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9/22/2017 12:11:25 AM
Posted: 8/16/2005 11:23:47 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/16/2005 11:24:00 PM EDT by 22bad]
Getting Dirty in Real Time
By Paul Beston
8/17/2005
July/August issue of The American Spectator
www.spectator.org/dsp_article.asp?art_id=8577
THE LAST WE SAW special agent Jack Bauer, he was walking into a California sunrise and headed for the Mexican border, a classic Western hero on the run from the corruptions of law and government. He's given up his identity as Jack Bauer and is, at least until the next season of 24, the new Man with No Name. He doesn't have Clint Eastwood's poncho and cigarillo, but he does have a cell phone with a scramble filter.

As played by Kiefer Sutherland, Bauer is a character of amazing gusto, a fall-on-his-sword patriot whose efforts to save America involve actions that would normally be considered criminal, and that even under the conditions in which he works are at least morally debatable. In the 24 season just past, Bauer held up a convenience store in order to keep tabs on a "hostile"; temporarily quit the Counter Terrorism Unit (CTU) so that, no longer a federal employee, he could freely torture a suspect for information; led a commando raid on the Chinese embassy to abduct a Chinese national with knowledge of a terrorist plot; and forced doctors at gunpoint to abandon medical treatment for an innocent American, the estranged husband of his girlfriend, in favor of saving the Chinese national, who was wounded in the raid. Under the circumstances, saving the American would have been a merely sentimental choice.

"He's unorthodox, but he gets results," one of Bauer's colleagues says of him. "You're going to have to trust me," Bauer often says. Both statements apply to 24 as well.

The show, which completed its fourth season in May, is known for its innovative structure, its suspense, and its plot twists. Each season represents one day during which a cataclysmic terrorist plot is about to unfold; each episode represents one real-time hour. A clock appears on the screen at different points to mark the time. More striking even than its innovations, though, is the show's political and moral toughness. It regularly plunges into issues like torture, deceit, and even murder as a way of getting at some enduring truths: that war affords few opportunities for moral purity; that we must still have the courage to make distinctions between unpleasant options, and act on our choices; that one does not have to be innocent to be right. As one character puts it, "This is a dirty business, and we're going to have to get our hands dirty if we want to fix it."

At least as concerns America's role in the world, this is not a message the left is comfortable with. But then, the left can't be terribly enamored of a program in which the Secretary of Defense ends an altercation with his left-wing son by snarling, "Spare me your sixth-grade Michael Moore logic!"

Since its plots often involve Islamic terrorists, 24 has run afoul of political correctness and some Muslim lobbying groups. When the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), an organization with a dubious record condemning terrorism that still manages to get White House invites, protested, Kiefer Sutherland taped a public service announcement urging viewers to remember that Muslim Americans are on our side in the war against terrorism. It is a message one urgently wishes to believe, but since the terrorists the government is fighting in real life are Islamic, 24 is only depicting reality. Sutherland himself conceded this point in an interview around the same time.

The protests clearly had an effect, though. A subsequent episode featured a few Islamic Americans giving earnest speeches expressing their desire to fight for America. No doubt such people exist, but the script still read as if authored by CAIR. Fortunately, such effects did not linger long. 24 is like a ring brawler who has a few bad rounds but then comes back swinging again, apparently rejuvenated.

The most recent season pulled no punches, for example, in its portrayal of the terrorist mastermind Habib Marwan. He does not turn out to be, as he might have on some other shows, a soulful human being fighting for a cause that, in the subjectivist's moral universe, can be readily defended. Rather, he is a ruthless killer who is like many jihadi front men in that he preaches the virtues of death and sacrifice while making elaborate plans for his own survival. He is also attuned to the emphasis liberal democracies place on rights and due process. When one of his men is apprehended, Marwan rings up a lawyer from "Amnesty Global," who quickly helps secure his release. It's a delicious slap at the organization that recently branded America's efforts to detain terrorists "the gulag of our time."

By the time Bauer tells Marwan, "For all the hatred that you have for this country, you don't understand it very well," the effects of the CAIR protests seemed to have long since dissipated.

THE SHOW'S RESILIENCE owes a good deal to Sutherland's mesmerizing portrayal of Jack Bauer. Perhaps somewhere a critic is attempting to explain how the son of one of Hollywood's renowned lefties has become an iconic star by playing a fearless terrorist fighter. Bauer is basically a superhero, but more in the fashion of Marvel comics than DC comics -- he brings the gift of freedom to others, but mostly ruin to himself and those he loves. However over the top his adventures may sometimes go, he is one of the most stirring characters the small screen has ever produced, and certainly on a short list of great TV patriots.

24 as a whole is patriotic in its honesty about the nature of our adversaries and its refusal to indulge in the moral equivocation favored by most critically lauded television dramas. You never hear CTU characters wondering while perched over their computers, "Why do they hate us?" or fretting that "we're just as bad as they are." 24 is also refreshing in its lack of interest in the standard hobby horses of gender and race. Though some read feminism into the show's gallery of can-do, deadly females (others read misogyny), the show doesn't speechify one way or the other. Likewise, America's political leaders are too busy trying to stop nuclear holocausts to give potted speeches about race. One of the program's enduring characters is David Palmer, the country's first black president. His character faces all kinds of stress, including coup attempts engineered by his own staff, but his race is never discussed.

The most serious problems with the show are its often implausible plot twists, like the presence of a mole within CTU every season or the curious inability of almost any CTU commando to survive field operations, other than Jack. Being a TV show, 24 also makes occasional stops into soap opera romance, often at the most unlikely times. Jack is not above pausing at high-stress moments to try patching up his always disastrous love life over his always-charged cell phone. But most of these problems fall within the realm of suspension of disbelief. It's still TV, after all, though its scenarios are distressingly real.

While 24 is becoming a pop culture institution, it remains to be seen whether it will flourish in reruns. Its cliffhanger nature has the immediacy of a sporting event, and as any sports buff can tell you, watching a game on tape just isn't the same. There is also the matter of the program's serial structure, which is not compatible with the one-off format of a typical drama or sitcom. The appeal of reruns is the ability to flick on and flick off, getting resolution in a matter of minutes and moving on to other things. 24 does not reward occasional involvement.

Reruns will have to wait, though, as Fox has renewed the show for two more seasons. Whatever its future holds, for sheer audacity it may never top a moment from the second season.

Jack Bauer is questioning a small-time criminal who has turned informer against a group that Bauer had previously infiltrated. The group in turn has ties to the terrorists plotting that season's mayhem. Bauer realizes that he will have to re-infiltrate the group to get information, but first he'll need to regain their trust. He decides that he'll need to bring them the informer's head. In the interrogation room, Bauer shoots and kills the informer, to the astonishment of his superior, CTU director George Mason. When Mason excoriates him, Bauer replies, "That's the problem with you, George, you're not willing to get your hands dirty. I'd suggest you roll up your sleeves."

But this is about as much pontification as we ever get out of Jack Bauer. As befits a man of action, he immediately gets down to the practicalities of the situation. Perched over the dead man's body, he looks up at George Mason and utters perhaps the show's most memorable line: "I'm going to need a hack saw."

And come next season, a new name.
Link Posted: 8/16/2005 11:42:28 PM EDT
I thought Arfcom was a Jack Bauer\24 stronghold?
Link Posted: 8/17/2005 12:08:29 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/17/2005 12:08:45 AM EDT by glockguy40]
The show is utterly unrealistic.... but I watch it anyway
Link Posted: 8/17/2005 12:14:35 AM EDT
so what gun does jack bauer use?
Link Posted: 8/17/2005 12:25:00 AM EDT

Originally Posted By twonami:
so what gun does jack bauer use?



HK USP???
Link Posted: 8/17/2005 12:29:55 AM EDT
If Jack Bauer Ran a Starbucks...

The camera pans up on a starbucks counter in suburban Los Angeles. A strung out Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland) stands at a cash register, looking non plussed. A business man in a suit, carrying a briefcase walks up to the counter.

Man 1: Venti Vanilla Soy Latte

Jack: There's no time for that. Here's a large coffee. Now gimme three bucks and you won't get hurt.

Man 1: Um. But what about my Soy?

Jack: Fuck your soy, can't you see the world's in danger?

****

A hip web programmer walks in and sees Jack at the counter.

Man 2: Yo dude, venti 8 pump soy chai lattte dude.

Jack: There. is. no. time.

Man 2: There's always time for chai, man.

Jack: We are runnning out of time. We can't stick to protocol here, you know I'm right and you'll just have to trust me.

Jack hands him a mocha and pushes him out the front door.

****

Jack goes to refill the milk pitchers and finds them empty. He marches back to the storage area, where his coworker is bound and gagged to a chair, looking panicked. He removes his ball gag and draws the gun out from the waistband of his black jeans.

Jack: WHERE IS THE CREAMER

Employee: *whimper* Don't kill me man

Jack: WHERE IS THE GODDAMN CREAMER!

Employee, crying: I dunno man, this is only my second day

Jack shoots him in the foot, Employee screams.

Jack: We don't have time for this, just tell me where the creamer is before I really snap.

****

Jack is holding a clipboard, looking at the manifest for his supply delivery. A swarthy delivery man is moving boxes out of his truck into the supply room.

Jack: Wait a minute. There are only six boxes of latte flavor bottles here.

Delivery, in accent: I bring what I have

Jack: Don't give me that, I know what the chatter says, you've got eight boxes for me.

Delivery: I know what I have, I have six

Jack: I've got the interpol overnights RIGHT HERE. It says EIGHT

Delivery: SIX! I have Six!

Jack draws the gun

Delivery: SIX!

Jack grabs him and pushes him into the corner and puts the gun to his head

Jack: Now, I know what protocol says, and I know what I'm feeling right now, and I know they're different. Don't make me kill you.

Delivery: Seven?

****

Jack is cleaning the counter when spots that the guy in the corner is *still* there. He storms over to the guy, and slams shut his iBook, narrowly missing the guy's fingers. Jack hurls the table into the wall and yanks the lurker out of his trendy chair.

Jack: WHAT ARE YOU PLANNING?

Guy: wha? wha? Nothing! I'm just chatting!

Jack: You've been here for SIX HOURS!

Guy: This is my OFFICE

Jack: No, this is MY STARBUCKS! [takes his gun out and puts three rounds in the guys iBook] WHAT ARE YOU PLANNING?

Guy: I'm writing a novel

Jack: and I'm the President [Shoots him in the foot] NOW TELL ME!

www.tombridge.com/rta/2005/01/if_jack_bauer_r.html
Link Posted: 8/17/2005 12:39:01 AM EDT
I wanna be Jack
Link Posted: 8/17/2005 1:46:55 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/17/2005 1:47:09 AM EDT by metroplex]
subscribed

Did anyone here Sutherland got totally wasted at a party and went home to pee in some trashcans, only to piss on a paparazzi hiding in the trash?
Link Posted: 8/17/2005 3:27:54 AM EDT

Originally Posted By metroplex:
subscribed

Did anyone here Sutherland got totally wasted at a party and went home to pee in some trashcans, only to piss on a paparazzi hiding in the trash?

God, I hope thats true.

Kharn
Link Posted: 8/17/2005 3:32:59 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Kharn:

Originally Posted By metroplex:
subscribed

Did anyone here Sutherland got totally wasted at a party and went home to pee in some trashcans, only to piss on a paparazzi hiding in the trash?

God, I hope thats true.

Kharn




+1
Link Posted: 8/17/2005 4:06:05 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/17/2005 4:06:59 AM EDT by metroplex]

Originally Posted By glockguy40:

Originally Posted By twonami:
so what gun does jack bauer use?



HK USP???



He changes pistols often. He used different pistols throughout Seasons 1-4 IIRC. He had a holster that allowed the use of a sound suppressor in season 1, which I thought was kind of cool being that a department issued holster can holster a pistol with the sound suppressor attached. Is that evil or what? In Los Angeles no doubt.

I read that Sutherland is pretty much deaf in both ears from filming movies that required the use of firearms. He wouldn't wear ear plugs becuase he couldn't hear the lines from the other actors after he fired the guns... I guess that's why he likes to yell all the time.
Link Posted: 8/17/2005 4:14:57 AM EDT
That article pretty much hit it dead on. Can't wait for the next season, this is the only fictional tv series besides "the shield" I watch.

Bauer has carried a two-tone SIG, a blued SIG, and a H&K USP. I think that's it, but it's been awhile since I watched season 3.
Link Posted: 8/17/2005 4:36:00 AM EDT
twonami's pic shows a P2000? if I'm not mistaken. The USPs always had an external hammer. Jack HAS gone John Woo in several instances though.
Link Posted: 8/17/2005 4:52:20 AM EDT
Kinda, sorta, maybe off topic.....does anyone know when the last season willbe released on DVD?

Bomber
Link Posted: 8/17/2005 5:05:36 AM EDT

Originally Posted By thebomber:
Kinda, sorta, maybe off topic.....does anyone know when the last season willbe released on DVD?

Bomber



it's out in the UK now (region 2), aka 24 Series 4. It will be out in the US (Region 1) 12/6/2005 Season 4.
I'm contemplating not watching Season 5 on TV so I can wait for the DVD release.
Link Posted: 8/17/2005 5:15:13 AM EDT

Originally Posted By metroplex:

Originally Posted By thebomber:
Kinda, sorta, maybe off topic.....does anyone know when the last season willbe released on DVD?

Bomber



it's out in the UK now (region 2), aka 24 Series 4. It will be out in the US (Region 1) 12/6/2005 Season 4.
I'm contemplating not watching Season 5 on TV so I can wait for the DVD release.




Thanks for the info. I started watching it on DVD so I've been tryiong to avoid ,earning too much about what's going on with the TV series. I did watch an episode on TV anbd I can tell you it's more suspenseful on DVD since there isn't the comercial break.

YMMV

Bomber
Link Posted: 8/17/2005 5:21:00 AM EDT
I bought Seasons 1-3 on DVD in June and just finished it a week ago. I now know the entire Kim/Nina "Trilogy". I only saw the last 5-6 episodes of Season 4 on TV and did not like the poor TV reception or the commercial breaks. Plus the Season 4 DVD pack will include a long DVD only prequel to Season 5.

Season 3's bonus disc included a 5.5 min prequel to Season 4 that tied in what happened to Jack and how he got fired from CTU and it invovled a cuss word .
Link Posted: 8/17/2005 5:26:50 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/17/2005 5:27:07 AM EDT by Dolomite]

But then, the left can't be terribly enamored of a program in which the Secretary of Defense ends an altercation with his left-wing son by snarling, "Spare me your sixth-grade Michael Moore logic!"

I remember that. I thought, 'Jezz, I wonder who'd be slighted by that?'

Well, now I know.
Link Posted: 8/17/2005 7:35:11 AM EDT
I heard a rumor that season 4 is already floating around on limewire.
Link Posted: 8/17/2005 7:38:17 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/17/2005 7:38:43 AM EDT by metroplex]

Originally Posted By PBIR:
I heard a rumor that season 4 is already floating around on limewire.



Wouldn't doubt it. UK Series 4 is already available in Region 2 format on DVD.
Link Posted: 8/17/2005 7:53:10 AM EDT

If Jack Bauer Ran a Starbucks..


can't wait until January....



Link Posted: 8/17/2005 12:59:49 PM EDT

Originally Posted By metroplex:
twonami's pic shows a P2000? if I'm not mistaken. The USPs always had an external hammer. Jack HAS gone John Woo in several instances though.


No that's my USP-C40
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