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Clark Matthews presents…Team Jack vs. Team Sawyer

12:00 PM EDT on May 6, 2009


(edit:  The following article was written by the lovely Mrs. Matthews.)

So I have a confession to make: I came to the "Lost" party really late (as in, refused to watch the pilot episode until Thanksgiving of 2008 out of principle

What principle? I couldn't really tell you now, but it seemed really important at the time.

But what I lacked in punctuality, I've more than made up in devotion (as in, caught up to the current season a full two weeks before the season 5 premiere in January and spent said two weeks whining incessently about how long I had to wait until new episodes aired. Longtime fans have no sympathy here, since they've waited weeks/months/years to find out what the frick is up with the four-toed statue, Smokey the monster, and Richard Alpert).

One more confession:  it turns out I am the only woman in America who doesn't like Sawyer. I know, I know, it's a cardinal sin. How can I call myself a woman and a fan of LOST, and not be head-over-heels in love with Sawyer? What can I say? I'm more into balding (edit:  and dazzlingly attractive) CPA's who tweet the play-by-plays from Loud City.

From what I've read online and heard on the podcasts (told you I'm devoted!), I'm supposed to be impressed with the hair and swagger and the intense gazes, but I must be missing something.

For the first four seasons, every time I looked at Josh Holloway (who plays Sawyer), all I could think was (1) Put on a shirt. Your pecs don't look that great. (2) Seriously, time to wash and cut that mop.  The only thing worse than the long, shaggy hair he sports on-island, is the greasey ponytail we saw in his off-island prison episode.

Sure, the nicknames are funny, and the writers reserved some of the best lines for Sawyer, but really, he was just a jerk. And I don't have a lot of patience for jerks....also, if I'm really honest, I'm obligated to dislike him out of loyalty to Jack (Matthew Fox).

I like the guys who step up because something needs to be done, not the guys who want control for the sake of being the boss. One of Mr. Matthews' favorite quotes (and there are a lot of favorite quotes floating around our house...we're huge nerds) reads: "To do what ought to be done, but would not have been done unless I did it. I thought it to be my duty." Not the flashiest concept, and Jack isn't the flashiest character on TV, but I'm not the flashiest fan in the Nielson ratings universe, either. I like the nice guys. I don't want to get emotionally attached to a character I can't trust.

[The major problem with this point is that my other favorite character on the show is Benjamin Linus, the least-trustworthy character ever put on film, with the possible exception of Hannibal Lecter, but that's neither here nor there.]

I have a co-worker who has never liked Jack (probably not by coincidence, she's a big fan of Sawyer). She can't put her finger on why. She just says he "makes bad decisions."  The best I could figure, she was talking about one of two things: (a) on the island, choosing a logical plan of action, just before the ISLAND would go all ape-$@%& on the laws of physics and something would happen that he never could have anticipated (and that happened A LOT!); and (b) the pill-popping and alcohol in the Season 4 flash-forwards. And I concede that these two tendancies didn't yield great results for the spinal surgeon.

Thing is, can you blame the guy? He crash-landed on an Island with a SMOKE MONSTER that routinely pops up out of nowhere; a 1970's computer that has to be re-set every 108 minutes, or the world ends; some of the group finally get off the island and it DISAPPEARS into the water before their eyes; and when he finally gets back, it's 1977.  How are you supposed to make plans for all that?  Not to mention, he's being haunted by his father.  And not in a "I love you, Son, and you've made me so proud" kind of way....Jack's dad is a total ass.

But let's put Jack's foibles aside, and I ask you, what has Sawyer done that's so great, huh? He hoarded everyone's medications and ransomed them for favors, stole all the guns so he could be the "Sheriff," and did everything he could (including hooking up with Kate) to mess with Jack's head and cause trouble for him. Pretty much everything he tried to do turned to crap. And it was almost always his fault....until this season.

The ladies of Team Sawyer were largely disappointed with Season 5. It seems that Sawyer spent too much time wearing full-buttoned shirts, and later, Dharma jumpsuits. He also spent a lot less time being rude and hateful. And he made himself useful and got a long-term job (the nerve of him!). The con-man transformed himself into "James LaFleur," model citizen, head of security, and psuedo-husband of Juliet. And it's true, he isn't as funny now, but at least he's turned out to be more than a greasy head of hair. I suddenly found myself rooting for the guy, and desperately hoping that Juliet wasn't going to get passed over for Kate again. And I laughed in spite of myself when he stuck Jack with the janitor's mop upon registration with the Dharma Initiative.

Will he disappoint me and go back to his old, jackass ways?  Most likely.  But for now, LeFleur is someone I can get behind. Who cares if his dialogue is a little tame. We've still got Miles and Ben for sarcasm.

Anyway, the whole Team Jack versus Team Sawyer conundrum is a microcosm of why women think all men are dogs.  They chase after the Sawyers of the world because of their rugged good looks and rebellious FTW attitude.  Then, if we actually catch one, we expect them to be reliable and caring even though that was nowhere in our criteria beforehand.  Basically, we want to date Sawyer and turn him in to Jack after marriage, only Sawyer doesn't want to marry and usually doesn't want to date just us.

That's really what makes the whole Sawyer/LaFleur situation defy my willing suspension of disbelief.  In real life, when a woman manages to tame a Sawyer, he is nothing like LaFleur and the woman handles it nothing like Juliet.  When the man does become domesticated (which means letting his six pack become a keg, and sitting on the sofa watching NASCAR while barking dinner orders at us) the woman loses interest.  Then they daydream of having a husband who actually attends to their needs.

Which is why I married a guy from Team Jack. (edit:  Who is also ruggedly handsome.)

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