Inching towards mediocrity.

Assjackwards. (Now with 23% more yelling!)


Yesterday I tackled some of “24’s” most hackneyed cliches. Today, in a continuation of what I’m calling “24 Week” or “120,” I discuss five of the Worst Moments in 24 History.

This was actually surprisingly difficult; while “24” often relies upon the same cliches and writer conventions when it inevitably paints itself into a corner (or just can’t figure out a way to fill up the middle of the season) it’s had very few truly cringe-worthy moments, scenes or subplots.

But it has had a few.

(Again, spoilers abound. You have been warned, dammit!)

Five: Bring your daughter to work day has probably never turned out worse than this.

In an unenviable effort to fill up twenty-four god damn hours of programming. the writers usually have to come up with a few inane subplots that have nothing to do with the overall arc of the series. This, then, is one of those times.

Erin Driscoll became the new Head of CTU in Season Four. She fired Jack. She didn’t seem to know what she was doing. She put too much faith in Ronnie Lobell. She was overall pretty annoying.

To complicate matters, she had a schizophrenic daughter named Maya who she ended up bringing into CTU for some dumb reason to babysit. Maya had a few “episodes” at CTU, distracted her mother from her job of, you know, saving the country and then killed herself and, thankfully, this useless subplot.

I mean, I can understand how difficult it might be to find a sitter when you’re saving the world, but come on!

At least that was the end of Driscoll.

It really came down between this and that bizarre Chloe/baby subplot from Season Three…but I like Chloe, and that subplot at least gave us some sitcom-esque situations between her and an increasingly more befuddled Chappelle, so I’ll let it slide.

Four: Ratings are low. We should kill a cast member. Wait! TWO cast members! WAIT! EVERY CAST MEMBER.

One of the things I both love and despise about “24” is its tendency to unexpectedly do away with main characters seemingly on a whim, usually for shock value, though if we’re lucky, occasionally for “plot development.” While it can be somewhat annoying, I do understand that it serves a purpose beyond contract terminations shock value. “24” is one of the few shows where I constantly feel dread and foreboding whenever an established character gets him or herself into some dangerous situation. They’ve used their past willingness to dispatch cast members to beat us over the head with the fact that anyone can die and probably will. And in Season Five, they proved that with a veritable bloodbath of popular characters, culminating in one of the lamest/unforgivable acts of cast murder I’ve ever seen.

After killing off the second most important character in “24” history, President David Palmer, I was pissed but understandable. His death would set in motion the events of Season Five. Alright, cool. Then they killed off Michelle, another major character who was instrumental in the series formative seasons. Also, she was hot. Still, I could get behind it. This all happened within the first fifteen seconds of the season premiere, so it was pretty intense.

But then they took it too far.

Tony Almeida had been with the show since Season One. A fan favorite, he was like Jack, only more brooding and intense and didn’t really get a lot of shit done. But he was awesome regardless, and the only real holdover from that season. Then he got stabbed in the heart with a needle by a dude who was half dead while crying about his dead wife Michelle.

It. Was. LAME. Didn’t even get a silent clock.

Luckily, they made up for Tony’s pathetic end by retconning him back into the series, alive and well and kind of evil, in the Seventh Season. I’m sure if you asked the people behind the show they’d probably tell you that was the plan all along. But in reality, I think they got a little trigger happy, realized they had nothing to connect the show to Season One, realized the fans were pissed, and decided to awkwardly write him back into the fold, with a very vague and unbelievable explanation for how he survived being stabbed in the heart with a syringe, injected with some magical heart-stopping fluid, and then zipped up into a body bag after the commercial break with a crying Jack looking on.

Whatever, man. Tony’s BACK. I’m good.

Three: Teri has amnesia!

I’m not even sure this one needs comment. I’ve often heard “24” compared to soap operas – a soap opera for dudes, I suppose, like dating wrestling – and, in the spirit of that, during the middle of Season One, Jack’s wife develops amnesia for some reason and spends a few episodes wandering around aimlessly trying to remember who the hell she is. You see, like her daughter, Teri added virtually nothing to the show. They were human plot devices. Luckily for us, Teri was put out of her misery far earlier than Kim was – in, ironically, one of the show’s best scenes ever.

Hey! She DID serve a purpose!

Two: Kim Bauer is pretty much useless, always.

About four episodes into the series, the “24” writers came to the grim realization that Kim Bauer had NOTHING TO ADD TO THE SHOW. Even in the first season when her subplot was directly related to Jack, (she was lost, or kidnapped, or something, and he was going to get her back DAMMIT) she still added very little – and then when Jack finally did rescue her and her mother, she REALLY had nothing to do. But she remained, and it became – what I can only hope – an elaborate game of one-up to see what increasingly more ridiculous situation the writers could put her in. This finally came to a stupendously dumb climax when Kim found herself tangling with a freaking cougar out in the woods for some reason during the second season. That’s right – while her father was out saving the world from terrorists, Kim Bauer was staging her own retarded version of “Where The Red Fern Grows.”

She was subsequently written out of the show one season later, though still pops up from time to time. And, in her defense, a little bit of Kim goes along way. When the writers aren’t forced to shoehorn her into the plot every hour, and actually use her to advance the story, she can be very effective.

It just took them three years to realize that.

One: Season Six just wasn’t very good, was it?

Remember up above when I said that the show had surprisingly very few truly cringe-worthy moments? That’s entirely true, by the way. It’s just unfortunate that one of those cringe-worthy “moments” was, in fact, an entire damn season.

Season Six was, without a doubt, the lowest point in the show’s entire history – for twenty-four straight hours.

There’s a lot you can attribute this to. Season Five was one of the shows strongest, and a tough act to follow – which leads me to believe that maybe the writers decided to just say “screw it” and not even try to top the previous season, and instead write such an incoherent mess that they’d have nowhere to go but up afterward.

Well, mission accomplished, I guess.

The season gets off to a pretty rocky start right off the bat – and by “rocky start” I mean “amazing start” that right away signalled to the audience that “welp, there’s nowhere to go from here but down.” And down they went.

The season began with terrorists detonating a nuclear bomb in a Los Angeles suburb. The shot of Jack looking helplessly as a huge mushroom blooms over Valencia was awesome, and really kickstarted thing with gusto. But – hey, wait a sec…where the hell do you go from there?

Do you know how hard it is to top a nuclear explosion? How on earth did they expect to keep the momentum going by blasting out their money shot in the first four episodes? I honestly don’t remember what the terrorist plot was in Season Six because, who cares? A damn nuke just exploded.

And it just gets worse from there. Jack killing Curtis. Forgettable villains with ill-defined motives. The pointless and embarrassing return of the Logan’s. Ricky freaking Schroeder.

It just didn’t end.

Now, admittedly, it had its moments. The big fight scene between Jack and villain Abu Fayed was one of the best choreographed and brutal fights I’ve ever seen on the show. Unfortunately, Fayed was not nearly as menacing or memorable a villain as past baddies, so it all seemed kind of wasted. But at least it looked badass.

The lowest moment of the entire, dismal season though came near the beginning, when the writers finally revealed the identity of the mysterious blue-toothed baddie who had (apparently) been pulling Logan’s strings in Season Five. We’d seen his face in Season Five. We even got his name – Graem. But what was his last name? How did he fit into everything? We were about to find out in glorious Season Six. This was a game-changer. This was key. A recurring villain! One with shady connections, who practically owned the president, one who could…

Jack’s never-before-spoken-about brother? Jack Bauer’s brother? The terrorist mastermind from Season Five is JACK’S FREAKING BROTHER?!?

Jack’s brother is a terrorist mastermind? This has never come up before? Talk about “soap opera for dudes.” What’s next – will Tony return from the dead to save the –

Oh, no wait. There’s Jack’s dad, and he just killed Graem. Guess he was behind it all along. Looks like Jack’ll be chasing his father around for the next twenty-one hours.

God dammit, Season Six sucked.

(And, of course, shortly after Tony did return from the dead bent on revenge or something.)

Soap opera for dudes!

Tomorrow, tune in for more “24” related madness!


1 Comment so far
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If you ever do a list of the most annoying characters ever created on television. Kim has to be on that list, and by on the list, I mean first on that list.
First and second season she made me want to jab my jugular with a cheese knife (Yeah, so what, I eat cheese and crackers while watching 24, big woop, wanna fight about it). Just kidnapped, I should fall in love with the guy that kidnapped me, Dad wants me to stay where I am, I should run away and go stay with a crackhead 18 year old. Stay at home safe, ok I’ll run out and meet up with the terrorists.
Fucking useless.
Go back to Popular Mechanics for Kids where I can at least jerk off to Cuthbert without ripping my dick off in hatred towards her.

Comment by Weemz

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