Tuesday, March 10, 2009

24 Is A Fun TV Show But Makes For Lousy Gov't

So I'm wondering if everyone has been as riveted as I've been by this latest season of 24. Jack Bauer continues his reign as the anti-hero that could and is now in DC, CTU has been disbanded and he was hauled before Congress to answer for his actions in torturing suspects (who were in fact guilty). The one thing about popular media and entertainment is that is does help shape a discourse. It's just not always positive or well-rounded. With the real-life horrors enacted during the Bush regime there's still great interest in how governments gather intel and respond to threats. 

Watching 24 you know you're getting a nice dose of intrigue that will crescendo in time for each commercial break and the inevitable cliff hanger to keep you coming back. Nothing tops the series' peak which to me was Day 5 (that's Season 5 to the rest of you). President David Palmer was assassinated, Michelle was blown up, nerve gas was released in a mall and horror of horrors the current President Charles Logan was up to his eyeballs in the whole mess. How prescient!

So this season has been interesting to say the least. It's the first female President, played with just the right amount of grit and gravitas by Cherry Jones. She's scrappy like some other real-life counterpart we all know! I'm not sure if this season's plot was the original plot of the shuttered season due in part to the writer's strike, but the nod to current events can't be missed. So far there's a conspiracy worm burrowed so deep we can't tell how far down it goes, but my favorite line from tonight's episode came via the President's daughter who told the Chief of Staff that he should be tendering his resignation for not having a clue and failing to protect her mother! This was after she survived being kidnapped and threatened. 

For once the villains aren't Russian or Middle Eastern - this time they're continental Africans. But wait, they're working with, wait for it, other gov't officials (who are white by the way). They've already murdered the son of the President as well as trying to get to the First Gentleman as well.  The past two weeks the enemies managed to gain control of the White House and took the President hostage. 

See...you think you're safe as President but the insiders are all plotting for your demise...hmm guess Obama had better watch his back. I have no idea where this season is headed because the first set of betrayals and moles have already been revealed. Jack's been framed again. The one thing that I find increasingly annoying is how the "upstanding" politicians or gov't water carriers try to morally posture about how Jack's techniques are so wrong when they are borderline incompetent. Have you been outraged at slow they are to respond to threats or connect the dots? I mean the daughter has a point and the FBI lead bureaucrat is annoying as all heck!

So we got to see Jack cry for 30 seconds because Bill gave his life by detonating the bomb that killed the evil Black General who dared to slap a white woman! You just knew he was gonna die for that. Tony Todd will always be Candyman. Of course if Jack had done it there'd be no show after all. Next week the brilliant and anti-social Chloe gets to be used as a pawn to get Jack to resurface. Doesn't Agent Moss know that when Jack gives his word to not torture someone he means it?! What purpose does the ego and harshness towards Renee serve? It's like all of this bloviating being done by the Republican mouth pieces on the cable "news". They must use their angry outside voice and speak at a higher pitch than everyone else because they are outraged I tell ya....about....what exactly is news to me. 

All in all we are reminded of the difference between reel and real life by the sheer predictability of one versus the other. I also think the tv characters are motivated by nobler purposes believe it or not. Did I really just say that? For one thing it makes for more entertaining viewing. The tv world is far more cut and dry where they are supposed to be "good" instead of having shades of greys (and blacks) that are prevalent if you'd poll the rest of the world for their input. It's an idealized snapshot of what's supposed to be the best representation albeit with flaws. Some of us may think our gov't is like this, while some of us think we know otherwise. Perhaps the "truth" lies somewhere in between or in an entirely different scenario. Either way it can be fun to speculate.

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