24: Jack’s jumped the shark

John doesn't like Jack Bauer, apparently. Seems the lack of real danger in 24 has tipped him over the edge somewhat...

Kiefer Sutherland as Jack Bauer in 24

For the two of you who don’t know, the phrase ‘to jump the shark’ is a reference beloved of American TV writers, and the kind of arseholes who spout off about geeky stuff for websites. It refers to an episode of Happy Days – one, specifically, where everyone’s favourite actor with the word Winkle in his name literally jumps over a shark on water-skis.

No shit.

Subsequently, it has come to represent desperation for excitementamongst scriptwriters, and the horrible things they’ll do to flaggingshow formats in a desperate attempt to breath life into a corpse that’s got maggots where the sun don’t shine. It’s Bobby in the shower, Fred Flintstone’s alien pal, Galactica 1980, Bruce Willis finally boffing Cybil Shepherd, Ashes To Ashes… It’s fucking Poochie ferchrissakes.

And now, it’s Jack’s cack too.

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Is anyone still watching 24? Does anyone really care now they’ve killed off everyone that really matters, apart from the character that’s apparently impervious to bullets, bombs, psycho ex-funfucks, the best efforts of the President to kill his ass, the best efforts of his brother to do the same, Chinese prisons and Dennis Hopper?

I’ve just watched Jack Bauer use a mentally disabled kid in a stingoperation against a rogue ex-Russian general who’s setting off nuclear bombs on US soil with the help of Islamic militants. And that’s after I’ve watched Jack’s Dad kill Jack’s brother – who was the Big Bad from series 5 – and then disappear of the face of the earth, presumably to resurface four episodes from the end, watched the President survive an assassination attempt by one of his own staff, only to miraculously emerge from his coma to stop his insane Vice President from launching anuclear strike on a country the producers are too shit-scared to call Pakistan, only to then fight through the pain barrier and launch the attack himself.

All of this is bullshit of the highest order… It’s entertainingbullshit, but bullshit nonetheless. It’s diversionary tactics as well,designed to confuse the mind and confound the senses. It hides a central truth; and the bottom line about anything that goes on in 24; JACK’s GOING TO BE OK…

Changing the focus of the threat used to be 24’s stockin trade; dubbed the ‘Episode 16 turnaround’ by the Captain himself, but now the baddie changes every two episodes. It’s making me nauseous.

Keifer: Let it go… You’re executive producing your ass right down the scale of cool TV dudes, we’re not being fooled by all this crap into thinking everyone’s in danger. They’re not… Everyone who’s not Jack Bauer is in danger, hence the real tension in the show is pissed into the wind.

We know about the contract, we know it’s big… But 24 as a show can live on, if you sacrifice yourself like you should’ve done at the start of this series.

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