pick up a bit, which in turn allows Matthew Fox to portray Jack in a far better light, and allows me to go to bed on a Sunday evening feeling warm and fuzzy, and completely ready for next week’s show, and as a loyal viewer, I never think that’s too much to ask from anything in which I’ve invested so much of my time.

Thanks to all who have contributed to the debate on Matthew Fox so far, and we can assure you that we’re big fans of Lost at Den of Geek! Please feel free to continue the debate in the comments, or if you fancy it, do feel free to drop a longer piece to geekcontent@gmail.com (we won’t hyperlink that for spam reasons) for potential inclusion as a main article on the site.

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