The relativity of things

Everything is so damn relative in this world. Nothing can be set to stone as truly “good” or “bad”. I won’t give a real-life example on this, but I will utilize my favorite subject, “Lost”.

Last night’s episode, “The Other Woman”, was a so-so episode. Not a fantastic episode, but not crap either. At the end of each episode, DarkUFO (biggest “Lost” fan site online), posts a poll to rate it. Options include: Awesome, Great, Ok, Poor, and Awful. Then, after a few hours, it is compared towards older polls of older episodes. There are thousands who vote on these polls, and so this is the closest you can get to an accurate viewer’s rating of an episode.

“The Other Woman” has a very low average scoring (3.68/5) compared to most other episodes. But here’s the kicker. If you read the comments on the episode comparative chart, you will see that the vast majority of the viewers felt that the episode was judged way too harshly. And I agree with them. The episode was much better than some other episodes that occupy the bottom of the list. Not only that, but we got some real answers too (e.g. Widmore is the “bad” guy, the ‘Tempest’ station was used by the Hostiles to kill the Dharma employees, Charlotte might be aggressive but possibly not a villain). So why was it judged harshly?

The reason is simple: Because the previous episode, “The Constant”, was one of the best “Lost” episodes ever. Viewers did not judge “The Other Woman” to a generic TV entertainment threshold, but they judged it compared to their previous “Lost” experience. “The Constant” has just raised the bar, and it was too recent to not take into account the pleasure viewers got from it.

So basically, “what’s best”, or “what’s worse”, is not necessarily judged compared to an abstract generic value, but compared to other concrete values that serve as reference. Everything is relative.

2 Comments »

l3v1 wrote on March 8th, 2008 at 3:21 AM PST:

“So basically, “what’s best”, or “what’s worse”, is not necessarily judged compared to an abstract generic value, but compared to other concrete values that serve as reference. Everything is relative.”

I think you might have just given a whole new meaning to obvious right there 😛 It’s just not clear whether the reason for this is that this episode’s rating got lower than you wished it were and an explanation became a necessity 🙂 Other than that, that rating seems quite OK on my scale, which is quite a lot higher than 5 😛


This is the admin speaking...
Eugenia wrote on March 8th, 2008 at 10:46 AM PST:

Don’t assume things mister. Just because I blog about it now, does not mean that this is the day that I learn about the subject. It’s about finding a good example more than anything else.


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