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10 Unanswered Pop Culture Questions We NEED to Figure Out Before the World Ends

By Michael Arbeiter, Hollywood.com Staff

If you subscribe to the belief that December 21 will mark the series finale of this thing we call existence, then you've probably got a few questions you'd like answered beforehand. There's all that codswallop about the meaning of life and the existence of a higher power, but we're primarily focused on the big questions here. For instance, who the hell is ""You're So Vain"" about?

With the apocalypse fast approaching, we pop culture junkies might be undergoing a heavy dose of anxiety over the idea of never finding out the answers to some of the most perplexing quandaries set forth by film and television. We've amounted a few of the world's most plaguing questions below, to pay final respect to some of our favorite mysteries.

10. What happened to Tony Soprano?

The final scene of the critically and culturally revered HBO drama The Sopranos cut to black just before revealing the fate of mafioso/family man Anthony Soprano. Since this fateful day in 2007, fans have vocalized nonstop outrage about the unsatisfying conclusion, but creator David Chase is firmly and unapologetically proud of the way he wrapped up his program, having stated he has no interest in divulging anything beyond what we saw onscreen.

9. What did she whisper to him at the end of Lost in Translation?

The practice of farewell whispers is no unusual feat in romantic film, but more often than not we actually find out what it was the parties felt the need to discretely mutter to one another. Not the case for Lost in Translation, which sparked a good amount of chatter about the final exchange between stars Scarlett Johansson and Bill Murray.

8. Was Harrison Ford a robot in Blade Runner?

The dark science fiction classic Blade Runner, and just about the only truly successful adaptation of a Philip K. Dick story, left us with one plaguing question: was star Harrison Ford himself a robot, or truly a robotic being? It is Dick's nature to close his stories ambiguously, but we can get over not being sure what the deal was with the ending to Total Recall. Either of 'em.

7. Who is the #@$&! mother on How I Met Your Mother?

Here's one that's still going on. Who in God's name is the titular mother of Ted Mosby's children on this eternal CBS sitcom? A favorite Internet theory is that Ted eventually weds and reproduces with Barney Stinson's sister, but can we please just get there already?

6. What does 42 signify in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy?

So, we know that 42 is the answer to Life, the Universe, and Everything in Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. But we don't know why, or how, or what the hell any of that means. I swear, it's beginning to seem like these some of these people are just toying with us.

5. Was he dreaming or awake at the end of Inception?

The Inception top kept spinning, spinning, spinning... wait, did it tilt? DID IT TILT? Quick, rewind! Rewind! ... Damnit, I still can't tell! Gah, what does it all mean, Nolan?!

4. What was inside the suitcase in Pulp Fiction?

Theories have ranged from priceless jewels to Marsellus Wallace's soul, but Pulp Fiction director Quentin Tarantino has openly claimed that the suitcase is whatever we want it to be. Still, he must have had some idea when he thought it up...

3. Who's the Boss?

Tony? Angela? Promiscuous mother Mona? Children Samantha and Jonathan? What does it even mean to be a boss?

2. What is Eraserhead about?

Don't even.

1. Everything about Lost.

Everything. The numbers. The polar bears. Walt. Jacob. Anna Lucia (mainly, ""Why was she a character?""). The whole deal with Libby's hospitalization backstory. So, so, so many questions went unanswered here, it's almost as if the whole point was... wait a minute...

That's it. That's the answer. The answer to each and every one of these unanswered questions: the questions are more important than the answer. The journey more important than the destination. If Lost taught us anything, it's that it doesn't matter how polar bears or smoke monsters or immortal slaves or all-seeing mirror-wheels or four-toed statues came to be. What matters is that we set out to experience these questions, that we set out to experience the life and mysteries and relationships they foster. If the Pulp Fiction suitcase expressed any sentiment, it's that the very idea of human desire is more compelling than any tangible item that might be its subject. This goes for everything on this list: the life or death of Tony Soprano; the meaning of 42; the spinning top in Inception. We're not out to get the answers to these questions. Because just like many of the questions we face in real life — the ones worth asking anyway — there are no clear-cut answers. We don't have the luxury of a screenwriter deciding what will happen to us and why it will happen. What we have is a long, strange, funny, tragic, mysterious story to which we can't find the director's notes on Wikipedia. It is up to us to decide what our own lives and everything within them mean. And this is exactly what each of these wonderful pieces of work have worked to instill within us.

So if we do bid adieu to this crazy world on December 21, we shouldn't be hung up on the questions unanswered. Instead, just do what Jack did: close your eyes, recall fondly the fantastic people, places, and things you've experienced through the strange adventures you've undertaken, and (if your lucky) pet a nearby dog.

[Photo Credit: ABC]

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