Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Dueling Chloes: Watching "24"

24's Best Season Yet!
The first step in conquering addiction, is recognizing the addiction. And although I know I'm addicted to "24", the brilliantly crafted espionage series starring Keifer Sutherland, I refuse to conquer this addiction. Instead, I'll try Mae West's formula in addressing temptation:
"Whenever I feel myself being tempted, I give in to it!"
You should give in to it, too. This Season's start was a two-hour movie, with an intriguing storyline set in the depths of Africa--a place called Sangala--and the horrors of political coups, and civil wars. Monday evening's episode built on that storyline, with the recently elected female president of the United States("24" is always ahead of reality--the first Black American president was elected on that show, years ago) weighing whether to send in U.S. troops to curtail the genocide occuring in the region, or capitulate to terrorists' demands and NOT send them, in order to prevent said terrorists' attacks on the infrastructure(including air-traffic control of commercial planes)of the U.S...The subplots are varied, and complex: the President and the first Husband's son has apparently died by suicide. Or not. Is it murder? Why? And why does his gorgeous, bereaved fiance' have hundreds of thousands of dollars moved to various off-shore banks? One explanation was given last night.
Next, there's someone(or several someones) doing double-agent work, and they're members of the FBI. Is it Agent Renee' Walker's(gorgeous redhead with a sudden interest in using more "extreme" methods of rendering cooperation from suspects being detained) boss (a tall blond-haired fellow with a real control issue)? Or could it be the special assistant to Madame President, who is cheerleading for her to NOT send troops, thereby making it easier for Juma(the murderous head of the coup to overthrow the African nation's government)to commit more genocide?
And is Jack Bauer's old friend and colleague telling the truth when he says he's NOT working with the terrorists who threaten the safety of the U.S.? Jack Bauer appears to believe him, and is (again!) risking his life to work with Tony.
Meanwhile, a new character, played by Janeane Garofaolo provides an interesting foil for a much-beloved regular character.As Jenny, Janeane is to the F.B.I., what Chloe is to C.T.U.: the resident nerd-y gal, with nerve. And edge. More tenative than tenacious, Jenny finds herself literally battling it out with Chloe, as each in her own government agency tries valiantly to transmit live video feeds in order to accomplish their mission. In Chloe's case, she needs the pictures to inform Jack, who's escaped with Tony from the Feds'. The FBI folks are giving chase, as Chloe continues to hack in to the FBI computers. Best line of the night, said by Jenny(Janeane Garofaolo), to her supervisors, in response to questions about whoever hacked into the FBI's system:
"I don't know who they are, but they're really good."
The split screen of Chloe, working her 30-second magic on the keyboard, and Jenny, with stringy black hair, wearing required nerd-appeal glasses, perplexed and angry, was priceless. The show is developing an edgy sense of humor which finely balances the violent story arcs.
Finally, will the Feds--or Jack and Tony--find the device that may prevent the terrorists from inflicting mortal damage and destruction on the U.S.?
And will the POTUS, be able to save both Sangala(the nation ripped apart by bloodshed) AND the USA?
I guess we'll have to stay tuned.
After posting about this show, which includes horrific violence, and raises my blood pressure every time I watch it(in defense of my watching it, I'd call this pure "escapism"), my last line--my signature line at this blog--may sound hypocritical, but:
Peace, kids.


Collin Kelley said...

I adore "24" and this season is off to an ass-kicking start, but Jeanane Garafolo is HORRIBLY miscast and her acting is atrocious. Not to mention, her lips have been botoxed into a duck-lip shape that are distracting as hell. Nobody, NOBODY, can ever match Chole. She rules. I'm digging the great Cherry Jones playing President Taylor.

Lisa Allender said...

Coll, we definitely disagree on Ms. Garafolo. I think the casting of her as a "rival Chloe" is quite hilarious(and brilliant). I love the totally rough, unkempt way she geeks around, raising both questions, and hackles...Give her character a chance. Her character is not competing to be our "favorite"--Chloe has certainly already won loyal "24" viewers' hearts.
As for her lips, I dunno. I guess I'd havta see a "before" shot of Ms. Garafolo, to understand.
And yes--as President Allison Taylor, Ms. Cherry Jones(sounds like a porn-moniker) is fabulous!

Brrrooom! said...

I'll go on a limb and say that thus far, this is the best "24" since Season 2. I love the "mirror" idea of Chloe vs. Janis, Jack vs. Renee, and whatever else develops out of that. I'm going to agree with Colin that Garafalo is badly cast, and frankly she's hard to look at (bad skin, odd mouth, greasy hair). I'm also finding Colm Feore - a wonderful character actor - doesn't quite work. Since you like "24" I'm going to recommend another show, "MI-5", which comes on Friday nights on PBA30 - it's a British show, sort of the British "24", and it's quite good.

Lisa Allender said...

Brrrooom, Thanks for the tip on MI-5; I'll definitely check it out. The title sounds vaguely familiar, or perhaps I'm recalling the titles of all those Tom Cruise Mission Impossible(never saw them, myself) movies...
I like Ms. Garafolo, but I'm definitely in the minority on that.