I don't know what to make of this show. I've gone into its first two episodes thinking, well, if this is as weird as I've heard, then I'm out of here, but let me just give it a chance. And by the end of both episodes, I'm intrigued enough to come back another week.
And I'm not alone. Here's what TV critic Alan Sepinwall of the Star-Ledger of New Jersey had to say about it:
'What an intriguing, frustrating show this is.... I can barely make heads or tails of it at times. There's obviously something about it that's compelling me to keep watching (and it's not just loyalty to Milch, as "Big Apple" lost me around here), yet I'm hard-pressed to explain why I'm watching, or what the hell this show is about.'
As for me... first off, it's such an alien world; not just the surfing sub-culture, but the whole oceanfront beach scene. I'm a fresh-water man; I grew up on The Lake, spending entire summers on its shore into my high school years. I still spend my vacations there every year.
A beach just feels wrong to me. All that annoying sand, and no real relief from the sun and the heat... and the salty water? It's not for me. Maybe once or twice I went to Hammonassett and Misquomicutt, but that's not the real ocean; that's Long Island Sound, blocked by the island. I spent one summer working Westhampton Beach, and the first day in the water, I walked out to greet an approaching wave with arms flung wide. Next thing I know, I'm underwater, being rushed back to shore like a limp rag doll, like Aquaman in the Guernica painting.
Not for me, thanks.
So add to that this strange creature, John Monad, and you've got double-weird for me. I looked up "monad" in Wikipedia, and it's a Pythagorean concept of "God, the first being, the totality of all beings". Is John God? If he is, Dude's seriously messed up.
But after this second episode, a theory came to me. In the first episode, John broke away from just repeating what others said to him and began spouting strange expressions. One of them was "Shaun will soon be gone." And in the second episode, 13 year old Shaunie broke his neck in a surfing competition and lost oxygen to his brain to a catastrophic level.
However, the episode ended with a miracle - his friend and father figure Bill brought his bird Zippy into the hospital and the bird kissed Shaunie, bringing life back into the boy's eyes.
So I'm thinking, what if John from Cincinnatti is a modern day John the Baptist, sent here to prepare the world for the return of the Messiah? If so, he didn't give the world much time. By the second day, I think He's already returned. What if John's prophecy that "Shaun will soon be gone" came true? What if Shaun really is gone, and Someone Else has come to occupy the body he left behind?
What if I've been watching 'Lost' too much and reading too much into every show I watch now?
It's just a possibility, but this show is weird enough for my theory to be feasible.
John pointed out that "the end is near", so if this does turn out to be the time of the Rapture and Jesus has returned in the recently vacated body of a thirteen year old "grommet", it could be all over for this particular Toobworld dimension. We'd have to surf it over to some other TV dimension, one which we'll probably never see again.
Maybe the one for 'Commander In Chief'? Or how about the world from '7 Days'? (That started out taking place on Earth Prime Time, but once Frank Parker began futzing with the past, he changed his own timeline - as seen by the fact that they had a Pope Sylvester instead of a John Paul II.) If only we saw an airship or two floating over Imperial Beach, we could claim it was the Earth where Rose Tyler is currently stuck, as seen on 'Doctor Who'.
(I'd throw '24' into the suggestion box, but I think there's life in that dog yet. And I believe that 'The West Wing' will return for a reunion movie ten years down the line.....)
We'll see what we shall see, Dude.