President Obama unwittingly thwarts Bauer’s plans

By Jon M. Palmer, News Correspondent

Last month in Kidron, Ohio, 17,500 Americans unwittingly waited to be killed on a Monday night by a poisonous cloud terrorists unleashed from a nearby chemical plant.’ ‘
That’s nothing.’ ‘
Last year, a nuclear device was detonated in Los Angeles, Calif., decimating hundreds of thousands of innocent people. ‘ ‘
This is the’ world of’ ’24,’ Fox network’s popular, 7-year-old counter-terrorist drama. Hijacked planes make emergency landings on freeways, characters come back from the dead and everyday people can’t go to the mall without getting lungs full of toxic gas. Week after week, said Matthew Gilbert, television critic for The Boston Globe, it’s the same homeland security threat in a different form. ‘
‘I’ve been tired of ’24’ for a few years now,’ Gilbert said. ‘I feel like the show has just been repeating itself and has become kind of redundant and sloppy. At one point it was an entertaining action drama that was never truly believable. But now it’s just been played to death.’
Apparently, there’s also an endless supply of bad guys for Bauer to kill. As of press time, a list of all 208 terrorists he has dispatched can be found on the ’24’ Wikipedia page, with pictures.
”24′ is one of the few shows with a character this iconic,’ said Tess Regan, a freshman psychology major. ‘The fact that they’ve made Jack Bauer a symbol of America in the war on terror is pretty powerful.’ ‘ ‘ ‘
But is Bauer still relevant with the new Obama administration, in a time when hope and change have stolen the spotlight from eight years of fear and war? ‘ ‘
‘Not everyone voted for Obama,’ Gilbert said. ‘There are people out there who still feel that Bauer and his approach to getting the job done no matter what is still valid.’
According to an article from the UK-based news site The Independent, published Feb. 13, 2007, viewers have gotten squeamish; military representatives even told producers the show was coloring’ an unflattering reputation for America abroad.
‘To me it feels dated, it feels like an artifact of the Bush-Rumsfeld era,’ Gilbert said. ‘It feels like it has lost its relevance.’ ‘
Bauer’s actions have caused several television critics, like Curt Day, a columnist on, to rail against ’24.’ In a piece called ‘Why I Hate ’24,” Day wrote the show is ‘not good for the country,’ because it depicts Bauer as being above the law. Take, for example, his breaking into the consulates of both the Chinese in season four and Russians in season six, when he also cut off the consul’s finger with a cigar cutter.’
‘In essence,’ Day wrote, ‘Jack Bauer is how America sees itself in the world.”
Watching Bauer commit acts against not only federal, but international, law in order to get to the truth, it is easy to see why Day comes to the conclusion that the show panders to the idea of the United States being a sort of ‘world police force,’ a view that is most definitely incongruent with the Obama administration.
‘The popularity of this show is centered on Jack Bauer being superhuman, so he’s ‘above the law’ and can do whatever he wants,’ said Ryan Murray, a freshman biochemistry major. ‘But that’s led to the downfall of the show. It’s becomes predictable. You know Jack’s not going to die, but the terrorists are.’ ‘ ‘
Now ’24’ faces the challenge of adapting to a new political climate. One of the show’s executive producers, Jon Cassar, stated in an Entertainment Weekly interview that the new season does contain certain elements of Obama’s politics, even though it was shot before the November elections. Gilbert said that, despite Cassar’s comments, it might be hard to teach this old rogue dog new tricks. ‘
‘Ultimately, they can’t change the heart and soul of the show, which is very Bush-ian,’ Gilbert said. ‘
Airing just a week before Obama’s inauguration and the news that Guantanamo Bay would be closed, the season premiere of ’24’ saw Bauer facing the consequences of his actions during the past six seasons.
In the first moments of the show, he is in front of a Senate panel on torture, and he doesn’t seem so tough anymore.’ ‘ ‘
‘ ‘We’ve done so many secret things over the years in the name of protecting this country, we’ve created two worlds, ours and the people we promised to protect,’ he says. ‘They deserve to know the truth.’ ‘
Just then, FBI agents bust into the hearing, looking for Bauer. Terrorists have hacked into the country’s infrastructure, and they need his help to stop them. ‘
‘At the beginning of the season, it seems like they tried to appeal to Obama supporters by putting Jack on trial for his deeds,’ Gilbert said. ‘And then, five minutes later, we were back to torturing and killing people.’

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