Friday, April 14, 2006

I think I've figured it out

OK, I think I've got a pretty good idea of what is going on wtih 24 right now, and I think it's pretty common. 24 became such a huge phenomenon (cue LL Cool J), that the writers got cute. They thought that they had a responsibility to become more than they really are.

Take South Park, for instance. When the show came out, it was a show about Anal Probes, fat middle schoolers, anal abortions, Terrence and Phillip the retarded Canadians, a pimp-ass Chef, stupid parents, and other meaningless but hilarious things. Now they have a vendetta against organized religion, the President, pop culture, Paris Hilton, Scientology, etc. Now, with South Park it works, because they're equally hilarious right now as they were day one, and they didn't lose their roots, but South park is the exception rather than the norm.

Let me give you a profile of what is going on in terms of the President and the Vice President. The President comes across to the general public as ridiculously incompetent, a down to earth "aww shucks, golly, our Country sure is great" kinda guy. Meanwhile the Vice President has a dark, sinister aura about him. We weren't even aware he existed until he appeared a couple episodes ago. Can anyone else think of a VP that fits this description? Yes, Mr Cheney. All they're missing is the VP accidentally shooting Aaron in the face with a shotgun and Aaron apologizes to the American people. I'm serious. This is coming.

Now what we've seen is that this "Dummy President" persona has caught us all by surprise, and the guy we've all been making fun of for two seasons now, is actually quite deviant and much more cunning than we've given him credit for. Hell, even his own wife is fooled! I've decided the Logan's development is actually quite genius. This isn't your typical "24 goes completely 180 degress on us", cuz this is real. This is our President. This is our situation. Don't you understand? Logan is using fear to control the citizens of the United States. He has manufactured a state of fear, including implementing Marshall Law, to further an agenda which i'm sure will be revealed to us in coming episodes.

Now here's the part where 24 may be crossing the line, or implying things that I think a lot of people are uncomfortable with: the sacrifice of American Lives to further the President's agenda. Obvious sacrifices had to be made, sacrifices which were accepted by Logan, in order for his goals to be met, in order to justify some of his actions. Look through American history, this is not uncommon, and if I knew more about World History, I'm sure I could mention a few other instances where this is true. Here are a few famous ones

-In 1898, the USS Maine explodes while off the coast of Spanish-controlled Cuba. US uses this as an excuse to start the Spanish American war. It is later revealed that the Maine actually exploded from the inside, implying some dirty business on the part of the United States. Minor note: thus began the ridicule of Puerto Rico and future "Shut up, Jose, my country owns you" jokes. No, really, I'm not bitter

-Pearl Harbor: I don't usually buy into conspiracy theories, but plenty of people believe the US knew about the coming attacks and let it happen as a means for us to have a reason to join WW2 (not that I think we really needed it)

- Some documents were released a short time ago revealing a meeting between Tony Blair and President Bush in mid 2001 or so. It details their plans to go to war with Iraq, specifically detailing their search for a justifiable reason to go to war. Among the plans thrown out by the leaders of the Western World: painting a US or British plane with United Nations colors, and having the plane fly low in order to be shot down by the Iraqi's, thus having the Iraqi's instigating the war.

This is the first instance I can think of where 24 has gone outside of the "Look how awesome Jack Bauer is and now the world is safe" storyline, and has put more of an emphasis on Presidential abuse of power, concession of essential rights, a Machiavelian "Ends Justify the Means" view of politics.

Season one was about Jack and Nina, Jack and Presidenial Candidate Palmer, Jack and Terri, Jack and his daughter, infiltration, moles, and especially: snipe shots. Maybe Season one wasn't the best, but it knew what it was good at and it stuck to it. Let me explain.

I'm reading a book by Douglas Rushkoff titled "Get back in the Box". It's a business book (Nerd Alert!), and it talks about how so many companies fail because they ignore the core competencies that made them successful int he first place. Companies start thinking they're bigger than they are, that they can offer more than they do. The world's leading Advertising company in the 70's got so power hungry and cocky that they stopped being an advertising company.

Take Seinfeld, for instance. Seinfeld was a show about nothing, but they were debatebly the most popular show of all time, at least of my generation. Now what if Seinfeld had forgotten that what they provided was a show about nothing, and they had done a spinoff with George and another with Kramer, and the show switched it's focus. One could argue that this is what happened with the Seinfeld finale. The final show wasn't about nothing. The finale Seinfeld homage wasn't Seinfeld at all, it was everything every other show has ever done, and that's why it was such a big flop: Seinfeld got away from (at least in the last episode) what made them so successful.

And in short, I think that's what happened to Jack Bauer and 24. I fell in love with 24 season was because Jack Bauer was what every hero should always be: tragic. He wasn't a good husband, he wasn't a good father. He was a self-righteous government agent who trusted the wrong people and paid for it.

Now what is Jack bauer? He's an extreme killing machine, detached from all emotion, capable of doing anything with the help of his ridiculously ugly and annoying sidekick Chloe. He has no relationships outside of Audrey. He has no family. I know, he's not perfect, and I think they tried to show this when Kim made her (thankfully) short appearance on the show this season. But even that was forced. Nothing that happened was Jack's fault, but Kim still pinned it on him. It's like people who are faced with facts on why their feelings are stupid but won't accept it:

"Cuz the store didn't have any, and I wasn't about to drive 20 miles in 2 feet of snow when we have Diet Pepsi in the Fridge"
"...I know.... But Still... I hate you"

It's almost like they know they need to keep Jack human, but have gone too far in making him super-human. And this blog is a perfect example of how they've failed to do this. We compare Jack's awesomeness to "Chuck Norris facts",
we make up catchy phrases like "Keep it Jack", or as with my first post on this blog, we refuse to call Jack by his real name, as it is a disservice to the omnipotent being that is JB.

So here's where I stand: after careful deliberation, I've decided that the Logan development is actually quite ingenius, but ultimately misguided, and 24 continues to separate itself from it's core competencies. I'm willing to ride out the rest of the season, and who am I kidding, I'll probably watch it until the show ends. But I'd like to see more things like what we saw in season one.

Word to JB

-Big Ho

PS, i've decided to put together an "alltime worst rotation" for the Red Sox since I've been a fan, and here's what I've come up with. Some basic rules:

1) You can't choose guys who made like 2 starts in their career
2) These players must have spent at least a whole season as a Red Sox, must have been considered a part of the rotation
Here's my rotation:

1) Frank Castillo
2) Hipolito Pichardo
3) Rolando Arrojo,
4) Pete Shourek
5) Casey Fossum

I'm insane


Blogger WitzPickz said...

that IS catchy! Good thing I went with that instead of, "Jack:Off"

Keep It Jack,

10:27 PM  

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