Saturday, March 7, 2009

The Two Charlottes


Now that I typed all that Lost craziness up in the previous post, I realize that the various ways in which those on Flight 316 emulated those on Flight 815 were already listed on the Lostapedia page for the episode “316.” Bah. Ah and bah, both.

The site actually lists one more: The confrontation between Hurley and Ben at LAX prompts a stewardess to ask “Is everything okay?” in the same manner as Libby did to Eko and Charlotte Malkin, that weirdo Australian girl who allegedly drowned but then came back to life, in a scene at the Sydney airport. The connection seems plausible — and a good way to tie in the tail section characters to flight 316 — but it also reminds me that British, red-headed Charlotte (Rebecca Mader’s character) who so recently kicked the bucket was not the only Lost character to have that name.

This kind of bugs me.

on top: the greater charlotte; on bottom: the lesser charlotte

On one hand, Lost offers us a fairly expansive universe of characters, so it’s only realistic that names would get repeated. On the other hand, there’s nothing realistic about Lost, which recently sent its principal cast back in time to the 70s and which features a sentient smoke monster that eats people’s faces and may have at one point taken the form of a bird that called Hurley’s name. I mean, there’s already three Charlies — dead rock musician Charlie Pace (Dominic Monaghan’s character), Penelope’s evil father Charles Widmore, and Penelope and Desmond’s newborn baby Charlie, who may be named either for the former, who died to save Desmond’s life, or the latter, who’s rich and evil and kills people. (I’m guessing it’s not the latter.) We didn’t need two Charlottes. (Though one is dead, so I guess that problem took care of itself.)

I have to suspect that sloppy writing is to blame for the fact that no one apparently recalled that the show already featured someone named Charlotte. Again, on another show it might not be problematic, but Lost spends so much time building its backstory and then folding around the past again and again that the two Charlottes have doubtlessly caused a bit of confusion for at least a few people. And if the two Charlottes don’t exist as a result of the fact that someone forgot about Charlotte Number One, there’s always the possibility that someone just really, really likes the name Charlotte. If it’s the second reason, I look forward to meeting several more people named Charlotte in the remaining season and a half. (“Hey everyone, what would be a good name for that badass motorcycle stuntwoman from New Zealand that we want to have show up next episode? Hmm? What’s that? Yeah, Charlotte is a good name! Yeah, let’s call her Charlotte!”)

Given that red-headed Charlotte — that is, the recurring one who has not yet recovered from that being dead problem — has the complete name “Charlotte Staples Lewis,” it’s a likely that she takes her name from the allegory-crazy British writer. Both attended Oxford, as Charlotte Lewis’s Lostapedia profile notes. And it’s also noted that Charlotte seems to allude to the Narnia books when she explains that she had been on the island as a child but had since been led to believe that her experiences there were imagined, as Susan apparently does after The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Neat thought the Charlotte/C.S. Lewis connection may be, it does not mean that her name had to be Charlotte, as we have a variety of other “C” names that would be appropriate to give to a female, British character. Camilla comes to mind, and if that’s too British, a quick look through a baby names book offers a whole lot of others.

The implications of Charlotte Malkin’s name, I should note, were explored on this blog in a previous post, though I wasn’t thinking about Lost at the time.

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