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This Day in My History

2000:  Baring My Soul
2001:  Stereotypes
2002:  Flotsom, Jetsam, Detritis, and "Stuff"
2003:  On My Way to Nowhere
2004She Who Must Be Obeyed

2005:  Wouldn't You Know?


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24:  SEASON 1

19 July 2006

Well, nothing much got done until Saturday night, when I finally finished watching Season 1 of 24.  There were times when I rolled my eyes at how corny or how obvious the action was, but it certainly held my interest.

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I've been thinking about what I felt about the show, the plot, the writing.  Warning:  there will be spoilers in this entry, but I figure that since we are waiting for Seasion six to start that anybody who hasn't seen Season one by now probably isn't going to.

Walt watched 2 episodes, #21 and 22.  I tried to bring him up to speed on all that had gone on during the previous 20 hours.   Try to keep up now...it's really very simple...

  • There is a threat against presidential candidate David Palmer and someone in CTU (Counter Terrorist Unit) is reported to be a traitor.  Jack Bauer heads up the team to protect Palmer.

  • Jack's daughter sneaks out at night with a friend to go on a date.  The two guys they are meeting turn out to be kidnappers working for the group that wants to kill Palmer.  But only one of them is a bad guy; the other one turns out to be a good guy, but misunderstood.

  • Jack is all embroiled in trying to save the presidential candidate and his wife, Teri, keeps calling to whine that he needs to come home to help her find their daughter and that this was more important than his job or the life of the presidential candidate he is supposed to protect.

  • The daughter's friend's father (who turns out not to be her father at all, but one of the bad guys--but we don't find that out for several episodes, even tho I could have told you that when he first made his first appearance) gets Teri to go looking for the girls.  They find out that one of the girls has been in an accident and has been rushed to the hospital.

  • Jack manages drop everything when Teri calls and get to to the hospital, meet the faux father, comfort his wife and get back to work.   I can't remember if he'd been fired by now or not.  Seems to me he's relieved of command at least 3 times in 24 hours and replaced by at least 2, possibly 3 different people.

  • Teri finds out that the faux father is really a bad guy, but not before he's killed his supposed daughter so she can't give Jack any information.

  • Teri escapes, but gets caught and is kidnapped and held with her daughter.  She also volunteers to be raped to save her daughter from being raped.

  • Daughter almost escapes once but stays back when she sees that her Mom is captured.  They both escape once...or is it twice?   or is it three times?  I lost count of how many times they were attacked and picked up by people who turned out to be bad guys.

  • One time Teri crashes car, thinks daughter is dead, develops amnesia.  Conveniently, someone stops by to drive her to the hospital and on the way she spies a restaurant that looks familiar.  She gets dropped off, the manager recognizes her and calls a friend of hers, who just happens to be a doctor can diagnose her condition.

  • At the same time daughter has walked into a drug den and is being held by a different group of bad guys who don't know about the first group of bad guys.  Then she's arrested as  drug dealer and held in jail by police who refuse to check her story that she's Bauer's daughter.

  • Jack foils the original plot to kill Palmer and is arrested in the process 'cause everybody thinks he's the assassin.  He escapes a billion times with the help of his colleague, Nina, the only person in CTU he trusts.   (Who, of course, turns out to be the traitor in the end.)

  • They find one traiter at CTU and somehow in an all metallic, sterile room, while chained to a chair, she manages to find some pottery and slit her own throat.  (Does one suspect that the evil Nina really slipped in there and killed her?)

  • Everybody they are trying to get information out of gets killed.  One guy is killed because the CTU agent who killed him is mad at Jack; another guy is killed because the woman who agreed to help CTU capture him really only wanted to kill him because he lied to her.  All the "killing" scenes are accompanied by frantic attempts by Jack to save the dying informant, all ineffectual, of course.

  • Whenever there is a lull in the action, someone manages to find a cell phone so Jack and Teri can tell each other they love each other.  I especially loved the scene where Jack is hiding somewhere with gun in hand ready to attack whoever he was stalking at the moment and took time out to hear Teri tell him that he was going to become a father again (yeah — while being chased by bad guys, she takes time out to do a pregnancy test).  Doesn't anybody ever turn his cell phone off at crucial moments?  (Jack also never seems to use the same phone twice, so it's amazing the the number dialed somehow always reaches him.)

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  • It's also amazing that Jack seems to hop into cars at random, and they all come equipped with the latest high-tech gadgets so he can get documents sent by CTU when he needs them.

  • Dennis Hopper, speaking the very worst Russian accident I've ever heard, is a guy Jack thought he'd killed several years ago, but who is actually being secretly held by the U.S.Government and this is all supposedly a plot to get (a) get Hopper sprung, and (b) get revenge on Jack and on Palmer (who supposedly gave the orders for Jack's men to make the kill--which only killed the Russian guy's family, hence his desire to kill Jack's family).

  • Palmer wins the California primary, and 10 others on "Super Tuesday."  His wife, who makes Hillary Clinton look like a pussy cat, is willing to sacrifice anything, even Jack's daughter, so as not to spoil Palmer's chance to be the first African-American president.  Oh yeah--she has alsobeen covering up a murder her son committed 7 years before, a revenge for the rape of his sister.

  • But the bad guys have other plans for Palmer and send Jack, again, to kill him.  Only Jack doesn't realize he's actually delivering a bomb (disguised as the ubiquitous cell phone) to Palmer, until the last seconds, when he tosses it out the window.  (Of course)

  • As the season winds to its conclusion, Candidate Palmer says he never wants to see his wife again and orders her to go with the Secret Service back to D.C., Jack catches (or kills) all the bad guys single-handedly (of course), his daughter, who has been in and out of custody so many times I lost count, finally makes it to CTU to be reunited with her father.  Jack goes in search of Teri and discovers Nina's final act was to kill his wife, which was really OK because she was too whiney for me anyway.

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I decided that the writers do a good job with plot development, do a rotten job with "relationship development."  The weakest parts of the show were those where there was any tender or even friendly relationship between people, especially Jack and his wife.  The wife and daughter had a stereotypical strained mother-teenage daughter relationship unless they were in trouble, then daughter assured Mom over and over again how much she loved her...until they were no longer in trouble and then she turned into sulky, rebellious teenager again, which, of course, always got her into more trouble.

24-Palmer.jpg (31635 bytes)Palmer was a good guy and I'd be happy to vote for him for president, but his wife was a real shrewish bitch.  I see that her character turns up in later episodes and I also see that they research presidential funerals, so I suppose Palmer finally gets killed in another season and that he never completely gets rid of his wife.   But he did seem to be a man of integrity, against all odds, even if his "Leo McGarry" looked like a skinny Dick Cheney/Karl Rove clone. They did a good job of fleshing out his character and making him not only someone you could believe, but someone that you cared about.

There's a lot of Dan Brownishness about this show — unbelievable that all this happens in just 24 hours, but somehow seeing it filmed supposedly in "real time" makes it believable, if you can believe that all these people can work at top form for more than 24 hours without any sleep at all.

After surviving Season 1, I understand the "Top Jack Bauer facts" that my friend Diane sent to me:

  • If Jack Bauer was in a room with Hitler, Stalin, and Nina Myers, and he had a gun with 2 bullets, he'd shoot Nina twice.

  • 1.6 billion Chinese are angry with Jack Bauer. Sounds like a fair fight.

  • Jack Bauer could get off the Lost island in 24 hours.

  • Jack Bauer once forgot where he put his keys. He then spent the next half-hour torturing himself until he gave up the location of the keys.

  • Jack and Jill went up the hill. Only Jack came down. Jill was a fucking terrorist.

  • The only reason you're conscious right now is because Jack Bauer doesn't want to carry you.

  • Killing Jack Bauer doesn't make him dead. It just makes him angry.

  • There were originally five horsemen of the apocalypse. Jack Bauer said he would travel by foot.

  • Jack Bauer sleeps with a gun under the pillow. But he could kill you with the pillow.

  • When Kim Bauer lost her virginity, Jack found it and put it back.

  • After running out of ammo, Jack stood in the line of fire, took 3 shots to the chest, and used them to reload.

  • A Priest, a Rabbi, and a Minister walked into a bar... and Jack Bauer is going to find out why...

  • Jack Bauer has no friends, because as a child when he would play cops and robbers, the robbers would all be interrogated and killed.

  • Nostradamus once predicted in his journal: "In the century 21st, the one known as Jacques will be the savior of the world... five seasons in a row." Moments later, Jack Bauer knocked down the door, shot Nostradamus in the kneecaps, and yelled "WHO ARE YOU WORKING FOR?!"

  • When life hands Jack Bauer Lemons, he kills Terrorists. Jack Bauer fuckin' hates lemonade.

  • As a boy, Jack Bauer interrogated his parents on Easter until they revealed the location and contents of each hidden egg.

  • Jack Bauer doesn't miss. If he didn't hit you it's because he was shooting at another terrorist twelve miles away.

  • Jack Bauer has been to Mars. That's why there's no life on Mars.

  • On Jack Bauer's Tax Returns, he has to claim the entire world as his dependants.

  • Jack Bauer can eat just one Lay's Potato Chip. Don't tell Jack what he can't fucking do.

  • It took God six days to get His job done; Jack has 24 hours.

  • Superman has Jack Bauer pajamas.

  • Jack Bauer is the reason Waldo is hiding.

I've decided to take a break from 24 this week.  Diane also recommended Rescue Me, the Dennis Leary show about firefighters.  Its Season 1 is only three discs long so I'm going to watch that next.  At least I'm finally getting my money's worth from Netflix!

 

PHOTO OF THE DAY

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Mia Kirschner (left), later of "The L Word" was only in 2 or 3 early
episodes, so I'm not sure how she made it into this cast photo!

 

 
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6/1/06