Monday, April 17, 2006

Since U Been Gone: The Following Took Place and Didn't Take Place Between Three Weeks Ago and Tonight

I haven't posted on the site in three weeks and it's not just because I've been using my 160,000 dollar education to use zots and color change glue sticks at work. It's also because "24" has made me ask some deep personal questions about my television viewing. Three weeks ago, when the president was shown to be responsible for this whole conspiracy, I knew I had to take pause, and think things over. I needed some me time. Having taken some time, and continued to watch the show silently, I feel I have regained some of my composure and can return to posting without fear of making references and comparisons to shows such as "The Magic Hour" or "Love Monkey." In the spirit of "24" (or what's left of it) I will post as far as things which Did and DID NOT take place over the last three weeks.

DID: The president was revealed to be somehow responsible for everything that has gone down in the last season. I spent most of the week trying to fit my fist up an uncomfortable orifice, in the hopes of pulling a similar plot twist out of my own ass.

DID NOT: Get it twisted.

DID: Take the sexual harassment test at work. I will no longer leave "sexual knick-knacks" on other people's desks, or have "elevator eyes" when I first meet a new co-worker. Of course, I was tested through the antics of the fictional character "Rod Penson." I shit you not.

DID NOT: The vice president was NOT found to be responsible for said plot. While I understand why this was the case in terms of shock value, the writing was not justified. Every clue led to the VP (keeping people in their house via martial law for the gas releasing and The Krang Forehead) but these clues were merely misdirection. This would be alright if ANY clues had been used to set the president up (even really subtle clues) to be the bad guy. Instead, NO clues were given to foreshadow this event, thereby making it come out of nowhere and highly implausible. Good writing does not simply shock, but shock you while at the same time making you slap yourself in the forehead while saying "OF COURSE! How could I have missed it!" (see The Bible when Judas betrays Jesus or Fraggle Rock when the Doozers steal a watch to make a clocktower). This twist was the Tipping Point (by Malcolm Gladwell) for me, and it is where I went into Dark Territory (aka Under Siege II).

DID: I started watching the 6-7pm hour of Rachel Ray's 30 Minute Meals on The Food Network and by watching the "new" episode followed by the "old" episode, realized that Rachel Ray's meals induce both pep and an ever rising pantline. Also, there are a crapload of ways to make pork chops, but saying EVOO instead of Extra Virgin Olive Oil is still very uncool.

DID NOT: Watch Bones. The dream is still alive.

DID: The president was revealed to only be responsible for the first part of the plot and not the whole gassing everyone, dealing with confusingly ethnic (unethnic??) terrorists who were less capable of frightening me than Nickelodeon's Are You Afraid of the Dark. Still, the idea that the president faked anything besides an erection ("Charles, is that-- did you tie a popsicle stick to your penis?" "What, no, don't make me send you to that crazy house again...") Haha...President Droopy...took me half a season to hit that one outta the park.

DID NOT: There hasn't been a sniping, legit Bauer Torture, a car bomb, or a "we're running out of time" in months. In fact, "they're running out of time" to make me remember why "24" is what it is. Everything that needs to be said here is contained in--

DID: --Big Ho's brilliantly conceived and executed post about what makes 24 what it is and why it has lost track of it's own success.

DID NOT: Find the "24" soundtrack in stores. Will resort to using my playschool microphone recorder to record directly off the television.

DID NOT: Use the bank manager in last week's episode for any good use. This is the epitome of the problem with this season. The bank manager could have not complied, he could have not recognized Wayne Palmer, or he could have died in the initial shooting. Instead, the writers had him recognize Palmer, BELIEVE what he was told, and OFFERED to help Jack and Wayne. This was a huge opportunity for the writers to make use of a character and take the show and the character in a direction they haven't gone before. Instead, they waited until they left the bank and then killed off the bank manager. What good is this? Where moments before they had an intriguing multi-dimensional NEW character who could have done something interesting, they now had a guy who died thanks to Jack Bauer who now leaves behind a family for no apparently reason. AKA, he was 24 fodder. 24 keeps writing itself into corners instead of using the same situations to open up more hallways and doors to areas they haven't been before. It's like Doom, basically. But with less upgrading of weapons.

DID: Start watching "Lost". Despite my solid year and a half of protests, I finally got bored enough and heard enough good feedback about the show to actually watch it from the beginning and I was instantly hooked. "Lost" reminded me of how good "24" used to be, and how good storytelling can be when done correctly. I recommend everybody checkout Lost who hasn't already (from the beginning)-- especially if you are currently able to follow the ongoing plotlines of Deal or No Deal.

DID NOT: Manage to avoid watching Deal or No Deal. After all of my comments, I gave in and have seen a couple of episodes of the stupidest game show of all time. While Howie Mandel continues to wait for the rights to the Bobby's World movie, his shaven skull stand as a reminder to those contestants who forgot how bad gambling and losing a bet can be. Some people shave their heads because their friends have cancer. It is the unfortunate case of Howie Mandel that his only friend is a bald eagle named Lenny. I will say, however, that Deal or No Deal manages to PERFECTLY capture the high and subsequent crashing low that accompany a night of gambling addiction. The adrenaline of the high and the emptiness and loneliness of the low are practically tangible in our living room each and every night. They should have named the show, "Stayin' Poor" or as JGeto-Verit mused, "the pitch for the show: You know when you're in a gas station and you watch all those people buying scratch tickets and losing all their money? It's like that." No Deal.

DID: Have the Cabo Chicken Sandwhich from Quiznos. I am still reeling from the deliciousness.

DID NOT: Care about 24 this week.

DID: Watch it. And it was alright. I'm not ready to say that 24's back on track after the misplaced plot twists of the past couple weeks, but part of me hopes that what we witnessed was a "spring cleaning" of sorts. Out with the old, start with the new. Maybe the exchange was rocky, but it just might be time to forget about the past and be willing to accept the future. After all, "each day is a gift, that's why they call it the present."......accept you know, for Jack Bauer...for whom each day is the worst day of his life......and David Palmer...who got sniped...and Sean Astin...who died a terrible nerve gas related death....or Chase...whose arm and contract were both ax-ed....or Charlie Sheen, who once starred in The Chase......

DID NOT: Know how to end this post. I apologize for all The Chase references and for a lone "My Super Sweet Sixteen" reference which I chose not to make. Look. All i'm saying is this: If they would just bring back Singled Out and Undressed, we could all be happy...even Mark Bellhorn (the saddest man in baseball).

Hugs, Kisses, and Sniping Wishes (Keep It Jack),


Blogger Big Ho said...

Absolutely brilliant post. I have only one question: singled out with Jenny McCarthy, or after Jenny Mcarthy? Isn't this where Carmen Electra made her big debut?

Also, if you're going to Quiznos, you've gotta get the Honey Mustard Chicken with Bacon. There can be no debate about this. I'm willing to start a Quiznos blog. Don't say I won't.

8:00 AM  
Blogger A Money said...

I like the post. But allow me to shine some light on "Deal or No Deal." It's actually a ripoff of a Spanish show (from Spain, not Mexico mind you). Let that digest, a Spanish show. This came from Canal 2(spanish for channel), home of crazy Spanish soaps, free late night porn, and crappy soccer games (from the second division) that nobody watches.

I laugh everyday that somebody asks me if I watch this show, because I realized, while abroad in Spain, that it is legalized gambling broadcast on TV. And let me ruin the suspense now, you will never see the guy on the other end of the phone.

I like the love for Lost, it's a very good show.

12:03 PM  
Blogger JKow said...

I'm glad you "took pause," witz. If only more people could be like you, the world would be a better place.

"The Show" really "yoink"ed one out of its collective a$$ this time, witz. You're right on.

What exactly is a sexual knick-knack? Is it anything like a grit?

As for your VP shock value, I think CSI (the original) still gets the shocking-the-audience-while-even-though-the-clues-were-there idea. The creators might want to watch this show to learn how to continue the doing-what-got-you-there-in-the-first-place thing.

Speaking of bones and fake erections, are Pres. and Mrs. Droopy ever going to get it on? The sexual tension is killing me.

I'm glad I caught your Doom reference on my second read. I feel vindicated. Speaking of Doom and upgrading, I fired up my buddy's N64 to play Goldeneye, and I now need some help: The roommates like playing "license to kill" with every weapon scenario. I say you can only do "L2K" w/ pistols. What say you?

10:27 AM  
Blogger A Money said...

pistols only, none of that other weak ass shit

5:39 PM  

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