If I have one regret about being a poor television watcher, it is that I can not keep up with HBO’s The Leftovers quickly enough to write analytical recaps. Well, that’s not entirely true, I guess. My being a few episodes behind on this show is just as much about my needing time and space to process each episode as it is about my poorly kept TV schedule. The earnestness with which The Leftovers explores loss and inevitability is a pill best swallowed at one’s own customized dosage. Sometimes, television work is just too true to allow the normal expectation of live tweeting and next day water cooler conversations to force you into a strict schedule of immediate watching.
Even so, I still let myself read this poignant conversation between Vulture Critic Matt Zoller Seitz and the show’s Writer and Creator Damon Lindelof about the latest episode of The Leftovers and how it was inspired by a piece written by the critic and his own personal loss. Here Seitz speaks of the inherent isolation of grief:
But there’s also another thing, which is that you have on this show a number of people who are trying to narrativize what happened to them. They’re looking for meaning, they’re looking for a reason, they’re looking for a story. They’re trying to uncover what they believe is a hidden narrative behind this unbelievably senseless thing that happened to them, and indeed to everyone on the earth at the same time.
And what the conceit of Tom Perrotta’s novel does, which is so ingenious, is: one of the problems that you often have in grief and mourning is, you’re going through a loss, but other people around you may not be, and so they don’t have that ability to grieve with you in exactly the way that you’re grieving, because they aren’t in that zone. But then, like, a month from now or a year from now they might be, but you’ll be out of it.
So we’re always out of sync as we grieve, as a species. We’re always out of sync. We’re always different proximities from death.
The conversation, which you can read in its entirety here, gets into the aforementioned power and honesty of the program but also offers its own profound perspective on tragedy and continuing on with life, from two complex minds meeting cordially and honestly at the intersection of an art form and its criticism.
Featured Image: HBO