Monday, April 02, 2007

"Starting with you wasn't racist; it was common sense.": 24

If you're just looking for the NBC TV preview, it's immediately below!

In the long list of stupid things 24 has ever done, Wayne Palmer, hyped up on the drugs and ready to bomb some poor country further into the Stone Age, may be the dumbest. I mean, yeah, cougar, but at least the cougar was a placeholder. Wayne deciding to go ahead with the nuclear strike is a pretty dumb twist because it goes against everything we know about the character (hence the drugs) and because it means all of the drama of whether or not he was competent to hold office was fake drama -- just a way to make the nuclear exchange the cliffhanger for yet another week.

It was a fancy version of an up-and-back, in other words.

In TV writer parlance, an up-and-back is when a show makes a major change or brings about a story point, then completely reverses it to get back to the status quo as quickly as possible. Now, obviously, 24 has nothing quite like a status quo, but the fact that the episode ended roughly where the last one ended was pretty disheartening, especially on a show where the story prides itself on moving relentlessly ever forward.

Look, I wanted 24 to blow up the world, but not like THIS, okay?

In other news, the presidential politics storyline was an eye-roller. There was a time when 24 would have gone to the Supreme Court and stripped Palmer of his presidency. It might have even made up an arc of a few episodes, and it would have taken some amount of arm-twisting to expose the malfeasance of Vice President Daniels. Instead, we got the lamest of 24 deus ex machinas -- a bug on a lamp fixture -- and Tom Lennox threatening Daniels into stepping down from his threat.

Jack Bauer did some Jack Bauer-y things, wandering through Santa Monica to find some terrorists with the help of CTU (who continue to feel completely incidental to the storyline beyond giving me my pull quote). Instead, the terrorist was taken down by a bunch of patrons in a bar after Gredenko alerted them to his presence. It wasn't the worst plot point ever, but as a show of the common man rising up against his foes, it wasn't bad.

OK, I'm grasping at straws. There was Ricky Schroeder defending racial profiling and the weird romance of Nadia and Milo and. . .I could go on.

But the whole season, really, can be summed up by Palmer launching the strike -- it's one, big attempt to create false drama.


Luke said...

You know, in context of another season I might have enjoyed the tragic one-armed Russian a lot. I might have even found Doyle interesting.

But fuck it all. That final scene pissed me off like nothing else. It was offensively bad. It was just flat-out offensive.

There was a time, like, three months ago, when I wanted to write some sort of doctoral thesis on 24. Now I can barely stand to think of it.

They'll have to work long and hard to win me back.

Libby said...

That's what she said.

But ultimately, yeah, it's painful to even be in the room while this show is on ...

And next week, Jack gets shot. I'm sure he dies.