I could try to make some tenuous claim that I’m writing about “24″ ‘cuz it takes place in New York this season, thus making it slightly related to your New York Knickerbockers, but c’mon, no one would buy it. I’m writing about it ‘cuz I like the show. Usually. Fox just recently announced that this would be the last season of the Kiefer Sutherland’s hit tv show (although there is a possibility that Jack Bauer may live on in the big screen with a movie here or there, a la Star Trek and X-Files).
The show is, and has always been, filled with utterly ridiculous moments, but we all know that. This ain’t about gritty realism, so you’ve gotta take everything with a grain of salt. Now I dunno if it’s me or the show that’s changed in the last few weeks, but lately it seems like you need to take everything with a whole shaker of salt. And not even finely grained salt, I’m talkin’ like ungrounded large chunks of sea salt. Then again, sea salt is pretty darn tasty. The writers seem to be straining to create drama, so here are my Top Five Shark Jumping Moments from the last couple of episodes:
1. Set-Up: After an EMP (Electric Magnetic Pulse) hits CTU, they need to get their computers back on line. As usual a stubborn, unlistening authority figure is doing it all wrong, and won’t pay any attention to the always-correct Chloe O’Brian, played by the amazing Mary Lynn Rajskub (is that last name pronounceable or are there just lots of silent letters in it?). Rather than present her idea to the head of CTU, Brian Hastings, another stubborn unlistening authority figure who she suspects might also not like her idea, she points a gun at the first guy & orders him out. Yup, not only does she stupidly try a hostile takeover in the heart of CTU, but she also lets the guy go so he can bring back armed reinforcements five seconds later.
Outcome: The CTU agents stop Chloe. Then she tells Hastings her idea and he goes, “hmm, not a bad idea, go for it.”
2. Set-Up: Jack, Freddy Prinze, Jr., and 2 Nameless CTU Agents Who Will Thus Likely Be Killed are pinned down behind their destroyed car by snipers. And they need to get to a phone for backup, but their cells are being jammed. Across the way is an old emergency phone with a land line. Yeah, chances of it being working in NYC are dang slim, but that’s not the most ridiculous part. Our heroes rip out their SUV’s bullet-proof siding to make two shields to cross through the bullet-fire. Jack says the only way this will work is if we go slowly, making sure to keep the two shields together, and not panic.
Outcome: Could they have set it up any more obviously? They start going and Nameless Agent #1 starts panicking, “it’s not gonna hold, we’ve gotta just make a run for it.” Jack says no, Nameless breaks file and gets shot.
3. Set-Up: The shot, but not killed, Nameless #1 is left there while Jack, Freddy & Nameless #2 make it to safety. Jack & Freddy make plans how to get the rest of the way to the phone. However, Nameless #2 insists that they have to go back out there to rescue Nameless #1 and drag him to cover. Jack explains the snipers keep taking shots at Nameless #1, hurting him more, but not killing him, specifically to draw them out there, and that honestly, well, it’s more important we warn people about this nuclear bomb coming to Manhattan rather than save this dumb-ass who’s practically dead.
Outcome: Yup, yer kid could’ve anticipated it: Nameless #2 runs out to save Nameless #1 & gets shot up in the process.
4. Set-Up: With the possibility of a nuke going off in Manhattan in one hour, President Alison Taylor asks Jack Bauer, the man leading the operation to prevent this, to instead forget about all that and escort President Hassan to safety ‘cuz it’d make her feel better. Yeah, Bauer has unique skills and abilities in counter-terrorism that could be darn useful at this juncture, skills that wouldn’t necessarily translate into him being the best at running a security detail, and okay, okay, sure he’s on top of all the details and operations in stopping this bomb, but the President knows him, so would he mind doing her this one little favor since he has nothing better to do?
Outcome: As luck would have it, somehow, even though there’s no reason to think Hassan is in any danger (well no more danger than all the New Yorkers who could get nuked any second now), people try to kill him! And, in an even wackier coincidence, this will help lead Jack back to the forefront of the terrorism fight! The moral is that in cases of imminent disaster, never say no to unrelated menial tasks.
5. Set-Up: Dana Walsh, played by Katee Sackhoff (who was great in Battlestar Galactica but who sucks here), kills an ex boyfriend when he threatens to reveal her sordid past. Unfortunately she’s now being hectored by the ex’s parole officer (the brilliant Stephen Root, who for a completely different turn, check him out as a man obsessed with a red stapler in the cult classic “Office Space”). Forget that Root’s character doesn’t seem to care that not only is CTU trying to stop a nuke, but an EMP bomb goes off in its headquarters while he’s there. He feels he’s not being given sufficient attention and decides to go tattle on her to her boss. Dana then makes the obvious decision to kill Root… right in the middle of CTU.
Outcome: She hides his body in a vent. Really? Really?? Why not just hide him under a white tarp and put up a sign, “Wet paint, don’t touch!”
Not surprisingly, it looks like she gets caught next week.
Perhaps the best that can be said about this season is that at least since it takes place in New York and not Los Angeles, that decreases the chance that Jack Bauer will actually jump over a shark on water skis.
For that, we’ll have to wait for the movie.
Topics: Battlestar Galactica, Chloe O'Brian, Fox's 24 Television Show, Freddy Prinze Jr., Jack Bauer, Jumping The Shark, Katee Sackhoff, Kiefer Sutherland, Mary Lynn Rajskub, Office Space, President Alison Taylor, Stephen Root