Monday, January 16, 2006

24 ways to leave your television

The following was typed between 1:30 pm and 2:30 pm...

I'm a sucker for popular television. If people tell me I have to watch a show, or I read good reviews in newspapers and on the internet, I'll usually check it out.

So I gave 24 a chance. But it lost me somewhere in the first season. I think it was the premise that I couldn't get over. Each episode is supposed to be happening in real time? So all that stuff is happening in just one hour? Riiiight. And it felt like the writers were stretching plotlines too thin, or suddenly coming up with new developments, trying to stretch the story over 24 episodes. I gave up on Jack Bauer and his wacky adventures four or five shows into the first season.

Two seasons later, a couple of my classmates were really into 24 and couldn't wait for Season 3 to begin. I said I wasn't going to watch, and told them my problems with the show, which were disregarded. "Ian, don't think so much about the premise. Just enjoy the show. It's really good."

"Don't think so much about the premise"? The show is #@$%ing called 24! If it didn't want me to think about the premise, it'd call itself Jack's Yelling at People and Shooting Them. It takes great pains to point out that everything is supposed to be happening in real time, with "the following took place between 12:00 pm and 1:00 pm," ticking clocks, and multiple screens to show everything going on at the same time.

So I gave 24 another try. Then one of the characters was shot in the neck while pursuing a suspect. From there, he was rushed into emergency surgery. And after the procedure, he ignored doctors' orders and went back to work. Blood loss and surgery? This guy had to get back to CTU because he was needed and the country was in danger. But it doesn't sound too far-fetched, does it? Until you consider that, according to the show's premise, all of this happened in the span of four hours.

Let me go over that sequence of events again: Chased a suspect, shot (almost fatally), rushed to the hospital, surgery to remove the bullet and repair the wound, little to no recovery, and back to work to help chase more bad guys. All in four hours.

I almost threw my remote at the television. Mis Hooz might still have the exact rant you just read recorded on her answering machine, so she can play it for guests. Once again, I gave up on Jack Bauer's yelling, screaming, and shooting guns and heroin. I was never going to watch 24 again. Don't ask me to accept that everything's supposed to happen in real time, and then show me a guy getting a shot, having major surgery, and going back to work in four hours. I didn't care what people said, or how often it was talked about on the internet or the radio. No more!

Well... I was lonely and bored last night. And maybe just too damn lazy to turn the channel after the Panthers-Bears playoff game. Plus, I was expecting Mis Hooz to return my call, so the TV was really just on for background noise. But then I started watching. And Oh! My! Gawd! They did what?! in the first ten minutes of the show? They killed who? (I won't be specific, just in case anyone's into the show, but hasn't watched it yet.) Holy $#!+! Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in.

Well, sort of. Mis Hooz called me back, but she didn't really save me from anything. My eyes were already glazing over because the same problems were popping up for me. Important people were killed, lives were thrown into total upheaval, murder investigations and counter-terrorism operations were mobilized, and our hero eludes 164 federal agents in one building - all in less than an hour. Riiiight. Maybe my life just isn't interesting enough, but if I can watch a little TV, read something, and go to the bathroom in half an hour, I consider that a pretty full 30 minutes. But Jack Bauer doesn't. He's got people to scream at and shoot.

Will I watch the second two hours of 24's season premiere tonight? Maybe. If I'm lonely and bored again. And if I want to throw something at my television. Or tip back a shot every time Jack yells at someone. (Two shots if he shoots someone.)