Forget about the Hanso Foundation, the "others," the four-toed statue, the black smoke, or any other of the "Lost" mysteries. This is what really baffled me last season on "Lost":
Everything in the hatch was from the late 70s. The computer, the record collection, the filmstrip, the appliances. Except for the washer and dryer (see above; I suppose you could argue that the blender also looks pretty new and modern).
Whaaa? As Lost fans obsessed at the time, it just didn't make any sense. Why a brand spanking new washer/dryer, when everything else was so old? Was there a secret Best Buy store on the other side of the island? Did Desmond sneak out to Sears a year or two earlier?
Losties tried dissecting a greater meaning from the modern machines:
the machines appear to be graphite Kenmore He3t or 4t machines. From Fricking Sears. They were first available in the US in the fall of 2000.
If it's a 4t (I'd need to see a close-up of the controls) then it's only been avaible for a year.
So yes, the washer dryer is a dead giveaway that a delivery of a washer/dryer took place almost certainly within the last five years, and that could possibly be narrowed down to an even smaller window.
Last week at the TV Critics Assn. press tour, I ran into "Lost" exec producer Carlton Cuse -- great guy, and a lot of fun to chat with as he entertains your "Lost" theories. So of course, I had to ask him about that damn washer and dryer.
He chuckled. Forget about reading too much into it. Apparently the producers at the time thought that those machines looked like an old washer and dryer! So they placed them in the hatch set, not realizing the kind of uproar it would cause! But that's the power of "Lost" -- a simple continuity error can be taken for something much greater.
As you know, the producers semi-addressed it midseason, when Libby (Cynthia Watros) pointed out to Hurley (Jorge Garcia) that the washer/dryer seemed newer than everything else in the hatch. Hurley brushed it off, saying he didn't know -- he just knew that it washed his clothes. Carlton more or less admitted that that exchange was a nod to everyone on the web who had the same question as I did.
Mystery solved! Now, who the hell are the Others?