Tuesday, May 09, 2006

'Could Audrey Be Any More Dead?' And Other '24' Thoughts

Several things actually happened on "24" this week! In the end, none of them were important, because the show just circled back on itself, but before it did, I was pondering a few things:

1)Audrey Rains (Kim Raver) is in some trouble: I haven't seen any of the season's final episodes, so I have no way of verifying this, but Yowza. It's one thing that Raver has signed on for another pilot, because "24" would obviously be -- as the industry types put it -- "in first position," which sounds like something Kama Sutra related, but isn't. It just means that "24" gets first dibs. But things got rather ominously sentimental last night, as Jack paused his mission to save the world from terrorists to give Audrey a foot massage and to reassure her, with misty eyes, that everything was going to be alright. I was DESPERATELY praying at that moment that Evil Lesbian Mandy was going to step out from behind a curtain and shoot her right there. We've only got a few episodes to go and there's been no sign of Evil Lesbian Mandy -- the mastermind behind every season's "24" doings and my favorite schoolgirl stripper from "Exotica" -- and I remain convinced that Nina (Sarah Clarke) is still lurking undead in the background somewhere.

2)And Speaking of Undead: Well, we know that Defense Secretary William Devane wasn't dead, but surely his Jesus-like Resurrection deserved more than just a hastily delivered line of dialogue. Where was the "Carrie"-esque hand bursting out of the grave (or the lake). Where was the triumphant scene of Devane pulling himself out of the water soaking, covered in muck and ready to overact another day? Mr. Devane, you deserved better!

3)Fox News Dropped The Ball: Earlier this season, Fox News had the story of President Palmer's assassination within six minutes of the firing of the first shot -- they already had fancy graphics and clip packages ready so quickly that I remain convinced that the cable network had some sort of a hand in this death. However, in yesterday's episode, in the wee small hours of the morning, a diplomatic plane stages a daring landing in the middle of the 118 Freeway, and 30 minutes later, they're still showing clips from what must have been a hastily tossed together memorial service for Palmer earlier in the day. Do they not realize that President Palmer was almost certainly a Democrat? Geez. I wonder how long they dedicated to President Unhappily Ever After when Air Force One was shot down last season.

4)Actors Who I Never Looked Up Before: Did you know that it's "Roger R. Cross" who plays Agent Curtis Manning? And that James Morrison plays Bill Buchanan? Didn't think so. All hail the Lizard King. Everybody already knows that Glenn Morshower plays Agent Aaron Pierce. I just feel like sometimes those wooden, anonymous supporting players don't get enough dap. Oh and the character actor who played the hillbilly father on Sunday night's "Grey's Anatomy" is Graham Beckel. You may recognize him as Dick Stensland from "L.A. Confidential." Unfortunately, you're more likely to recognize him from that recent Army commercial in which the father buys his son a drink and admits that he pretty much thought the kid was gay until he went overseas and became a killing machine. It's very sweet. I'd never known his name, but Graham Beckel is sort of a poor man's Bruce McGill or Maury Chayken, I guess. It's the sign of an opulent society when merely having one Bruce McGill isn't enough. I think Marx (Richard) may have written that it was a sign that the Revolution was coming.

5)The Award for Least Secure Government Facility Goes To: In an article on MSN last week, Erik Lundegaard pondered the fact that the Impossible Mission Force has a serious and persistent problem with moles. I'm not sure that three moles in the IMF is really all that disconcerting. That's three moles in a 10 year period. Big deal. On "24," they've averaged at least one mole per season in CTU, which is supposed to be an upper level counter-terrorism force. In addition, they allowed at least three active assassination attempts on President David Palmer (the last one successful) and they allowed Air Force One to get shot down over the desert, killing another president. They also were unable to prevent one nuclear explosion in the desert, one nuclear mini-meldown, one outbreak of a killer virus and at least two minor outbreaks of a nerve toxin. Their "highly secure" operations facility has been blown up at least once and it's been infiltrated by international terrorists at a rate of two or three times per season. Plus, the casualty rate among even general CTU operatives has been alarmingly high. And yet, whenever Los Angeles (and therefore the world) is in jeopardy? We call in CTU. I think IMF can coast on its reputation for a while. On the other hand, somebody should be concerned about the efficacy of an organization that spends so much of its time tracking down Macguffins. IMF keeps falling for 'em!

Any other thoughts on this week's "24"? Care to share? Sharing is Caring, as a wise woman once instructed me.


  1. Graham Beckel was also Michelle Forbes' second-in-command on Galactica earlier this season, and when he was much younger, thinner and less craggy, he was Tim Bottoms' best pal in "The Paper Chase."

    And I'm proud that we as a society can boast more than one Bruce McGill. Where's our back-up Luis Guzman? Right now, only Luis Guzman can play a Luis Guzman part.

  2. MacroGal, I'd be extremely pleased if it somehow turned out that Shoreh Aghdashaloo were behind the entire season's plot. Just so long as I got to hear her say "Behrooz" one more time. That was hot!

    And Alan, did you know Graham Beckel by name previously? You probably did. I'm not sure why I hadn't bothered to look him up at any point. I feel a little guilty.

    And yes. It speaks badly for our society that Luis Guzman cannot be replaced.

  3. I only learned his name after I saw "The Paper Chase" a couple of years ago and was driven nuts by the sense that I had seen this guy before. One journey to IMDb and a check of my "L.A. Confidential" DVD later, and I had his name etched in my memory.

  4. When President Logan was alone in his office, caressing his pistol (and who among us hasn't caressed his pistol in the wee hours?) I said to my wife, "Last-minute phone call."

    Guess what happened next!

  5. Louis, are you daring to imply that the plot mechanics on "24" are superficial and that over the course of five seasons they've done the exact same cliffhanger-gimicks several dozens times apiece?

    I won't stand for that kind of BLASPHEMY!