Multitasking Ourselves to Oblivion: The Parasitic Smartphones in The Leftovers

Multitasking Ourselves to Oblivion: The Parasitic Smartphones in The Leftovers

Objects – both symbolic and useful – play important roles in The Leftovers. For example, Kevin’s shirts illustrate the life he lives during his fugue states. The G.R.’s cigarettes suggest both the ridiculous circumstances of a commodity culture they resist and the willingness of the group to bodily self-destruct as a means of meditation. The National Geographic from Kevin Garvey, Sr. is a treasure trove of referential possibilities. Symbols and object relations are everywhere in the show and create a rich subtext operating concurrently with the rest of the story. They provide a kind of pastiche of references that, read together within the context of the show, provide a secondary narrative layer that might provide clues about what the show is trying to convey.

One such object that makes a conspicuous appearance throughout the season is the cell phone. It plays an important role in the lives of characters both before and after the Departure and suggests changing relationships between people, people and objects, and people and society. It shows up as a presence, lurking here and there as a distraction, a lifeline, or a doorway to an individual set of experiences that are simultaneously inclusionary (drawing individuals into relationships with vast, invisible communities) and exclusionary (in the way it supplants real relationships between people, families, and communities). It’s a timely subject, and one that the show treats in interesting ways.

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Binge-Watch The Leftovers With the Carver Twins

Binge-Watch The Leftovers With the Carver Twins

Whether you've never seen an episode of The Leftovers or you've purchased a certain 1972 issue of National Geographic, now – with mere days until the Season 1 finale and episodes 1 through 9 available on HBO GO – is the perfect time to binge watch the critically acclaimed first season.

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Justin Theroux and Amy Brenneman on Kevin and Laurie's Quiet Connection

Justin Theroux and Amy Brenneman on Kevin and Laurie's Quiet Connection

When asked to choose the most jaw-dropping moment of the pilot episode of The Leftovers, actor Amy Brenneman did not hesitate. "When Justin [Theroux] came to me at the end," Brenneman told HBO.com at The Leftovers New York City premiere. The tense scene, wherein Kevin Garvey begs his wife Laurie to come home, "told me everything about this marriage," Brenneman added. "This married couple is just so emotionally involved."

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What’s Up With the Animals in Mapleton?

What’s Up With the Animals in Mapleton?

Something is amiss with the animals in Mapleton.

Just to recap from the premiere: The town’s dogs are roving around in feral packs. And Kevin experiences a series of stag sightings: One (possibly taxidermied?) outside Mrs. Tunney’s house, one in his dream, and yet another in the street before it's ferociously attacked by a pack of dogs. And don’t forget: Kevin’s kitchen was smashed up by something... with hooves?

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Twisted Times? The Leftovers Twist on Spin the Bottle

Twisted Times? The Leftovers Twist on Spin the Bottle

The premiere episode of The Leftovers showcases the many ways the younger generation struggles in a post-Departure world. The focus is deliberate: "It’s interesting to look at the youth culture in the wake of an event like this," series co-creator Damon Lindelof tells HBO.com. "We’re inclined to think that the younger that you are, the more adaptable you are in terms of accepting, 'This is my world now.' But there is this magnification that occurs in a world that feels like it’s spinning out of control."

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The Close Encounters Connection: Co-Creator Damon Lindelof Explains

Just days before the premiere of The Leftovers, co-creator Damon Lindelof made it clear that he and co-creator Tom Perrotta hope viewers come to their new show with open minds. No preconceived notions or preferred viewing lens is required. "We don’t want to tell people how to watch this show," Lindelof says firmly.

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Fight or Flight? The Leftovers Cast Weighs In

Fight or Flight? The Leftovers Cast Weighs In

The Leftovers takes place three years after the Sudden Departure, a global event wherein two percent of the world's population disappears sans explanation. Before Monday evening’s New York City premiere at the Skirball Center, the series' cast and creators offered insight into the show's post-departure reality.

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