An Analysis of The Leftovers

The Leftovers is a show filmed in a realm where the apocalypse has occurred but things are still operating as normal. If normal means no one goes to church anymore and has no regard for a higher power. Two percent of the world’s population has vanished at one time on one day in an event the people call “The Sudden Departure.” The show is about the people leftover, who did not quite make the cut for the rapture. The series appeals to a multitude of demographics because of it’s story and the way the creators go about telling this story of people who have lost their faith. With a dark comedic twist on drama, The Leftovers is a show worth the watch. The characters in the show represent how real people might act if this event actually occurred and they were left behind, making them and the show very interesting to analyze.

Ideas are developed in the series through the use of repetition. The idea of life and death is a major one, the mystery behind the ones who went missing during The Sudden Departure is constantly brought to light and the ones left behind have to constantly question if their life is actually worth living. The people in the show have lost faith in the meaning of life, they all see it as something that could be taken away from them at any point because of prior events. People are almost afraid to make themselves into something in this new world because of the constant rational fear of a pending sudden departure.

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In Christian eschatology the rapture refers to the belief that either before, or simultaneously with, the Second Coming of Jesus Christ to earth, believers who have died will be raised and believers who are still alive and remain shall be caught up together with the dead believers. The Sudden Departure is considered the rapture to many characters in this show. Christian values are inherent within the show because of the constant intertextual references to the bible.

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There are many moral lessons to be learned within The Leftovers. The general thought between characters of the show is that only the best people disappeared in the Sudden Departure. Morally excellent people such as Pope Benedict XVI were among some of the millions of people who disappeared on that day. Since the day of the Sudden Departure, a cult named “The Guilty Remnant” goes out of its way to make people remember the events of October 14th.  The actions that The Guilty Remnant take in order to make people remember can be considered moral lessons within the show depending on the character’s morality.

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In the show there are government agencies created to try to come up with reasoning behind the Sudden Departure (Department of Sudden Departure). The conclusion to this question would be answer to what actually happened to all of these people. The show challenges its viewers to question the same thing and try to come up with their own rational behind the disappearance.

The matter of life and death can be very emotional, add that with religion and a world-wide mystery of bulk disappearance and you have yourself a recipe for a roller coaster of emotions. Both the characters and the viewers alike go through ups and downs with the constant thought of what really happened to the millions who went missing in the back of their minds.

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All of the characters in The Leftovers are very easy to relate to. This is because all of the characters represent people of our own lives, the mom, the dad, the cop, the religious leader, the next door neighbors, the best friend, the crazy guy who hangs around downtown. We all have these people in our own lives and the characters themselves act to fit these roles. One of my favorite things about this series is that the acting is very real. I often tend to start thinking about particular situations within the show and think about how I would react if it were happening to me, I keep watching the show and the characters act like I thought I would.

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The characters in The Leftovers are very real, they are rarely melodramatic which is surprising because of the melodramatic plot line in which the show follows. The people in the show are very relatable, they portray people the viewers of the show probably know in their own lives.

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The idea of the rapture is the premise of The Leftovers, those that believe in Christianity will be easily influenced into believing the plot. I do not believe that the show will change many views or influence fashions or body image because the characters dress in jeans and t-shirts and otherwise normal clothes and they fit almost every body image you can think of.

The program relates to the culture in that the characters live and operate within the constraints of our cultural norms. Beside the fact that 2 percent of the world’s population went missing on one day at one time, things have not changed much in this series. In fact, the way our culture would handle this great disappearance reflects how we would actually handle the situation.

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Everybody in the show lives very freely. Since the Sudden Departure, people have become inept to the forces of authority. Everybody is too wrapped up in the question of what actually happened to the ones that disappeared that all other questions seem insignificant, yet no one has a good answer. In a way, the subordinates have become more powerful because they just do not care what happens to them any longer.

The show hails to the viewer by making its characters very real, with a plot line from another realm this is a very interesting part to the show. Although the story is pretty unbelievable, the characters are believable. The story also follows the idea of the rapture, a Christian belief, this may also hail to many of the shows viewers.

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No meanings have been revealed to the viewer, the creators of The Leftovers created LOST as well, so they want their viewer to be as powerless as possible. Subtle hints to what is actually going on may be out there but those may not be identifiable until the very end of the show which is set to end at the end of the third season. However, this is why the viewer watched the show week in and week out, to try to solve a mystery that may not even be solved.

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