Dumb Things I Have Done Lately

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Jack Bauer Tortured by Trope

First, a photo: Overflowing book drop at the Reston Regional Library (closed for the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day holiday):

I was returning two Charlie Stross books (Atrocity Archives and Missile Gap), and a few other people had beaten me there. I couldn't bring myself to leave the books outside, so I'll try again later.
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In 24 news, I have to say that they're pretty close to losing me again. (Spoilers for Season 8, Hour 3). What did it was the sheer ludicrousness needed to squeeze in the police brutality scene: We're expected to believe that Officer Bullethead, upon getting the drop on an unknown guy (Jack Bauer) who's holding his partner at gunpoint (already a scenario which clearly justifies -- nay, demands -- deadly force)... instead chooses to tase him.

Okay, fine, a poor tactical choice at best, using nonlethal force like that... but then, he makes a big deal about having just tromped through the murder scene and how Jack is a copkiller who needs to be beaten to death so he doesn't skate on a technicality.

Got that? He's a rogue cop who's ready to turn to street justice. Yet when he sees a cop killer pointing a gun at his partner, instead of shooting him, he uses his taser.

It's a horrible example of lazy writing, using the police brutality cliche to justify a gratuitious "torture Jack Bauer scene." (Throw in the rookie redemption trope, too. At least the Asian guy gets to kick a little ass, eventually.)

Speaking of torture, the "I'm not going to cut the bracelet" line in the auto parts store was clearly meant to invoke "I'm gonna need a hacksaw" from Season 2. Although it's sort of interesting to see Jack on the other side of "I'll do whatever it takes," the writers are dipping into a dry well: Mole red herring; serial plots stitched together outlandishly (Yes, by all means, bring the weapons-grade uranium to the US -- the US is a great transshipment point for that sort of thing); annoying domestic subplots, etc.

Oh, and apparently, testifying in front of the Senate in open hearings does not preclude you from doing undercover work.

As I noted elsewhere, "suspension of disbelief" is accepting Freddy Prinz, Jr. as a tough guy badass field agent. This is just silly.

A few other things:

* Jack Bauer upgraded his messenger bag from canvas to leather

* Lastly, assuming that's where CTU: NY is located, might this finally make Roosevelt Island cool? Will we see a battle on the tram?

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Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Jack Bauer's Corollary to Chekhov's Gun

The dramatic principle of Chekhov's Gun can be paraphrased as:

"If you see a gun in the first act, it should go off by the last."

To that, we can add the Jack Bauer Corollary to Chekhov's Gun:

"If you see a cigar cutter anywhere near Jack Bauer, someone's finger is coming off."

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Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Nuclear Fallout Causes Boredom

Spoilers ahead for '24', season six, 11AM-12PM
  • Looks like the country has gotten a lot more relaxed when it comes to the detonation of nuclear weapons on US soil. People were rioting and cougars were attacking after a nuke went off in the middle of the Mojave Desert in season 2. Now, 12,000 people and Magic Mountain get vaporized, and there are a few fender benders and a helicopter crashes.

    Oh, and there's some political infighting in the bunker. Geez, maybe people would be more freaked out if the terrorists had a

    Dancing Baby GifDancing

    Never forget.

  • Wow, what a great plan, Mr. FBI-Agent. It only requires that the Confidential Informant that you recruited on-the-fly be a trained pickpocket.

    And there's no chance Mr. Cellphone Terrorist-Wannabe would ever check his outgoing call log. Nope. Don't know why cellphone makers even bother to include Call History anymore, since it's such an obscure feature no one uses.

  • "CAUTION: Keep away from babies and small children. The thin film may cling to nose and mouth and prevent breathing. Do not use this bag in cribs, cots, beds, carriages, prams, playpens or field interrogations without proper training. You have to trust us!"

  • Apparently, when the president refuses to accept your resignation, you don't need a two-thirds majority to override him.

  • Hrm, Karen Hayes gets military transport to LA. Which means she'll make it inside the blast radius within a few episodes.

  • Milo better wipe down Tech One after his menage with Mick Schtoppel and Chloe before he doinks Nadia. Maybe he has some anti-static handi-wipes in his desk.

  • Agent Curtis is still dead.
Look, I'm not a super-huge stickler when it comes to realism in 24, as long as it's interesting, exciting, or moves the plot around. But post-Visitor-Number-1 has been BORING.

About the only things that would have saved this episode would be McCarthy's bimbo giving him a handjob in the car to reduce his "stress," or Pops Bauer putting the whammy on Rocket Romano's security team with a well-timed "Baa-ram-ewe."

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Tuesday, January 23, 2007

The State of the Onion, 24 and the H&R Block Box Bitch

You know, I think the chimp-in-chief didn't do all that bad of a job giving the State of the Union this time around. At least in terms of delivery. Well, except for that whole "assed/asked" thing. And I have mixed feelings about that bit of pandering to the fairer sex when he referred to Pelosi (who, truth be told, does have an incredibly annoying voice.)

Though Dikembe Mutumbo?

The Jim Webb rebuttal was hardcore, though.

Looking over at my catchup viewing of '24', I think the primary takeaway is that Rocket Romano's wife Marilyn is HOT. (She's also apparently wheelchair wife from Heroes, so there's that Monday night connection.) Also, Milo, Chloe and Mick Schtoppel are going to have a three-way in Tech One. And soon.

Finally, if you've seen that H&R Block TaxCut software commercial -- the one where the husband and wife are getting audited because they used Turbotax, and the wife keeps going on about how they should ask the box for advice?

Man, what a bitch.

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Tuesday, January 16, 2007

A Few Thoughts on the 24 Season 6 4-Hour Premiere

I'm determined to not fall entirely behind on 24 this season, partially so I can read blogs and boards without worrying about hitting spoilers, but mostly so I don't have to cover my eyes and go "LA-LA-LA-LA" any time a 24 commercial comes on.

Random thoughts for Season 6, 6AM-10AM (episodes 1-4) [Spoilers]:

* When are the terrorists going to learn that, for clandestine deployment of Weapons of Mass Destruction, using just-in-time delivery for components and assembling them on the fly is just more trouble than it's worth?

Sure, in theory, it reduces your vulnerability and makes it harder for someone to roll up your entire organization in one go. But it seems needlessly complicated. Especially since the 24 terrorists are always making their connections by yakking away on unsecured cell phones.

* Similarly, would it kill them to procure some WMD that they can use right out of the box? The terrorists always have to go track down parts and find some engineers to custom-rig detonators and assemble the things at the last minute, and they're always leaving circuit diagrams and schematics lying around for anyone to find.

* Nice job of the writers setting up the not-UPS guy (Ray, Hostage Dad) to look like a potential hero (especially after he channeled a little Jack, killing custom detonator guy with a lamp and the floor), then not doing anything except screaming "NOOOOOOO" before the big boom.

* At this point, I don't think we know if Agent Curtis is dead (I get a morbid glee when I see the big "DECEASED" stamped across the character profiles on the 24 site). I'm inclined to think he's only wounded, since if they were going to write him out, they could at least have given him a heroic death trying to stop the suitcase nuke.

* The first 4 hours are available on DVD tomorrow. That's kind of interesting.

* They're good actors, but all I see is Dr. Bashir, Commander Lock, Mick Schtoppel, Ally McBeal guy, Col. McQueen, and of course, Terrorist Kumar.

* I miss the split-screen camera work. They don't use it very much any more.

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Wednesday, December 27, 2006

How Did I Know With Absolute Certainty That Best Buy Would Fuck Up?

...because it's Best Buy, of course.

So, through Saturday, 12/30, every season of '24' on DVD is $19.99 at Best Buy, which, after careful analysis, I determined to be less than a dollar an episode.

I'd seen it in the Sunday circular (which comes on Saturday), so I checked the Web site just after midnight on Sunday, and when it showed up at the correct price, I bought seasons 2, 3, and 5, choosing to pick up at my local store.

I went to pick it up today (they'll hold it for 8 days).

Naturally, after standing in line at customer service (so much for the special store pickup line), then watching them root around in the cabinets, they could only find season 5 from my order, with no sign of seasons 2 or 3 (and of course, it was sold out in the store, which was why I bought it online in the first place). Presumably, they sold it to someone else.

What would Jack Bauer have done? Probably shot some people in the thigh, while yelling, "We're running out of time! You've got to trust me!" which wasn't really an option for me.

So, I took season 5 and got a raincheck for seasons 2 and 3 (if you want to get it at that price too, just get a raincheck). I'll need to keep a close eye on my next credit card statement to make sure they didn't charge me for the other 2.

As a coda, though, when I came home, I saw that I already owned season 3. (I don't really remember the season numbers, just the storylines: 1. Senator Palmer. 2. Nuke LA. 3. Virus. 4. Marwan (that was an especially complicated one). 5. Sentox Nerve Gas.)

So I would have been making a return trip in any case, because of my own dumbness. However, it doesn't excuse Best Buy's failure in this case.

On a side note, I may not be the best manager in the world, but I'm pretty sure you shouldn't throw your employees under the bus to save face in front of a customer, even if they are "retarded."

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