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…A story about two men in a train. One man says “What’s that package up there in the baggage rack?”, and the other answers “Oh that’s a McGuffin.” The first one asks “What’s a McGuffin?”. “Well”, the other man says, “It’s an apparatus for trapping lions in the Scottish Highlands.” The first man says “But there are no lions in the Scottish Highlands”, and the other one answers “Well, then that’s no McGuffin!” (from Wikipedia, taken from Hitchock’s interview with Francois Truffaut)

“So you see, a McGuffin is nothing at all.” Hitchcock elaborates.  The McGuffin was a common plot device in many of Hitchocock’s films, most notably in North by Northwest. (What the crap are those government secrets?)  While the term and technique was popularized by Hitchcock, McGuffins are used in many other films as well as different media-types.  See here’s the story.  So I was browsing through Hithcock’s Wikipedia page and I came across the link for McGuffins while reading about themes Hitchcock regularly used.  This page listed several examples of McGuffins in pop culture today.  One item particularly stood out to me: The island on Lost.

*Minor spoilers ahead for those who haven’t yet seen the series finale of Lost.

Obviously the series ended a few weeks ago already.  It was a pretty big deal, you know, I felt like my dear friend was dying.  It’s always an adventure to get Lost to work for me in Tahiti.  See, nifty websites like Hulu and don’t work over here because of regional restrictions.  Soo I have to get creative.  I have 2 websites that will generally work, though one will kick me off after 75 minutes and makes me wait an additional hour before resuming (a big issue when the finale was 2 1/2 hours long…) Long story short, I didn’t get to start watching until about midnight.  But I wasn’t about to wait until morning, no sir.

This is just going to sounds like old news now, I know.  But in regards to “The End” I was emotionally satisfied.  Many haters, however, think that’s a bunch of bull.  Someone said that it was a battle between the poets and the scientists.  The poets loved the character redemption and happy-endings to people we’ve grown attached to.  The scientists wanted more answers.  I’ve always been a character-oriented person.  Sawyer, Jack, Juliet, Ben, Desmond, Locke, Sun, Richard, and Hurley will always be like my friends and I wanted to see them find happiness and redemption.  I loved that they found their “constant” (especially that Sawyer and Juliet finally found one another), and I’d like to believe that their “after-life” will continue as a happy existence with the people they love.  I also lurve the Hurley/Ben duo.  You could not get a better protector than Hurley, dude.

I’ll admit, though, I was a little confused at first.  So I also understood complaints about the unanswered questions, particularly: “What is the ISLAND??”


The Island is a freaking McGuffin!  It makes perfect sense!  Think of it in comparison to North by Northwest.  All of these government officials are going nutso over these “secrets.”  What are these secrets?  Why turn your lives upside-down?  Is there really any significance? Well then, ladies and gentlemen, whyyyyyy does crazy mother Allison Janney force her no-name son to stay on the island?  Why does kid-in-black kill mother?  Why does Jacob then decide to create “rules” for his brother MIB and himself?  What are they protecting?  Why does the island still need a protector?  Why, why, why??  Well why, again, is everyone freaking out about some seemingly insignificant government secrets?  The island is a McGuffin.  And once again, everything in the world comes back to Alfred Hitchcock.

All along I refused to believe that I had “wasted” six years of my life on “just another show.”  Although this McGuffin business is nothing concrete (a McGuffin is, after all, nothing) I find myself quite satisfied with “The End.”  And really, Lost will always be a part of me.  Why else would I STILL be thinking about it 20 days after the fact?


Written by laurenthejukebox17

June 13, 2010 at 9:37 pm

Posted in tv

Tagged with ,

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