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October 10, 2015

The curse of Jack Bauer

by Meredith O'Brien, posted May 2nd 2007 7:28PM

Jack Bauer on 24Now if you ask me, I'd say that former Defense Secretary Heller's quip on 24 this week -- "You're cursed Jack. Everything you touch, one way or another, ends up dead." -- was a throw-away line, not an overarching statement about Jack Bauer's entire existence.

But folks have been chattering throughout the blogosphere and wondering whether Heller has a point: Is Jack Bauer cursed?

Sure, he's had some serious bad luck. His wife and daughter were kidnapped, multiple times, during his very first bad day. His wife was killed by his former-lover-turned-terrorist. His friends -- notably Tony, Michelle and President Palmer I -- tend to get shot and/or killed. His daughter is now estranged from him. His dad and brother were evil. While trying to save his country, he's had to break laws at his own peril. He's been abducted and tortured by Chinese captors. His girlfriend, who tried to free him from captivity, was abducted and tortured herself.

But do those things mean that Jack is cursed? I think not. His job as a counter-terrorism agent is dangerous. And anyone who hangs with a guy with a terrorist-fighting gig could potentially be a target. But my view isn't the only one. Here's what others are saying about a Bauer "curse:"

Blogcritics: Likens Jack to Job: "One might ask how much can one man take, and when will that man eventually turn and curse that which he loves most."

Right Wing Nut House: Jack is a "fallen angel" and "death incarnate."

Glowy Box: Yep, it's true.Cursed.

Do you think he's cursed?

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Frankly-I'm a Joseph Campbell junkie. And a major fan of Arthurian literature. There are strong parallels between the Arthurian legends and 24. I consider Jack Bauer a post-modern Knight of the Round Table. Trying to reclaim the wasteland from terrorists and corrupt corporatists. And David Palmer was like King Arthur, the leader with noble intentions who was doomed because of his family. Sherry was Morgan Le Fay (in 24 the wife instead of sister) and Wayne is Mordred (in 24 the brother instead of son/nephew).

May 04 2007 at 5:07 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Frankly, CC's insights are hardly profound. They're Screenwriting 101. Anyone who knows anything about drama inherently understands what a hero is and what their relationship is with the people around them. Come on, seriously. This is basic stuff. It's hardly the sign of some awesome intellect.

May 04 2007 at 2:22 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

What a profound insight into human dynamics, CC (post #3); there may be hope for you yet.

In fact, I have been preaching the same dynamic as it affects the current USA vs. The World situation.

Very esoteric theory, yet so apropos.

May 03 2007 at 8:21 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jonathan Myers

Did anyone else note the irony of Heller - who was SAVED by Jack (remember the Heller "I used to be in special ops" shoot out from a few seasons back??)? Seems like this line was a throwaway.

May 03 2007 at 2:26 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

First off...Don, yes all this happened on 6 particular days, but not 6 days in a row. I believe we're looking of a span of 8 years.

Second, let me throw in a diff point of view...Audrey Raines is the cursed one. She's NOT a CTU field op, and she's been a) abducted with her father, b) her brother was "interrogated" chemically by CTU, c) her ex-husband was tortured in front of her by her boyfriend, d) her ex-husband gets shot trying to save her boyfriend, e) her ex-husband DIES because her boyfriend forces the doctor at gunpoint to work on someone else, f) her father drives off a cliff, g) her boyfriend "dies" (or so she thinks). on day 2, h) her boyfriend comes back from the dead only to be abducted THAT SAME FRIGGIN' DAY!, so she goes looking for her bf only to get i) captured and tortured by the Chinese government...and to put the cherry on top of this sundae, her own dad tells the love of her life, the man who she went to China to look for, to "stay the hell away from her".

Really???? JACK is the cursed one???

May 03 2007 at 3:37 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Don't forget to mention 1) Chopping off his partner's hand in Season 3, 2) Shooting C. Henderson's Wife, Miriam, above the kneecap to get Christopher to talk in Season 5, 3) The whole addiction angle, 4) Carjacking a waitress' in another Season, etc etc etc...The list can go on and on

What a life huh?

May 03 2007 at 12:33 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Jack cursed? I've heard him say "damn" alot on the show.

May 03 2007 at 12:26 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Jack Bauer is a HERO. Heroes take risks that ordinary people don't take. And the risks they take have consequences-good and bad. They suffer more than other mortals because of the response to their actions. The public has a love/hate affair with heroes. They want Superman to protect and save them, but at the same time, they have an attitude that if the hero wasn't always sticking his neck out, he wouldn't be dealing with so much turmoil. They're NOT heroes, THEIR lives are simple and blissful, the hero wouldn't be suffering if he was MORE like them.

But heroes aren't ordinary. That's the point. They answered the call.

May 02 2007 at 10:42 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Correct me if I'm wrong, but all this happened in 6 days?

Heck Yeah! He's Cursed!

May 02 2007 at 7:59 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Serious case of bad luck, some deeply entrenched trust issues, and bad karma from the seemingly endless torturing...definitely.

Cursed...not so much.

May 02 2007 at 7:57 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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