Dear ’24’: I Quit You

Dear 24:

When we first met in 2001, you were perfect for me. You were exciting, and dangerous, and knew how to show a lady a good time. But lately, the relationship has lost its luster. I know that this is the natural progression of any relationship, you can’t possibly keep up that same level of intrigue for all these years. After the seven year itch, I settled into a comfort with your familiarity.  I looked forward to spending time with you every Monday night.

But you just had to go and ruin things with all these other women. Rene and Dana ring a bell? Heck, I’ve even got a bone to pick with Chloe this season. I can’t deal with all these other women, and here is why I quit you, mid-episode last Monday, for good. Spoilers abound, so proceed with caution.

Sad/Bad/Mad Rene.  Actually I really like Rene, and I adore Annie Wersching in the role, but there are so many inconsistencies with her character this season, and her spunk has been  replaced with this misguided  self–loathing. Quite frankly, making Rene’s character into such a drag has really been a drag on the show.

I also can’t quite figure out the chronology of Rene’s storyline, which is really not helping the credibility of her story arc. Readers, perhaps you can enlighten me here. Weren’t we told that six years ago Rene went undercover with the Russian gang?  Wouldn’t that make it pre-season 7, in which she was still in uptight prissy mode?  Since President Allison Taylor is still in office, I am assuming this season did not skip forward 10 years because of Presidential term limits.

So, when Rene came into season 7 freshly scrubbed with her moral compass firmly intact, was this post-Russian gang days?  Because that doesn’t make sense, because we have been led to believe that going undercover with them caused her to have permanent emotional scars.  If so, how could she have been so ideological last season?

Was she just fine at that point? If so, what specifically happened last season that caused her to finally unravel?  I know her married boyfriend died, and she had to make some hard decisions, but after being embedded with the brutal Russian guys she should have been able to take these events in stride.

At any rate, she is now a full-blown sociopath now, albeit with some enviable smoky eye makeup (Hey, Annie’s makeup artist, if you read this, please give me a call.)  She is practically ripping hearts out with her bare hands, and I just don’t buy it.

Annoying/Aggravating/Insipid Dana.  Really?  You want me to believe that an ex-felon easily fooled everyone on her application and somehow got hired by the C.T.U?  Even worse, strictly for practical reasons, like needing a job?

If you were an ex-felon, with an assumed identity, who was on the run from an abusive boyfriend, and you just happened to have acquired a freakish knowledge of computer systems, would you really go apply for a high profile top-secret government agency job?  Of course not.

Somehow this idiotic character (who craps her pants  at the mere sound of her ex boyfriend’s voice on the phone, despite being surrounded by an army of people who could ensure her safety if common sense prevailed) has surreptitiously left the computer room at least eight times during a crisis to bark directives to her ex on how to steal some money that is in an evidence lock-up room.  Way to shoulder your responsibilities to the country, bitch.

Does anyone else get the distinct feeling that the writers just threw this lame storyline in at the last minute, because someone hinted that Katee Sockhoff might be interested in the show?  How else to explain this incredibly uninspired dribble?

By the way, nerds, please explain the Katee Sockhoff phenomenon, because I don’t get it.  I never watched Battlestar Galactica, but she was horrible on Nip/Tuck last season, and she is dreadful here.

Supermodel Chloe.  Part of what made Chloe so charming in past seasons is that she was always slightly unkempt, dour and disheveled.  She had that mad genius quality, with a hint of naughty librarian.  It’s natural that her character would have a bit of a makeover, but come on!

Silky smooth flat-ironed hair, cute clothes and a sudden expertise in makeup application make Chloe a dull dweeb.  Is it any coincidence that cute Chloe has been relegated to second class citizen in the computer room? I think not.

Freddie Prinze, Jr. WTF?  That is almost all I need to say.  Remember at the beginning of the season, and you kept hearing rumors that Prinze might be taking over the Jack Bauer role?  Notice how you haven’t heard any more talk of that?  That’s because everyone involved surely realized the error of their ways when Prinze tried to “act” in the first episode.  The oatmeal that I ate for breakfast could convincingly out-act Prinze and kick his ass in one take, I am sure of it.

Jack Bauer, Master of Disguise.  My friend and fellow writer here on the site Bob Starr pointed out some really silly contrivances with Jack, too. Jack is an internationally known ass-kicker, and I would assume that a poster of his mug would be hanging in every evil-doers hideout.

Don’t you think they might have an idea what this American hero looks like?  And yet, when Jack dons some Clark Kent glasses and a questionable German accent, he is all but invisible to the Russian men he is dealing with. These guys need their villain cards revoked, and their eyesight checked, stat.

Zero suspense.  I am not even sure what the real threat is this season. I think I am more frightened of President Omar Hassan’s inexplicably puffy hair than I am about the threat of nuclear weapons reaching our soil. Jack tortured. Yawn. You know he’ll get out of it, he always does.

There is zero tension, and there is nobody I care about anymore. It has become a chore to trudge through this show week after week, so Monday I took it out of the DVR queue.  I don’t know if this will be the final season, but it sure makes me sad to see this show lose its mojo.  You on board with me, or am I way off base?

  • rachel peepers
    May 28, 2010 at 6:21 pm

    Shannon,

    Even dump a guy, then you realize you made a big mistake and you want him back? Well, that’s what I did with Jack and “24.

    Here’s what I wrote on May 21, 2009, and I take it all back.

    “This season, a left wing mentality took control, and twenty four turned into a mildly noxious form, one that had me believing season seven was created by unemployed writers from West Wing.

    The good guys were the Islamic holy people (and their flock) while the bad guys were right wing domestic terrorist groups. Like bizarro Obama World, up was down, day/ night, right was wrong, threats of torture bad, right wing groups, our biggest danger, climate change a proven fact. The writing marched in lock step with everything the Annoying One, Telebama believes.

    Jack Bauer, who used to be a tough, rugged, red blooded American hero who lived by the code of the west, and whose motto seemingly was Davey Crockett’s saying, “Be sure you’re right and then go ahead,” all of a sudden turned into a whimpering, slobbering cornucopia of nuanced Al Gorian air bag required thought streams who deserved a custard pie in the face, not some stem
    cell rescue by his pudgy, slow witted daughter.

    By the final few scenes, Tony’s character, the only one not infected with Barakian doubletalk, got so caught up in its own underwear that it became obvious he needed some super duper serious therapy. Es decir (that is to say), his only hope of regaining sanity would be in-patient placement under the care of a hand picked team of the best Austria psychoanalysts whose only job, 24/7, would be thinking about this confused soul.

    Janeane Garofalo, who played the part of a very bright, nearsighted, self effacing computer geekette, was not what one would call a vision of loveliness. Rather, looking at her on my 42 inch TV screen was like looking directly at the sun. The viewer would be well served to turn away every few seconds to avoid being blinded by the sight. And the over acting was uglier than was this bespeckled, Air America talking point.

    I guess what I’m trying to say is that “24″ suffered a metamorphosis, the kind Franz Kafka wrote stories about. Anacronistically speaking, it was an acceptable TV series when they put it to bed for season six, but during the night somehow “24″ turned into a postmodern moral relativist mish mosh of pukish liberalism.

    Of course, one can look on the bright side. Maybe between now and next season the same kind of good semitarian TV honcho who puts a suffering dying animal out of its misery will do the same thing for Twenty-Four.

    May 21, 2009 – 8:52 am Link to this Comment | Reply

    Okay, it’s me again. I’m in love with Jack and “24”. I almost cried when it ended. For all it’s faults, I can’t live without it. What’s the alternative? American Idol?

    Please, Jack, come back to me. I’m sorry I ever doubted you.

    • Shannon Hood
      May 30, 2010 at 9:49 pm

      Rachel,

      I have a deep, dark confession to make. I have been peeking. And I even watched the season finale. And I cried. I hear you. 🙂

  • Phil
    March 21, 2010 at 12:26 pm

    I agree with your frustrations with the inattention to detail and timeline believability but l let’s be honest here, we’ve always had to suspend the lion’s share of our logic for the pure enjoyment of the ride on Jack’s rollercoaster. True, it was a little more fun to watch the more frumpy, disheveled and frowny Chloe than the glammed up version but her having to reclimb the ladder to top geek position made the season a little more interesting in my opinion. And finally, I think bringing back Anne Wersching was a stroke of genius. Frankly, I thought that last season it was she that was being groomed to take over Jack’s role (and I still don’t believe that was all that bad of an idea for those of us able to accept the idea of a female super-hero).

    • Shannon Hood
      March 22, 2010 at 11:19 am

      @Phil
      Yes, we certainly have had to suspend all belief every season of this show, but something this year just made me throw up my hands and say, “enough.”

      I know I have been a lot harder on all my shows, because I am writing so much I just don’t have time to watch everything in on my DVR. If something isn’t making the cut, I get rid of it, and I wouldn’t have done that a few years ago.

      And yes, I love Ms. Wersching, but felt the complete change of personality was a little hard to take.

  • reger
    March 5, 2010 at 11:51 am

    While this season has some hokey elements, there have been way worse seasons (#5 for sure) and last year it came back with a bang! I think this season they decided they can just do what they want and eveyone will still watch (a very FOX thing, like deciding 4 judges talking longer then the talent sings on Idol). As for tension this show killed the first black POTUS and dropped a nuke on LA, so I think something will pop up this season to blow us away. And I agree I do not understand this Sockoff thing either.

  • Shannon Hood
    February 26, 2010 at 5:37 am

    @ Kyle,

    Thanks so much for the nice comments. Glad you agree.

  • kyle
    February 25, 2010 at 11:51 am

    First let me say I won’t stop watching 24.

    The major problem with this series, like you said, is the horrible story line. I actually enjoyed season 7 and I still enjoy Reene Walker(in season 8). The whole jack/reene thing doesn’t annoy me. What really annoys me is the horrible acting by Freddy Prinze Jr. & Katie S and the horrible storyline that they are involved in. As for the suspense what they really screwed up with this season was they keep putting Jack in danger. The real suspense comes when a minor character(chole,bill,tony,michelle,edgar) are in danger because you know they can be killed. Jack Bauer does not die because he still has feature films to do!! Also if he died Mid season the entire fan base would collapse.

    I like reading your reviews! Keep watching, if not for the show, for the readers.

  • Shannon Hood
    February 23, 2010 at 10:47 am

    @John,

    I did feel a twinge of guilt on Monday night, though. I watch Damages on Monday nights with Glenn Close. It still keeps me guessing from week to weekend, and each season it has some fantastic casting.

  • John
    February 22, 2010 at 9:30 pm

    I agree this season is terrible!!!! I don’t even think it is filmed in NYC. As a 37 year old NYC resident, I want to let everyone know there are no warehouses in Forset Hills. I actually find myself fast forwarding the dvr through the Rene scenes they are unbareable. I am going to stick to Lost, it is alot more realistic.

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