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Friday, July 24, 2009

Five courses we'd love to see at "Lost" University

Channel Surfing bloggers Thomas Rozwadowski and Adam Reinhard aren't sure what's more depressing. That the final season of "Lost" won't be on until January 2010 or that a diploma from the show's fictional Lost University is probably more valuable than real degrees currently being used in a sinking newspaper industry.

Either way, both are thrilled to have something, ANYTHING "Lost" related to talk about ... cuz God knows it's been awhile since Juliet and her trusty rock caused the whole screen to go kablooie!

The newfangled Lost University site (gotta love the polar bear mascot) looks like just the diversion, with clever little show references ("Join the Drive Shaft cover band contest at Hume Amphitheater!"), a course catalog that boasts classes like Introductory Physics of Time Travel (and a recommended reading list of Stephen Hawking, David Toomey and Sean Carroll), and perhaps hidden clues (Comic-Con visitors already found a phone number for a "Professor Nusedorf:" 818-824-6300) that will appeal to the "Lost" nerd in us all.

Of course, there's also ample promotion for the "Lost" Season 5 DVD out Dec. 8 ... which really seems to be the whole point of this exercise.

On the heels of Entertainment Weekly releasing it's 15 Must-Answer Mysteries before series end, Channel Surfing thought it'd be fun to look at five courses we'd really love to enroll in if Lost University were an actual institution.

Dibs on Kate and Juliet as roommates!

World Religion in "Lost": "Namaste." The pillar of smoke. Mr. Eko's whacking stick. "Lost" is littered with references to religion, with just about every major world faith receiving some time in the spotlight. Whether they're obvious -- Charlie's hallucination of Claire as a saint -- or require a bit more background knowledge -- Sayid repeating the Shahadah, or the Islamic testimony of faith, while imprisoned in Rousseau's cabin -- fans have had no rest dissecting every episode for possible hidden meanings. A class on World Religion as it pertains to "Lost" would provide students with all the necessary background reading for understanding the symbolism the show uses on a weekly basis. Want more insight into Jacob and his black-suited friend? Or perhaps you'd like to decipher the scratching on Mr. Eko's stick? The class would also get to take several field trips to churches, mosques, synagogues, and fried chicken restaurants (hey, you can't neglect Hurley's religion, can you?)

Competitive Rowing: To get somewhere quickly on the island, you have two options: Run really fast, or be lucky enough to stumble upon an abandoned skiff on the shore. But what if you don't know an oar from an Oreo? That's where taking the competitive rowing class at Lost University comes in. Experienced mariner Desmond Hume -- a one-time competitor in an around-the-world sailing race -- will teach you how to hold your oars, which way to face in the boat, and the best technique for ducking shotgun fire from pursuing vessels. Class is mostly hands-on and takes place in Lost U's lagoon, but required reading is the textbook "Understanding Trade Winds for Sailors" by Dr. Leslie Arzt.

Island Cooking 101: Life on a deserted island is tough, especially when you get an attack of the munchies. You can't just sit around waiting for the next bundle of DHARMA foodstuffs to drop in the middle of the night. But judging by the never-increasing amount of slack in Hurley's waistband, the Losties have never been at a loss for sustenance. In Island Cooking 101, students will learn the finer points of catching and cooking fish, climbing palm trees and knocking down coconuts, tracking and killing wild boar, and developing an immunity to expired ranch dressing. Final exam will consist of each student having to make a complete meal using only sea urchin, peanut butter and fish biscuits.

Child's Play: Examining the Role of Children in "Lost": "Lost" has an intense fascination with children, so much so that you might think the real island leader is Michael Jackson. (What? Too soon?) Really though, it's impossible to ignore the Season 1 fixation on a certain character who later contracted gigantism post-raft kidnapping. Yes, we're talking about Walt. What was up with his psychic prowess and penchant for killing birds? Why did the DHARMA Initiative want him and later backpedal, only to say that he was more than they could seemingly handle? And seriously, why didn't anyone plan on the kid getting so darn huge and then being written off the show? "Child's Play" will examine the important role of children on the island, especially as it pertains to the mystical birth cycle and the calculated snatching of barefooted little ones. Want to know why Ben was special from an early age? Ever wonder why Aaron sleeps so damn much? Want to know if Richard Alpert was ever a kid? This is the course for you, and despite the name, those stupid Chucky movies have nothing to do with course requirements.

Father Knows Worst: Daddy Isn't Welcome in the Jungle: Locke and his kidney stealing old man. Jack and Christian's memorable hospital face-offs. Ben strapping on a gas mask and saying buh-bye to Roger the drunken janitor in ghastly fashion. Seemingly everyone has daddy issues on the island. This course will require students to connect dots among several characters and determine whose stilted father-child relationships have had the most impact on island life. Should a gray-bearded Robin Williams show up in Dharmaville to tell Kate or Sawyer that's "it's not their fault?" Or will the final scene of "Lost" be Jack and Christian playing a game of "Field of Dreams"-like catch on the beach while gentle string music plays? You can't possibly resolve their ugly issues, but you at least have to determine that it's more than the Oedipal complex at play. Final exam will be a long-distance call to your own dad to simply say "I love you."

UPDATE! UPDATE!: Reports out of Comic Con state that Ian Somerhalder is returning as Boone next season. In a flashback? As a cast regular? Stay tuned ...

-- Thomas Rozwadowski, and Adam Reinhard,



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