Citizen of the Month

the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

Tag: 24

How Jack Bauer Has Ruined My Life

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7AM – Los Angeles

After using the bathroom, Jack Bauer hears screams from his separated wife, Sophia.

“Jack, Jack! The toilet is overflowing!”

Within a second, Jack has pushed Sophia aside and jumped into the bathroom. Jack shoves his bare foot directly into the toilet, stopping the flow.

“I thought you called the plumber,” says his upset separated wife.

“He didn’t show up yet?!  Dammit, I’ll be right back, Sophia.”

Jack jumps out of the bathroom window and runs down the San Diego Freeway, against traffic, until he reaches the plumber’s house.  Jack breaks in and tortures the plumber with the plumber’s “snake,” forcing the plumber to immediately come over to his home to fix the toilet, then clean the bathroom until it is spotless.

7AM – Los Angeles

After using the bathroom, Neil hears screams from his separated wife, Sophia.

“Neil, Neil! The toilet is overflowing!”

Neil nervously approaches, not wanting to get involved.

“Come here!!! Do something!” yells Sophia.

Neil meekly looks into the bathroom, fear in his eyes.

“What do you want me to do?” Neil screams.

“We have to stop it before the water is all over the f**king house!”

Neil walks on tiptoes into the bathroom so as not to touch any of the water coming over the top of the toilet onto the linoleum floor.

“Yuch…yuch… yuch…” he says, wishing he wasn’t wearing his favorite Keds.

Neil jiggles the handle and the toilet stops overflowing.

“It’s the floor!  It’s going to leak down to the living room.  We need some towels!” cries Sophia.

Neil grabs the two towels hanging on the bathroom rack.

“Not those towels!” she adds.  “Those are 100-percent combed cotton towels.  Use the polyester towels YOUR MOTHER gave us! 

Neil goes into the “towel” closet to search for those towels Sophia always hated, but told his mother otherwise.

“I thought you called the plumber,” says his upset separated wife.

“I did. He can’t come until Thursday!” (Neil really didn’t)

“Call him again. Tell him it is an emergency!”

After reluctantly cleaning the bathroom with Sophia  (his excuse for the mediocre blog post yesterday) and taking two showers afterwards because he felt disgusting, Neil calls the plumber on the phone, who tells him that he can’t come until Thursday.

Damn Jack Bauer. 

A Year Ago on Citizen of the MonthCall Me

Television Season — Out!

Desperate Housewives, 24, Lost, and American Idol all ended this week, so my network television-viewing season is over.  Maybe I’ll now read more books or actually go outside. 

My report card:

Desperate Housewives:

It was inevitable that actor Roger Bart (Bree’s pharmacist friend) signed on as next season’s villain.   That will make for some interesting twists.  On the whole, Desperate Housewives was a fresh show that was somewhat over-rated.  I think it received media attention because the media likes shows about pretty women, especially when the shows have sexy titles.   The negative:  all of the characters were one-dimensional and there was an uneven mix of comedy, drama, and mystery wrapped in a phony suburban setting.  The positive:  It was a fun twist on the soap opera genre that will become better as the characters develop.  Teri Hatcher was also pretty adorable as Susan.  I liked her daughter, too.

Score:   A –

24

24 has been my favorite show for the last four seasons, but I must admit, it lost its focus this year.  One of the problems was that Jack Bauer was less interesting than half of the other characters, including Chloe, Edgar, Tony, Michelle, David Palmer, Novick, and even President Logan.  It’s nice that Kiefer Sutherland is so generous with his co-stars (especially when he is an executive producer), but he was upstaged in every episode.   His relationship with Audrey was fairly blah.  I hate to say this, but I missed his hapless daughter, Kim.

The Dina and Behrooz story was clearly the coolest subplot, but they were dropped in the middle of the story for the evil Mahrwan, a more traditional villain.  How many fans were waiting to find out that Dina wasn’t dead, but was the mastermind of the entire plot?  And Behrooz — what finally happened to him?  Luckily, I learned from Entertainment Weekly that the producers filmed a scene where Behrooz learned of his mother’s death,  but the scene was edited out.  Why?

Score:   B +

American Idol

This is my guilty pleasure.  Unfortunately, this was the dullest season yet, even though the singers were better than usual.  I think the format is getting a little tired.  None of the singers really stood out as a superstar.  Even Bo.   Vonzell had the best voice.  Constantine and Nadia were the most fun.   Carrie was too cutesy for me.  Kelly Clarkson, Ruben Studdard, Clay Aiken, and Fantasia all had a spark that no one had this year.  Even the "bad" singers weren’t as humorous as in the past.  Most annoying were the stock responses by the judges, with Randy’s "dawg," Paula’s smile, and Simon’s sarcasm.  The only one I liked better this year was Ryan Seacrest, who at least has fun hosting every week.  That said, the final episode was a lot of fun.  Carrie’s win was a surprise, and I enjoyed the idols singing with their "idols." 

Score:  B

Lost

Lost was the year’s biggest surprise.  The concept sounded incredibly stupid, sort of a dramatic Gilligan’s Island, but it was totally engrossing and mysterious throughout the year.  Watch it in reruns if you haven’t seen it.

Score:   A

Jack Bauer Gives Equal Time

Jack Bauer

Jack Bauer

24 is probably the only TV show that I watch consistently.   Last night, Jack was in a real jam, hiding out in a sporting good store as a group of bad-guy commandos approached him.  All seemed lost until two brave young men, the owners of the store, took up arms to help Jack (and the American government) in their battle against terrorism.

These two men were also Arabs.   And Fox was going to make sure you knew they were Arabs by inserting patriotic speeches about their father and America and 9/11.

I thought it was pretty cool, somewhat necessary, and a lot corny.

The moment was so “Public Service Announcement” that it almost seemed as if all the commandos stopped approaching and took a cigarette break just to allow these good citizens to finish their speeches.   I think it would have been better if these two young guys just helped out without much banter and then after the battle, Jack goes to shake their hands.

Jack:   “My name is Jack.”

Mohammed (shaking hand):   “Mohammed.”

I would have gotten the point.   But Fox clearly wanted to counter-balance the charges that they are portraying Arab-Americans in a negative way on 24.

Let’s see — the Araz family are members of a sleeper-cell out to kill millions of Americans.   How likeable should they be?

Dina Araz, the mother clearly shows a human side in wanting to save her son, Behrooz.   The son is Bin Laden’s nightmare, a true believer forever softened by the California sunshine and his blond girlfriend.   Is that the next problem that needs solving?

Next Week on 24:  Behrooz decides that his days of carousing with decadent American surfer girls are over and he is ready to settle down with a traditional bride from Yemen.

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