If you ask most people, the idea of being President of the United States is likely one of the best jobs ever. Every little kid is told if he or she works hard, some day they could be the Commander in Chief. And yet, if you have been watching the eight seasons of '24,' there is probably no worse career choice than running America while Jack Bauer is handling a CTU assignment. In fact, when you look back on the presidents who have inhabited the White House during Jack's tenure, being the most powerful world leader is a high-risk profession that's not for the faint of heart.
Unlike other television series that have taken viewers inside the Oval Office, '24' presents the president in crisis mode, so perhaps it's a bit unfair to compare. Still, if you had your choice, you'd rather be Jed Bartlett on 'The West Wing' than Wayne Palmer or any other '24' president. Here are three reasons why the worst job on '24' is President of the United States:
(S06E18) *Warning, spoilers from the latest episode ahead.*
Who among us did not see this turn of events coming?
I mean, come on, when has life ever been easy for a Palmer politician? And who didn't expect another Jack-Bauer's-gone-rogue story line to surface, particularly when the love of his life's safety hangs in the balance?
Not that seeing these predictable plot twists play out lessened my enjoyment of this 24 episode, but I found the White House and CTU politics a bit too abrupt for a single episode.
* Warning: Spoilers ahead from the latest episode.*
The suitcase nukes have been located. Audrey Raines is alive, but in peril. Jack Bauer is likely going to be coerced into making a horrendous deal in exchange for her safe return.
While 24 fans mull these new developments, here are four choice moments from hour 17:
Quote of note: "My God! They were lying to us all the time! Withholding information. And you knew it!" an incredulous chief of staff, Tom Lennox, said to the uber-tricky President Wayne Palmer after Palmer pretended to launch a nuclear missile attack in order to get the Country Whose Name We Shall Not Mention to cough up intel on a terrorist.
*Warning, spoilers for the latest 24 episode ahead*
(S06E16) Okay. This episode was a bit better than hour 15. Not substantially better, but somewhat better. Although I must say, about halfway through this episode, I was complaining bitterly that Jack Bauer seemed like, as some critics have complained, a guest star on his own show. He barely appeared in the first 30 minutes to do anything more than chat on his cell phone.
The episode's conclusion -- not including the bit with the renegade former Russian general Gredenko, who had given the suitcase nukes to the "bad" terrorist Abu Fayed -- did wake me from my bored stupor. Sick of seeing new story lines or potential conflicts abruptly introduced and then, just as abruptly resolved in a simplistic fashion, this unexpected turn at the end of the show was at least entertaining.
(S06E12) *Warning, spoilers ahead from the new episode*
Now, we're gettin' somewhere.
Argue all you want to about whether season six has been a rehash of other seasons. Nuclear weapon detonation? Been there in season two. President getting undermined by conspiring underlings who don't think he's being tough enough? Done that in season two. Tried to frame Muslim terrorists for something they didn't do when some sinister white dudes were behind it instead? Ditto.
And even though the fresh episode of 24 contained yet another repetitive story twist that viewers have seen in previous seasons, it was done surprisingly well, except if you're involved in one of those human rights groups who think 24 is a scourge. Those folks wouldn't have liked this episode at all.
The Chicago Tribune's TV critic Maureen Ryan thinks that the sudden appearance of Gregory Itzin, reprising his role as the corrupt and evil former President Charles Logan on 24, is a rare shining moment in a rather lackluster season, the first hour hours notwithstanding.
". . . [I]t's as though the writers are flailing and scraping and doing all they can to come up with compelling stuff, but unfortunately they're only partially successful at best," Ryan said, as she sliced and diced Jack Bauer's sixth day, including calling the idea of having the late President David Palmer's brother Wayne become president " a big mistake."
(S06E11) *Warning, spoilers ahead*
Holy presidential secrets, Batman.
After conspiring to have a president killed?
And the public doesn't know about it?
I know that the White House press corps really hates being kept in the dark, but when the reporters find out about this doozy of a secret, boy are they gonna be angry. Keeping a secret of this magnitude under wraps, even in the wake of a nuclear bomb blast, is going to make run-of-the-mill White House leaks look like child's play in future seasons.
Chad Lowe dished with TV Guide's Margy Rochlin about his slimy political operative character on 24, Reed Pollock, the one who last week ominously pressured President Palmer II's chief of staff to provide him with the president's itinerary so Palmer could be "removed," maybe as early as tonight.
Three things I learned from the interview:
1) Lowe doesn't know for whom Pollock is working.
2) Lowe thinks Pollock, who's widely believed to be concocting a presidential assassination plot, is "well intended, if maybe misdirected."
3) Lowe used to be on the same ice hockey team as Kiefer Sutherland.
DB Woodside, who plays President Wayne Palmer on 24, called the show's star Kiefer Sutherland "intense."
"Either you jump on the bus or the bus will roll over you," Woodside said of Sutherland in an interview with People Magazine, in its Feb. 26/dead tree edition. "I think it is very dangerous to be running around with his character."
Woodside also said he thinks comparisons between the fictional Wayne Palmer and the real-life presidential campaign of Illinois Senator Barack Obama are "unfair." Admitting that Wayne Palmer is untested and not very commanding, he told the magazine that Obama is just the opposite and is "the most exciting candidate to come on the scene in my lifetime."
The 10th hour of 24 left viewers with a multitude of questions about one of TV's best fictional -- albeit evil -- presidents. As we ponder how former President Charles Logan is connected to various clandestine plots and schemes, let's review some highlights and lowlights from the latest hour:
(*Spoilers from this week ahead*)
Quote(s) of note: "Do you know how to use this?" Jack Bauer asked his sister-in-law Marilyn, about the gun he handed her.
"No," she said.
"Point and shoot," Jack replied. (I think my 5-year-old could've come up with that response.)
The blogger who writes Watching 24 has devised an episode-by-episode "Character Countdown," where he ranks characters based on whether he thinks they acted in accordance with their characters, or whether he simply approves or disapproves of their actions.
The character with the most points (the higher the better), is . . . shocker of all shockers . . . Jack Bauer. He's got 378 points thus far. He was awarded two points last week for thanking Chloe O'Brian for her help, but lost points eight for believing his evil father, Papa Bauer.
Chloe, meanwhile, got an 8-point bump for smacking her ex, less than an hour after he'd been tortured with a drill, while chief of staff Tom Lennox lost 10 points for acting sneaky.
We were treated to two -- count 'em -- TWO hours of Jack-tion this week.
Morris O'Brian was tortured. President Palmer II welcomed the "good" terrorist into the funky presidential bunker. Jack Bauer's "nephew" (the squinty-eyed whiner that he is) was kidnapped by his grandfather Phillip Bauer.
While we consider whether the "good" terrorist can be trusted or whether the young Josh Bauer will ultimately be harmed by Papa Bauer, here are a few musings from this week's twin episodes:
People, especially critics, looove to make analogies, trying to compare TV or movie characters to real people.
Thus the attempts by some to liken this season's president on 24 to two flesh and blood politicians both of whom have sought (or likely will seek) the Oval Office.
Describing a man as a youngish, untested African-American politician who enjoys the public's "good will," Chicago Tribune blogger Maureen Ryan wrote, "Does it sound like the hypothetical presidency of Sen. Barack Obama, Illinois' own presidential hopeful? Well, it's actually the story of Wayne Palmer, the president on the current season of 24."
After the first few episodes of the fifth season of 24 caught a whole lot of people off guard a year ago, it was hard to think that any show would be able to top itself by way of creating drama, doing out of this world things, and hanging on to its viewership without putting them in disbelief. For the huge fans of the show, however, you'll be happy to hear that not only have FOX and Jack Bauer done a great job bringing back the drama, but are looking to go out of their way to bring you a wild beginning that will definitely have everyone talking by next Tuesday, after the four-hour premiere has been seen.
I mean, come on people, you know you're gonna have a good season on this type of show when you've successfully grabbed Rush Limbaugh enough that he's discussing it to his whole EIB network listenership.
Deadwood fans take note! Powers Boothe has joined the cast of 24. He'll play the Vice President. D.B. Woodside's character, Wayne Palmer, is now President.
This is just the latest is a series of big casting moves the hit FOX show has made. We've already heard that Eric Balfour, Peter MacNichol, Regina King, and Michael Angarao will be in the cast this season, which starts in January.
[via TV Tattle]
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