Tuesday, January 23, 2007

24: Putting the "Torture" in "Dysfunctional"

If you've been following the news, you know that Muslim groups are again protesting 24's use of Muslim terrorists, and I understand their frustration. You think you've got everything sorted out, you've explained your position to them, and then they go and do a complete retread of season four as soon as your back is turned. They've brought in radical Islamic terrorists, a teen terrorist, and nukes, not to mention the awkwardness of CTUers having slept with one of their own (Aisha), Jack teaming up with someone who should be his enemy (remember Paul Raines?) and a return to the presidential bunker. None of these things ring any bells for the writers, like they might have put them together at some point before. It's very disappointing that they have to go back to Muslim terrorists. Isn't there a new group that can menace the U.S.? What about homegrown terrorists? Like a radical militia group or something? Jack could infiltrate their compound! He'd love to do that! Ernest Borgnine could play the group's leader. I hear he's looking for work.

But until Fox picks up my season seven idea (seriously, Fox – call me), we've still got nukes. When last we left Jack, he'd quit, but we all knew that wouldn't last. When Jack's country needs him, he springs into action, and after he helps pull a guy out of the wreckage of a helicopter, he's back on board. (Hilariously, the helicopter subsequently explodes in a massive fireball. Like, visible from space. What an odd-sized explosion.) CTU, questioning Assad, gets the name of a Russian general who's Fayed's nuke contact and who just happens to have had contact with Philip Bauer, Jack's dad. Jack can't find his dad, but he does find…

Okay. So. You remember last season's shadowy bad guy? The one with the Bluetooth headset who Logan was always talking to? Played by Paul "Chopper" McCrane? Graham? You know what Graham's last name is? It's Bauer. Yeah, he's Jack's brother. No, for real. Except they don't really treat each other like brothers. Having not seen each other for years, they immediately start in on a game of cat and mouse – which I suppose is justified, since we do know Graham is bad, but still. And since Graham is bad, and Jack is the paragon of virile world-saving studliness, his sister-in-law carries a torch for him. Come on, 24, do we really need that? Next thing, you're going to tell us that Josh is really Jack's son. He looks enough like Kim, poor kid. Anyway, Graham's not giving up Dad's location, so Jack, who was so queasy of torture a couple hours ago, decides to get right back on the torture horse. Starting with his own brother. Are the writers' memory spans that short or is there something about the Bauer family dynamic that is conducive to torture? Either explanation would make sense to me.


Dylan Borgman said...

I disagree with what you have to say about Muslim terrorists - if you recall the horrible movie Sum of All Fears, it came out relatively soon after 9/11 and they quietly subsituted Neo-Nazi terrorists instead of muslim terrorists because they felt it would cause a big problem. I don't know if you watched that movie - plenty of reasons to dislike it - but more than anything what was so obvious was that Neo Nazis are the stupidest terrorists ever. No one is afraid of neo-nazis and the idea that they'd set off a nuke to somehow revive the third reich is stupid. So, not to say that all terrorists are Muslim, but for the sake of realism I think they've been pretty good at mixing up the terrorists in the show. Since the show is BASED around terrorism, I think the argument that they're being racist because they use muslim terrorists every other season must give way to the acknowledgement that it's very much a reactionary to the time in which its made. It's also important to remember that each season they aren't al-quada or even affiliated the same terrorists from previous seasons. I do agree that they're going over the top in general including the terrorists, but remember that those scenes also include torturing his brother... or the president of the united states.

By the way, they had that helicopter set sitting on a house for a few weeks. I've driven by it a few times. It was pretty funny to see.

Note: I never thought that Paul McCrane could be more of an asshole than he was as Dr. Romano but somehow he managed to do it. Also, did you know that 24 was originally written to be a romantic comedy about a wedding?

Jagtesh Chadha said...

When does a person really watch TV? Isn't it when one needs a break from the meaningless monotonous life? What does TV do to you that keeps you coming back for me?

It gives you inspiration, stuff to think about, opens new horizons, let's you think about things you never thought that could've happened. So you see, the TV is not entirely entertainment, it shapes up your mind in a certain way. Especially, the minds of young children who don't yet have the right experience to pass judgments.

It's not you and me who will make up tomorrow's world, it's the children..