Monday, May 24, 2010

Season 8, 2pm-4pm:Viewer discretion is advised

I have wanted to know from before I know when, just who is advising my discretion?  Is FOX purposefully obfuscating?  Why would they put this show on in prime time if they didn't think it was suitable for someone who just might tune in too late to hear the warning?  Maybe they're trying to warn us without taking credit for warning us.  Maybe they don't want to warn us, but they think somebody thinks we should be warned.  Maybe we won't believe the warning if we knew who that somebody was.  Maybe they think if we think they're warning us we wouldn't think they were cool anymore, and everybody knows TV ratings run on cool.  Why don't they just stop with the passive voice (try using E-Prime) and put credit out in the open? 

And what are they (whoever they are) warning us about?  What do they think is so dangerous that we might blanche at the sight?  What do they think we can handle?

Well, what has 24 been about since day 1?  Listen to Jack (I could mean either Bauer or Nicholson here): honor, loyalty, truth, defending.  24 is a morality play, perhaps not surprisingly twisted by the centuries since their heyday.  For example, our only beacon of justice, President Taylor, fell far short of that this year.  And, OK, Jack really doesn't really represent humanity as a whole.  He is more trying to pull humanity from the brink.  So, yeah, I just talked myself out of that dead end of an analogy.

But whether or not 24 is a morality play, it shows us again and again what happens when you live "bad" and what happens when ou do "right."  Be nice, tell the truth, don't hurt people (unless you have a good reason, like they're bad), be true to your friends.  That's the moral of the story.  Look at the bad people--Logan killed his toady, even after toady was so competent, so loyal.  Logan then shot himself and will wind up either dead or severly brain damaged--a fine finish to a fine foil.  Most/all other baddies, even though they fully believed their cause was just have wound up dead because Jack thought his side was just.  President Taylor finally told the truth and took the path to face justice, though I don't see what good that will do.  All Jack was trying to do for the last half of this season was tell the truth. And look where that's gotten him: hounded, captured, shot by his best friend (more on that later), finally set free by the truth (the least Taylor could do once she saw the light), but now facing a life on the run, probably with his daughter used as bait to try to flush him out. 

Wow, and here I was trying to make a case for the mysterious "they" of the conspiracy that warns us about the show being afraid of the truth.  But as I look back on the run of 24 that I've seen over the years, all I see are conflict and dead and tortured souls and bodies and all sides of the conflicts using the same methods, spouting the same reasons, winding up in pretty much the same boat--dead if they're lucky.  Yeah, we should use discretion watching this show--there are no good guys, everybody's a bad guy, and nobody escapes unscathed.  Life is pain, highness.  I sure wish I hadn't watched this show and found out the truth!  Oh, wait, it looks like the truth is what "they" were trying to hide all along!

Why would they want to hide it?  Because I'm not gonna go out and buy all those fancy cars they're advertising if I realize life is pain.  So, now I finally figured out who is warning me--the car companies!  But why, then would they sponsor a show they've warned me not to watch??

Whew, good thing I'm gonna consciously step back from the brink there and not think too much.

That doesn't mean nothing else occurred to me over the course of the last couple hours.  I thought about my hope--that Jack and Taylor were stinging someone.  I knew that idea had too many holes to fly, but that would have been a great way to end the series.  So many twists over the years, so many big conspiracies.  Pulling one last big one over on us and exposing the biggest conspiracy ever--now that would have been a fitting end. 

But that's not where we went.  All we got was Taylor finally realizing Logan was Wormtongue (I always wondered why Theoden would have a guy by the name Wormtongue as a counsellor), then coming clean, and ready to face the music, no matter the consequences.  Not so heroic as Theoden.  And we get Jack MIA for most of the last hour, leaving everyone else to pick up the pieces. 

But he does show up on the crooshal missing circuit that Logan says isn't worth watching when he hands it to Taylor (after finally getting it from Jack)--man, oh man, how stupid can Logan be??? (I know the answer--he's given Jack the only leads he's gotten for the last few hours, all the while thinking he's so clever.)   Taylor watches it, and even though her phone rang in the middle of her watching it and my reception of FOX went on the Fritz there for about 10s, it convinced her to come clean. 

And he closes off the series saved by Chloe, watched from above--is she a guardian angel?  No, just Arlo's drone.  He thanks her, she cries, but Tony doesn't show up.

That's not the only time she cried.  The other time tonight got me all jumpity-jumping as this show does once in a while.  Chloe went Jack hunting, and Freddy gave her a gun as she headed out, and I'm thinking yeah, right, what good is Chloe with a gun gonna be against Jack.  Ye gods, how stupid is that--oh, wait, there has to be a reason she has that gun.  Yeah, we all knew Jack was gonna take it from her, and the writers keep hitting us over the head with the now standing orders to shoot to kill Jack on sight, so it had to come to this.  With agents closing in, Jack tells Chloe to shoot him.  She says she can't and starts crying, he keeps trying the yell louder and she'll do it trick, and it keeps not working, so he finally puts his gun to his head, and she finally shoots.  Turns out it was through and through the shoulder, which is the clue toady needs to figure that Jack gave Chloe the crooshall missing cirkit (isn't it obvious).  Toady gets his cheap thrill patting her down (she gets the thrill, too, otherwise she wouldn't have mentioned it), but still misses the cirkit in the obvious spot (not her mouth, that she keeps screwing up even more so than normal, but in her own phone!).  Later Freddy asks how she could be sure she wouldn't kill Jack, and she says she wasn't, which is what I figured, too, so how toady could jump from through and through to that's what Chloe planned is beyond me.

And now I'm wondering where I'll leave all of this.  I'll start the end by musing on the rumors of a 24 movie and ask one question: How are they gonna fit 24 hours of real time in a 2 hour movie?   On to: being tired of how many times someone invoked what a dead person would have wanted to try to convince someone else to agree with a course of action--completely self-serving in the worst possible way (claiming it's what someone who can't object wants!).  And some things I have learned from TV: From NYPD Blue I learned never to trust the police in an interrogation and always to lawyer up.  What I take away the most from 24--after seeing so many versions of threats and blackmail, I'll always call their bluff. 

I hope you've enjoyed listening.  If I ever think too much again, I'll try to let you know!
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