— Despite enemies, infighting and the occasional smoke monster, the castaways on ABC's "Lost" have it pretty good. The electromagnetically wonky mystery location hosts a conveniently skilled and disproportionately attractive group prepared for any survival needs. And thanks to dude-centric storylines, it's the island's menfolk who take care of the "save the day" scenarios.
So, on the off chance those of us somewhat-adept and average-looking individuals ever found ourselves in need of an ideal fellow castaway, which of the "Lost" men would we want by our sides? Survival skills are great, but without leadership, a ragtag band of castaways wouldn't make it long. And just how handy would the habitually shirtless island eye candy be if we couldn't count on him come crunch time?
Pros: Shortly after Flight 815 crashed, Jack played one-man triage machine to all the survivors. Then, when thrust into the leadership role, he rose to the occasion. For all his faults, Jack seems to genuinely care about everyone in his charge and wants to maintain a cohesive group. Sure, he has his pet (Hi, Kate!), but he'll play the hero to all.
Cons: Jack rules with a "because I said so" style that's downright annoying. Maybe it's just the requisite doctor's god complex, but he's always certain he knows best. When the rest of the Losties protested Juliet joining their beachfront tent town, Jack held his ground without providing any argument against the pervading "Hey, she's an Other!" logic.
Then there's the problem with his hair. Shallow? Yes. But while the island buzz cut causes no offense (though it does beg the question: Where does he plug in the clippers?), the past and the future show a man in constant style crisis. His flashback 'do in season two was bad enough, but a glimpse into his future shows a beard unworthy of Tom's old hillbilly costume.
Co-castaway potential: Hirsute hang-ups and god complexes aside, having a doctor on call 24/7 wouldn't hurt.
James ‘Sawyer’ Ford
Pros: He may be the island's answer to emo, but the angsty rebel packs a six-pack and he's not afraid show it — over and over again. But looking good sans shirt isn't his only skill; there's also his artful plundering routine. When everyone else was shopping through the recently deceased, Sawyer already had a rich stash of booze, medicine and his own little lending library. And recently, he manages to keep a loaded gun on him most of the time. Handy!
Cons: Baggage. Sawyer has loads of it. Everyone on the island has a fair share of daddy issues, but Sawyer's so scarred by his parental past, he's just big ol' mess of cynicism. He also sports a "look out for No. 1" outlook, though he might make exceptions for the right person (Hi, Kate!).
Co-castaway potential: Easy on the eyes, but Sawyer's actual survival skills are negligible.
Pros: After a quick dose of island healing, Locke emerged as a survivalist powerhouse. Boar killing, tracking and an impressive knowledge of the local flora and fauna made up his early virtues. In time, he took the whole "communing with nature" thing up a notch by actually developing a relationship with the island itself. Then again, that potentially useful proficiency may belong below.
Cons: Locke may have mad island skills, but he also has a tendency toward the self-serving survivalist lifestyle. Then there's that wildly fluctuating moral code of his. If ever a man earned a swift dose of patricide, it was Locke's pop, Anthony Cooper. But when the chance to snuff out the kidney-stealing, window-pushing bad dad surfaced, Locke passed the task to an emotionally fragile Sawyer.
Days later (in island time), the ghostly visage of tall-Walt gave Locke the lowdown on the freighter folk and, without missing a beat, the man plunged his knife in Naomi's back. Brutally inconsistent!
Co-castaway potential: He'll keep you in food and shelter, but only as long as it serves his purpose.
Pros: Fish, anyone? Jin assumed the role of second-generation fisherman just a day after Oceanic's fiery touchdown. Already a faithful partner to Sun and with a potentially doomed baby on the way, he has more passion than ever before to keep his side safe. And bonus points for being easy on the eyes.
Cons: Sun's corporate-crime-boss father groomed Jin to be his right-hand man. It took a while for cutthroat Jin to call it a day. He also tested out his first iffy harvest of sea urchins on a very pregnant Claire. But with a redemption arch fully behind him now, it's hard to hold any of that against Jin. The only current minus in Jin's column is that despite his shady past, he can't handle a gun. When the gang cooked up a scheme to wipe out a group of kidnap-happy Others, Jin was the only shot to miss the mark.
Co-castaway potential: If sniper skills aren't terribly important, he's a good catch.
Hugo ‘Hurley’ Reyes
Pros: Sweet, friendly and funny, Hurley's easily the nicest guy on the island. His friendship with Charlie showed off his dude-loyalty and, as Libby almost had the chance to prove, despite the plethora of hard bodies in the mix, Hugo's makes for the best of the boyfriend material. As far as keeping his peeps safe, there was that one time he plowed down the bad guys with a hippie van.
Cons: A general lack of badassness is the only thing anyone could hold against Hurley. Other than that precipitous van-as-weapon moment, the big guy's just not much one for taking charge.
Co-castaway potential: For a good time, call Hurley.
Pros: Forget Jack and Locke, there's not a better leader on the island than Ben. Allegiance aside, he knows how to keep a group going strong. If trouble abounds, he takes care of it — at any cost. Until recently, he kept the Others living in style. That beachfront tent town might be nice, but the air-conditioned bungalow village wins. Plus he has that special relationship with island bigwig Jacob, though that's not quite as exclusive as it once was.
Cons: Is being a cold-blooded killer a con? Yeah, probably. It's particularly bad in Ben's case, given his tendency to take out more of his people than enemies. He killed his father, wiped out the entire Dharma community and even has a nasty habit of killing fellow Others when the mood strikes him. Then there's the fact that, despite his assurances to the contrary, Ben is evil.
Co-castaway potential: If comfortable digs are most important, Ben's your man. If you put more weight on actually surviving your island experience, then not so much.
Pros: Efficient interrogation skills (i.e., torture), technological prowess and a sure-shot in a pinch, is there anything Sayid can't do? OK, he's never displayed hunting prowess or a proclivity to the leadership role, but it's a safe bet he'd rise to the occasion if needed. Aside from fixing various forms of communications equipment, his most impressive accomplishment to date has to be taking out an Other while fully bound, using only his legs.
Cons: That torture thing could work both ways. While it's helpful when ferreting out a baddie, it's not as useful when you're the subject of it. Then there's his future occupation to consider. Working as flunky assassin to Ben raises some trust issues, but it's a safe bet there's a good reason behind it.
Co-castaway potential: There's no one better.
No, it wasn't a glaring omission. Ree Hines, a regular contributor to msnbc.com, is keeping Desmond for herself.