Thursday, July 16, 2009

1.07 The Moth

Follow along! The episode guide for "The Moth" is in Finding Lost, pp. 45-49.

Oh Chah-lie. Now, as we head into season 6, I miss him so much. In season 1, he was sweet and lovable and funny (and when you watch this episode with the commentary on, Dominic Monaghan is HILARIOUS). But when he stops using, and becomes all hostile in season 2, I really disliked him a lot. By the middle of season 3 he was as holy as Jack, and I couldn’t stand him... and yet he’ll redeem himself in “Greatest Hits,” just in time for... well... you know.

Fun things I noticed:
• It’s interesting that Locke chooses Charlie, of all people. In retrospect, we see how important Charlie will be to everyone, but his importance lies in him unjamming the frequency so they could be “rescued,” which is counter to what Locke wants. Similarly Locke encourages Jack to become the leader of the people, which again runs counter to Locke’s best interests. Early on, it seemed Locke was making decisions that weren’t good ones for himself. When I was reading Ulysses, I noticed the Stephen Dedalus/Leopold Bloom relationship was much like the Charlie/Locke one here: Bloom wants to be a father figure to Dedalus, even if the kid doesn’t want him to be his father.
• Locke describes a moth coming out of its cocoon and says struggle is nature’s way and that’s what will make the moth strong. This is consistent with John; in season 5, when he has the chance to tell his former self what will happen, he tells Sawyer he doesn’t want to because he needs that journey to become the man he is today.
• As a mother to a budding lepidopterist (and I only know what the word means because of my daughter), I found Locke’s assessment of moths versus butterflies very interesting. My 4-year-old daughter has been obsessed with monarchs since she was 3, and so last year and this year we go tromping through the woods collecting monarch caterpillars and raise them through the larvae stages into their chrysalis, and watch as they emerge 10 days later. Then we wait the requisite 24-48 hours and take them outside and let them go (last year one of them didn’t come out of the chrysalis right, and I ended up on speakerphone to the nearby Butterfly Conservatory with a scientist, who was talking me through how to get the poor thing out with a pair of tweezers and a needle... afterwards he explained that we were actually doing a good thing; that 80% of butterflies will survive in captivity, as opposed to 10% in the wild). It’s pretty amazing (I have 5 chrysalises downstairs right now, along with one still in the egg and three hatched caterpillars) and I’ve read scores of books on the subject in the last year. We’ve tried to raise countless moths, but we’ve yet to actually have one make it out of the cocoon. The butterflies seem to be able to make the journey no problem, but those moths never do. At first I thought Locke was wrong when he said moths were stronger, because if the things can’t get out, how does that make them stronger? But it links back to Charlie because, like other drug addicts, only the strongest one will kick the habit, and similarly, only the strongest moth will make it out, whereas the butterflies obviously have an easier go of it. OK, now back to your regularly scheduled Lost discussion. ;) And now you know that weird aspect of my life; when I’m not watching Lost, I’m standing in a field with my daughter searching through milkweed plants for tiny monarch eggs.
• This episode has the first instance of Sceve. To read the full controversy surrounding these two, check out pp 97-98 of my first Finding Lost book.
• Sucks to be the only doctor on the island... first he has to talk Kate through how to give him painful stitches, and now he has to talk Charlie through painfully relocating his shoulder. Yeeowch.
• I think I noted this in my book, but Charlie emerges from the ground like a vamp on BtVS, and it looks like a rebirth of sorts.

Things that have new meaning:
• Jack says he wishes he had Kate’s faith. Now we know one thing that sets Jack apart from the others is that he doesn’t seem to have any faith in anything. And interestingly, Kate’s always been more on the side of Jack – she doesn’t seem to believe in any of the destiny talk, either.
• Locke tells Charlie that life is a series of choices, and you make those choices based on instinct. This is a really interesting scene, considering that Locke is so firmly on the side of destiny over free will. Here he seems to be a proponent of free will, but notice how he says those choices are based on instinct, not a thought process. That would seem to be more of a fate thing again.
• The Charlie episode has a subplot of Sayid trying to open a radio signal, which is weird now that we know Charlie will eventually die doing the very same thing.
• Sayid has his little speech about how maybe they were all destined to be on the island, but that runs counter to what we later know of Sayid. Despite him being religious (and as I’ve said in the past, typically on this show they put the religious characters on the side of destiny), he mocks Locke in season 3 for following a few words he’d seen etched on the Jesus stick, and he firmly believes in free will. AND YET... in season 5, he’ll believe he came back for a reason, and that his destiny is to kill Ben Linus.
• Now that we know the island manipulates certain situations to make things happen, I wonder if it actually created the cave-in? Notice it happens just as Charlie is proclaiming himself to be a god, and it forces people to come together to get him out.
• Charlie dies in the episode “Through the Looking Glass,” based on the Lewis Carroll book where Alice steps through the mirror and enters a strange and scary world. And looking back at this episode, Charlie is sitting in front of a mirror when he holds the bag of heroin for the first time, and presumably makes his own metaphorical step through the looking glass into the strange and scary world of drug abuse.
• Jack says he’ll always remember what a hero Charlie was. Charlie says, “For the rest of our lives?” and I thought, “Which, for you, is only about 3 more months.” :::SOB:::
• Locke says, “I’m proud of you, Charlie. I always knew you could do it.” And that’s how we’ll feel about Charlie when he dies. :(


Katey said...

WOOH! First comment (At least as I'm writing this it is)

Ah...Charlie! I miss his humor! I have to go get dinner right now but I'll write more later. :)

J.W. said...

I liked this episode, but I wish the writers could have found a different metaphor than the moth. John’s moth story, which is a bit cliché, has been overused by teachers, preachers, motivational speakers, and whatnot as a lesson over the years, and I don’t think it packs the punch a more original story would.

Dom, as always, is fantastic. As most everyone here probably knows, the original idea was to have a washed up rock star in his 40’s who was always trying to recapture old glory (talk about cliché), but I think the idea of a one-hit wonder whose brother got all the glory and doesn’t know its over is much more interesting. That said, sometimes I think Nikki understands Charlie better than some of the writers of later episodes (where Drive Shaft is made out to be a famous band with endorsement deals, and Charlie is painted as a A list celebrity.)

On the injury front, I can sympathize with Jack, having dislocated my shoulder five times. It’s surprisingly painful.

Anonymous said...

Did Driveshaft ever get super popular after the crash? I remember Cha-lie talking about that. Does anyone know if it was mentioned again off the island?

Joan Crawford

Susan said...

I watch these episodes on the weekend and try to remember what I want to say about them when Nikki's post comes out on Wednesdays, but I always forget. I guess I'll have to start taking notes.

I didn't see that endorsement as a sign that DS was popular, actually the reverse. Grown men with tattoos dressed up in baby diapers? To me it showed a washed-up band desperate for money and a teeny bit of the fame that they had had before.

In "Greatest Hits" Naomi tells Charlie that DS made a greatest hits album and that the band was popular again because of Charlie, the dead rock star.

ashlie said...

Things I noticed in this one - I actually had a lot of notes, this has always been one of my favourite episodes.

- Jack tells Kate that he wishes he had her faith, but later when Sayid and Kate are talking, it seems more like Sayid is in the faith camp and Kate is in the science camp. Which do we think Kate truly belongs to? In 316, she seems to be all science, things are just coincidence, but is she consistent in that?
- When Charlie is talking to Liam in Australia, I was struck by their glasses. Charlie is hidden behind dark glasses while Liam has clear glasses, there's nothing obstructing him now like Charlie is with his drugs.

Mike_D said...

Here's my artistic interpretation of "The Moth." I hope people enjoy it...

The Shout said...

Watching these first few episodes, its amazing to see how early the defining characteristics of the characters are established. Charlie's desire to save someone or simply to be appreciated ,really comes through in this episode. And of course had me thinking back (forward?) to his pride in saving of Nadja in Greatest Hits.

Katey said...


Interesting, I never really thought about that very much, Kate's allegiance. Honestly now that I am thinking about it, I would say that Kate is sort of unconsciously in both camps. I think she is willing to believe the impossible in a very "faith-like" way, but she doesn't see it as faith, she just sees things as common sense. I think Kate's character has always been very child-like in the way, her logic is very much based in a "child-like-faith" but she doesn't seem realize it because it's just what she believes, she can't understand why anyone would not just believe, she just goes with things and sticks firmly by what she believes. But her conclusions as she sees them and states them appear very logical, ie. young Ben is a child, killing a child is wrong, so therefore letting young Ben die is wrong; setting off an H-bomb causes mass destruction, the chance of causing mass destruction is not worth anything--it's wrong, etc. She's sort of logically faithful. Maybe it's significant that she's inherently of neither side, who knows.

The only character who I would say has never changed sides is Sayid. He's always been one of absolute science, logic and rationality. Even Locke went through a period where he was losing faith.

I love your comment about Charlie vs. Liam too! Great catch and your reasoning is sound too.

Nikki Stafford said...

ashlie and Katey: I think throughout the series, while there seems to be a dichotomy between free will and destiny (science and faith), in the end most of the characters straddle the two, and believe we use our free will to carve out our destiny. So that's why I, too, am starting to notice people flip-flopping between the two.

ashlie: I agree about the glasses! Liam can see clearly and Charlie can't (though I always feel a pang in that scene, as in, "Charlie helped YOU and now you won't help HIM." Argh.) But it also plays into that tattoo on Charlie/Dom's arm from Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds, "Living is easy with eyes closed"

dana23 said...

Nikki. It’s interesting you were unsuccessful with moths. One year my husband and a neighbor were burning caterpillar nests out of our trees and the kids got upset because they thought they might be butterflies. We told them they weren’t, but they wouldn’t believe us; so we took a bunch that the kids rescued and put them in a jar with some twigs and leaves from the tree they had been in. Then we waited. They all created cocoons and I think most of them came out, although their wings were stunted and since they were moths we weren’t so kind as to release them. (But with their shortened wings, I’m not sure they would have survived anyway.) Anyway, considering we didn’t do anything special, I really thought that moths were pretty hearty. I’m surprised you had trouble. Maybe it depends on the type of moth.

As far as the episode goes, I really like Charlie in season one. He is struggling with his addiction, his identity and his purpose. The moth theme might not have been original, but I preferred it to a butterfly which is used more often. Charlie’s desire to be “somebody” reminds me of Locke. We found out in Walkabout that off island, Locke didn’t have much of a life, but he quickly found a place for himself on island. With Charlie, he had been somebody off island, but had lost it. So on island he was struggling to become somebody again and Locke decides to help Charlie find his place as Locke found his (a sort of pay it forward). Saving Jack made Charlie feel important again, feel like he was somebody of value that could contribute and that people appreciated.

It was also this episode that I saw the real beginnings of the Jack/Sawyer rivalry and not just for Kate. When Sawyer tells Kate they (meaning he and Jack) are not much different, she balks (Are you seriously comparing yourself to Jack?), but Sawyer says give him a couple of bandaids and he could run the place too. In light of his role in season 5 maybe she shouldn’t have discounted him so quickly.

Teebore said...

...lepidopterist (and I only know what the word means because of my daughter)

That's okay, I only know it because of The Venture Brothers. :)

I think a lot of Sayid's almost-inconsistency in terms of his relationship to free will/destiny/religion can be chalked up to the fact that he's a very well-rounded character, not easily defined by one side of a dichotomy or the other.

Nikki, you're absolutely right, even Jack and Locke, who are SO much more dichotomous on certain things than almost anyone else, aren't always entirely 100% on one side or the other all the time, especially as we see them grow into their roles on the island in these early episodes.

Which do we think Kate truly belongs to?

Personally, Kate has always struck as me a pragmatist, doing or believing whatever she believes to be best for her or someone she cares about. For example, at the end of season three, she doesn't give a crap about Jack's pleas that it's their destiny to go back to the island, but not because she doesn't believe in destiny: it's because she's responsible for Aaron, and she's (more or less) happy with the life she has raising him. So she's not going to throw that away (until Ben in season five makes her realize how tenuous that life is, and how perhaps someone else should be raising Aaron).

J.W. said...

Nikki, the quote "Living is easy with eyes closed" is from Strawberry Fields Forever. (I actually just saw a Beatles tribute band for my birthday!)

@dana23: I totally agree about Charlie's character. It makes this a great episode.

Nikki Stafford said...

JW: Duh, of course it's from Strawberry Fields. Man, I feel sometimes like my brain is on holiday. I've had that song in my head for days now just seeing Charlie's tattoo, so I can't believe I put Lucy down. Ugh.

Dana: Ah, I think you had Forest Tent Caterpillars? They're the ones that swarm in trees and basically destroy them, and if you catch them they'll cocoon pretty quickly and come out just fine. We've had those, and the only reason they didn't survive is because someone stuck the container outside, and it filled with water and drowned them (oops). But as for the moths we'd actually attempted to raise, we always find the ones that overwinter, and they take a LOT of work (you have to keep them moist for 6 months, and make sure they remain OK and just pray they'll be alive half a year later). So that's why they usually don't survive. One glitch and they're gone.

Ali Bags said...

Hi Nikki - I'm in Canada!!!! And struggling with jetlag but managed to catch up with Lost on my laptop during the flight. My battery lasted through 4 episodes which was a result.

The problem with rewatching is that you start to nit pick more, I've found. Some of the accents are really bugging me. That guy in the hotel in 'Sydney' had an appalling Australian accent and the actor who played Liam made a pretty good stab at an English accent but it does keep slipping, and he doesn't sound very Mancunian (unlike Dom)

Jennifer said...

Ironic that Jack wants to help Charlie get over his addiction. I just keep focusing on Kate and her fast acting love for Jack and wonder where it went. I know things get complicated from here but she acts like she has strong feelings for him (freaking out about the cave-in) and then she bolts. She frustrates me! And Liam is a jerk for not supporting his brother...

Nikki Stafford said...

Ali! Where are you in Canada?? And how much do I love that you're travelling and sticking with the rewatch schedule??!! A true fan, you are. :)

And I have to agree 100% with the accent comment! My husband walked in at one point, saw the ep I was watching and went, "You all everybody!" in his best falsetto. Then said, "Who's that guy again?" pointing at Liam. I said, "That's Liam, who I've just realized puts on the WORST British accent ever."

I actually have a nitpick in my upcoming season 5 book about it, referring to Ellie's horrific accent in Jughead... for a show that has so much money, why can't they hire REAL Brits or REAL Aussies? There must be tons of them that would take scale pay but could actually pull off the accent. I'm assuming being in Hawaii and on short advance schedules they don't have a lot of time to round up people, but come on. He's playing Charlie's brother and is putting on some weird part-Southern UK, part-Southern US accent, and Charlie's from the North. UGH. As I said to Rob, just watch a couple of Beatles interviews or something and do what they're doing. Sheesh.

dana23 said...

Jennifer. Kate seems to be one of the most emotional characters on Lost. She certainly seemed to have strong feelings for Jack in this episode, almost willing to kill herself to save him; but then we also see her almost crying hysterically when she thought Charlie was dead before Jack was able to revive him. She cried over Libby though she barely knew her. She cried and pleaded for Sawyer when she thought Pickett was going to execute him, then turned around and left him to rescue Jack and then cried when she thought she had made a mistake in rescuing him. Despite all her "running" or perhaps because of it, she seems to get attached to people really quickly (or maybe Evie just interprets her character that way.) So unfortunately, a scene that might have been a portent of a future relationship, wound up being one of many scenes shippers can point to yet probably doesn’t have any real significance in the overall course of the show.

Oh and it would have been even more ironic if Charlie had survived and was now helping Jack get over his drug addiction. But Jack miraculously got over it without assistance and without having any withdrawal symptoms. Hmmmm… The island is amazing. It even “cures” drug addiction.

Nikki. Thanks for telling me about the tent moths. We didn't know what kind they were, but we were pretty sure they weren't good. I don't think we've seen them since that year (knock on wood).

Ali Bags said...


I'm in Vancouver and can't get over how gorgeous the weather is. But I am now wide awake at 4am - I hate jet lag. Flying to Oahu on Monday as I mentioned in another thread - can't stop mentioning that, for some reason.

As I said to Rob, just watch a couple of Beatles interviews or something and do what they're doing. Sheesh.

Terribly sorry to be pedantic, but that wouldn't help either. Liverpool and Manchester are just 30 miles apart but have very different accents (to the native ear). I am a northerner myself and come from 40 miles east of Manchester with yet a different accent (it's a pet subject of mine!) This is why they need to employ real Brits! I find the fake Aussie accents even more painful - poor batcabbage and batkitty must squirm.

The Shout said...

The worst accent award has to go to the actress who played Charlie's mother in his the second season flashback. Definately from the Dick Van Dyke / Keanu Reeves school of acting.
I'm from Northern England and I can tell you no one round here speaks like Oliver Twist.

I think there's a bit on the Season 1 DVD extras where Dom mentions his frustration with accents and how he got the writers to change lines and add Brit slang.

God bless Mary Poppins!

Nikki Stafford said...

Ali: I agree Mancunians and Liverpudlians (is that the right term?) don't have the same accent. But Hopkins is using a very watered-down accent, so what I meant was, show him some Beatles stuff, with really strong accents, and he'll do a lighter version of it which might sound a little more like Charlie's. It would at the very least sound more northern. :)

I remember my first trip to England, and I was with my best friend, whose family all lived there. We were staying at her aunt and uncle's house in Slough, and their daughter was dating a Northerner. They were making joking disparaging remarks against Northerners, and I asked something like, "Is there a difference?" and the uncle said, "Well, the accent, for one, can't you HEAR it?? He's saying everything wrong," and I said, "No, I don't hear any difference in the accent." Cue four forks dropping to the plates as they all sit like statues, mouths gaping, staring at me in horror.

That was then. Now, I can detect even the slightest difference in dialect from one region to the next. That day my friend's aunt decided to give me a quick lesson in accents (we say "garage" like "carriage"... he says garahhhge) and language anomalies, and taught me all about Cockney Rhyming Slang, which to this day I absolutely adore. For weeks after, my friend and I would joke about running up the apples to take a jimmy. :)

My word verification is hyrli!! I know how I'd pronounce that. :)

Ali Bags said...

That was then. Now, I can detect even the slightest difference in dialect from one region to the next.

And much respect to you Nikki! From your earlier comments about accents I did detect that you seemed to be atune to them. And I should not be getting on my high horse, it's taken me years to distinguish between a Canadian and a Yank, and I still get it wrong sometimes. Shame on me. *blush*

It does bug me when wealthy American shows are too lazy to cast actors who can do the accent. Do they ever consider that their show will be actually seen in Australia and the UK, where people will universally cringe?

Anyway, I hate getting so negative about 'Lost', I'll get back to debating the character arcs, and preparing for my trip to OAHU!!!!!! Squeeeeee!!!!

Ali Bags said...

p.s. Slough is where 'The Office' (original UK version) is set! Chosen because it's so dull and middle of the road. How dare they make fun of northerners! Lol.

@ The Shout....cor blimey me old lummer, going up the apples and pears, lovely jubbly. Don't you speak like that then? I thought all Brits did, London being the only actual city and all.

A Midlands colleague of mine puts on a Yorkshire accent whenever he pretends to be stupid, and has endured many a (pretend) outraged tirade from me.

Ali Bags said...

and another p.s.

Nikki you are indeed the font of all knowledge-....'Liverpudlians' and 'Mancunians' are the right terms. Or 'Mancs' and 'Scousers' if you're being less polite.

Now I have to master Hawaiian slang. Is there a Hawaiian accent?

And a little foot note - I've just discovered that thse phrase 'font/fount of all knowledge' comes from John Locke. The quote is from 'An Essay Concerning Human Understanding', published in 1690.
"Reason is natural revelation, whereby the eternal father of light, and fountain of all knowledge, communicates to mankind that portion of truth which he has laid within the reach of their natural facilities."

Azá said...

Nice post Nikki, thank you :)

Another good episode and I thought of your earlier comments about how funny Charlie is!

Loving this rewatch and thanks for the thoughtfully laid out schedule!

Nikki Stafford said...

Ali: I feel like Locke with Charlie... you have to mention Oahu three times before I'll respond. :) But seriously, every time you mention it I think, "Oh yeah! Ask why she's going there!!" and then I get caught up talking about accents!

So... why are you going? Please tell me you'll be hitting some of the Lost spots?? You must send pics. :)

The Shout said...

@ Ali... How are you me old china?

I think we can excuse our North American friends for assuming Cockney is the dominant accent in the UK seeing as though our own media thinks nothing happens outside of London.

Nik + everyone...I was wondering what your opinion was of Brit actors doing American accents? Jamie Bamber (BSG), Hugh Laurie (House) and Dominic West (The Wire)spring to mind.

And what about Naveen Andrews'Iraqi accent?

Katey said...

@Jennifer & Dana

In regards to Kate's emotions and the hug/run scene--I definitely agree that Kate (like you said Dana) is a very emotional person, but, and I've said this before, she's also very child-like in a way in that she acts on instinct most of the time in a very raw and innocent way without really realizing what she's doing and how it might look to the people around her (and the audience =P).

Kate has serious trust issues and serious self-esteem issues because of her past. From the beginning, despite being (obviously) instantly caught up with Jack and his heroic, kind, brave demeanor, that also brought out the side of her that remembers that she's this low-life, good-for-nothing Iowa farm girl who's daddy beat her and her mom and who is now a fugitive wanted for murder in "the real world". Because the closer she is to Jack, the more obvious the difference is between them--at least in her eyes. She sees herself as far from worthy and thus she tries to stay away from him (a penance in a way to draw the parallel to the Sawyer discussion in the next episode =P) but because she's that child-like sort of character, she can't help herself in times of high-emotion from just running up and hugging Jack because she thought he was dead. But once her mind snaps into focus, she runs away again because she remembers who she is and who he is and all the reasons why she "isn't good enough"--that's exactly the thing she's dealing with in "What Kate Did" during that whole jungle scene (although there's obviously other stuff in the mix too)....but that's a long way away. Hahah!

But anyway, I think that the hug was a part of their future and already budding relationship. That's what made it different from everyone else like Charlie and Sayid and Sun and Hurley and all the other people she cares about--she doesn't run from them because in caring for them she's giving of herself and with Jack, she feels like she's taking when she gets too close to him and she runs from that because in her mind it's wrong and it can only end like all her past relationships where she thought just maybe she could be good enough (ie. Tom, Kevin, her mom, etc).

@The Shout:
All the accent talk makes me so happy! I love accents! I spent two weeks in North Ireland a few years ago and I was talking with a hardcore Irish-tongue for months afterward just because I loved it so much!

Anyway, that's random...I'll move on. =P

I haven't actually heard of any of the people you mentioned there...I'm not much of a tv-watcher (an American who doesn't watch TV---WHAT?!) apart from Lost and The Office and the occasional snippet of news. I'll have to look them up give you an opinion. As for Naveen, I have no idea what a genuine Iraqi accent sounds like so I've nothing to compare it too, but it sounds consistent which I think is at least the most important thing--if you can't get it quite right, at least be consistent. Unlike many of the other fake-accents on the show, I've never heard his slip.

Random and possibly controversial, but I just thought I'd mention that Robert Pattinson's accent in Twilight was atrocious. Well, it was alright when he remembered to use it, but it kept weaving in and out...there were times where he sounded like he was Southern or other weird dilects and times where there was just no accent at all.

Ali Bags said...


I'm spending a couple of days in waikiki then chilling out on the North Shore.

I'm doing a Lost day tour, have bought a spare battery for my camera (have learnt through experience) and will send pictures. It will be weird actually talking about lost, with my voice that is. No one I know is into it!

Batcabbage said...

@The Shout: The worst accent award has to go to the actress who played Charlie's mother in his the second season flashback.

Actually, I think the worst Lost accent award should go to Claire's mum at Christian's funeral. So bad it's embarrassing.

Nikki Stafford said...

I love all this talk about accents. And don't worry about not noticing the difference between Canadians and Americans, Ali... many Canadians don't hear it, either! We grew up with US TV, so our accents don't sound that much different to us, but when an American hears us, that's an entirely different thing. I remember chatting with a friend of mine from Arizona, and I said "proh-cess" when I was saying the word "process" and she must have laughed for 5 minutes, and I was dumbfounded. Then she said, "It's prah-cess." I said, "That's funny, since there's an O in the word!!" Heeheee... Whenever I'm doing a radio interview with an American station, I swear at some point either the producer or one of the on-air hosts will say, "Say 'about'!" ;) I just use the word "regarding." Haha!

Batcabbage: I'll have to second that vote for Mrs. Littleton. Every time I watch that scene where she says to Jack, "Her name was... Cleh" I just go :::Geeeaaaaahhhh::::. HATE IT. "Cleh." How horrible.

Shout: I think Jamie Bamber's accent on BSG is impeccable. I was shocked -- SHOCKED!! -- when I heard he was a Brit. Dominic West did an accent of a Baltimore guy with Irish parents, so it worked, because he worked in some of the Irish twang. When I found out Carcetti, on the other hand, was a Brit, I was completely floored.

And I think Hugh Laurie's American accent is quite good, but you can tell he's doing something with his voice, like he's working at it. Same goes for Ed Westwick on Gossip Girl. For a season and a half I wondered why Chuck Bass talked so strangely, and then I watched an interview where he was so smooth with his normal British accent, and my jaw hit the floor.

However, I think Aussie actors can pull off American accents flawlessly. Russell Crowe, Mel Gibson (who seems to have adopted the American accent full-time... what is THAT all about?!), Nicole Kidman, etc. But of the TV actors, I would say Bamber's is the best. It's just brilliant.

Nikki Stafford said...

Ali: I knew that about the UK Office... I'd been in Slough in 2000, so when The Office started up and was set there, I was like, "Um yeah... I can see that." Hahaha! The other aunt and uncle we stayed with lived in Reading. But when I went back 3 years later with my husband and we travelled through the North, I adored it. Yorkshire was my favourite area; specifically the borders area between England and Scotland. We stayed in a place called Jedburgh that was right out of a Victorian novel. I was in heaven. I SO want to go back there!

Susan said...

While I agree that Carole's accent was awful, my vote for the worst try goes to youngest Ellie. Her accent was so awful that it makes her look like a terrible actress.

I also have to admit that I was surprised to hear that Liam was an American actor, I thought he sounded pretty English to my undiscerning American ears.

The Shout said...

Nik + Batcabbage: You're right about Mrs Littleton, she just beats Charlie's mum in to 2nd place. I guess all the best cowboys have mothers with bad accent issues.

Nik: Did you know Jamie Bamber's sister plays Katie Connor on Damages? Their father is American, though they were raised in London, so they have a distinct advantage. The guy who played Stringer Bell in The Wire is another Londoner.

Agree with you on Aussie actors' American accents. Makes me wonder - why they don't just hire them to play Aussies?

Ali Bags said...

@ Nikki

The borders bit is actually Northumberland, and you're right, it is gorgeous. We used to go camping on a beach near there - cold but wonderfully deserted (which is hard to achieve in England!)

Having been brought up in claustrophobic England and live in even more claustrophobic Hong Kong, I am currently marvelling at your wide open spaces. The view of the Rockies from the plane was awe inspiring.

So far on the bad accent league;

1. Mrs Littleton
2. Young Ellie
3. Charlie's Mum
4. Man in Sydney hotel
5. Liam

Any others to add?

Spotting bad accents is my favourite 'rewatch hobbie', my other is looking at how they've managed to film everything in Oahu.

Jenn said...

Since we're on about accents inthis thread—I have a major question that I think someone here can answer. It is about Sayid's accent. It is unlike any accent I have heard. Just wondering, but Sayid is Iraqi right? Is his accent Iraqi? Sometimes I think it sounds British, and I am very curious if his accent is Iraqi.
Does anyone know?

Susan said...

If you've ever heard Naveen Andrews speak, it is very different from his Sayid accent. He does Sayid as someone to whom English is not a first language, though I can't say how genuine an Iraqi accent it is.

My family's favorite rewatch hobby is spotting background extras that we recognize.

Ali Bags said...

Naveen Andrews is a Londoner, and his usual accent is somewhat cockney (his family is actually Indian rather than middle eastern). No idea if he does a good Iraqi accent or what, but as someone else pointed out earlier, it is fairly consistent.

It's funny to watch him on the special features of the DVDs, when he talks in his real accent.

Thank God Claire is an actual Australian or it would have been too painful to watch.

By the way, Kate is supposed to be American but Evangeline is Canadian - what's her accent like?

Nikki Stafford said...

I love how far off the path we've gone on the accent thing. It was like discussing the S5 premiere by talking about how one loads a dishwasher. Haha!!

Yes, as Ali Bags said, Naveen has a bit of a Cockney accent, and is definitely British but of Indian descent. There was a movie out a few years ago, an indie film, that he co-starred in (actually it was probably MANY years ago) and now I can't remember the name of it, but he played a bicycle courier and the main character's name was Muff Diver. Hard to forget THAT name. But I remember really loving Naveen in that movie, and how he outshone everyone else for me.

Another changing accent is Alan Dale, who plays Widmore. While he pulls off a good British accent, I do find occasionally I can hear the Kiwi accent breaking through.

Susan: in my upcoming S5 book I have a long nitpick about the young Ellie's accent, asking if this actress thought that the way to pull off a British accent was just to speak through clenched teeth. As I was handing it in I thought, Was I too harsh? Now I realize the answer is NO. :)

The Shout: NO WAY on Jamie Bamber's sister!!! I had NO IDEA!! Wow... well, her accent is impeccable, too. Wow.

Batcabbage said...

@Nik: Re Alan Dale - It's funny that you should mention that you can sometimes hear his Kiwi accent come through, because I can't even imagine him with a Kiwi accent. I didn't even know that Alan was a Kiwi until a few years ago, because he was such a big part of Neighbours, the longest running Aussie soapie, playing an Australian for so long that I just assumed he was Australian. And the funniest thing is, just recently I saw the season 2 episode of Flight of the Conchords 'Tough Brett', where Murray and Jermaine go to the Australian Embassy for drinks, and the Australian ambassador was played by Alan Dale! A Kiwi playing an Australian on a show about Kiwis (a completely excellent and hilarious show, I might add). So weird. It's also because of Neighbours that Batkitty and I never refer to him as 'Alan Dale' or 'Charles Widmore'. To us, he'll always be 'Jim Robinson'.

Nikki Stafford said...

Batcabbage: Funny you should say that, because I almost typed "Aussie accent" and then double-checked. In S4, I made a comment in one of my ep guide posts that Dale's British accent wasn't working, and it sounded like a mix of American or Aussie. I had people jump all over me and say, "Well, that would be hard considering he's a NEW ZEALANDER!!!" ;) So I didn't want to get it wrong this time.

And I LOVED that ep of FOTC... and you know the crazy part? I didn't recognize Lucy Lawless until about the third scene in with her. It didn't look like her at all!! My fave bit was in the manager's office (how I love Murray) and he's making some comment about a goat and Lucy just looks down at her lap and looks like she's going to lose it, and about 10 seconds later Jemaine is looking at his lap and his shoulders are shaking with laughter at Murray. It was awesome. :)

Batcabbage said...

Nik: I was about to write back 'You know the even crazier part? I don't even remember Lucy Lawless in that episode! How could I miss her?' But then I checked IMDB, and she's in a later episode, called 'NewZealandtown', which is yet to air in Australia. FOTC is supposed to be on tonight, but the cricket is on instead, dagnabbit. Thanks for the news that Lucy will be in an episode. TV needs more Lucy Lawless!

Batcabbage said...

BTW, Murray is a god. I was recently called for jury duty, and got picked, and when you answer in the courtroom when they call your name (in Australia, at least), you're supposed to say 'present', which, because of Murray, I accidently (sort of) pronounced 'prisint'. It must have worked against me as a prospective juror, though, because the prosecutor rejected me. Wow, WAY off topic now! Sorry, folks, we now return to your regularly scheduled Lost analysis. :)

Katey said...

Seriously on the Claire thing! Emily is great, I'm so glad they got a real Aussie for the part. I couldn't imagine anyone else as Claire...that would be...a travesty! Of course that's just because she's the one we've grown to know and love, but still. =P

And about Evie, I'm not really sure that the Canadian accent is officially 100% different from America, it's more like there are just different words that are pronounced different--am I right in that Nikki? You're the expert. But, being the geek that I am--I've watched all the seasons with commentary and I do remember that during the Pilot Part II there's the scene where Sayid & Sawyer are brawling and Kate shouts "STOP!". In the commentary, the directors were laughing about the fact that they had to do that scene a million times because Evie kept saying "STOPE!" like "pope" but with a "st" instead of the "p". =P Is it just me though or do the scripters have Kate really inconsistently using Southern/Midwestern slang randomly? I've always noticed that and it really bothers me. Like one episode all her lines are proper english and then the next she's saying "ain't got nothing" and "whatcha doin'?"'s weird.

I know, just look how far we've come in this accent talk! We've done more nitpicking than we have analysis for this one! But oh well, it's fun anyway. Hehe.

Nikki Stafford said...

Katey: Ack! Are you serious?? Argh... oh, those funny Americans. :) hahaha!! No, we do not say "Stope." The differences between the way we pronounce an "o" and the way an American does is very subtle to us, but apparently is a massive flashing neon sign to Americans. :) We tend to say "Mum" instead of MAWWWWWM (my stepsiblings are Americans and my stepbrother once pointed out that the "correct" word is MAWWWWWM and he said it like that). ;) We say "about" in a way that Americans hear "aboot" but it's because we don't pronounce it ABOWT. In other words, the sound "ow" isn't as noticeable when we say it, and is more of an "oh" sound. As for "stop," that's actually a new one for me, and I had to think about it for a second after reading your comment, but I'm assuming, again, it's that letter o. We pronounce it "stop" and an American would have more of a hard AH on it, so it would sound more like STAHP. Which would be tough for a Canadian to do.

It's so hard to explain in writing, but if I were talking to you, you'd hear the difference right away. I might not, which is why I think it must be terribly difficult for Canadian actors to learn to do the American accent, since we can't actually hear the differences very clearly. But somehow Kiefer is tricking people into thinking he's the most blue-blooded American boy on television week after week, so our lovely Canucks are doing something right!! :)

Personally I can't say I've ever heard Evangeline say anything funny, but the problem is, I would be the last person to hear it, because her speech would sound perfectly normal to me. :)

Katey said...


Ahh sorry on behalf of my culture. =P We are a funny bunch I suppose. Hahah!

I understand what you mean about the o's and I can see how it would be a subtle difference to the speaker--I'm such a loser but I was trying it out and it really does sound the same subtly when you say it yourself and then compare to what you'd hear normally. But I guess to our ears it just sounds really different. Honestly though, these days--I can't even keep straight how things are supposed to be pronounced. Even just in California, where I live, we're developing our own sub-cultures of speech. I swear, pretty soon you're going to have to learn a dozen new languages just to cross from LA to Sacramento. =P

About Evangeline--I've never heard her "accent" come out either so, I don't think she's had any problems apart from that commentary thing. The stuff I was talking about was more in the word usage the writer's script Kate with. Slang words--like randomly the script will make Kate sound like she's from the midwest or the south where they use words like "ain't" and lot's of grammatical quirks and stuff--Sawyer talks like that all the time. But the scripters seem to vary from writer to writer how they think Kate should talk. She's supposed to be from Iowa, so I can understand the mid-west talk at times but I've just noticed that it's sort of a toss up depending on the episode's writer whether she's "mid-western" or not. Again, it's not really an accent, it's in the words themselves. A few of my friends noticed it too. Like one moment she'd be talking to Jack about guns or something and she'd say "but we haven't got any more, Jack" and then the next she'd be talking to Sawyer and saying "we don't got any, okay?!" It just puzzled me a little. Maybe she gets back to her roots subconsciously when she's around Sawyer...or feeling particularly fugitive-y. =P

On a random but exciting note--my friend and newest lost-protege just finished watching season four! I'm SO excited to watch season five with her. Oh my gosh! Watching people's reactions to the amazing world of Lost is like no other feeling, honestly! **THEY MOVED THE ISLAND!?!!?**

Ali Bags said...

As I've lived in Hong Kong for many years, I've had to get used to a lot of different accents (It is so weird when I go back to Yorkshire and EVERYONE is speaking in a Yorkshire accent, and now I'm in Vancouver EVERYONE has a Canadian accent!) I see the difference between Canadian and American as a bit like the difference between Kiwi and Australian - you have to listen to the vowel sounds.

The issue gets complicated though, as obviously in the US there are lots of different 'American' accents, as Josh demonstrates with his delicious Southern one.

What I find fascinating about british accents is that they can change in 30 miles - for example Leeds and York are 30 miles apart and the accents are different (although I'm not sure a Southerner would be able to tell the difference) In the US I guess this isn't the case - although I may be wrong! I once heard someone say that Australian accents don't differ much,a lthough I'm not sure this is right as I can definitely tell Queenslanders have a distinctive accent.

@Batkitty - I LOVE the fact you call Widmore Jim Robinson as I grew up watching Neighbours too.

I'm waiting for an Iraqi to come and tell us what they think of Naveen's accent!
@Nikki - I rememeber one of Naveen Andrews' first acting jobs was a TV show in the UK, and adaptation of a great book, called 'The Buddha of Surburbia'. He's been in some terrible films as well - a soft porn one about the karma Sutra springs to mind (God knows why I watched it!)

The Shout said...

Ali & Batkitty: Everyone I know calls Whitmore Jim Robinson too. The man must have the best agent in Hollywood. Off the top of my head he's been in Lost, 24, Ugly Betty, The OC, Flight Of The Conchords, The X-Files and Entourage.

Me and my brother always refer to characters by the names of other characters played by an actor. eg. Do you know that scene where Merry is speaking to Jim Robinson's daughter? Or when Peter Watts is trying to open the Hatch.

Batcabbage said...

@The Shout: lol, best agent in Hollywood, totally. He was also in the West Wing for an episode (I'm doing a rewatch of that at the moment, too), and he was the most exciting part of the latest Indy movie. When he showed up as a general or some thing, Batkitty and I said (a little too loud for a theatre) 'JIM ROBINSON!' in unison. Also, Batkitty sends 'lols' for getting replies without posting, and says hello. (she's sitting next to me and says she's happy to take the credit :) She's been at work all day, and I should be cooking dinner. Actually, she's just said exactly that. Don't hit me again, I'm cooking, I'm cooking!!!

Batkitty said...

@Ali: My chance to comment now. Yeah I agree about the Queenslanders having a distinctive accent (which is what Batcabbage and I are). For really distinctive Kiwi accents watch either Flight Of The Conchord or Bro-town (a very funny NZ cartoon). Aussie accents seem to have a lazy drawl and drop their g's (ie: How's it goin'). Not us though for we are well spoken (hahahaha). Please don't feel sorry for that lying Batcabbage coz I haven't hit him .... yet!

Batkitty said...

On the accents topic I just remembered noticing the differences with Captain Gault (Grant Bowler who is an Aussie, from Western Australia) and Zoe Bell's character (can't recall her name - the one who jumps overboard in season 4 - she's got a very strong Kiwi accent).

J.W. said...

Regarding Canadian accents: I don't know notice them much myself (I'm American). However, there is a rapper from Toronto named Chuggo that's sort of a youtube sensation, infamous for his terrible rap, and I have to say it is funny to hear someone with a clear Canadian accent trying to do the angry, vulgar street thug thing.

The Shout said...

Gotta love this site - from moths to canadian rappers via Jim Robinson in 50 posts!

Ali Bags said...

Lol. Aren't we supposed to be talking about some show called 'Lost'?

@Batkitty - it's so exciting to hear from you and it's so exciting that you and Batcabbage are Queenslanders! I LOVE 'Flight of the Concordes' The first time I saw it I was so excited to hear Kiwi accents (I have a colleague who's a Kiwi, and a student who has the broadest Kiwi accent ever)

When I travelled in New Zealand I asked the tour guide "Where's the bin?" because I needed to throw something away, he replied "I've bin to the States a few times. Where have you bin?" and couldn't understand why we were all rolling around laughing. (To you Americans - a 'bin' is a trash can)
I also met someone called Bin (he was actually called Ben but I called him Bin, because his mate pronounced it like that)

Nikki Stafford said...

One of my fave things about FOTC is how that guy who runs the army surplus store can never understand a word Jemaine and "Brit" say. That kills me every time.

Ooh, and now that we're on the topic of accents on shows that have nothing to do with Lost... one of my fave Canucks on American TV is Michael Hogan, who plays Colonel Tigh on BSG. He's from Ontario, like me, but his parents are Irish, so he sounds more like someone from the East Coast. You can always hear the Irish tinge in his voice when he's getting angry on BSG, and I always waited for him to yell at Adama, "I's the bye that builds the boat, and I's the bye who'll frakkin' sail her!!"

Marebabe said...

Hey, all! I've been enjoying the heck out of your accent tangent, but haven't had much to add until now. Nikki, you mentioned Kiefer Sutherland, and as a fan of "24", I'd just like to say that there is one word and one word only that gives away his Canadian-ness. If his line is, "I didn't know they WERE", it'll sound to me like, "I didn't know they WARE." And I don't love him any less for it!

Nikki Stafford said...

Marebabe: LOL!! That's definitely a Canadian thing, but it seems to be generational or something. I don't say it, but both of my parents do, especially my Mom... and it seems to be when it comes at the end of a sentence. He probably says, "There were 4 bombs" but if it's at the end, like you suggest, he says ware. I was going to say it's a regional thing, but he lived in Toronto, and my mom didn't live anywhere near here, so it can't be that (incidentally, Kiefer just bought his mom a house about 5 minutes from mine...) ;)

I have my own word that I do that with, and my husband makes fun of me... if I use 'red' in the middle of the word, I say it properly, but if it's at the end, I say "ray-od," as in, "that car is ray-od."

Weird Canucks, eh? :)

variabull said...


You never know with accents. I remember Sammi Davis (Charlie's mum) from the American TV series "Homefront". She played a British war bride (Caroline Hailey). Shes a Brit.

SonshineMusic said...

I'm so late to the party, but finding this fascinating. Agh I need to catch up. Was away for most of the week. Anyhoo, don't know if anyone's following this, but have a couple comments to make....

first on accents

@Ali Bags: What I find fascinating about british accents is that they can change in 30 miles - In the US I guess this isn't the case - although I may be wrong!

As someone who lives in New York, trust me, there are so many different accents within very short spaces it's ridiculous. I don't live in the city, but close enough to get all of the flavors that are New York.

Now on the show...

I am getting such a different pic of Locke in this rewatch. In this episode he helps Charlie, returns his guitar, but then uses him for bait!

I remember my sister and I agonizing forever in trying to figure out exactly how and why Charlie and Liam switched places so dramatically.

For all his "savior" complex, Jack certainly needs saving an awful lot.

I think it's so heart-rending that this was the last time Liam saw Charlie and he would never know what really happened to his brother and what a hero he would turn into.

You know, lies come way too easily to Jack's lips. He says Charlie has the flu without a moment's hesitation (not that that wasn't a nice gesture, but he just lies way too easily)

And I never realized how freakin' many shots have Locke flickering in the firelight.

Casey said...

@Nikki - I'm late to the rewatch, so sorry about the lag. Been on my honeymoon. Luckily I'm a teacher with the summer off, so I have plenty of time to catch up.

I have a point to clarify from your post. You expressed some questions about Locke in the scene between him and Charlie just before Locke cuts the boar's throat:

"Locke tells Charlie that life is a series of choices, and you make those choices based on instinct. This is a really interesting scene, considering that Locke is so firmly on the side of destiny over free will. Here he seems to be a proponent of free will, but notice how he says those choices are based on instinct, not a thought process. That would seem to be more of a fate thing again."

If you listen a little closer you hear that actually says:

"If I did that you wouldn't have a choice, Charlie. And having choices, making decisions based on more than instinct, is the only thing that separates you from him [indicating the boar]." Source: Lostpedia transcript, and my ears.

The operative words are "more than instinct." He's actually saying that choosing to go clean with his heart and mind rather than what his body thinks it needs (drugs) is what will separate the men from the animals. Making a choice based on instinct is not a choice at all. It's genetic preprogramming, or whatever you want to call it. Locke is encouraging Charlie to listen to his free will rather than the "instinctive" demands of his addicted body.

Or is that what you are saying, in a more roundabout way?

Just wanted to clear all that up. I'm loving the rewatch. Hope to be caught up by the end of the week.

Juanita's Journal said...

What irritated me about this episode was how Locke manipulated Charlie into giving up his drugs. Charlie never made the effort to make that decision on his own, until Season 2. And it was during that season that Locke believed Charlie had resumed taking drugs, due to one of the heroin-filled statuette the latter had in his possession.

In the end, Locke failed to save Charlie from drug abuse. It was Charlie who saved himself in the end. And Locke never appreciated this.

Juanita's Journal said...

What irritated me about this episode was how Locke manipulated Charlie into giving up his drugs. Charlie never made the effort to make that decision on his own, until Season 2. And it was during that season that Locke believed Charlie had resumed taking drugs, due to one of the heroin-filled statuette the latter had in his possession.

In the end, Locke failed to save Charlie from drug abuse. It was Charlie who saved himself in the end. And Locke never appreciated this.

Juanita's Journal said...

You know, lies come way too easily to Jack's lips. He says Charlie has the flu without a moment's hesitation (not that that wasn't a nice gesture, but he just lies way too easily)

Nearly all of them were good at lying. Why make such a special case about Jack?