Sunday, January 18, 2009

"24" Is Like Television Crack

Despite my real and abiding passion for the figure of the antihero (see here and here), I had never seen a single episode of the television program 24 before last week. Everyone-- and I mean everyone-- told me that I should watch it, that I would love it, and that I was really missing something... but I had pretty much resigned myself to my ignorance about this little cultural phenomenon, since I had already missed the first six seasons and my understanding of the show was that it wasn't something that you could jump into midstream. But, last week, I was experiencing the pre-semester jitters and needed something to occupy my mind, so I went down to our local video store and picked up the first three discs of 24's Season 1.

Then, I basically lost two days of my life.

Seriously, this show is like crack. I was up until 2 or 3 in the morning, bleary-eyed and exhausted, barely staying awake and yet still totally unable to not watch Just... One... More... Episode. The next day when I went back to the video store to get the remaining discs of Season 1, I felt like one of those pathetic, jonesin' creatures that visited the corners in The Wire. I suffered through two more sleep-deprived days, but made it to the end of Season 1. Still didn't feel like I had gotten my fix. Went back for Season 2. Already beginning to build up a tolerance to my lack of sleep, finding ways to cover for the lost time, carrying around a little bottle of Visine to ease the blood-shot eyes, referring to my video-store dealers by their nicknames...

[The first step is admitting you have a problem.]

The show's protagonist, Jack Bauer, is only just emerging as a proper antihero in Season 2. (He wasn't really in Season 1.) But he is already rivalling Dexter, who sits at the top my antihero list. The whole construct of 24 is truly brilliant, taking place in real-time and (and often split-screen), which makes for clever-bordering-on-ingenious storywriting. And, now that I've begun watching the show, I completely understand all the talk about 24's role in prepping America for a black President. I don't want anyone to tell me any spoilers, becaues I'm really hooked. I just want some advice on how to break the addiction to serial-cliffhangers.


Mark Wadley said...

I loved seasons 1 and 2. After that, I kind of lost interest. I think it just got a little too absurd for me.

welovesockfights said...

I don't know, girl, but seriously if you find a "12 step" for "24" go ahead and sign us both up!!!