Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Television Tuesday

Not to worry, I'm not breaking down tonight's "American Idol". Although, for the record, I did nail 6 of the top 7. My only screw up was over estimating Scott and under estimating Anoop. Yes, I understand that gloating about your ability to handicap "Idol" is something you should NEVER do, so let's move on and talk about the most exciting hour on network television, "24". And yes, you guessed it. We are going old school with seven questions:

7) Have we ever seen a more riveting comeback than this season of "24"?

In a recent article, the great Bill Simmons compared Jack Bauer's 2009 resurgence to D. Wade's '08-'09 campaign. It's a fair comparison, but I don't think it does Jack's comeback justice. The last season of "24", back in '07, was so abysmal that I honestly don't remember how it ended. I'm not even kidding. I thought about looking it up, but I figured that would undermine my point. And, of course, because of the "writer's strike" (a/k/a "Kiefer's time in the clink"), we didn't even have an '08 season of "24". But now, against all odds, we are approaching the conclusion of the best "24" season to date. The only comeback I think is even worthy of comparison is George Foreman's. Think about it: Foreman bursts on the scene and rises to the pinnacle of his profession (taking out Joe Frazier) and then falls as fast as he rose (the "Rumble in the Jungle" against Ali). Then, after time away to fight his personal demons, he reappears and regains the crown! Sure, Jack and "24" were only away for a year and Foreman was gone for two decades. And sure, Foreman was a fat middle aged man with five sons named George and a sweet home grill when he came back and "24" is a TV show, but you get the point, right?

(Note: I considered comparing "24's" comeback to MJ's '96 season, but I decided against it for two reasons: 1) MJ never fell on hard times before taking a "break" (you know why break is in quotes); and 2) Jack Bauer is amazing, but I couldn't bring myself to compare a fictional character to MJ. Not even Jack. There are some lines you just don't cross.)

6) How is the President going to react when she sees that tape of her daughter and the reporter?

In the grand scheme of things, this is not important. But, I know I'm not the only one that hasn't forgotten about the tape. This should be an amusing subplot in a week or two.

5) Are we ever going to see the First Gentleman again?

Honestly, I don't care, but I find it odd that we haven't heard a word about his condition in the past 12 hours. Plus, as my buddy, Timmy, pointed out weeks ago, there is no more amusing term than "First Gentleman." I just wanted an excuse to bust it out again.

4) How have I gone this long and not realized that Carlos Bernard is a terrible actor?

Tony Almeida has always been one of my favorite television characters. I was devastated when he died. I was elated when he rose from the dead. I was devastated when I thought he was a terrorist at the beginning of this season. I was elated when I thought he was a good guy this season (although, as I pointed out a few weeks ago, I never fully trusted him this season), and I was again devastated when we realized last week that he is, in fact, a terrorist. But, I was beyond devastated this week when he stood over Jack and delivered the "You just couldn't leave it alone, Jack" line. Not since The Beek busted out "I don't waaant yooour life" in "Varsity Blues" have I been more horrified by the delivery of one line. In that one moment, I realized that I have spent the past 8 years overlooking the fact that Carlos Bernard is a bad actor. I'm still shaken by this. On the bright side, after he dies in a few hours, I am demanding that he guest stars on at least three episodes of "CSI: Miami" so we can witness dueling monologues between him and David Caruso. Don't even pretend like you wouldn't watch this.

3) How did the Lakers just score 41 points in the first quarter of Game 2?

Okay, this has nothing to do with "24", but I had to ask. Has a team ever self destructed faster, for no apparent reason, than the Jazz over the past month? I'm saying no. Sorry, back to the task at hand....

2) Who will save Jack's life?

The obvious choice here is Kim Bauer. That completely ignores the fact, however, that Kim Bauer has never served any real purpose in her life. Maybe this is her chance to redeem herself, but I'm not betting on it. I'm going with an alternate theory: Jack captures Tony and is ready to lock him away for the rest of his life. Tony, however, possesses the antidote to the bio agent (he knew all along he was going to end up with a canister, so he has the antidote as a precaution). Tony tells Jack that he has the antidote, but the only way he will give it to him is if Jack agrees to kill him instead of put him away for life. Tony also gives us a Carusoesque speech about all the times he and Jack have shared, all he has given to his country and his friend, and he explains to Jack why he has done the things he has done. Ultimately, he begs Jack to let him die instead of spend the rest of his life in jail. Jack agrees. Tony gives Jack the antidote and Jack leaves Tony with a gun and tells him to do what he has to do. They share one last long and slightly unnerving stare, and then Jack walks away.

1) Where does Tony's betrayal rank in the history of betrayals?

It's almost impossible to quantify the extent of Tony's betrayal. Not only has he been actively engaging in a terrorist plot, but he has done so by completely playing Jack, Chloe, and Bill Buchanan. Forget the fact that he killed Larry Moss, who was a tool until two episodes ago, this guy betrayed the only people in the world that ever cared for him. And for what? Well, that remains to be seen, but whatever it is can't justify betraying his three most loyal friends. I mean, Bill is dead, Jack is dying, and Chloe almost went to federal prison for the rest of her life. On a betrayal scale of 1-10, Tony Almeida's season 7 ranks as a 117. That being said, how does it rank on the all time betrayal scale? Well, let's take a look in descending order:

  • Phil Jackson betraying Kobe with his tell all book. This would be higher if Kobe wasn't such a tool.

  • Shaq betraying Kobe by forcing a trade (don't kid yourself, Shaq forced that trade) and then publicly asking Kobe how his ass tastes. Again, this would be higher if Kobe wasn't such a tool.

  • Kobe trying to drag Shaq under the bus with him during his "issue" in Colorado. This would be lower if Kobe wasn't such a tool.

  • McSteamy sleeping with McDreamy's wife. This might be higher if it didn't make me look like such a tool.

  • Damon killing Nicholson in the "The Departed".

  • Ed Norton killing Donald Sutherland in "The Italian Job".

  • Elton Brand convincing Baron Davis to sign with the Clippers and then signing with the Sixers and ignoring Davis's phone calls for weeks. Seriously, how does he sleep at night?

  • Hartnett sleeping with Affleck's girlfriend in "Pearl Harbor". In Hartnett's defense, he thought Affleck was dead, but still.

  • Kobe quitting on his teammates in Game 5 of the First Round against Phoenix back in '06.

  • Everything that happened at the end of "Reservoir Dogs".

  • Mike Vick's "friends" selling him out for reduced sentences after he had taken care of them for years.

  • Joe Torre's book.

  • Brutus killing Ceasar.

  • Tony Almeida's season 7.

  • Judas handing over Jesus.

There it is, the definitive list of betrayals. Just to summarize, Tony Almeida, Judas, and Kobe Bryant. That's about all you need to know.