I was actually going to do my Rockets midseason report card today. I really was. But I got home last night, and despite telling myself that I would hold off on watching the next two hours of the new season of 24 until after I got my "sports related" work done, I just couldn't do it.
As outlandish, impossible, and repetitive (over/under on "This season's CTU mole revealed" has been set at Hour No. 10) as the storyline twists are, 24 is like a drug and I am basically a tweaked out Bubbles from The Wire freebasing me some Bauer and Chloe (and starting next Monday, if you'd like to pass the Bauer Bong around with me and my friends, we'll be watching at Jake's Philly Steaks on Chimney Rock through the end of the season).
So with all due respect to the Rockets, I feel compelled to use my little several-hundred-word corner of the Hair Balls universe to share a few 24 thoughts.
(Quick token sports thought to ponder as I cobble together my Rockets report card for tomorrow -- you're in a Vegas sports book that happens to allow the following wager:
HOUSTON ROCKETS MAKE NBA PLAYOFFS -110
HOUSTON ROCKETS MISS NBA PLAYOFFS -110
HOUSTON ROCKETS FINISH LAST IN SW DIVISION +200
You need to make a quick $100 to take your lady friend out to a nice steak dinner the day the NBA season ends. Which wager do you take?)
Ok, now onto some 24 thoughts (which, of course, occur in real time)....
(WARNING: If you haven't seen the first four hours yet, then I don't know if the thoughts I'm about to share qualify as "spoilers" per se, but go ahead and skip it all just in case if you're worried. I would hate for you to construe my thoughts as spoilers and be mad at me. I just
couldn't live with myself if that happened.)
So far the season is setting up nicely. Clearly, whatever Jack's stem-cell surgery entailed at the end of Season 7 was just what the doctor ordered to make sure he kept all of his crime-fighting super powers. Apparently, CTU had similar stem-cell surgery as the unit has been
reprised, and they are now apparently operating out of what appears to be a property that used to be a W hotel. There are terrorists, bombs, nuclear material about to be transferred, and lots of constipated looks from Chloe.
In other words, we're off and running with Season 8!
Two things that I am constantly evaluating and intrigued by on 24 -- the quality of the tail and the proliferation of "Hey, I know THAT dude!!"'s. Let's take a look at the scorecard for each, shall we?
24 "TALENT" REPORT CARD
KIM BAUER (Elisha Cuthbert) -- It's nice to have Kim Bauer back in our lives. Let me say that if she were ever in danger, I would totally give up stem cells to make sure she stayed around. She still has her fastball. GRADE: A
CHLOE O'BRIAN (Mary Lynn Rajskub) -- Chloe is now the breadwinner in her family as Morris has been laid off, so she is back at CTU. She seems to have put aside the computer nerd look for more of a MILF-y office manager look. An upgrade over previous seasons. And can still drop a "you have no idea what the fuck you're talking about" look with the best of them. GRADE: A-
DANA WALSH (Katie Sackhoff) -- Resident CTU hottie and a HUGE upgrade over Janeane Garofalo as "catfight tension antagonist" to Chloe. Character apparently is not using her real name either, which puts our mole-dar at about 9.8. In the end, tall, blonde and hot trumps almost everything, but the whole "using a fake name" thing has "high maintenance" written all over it. GRADE: B+
RENEE WALKER (Anne Wersching) -- She's back and the attitude makeover that Jack triggered in Season 7 has been cranked up about tenfold, as he is now in "I just don't give a fuck" mode, agreeing to go back undercover with the Russian mob just for fun. Looking fantastic, too. GRADE: A-
MEREDITH REED (Jennifer Westfeldt) -- The victim of the first "inside job" false alarm of the season, Reed is the semi-sexy reporter who managed to parlay her desire to write a column about President Hassan into a romp in the hay with the world leader. She thinks Monica Lewinsky was child's play. GRADE: B-
HONORABLE MENTION: President Hassan's daughter (but we're not sure if she is at a grade-able age yet), wife of the cop who got killed in their own home (housewife hot, but now she's gone)
24 "I KNOW THAT DUDE!" SCORECARD
CTU DIRECTOR HASTINGS (Mykelti Williamson) -- That's right, folks....BUBBA from Forrest Gump is in charge of the division that is responsible for the security of the free world. Sadly, the Bubba character is actually more intelligent than Hastings, who apparently didn't read the chapter in the CTU training guide entitled "If Jack Bauer Has A Gut Feeling, Just Go With It".
WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF ROB WEISS (Chris Diamantopolous) -- 24 is always good for a few Sopranos crossovers. We've seen Father Intintola as Ryan Chapelle, and notably Skip the FBI guy as a fat CTU dude who is in love with Chloe. This season, we get Jason Barone of Barone Sanitation as the President's Chief of Staff. Seems to have recovered
nicely from Paulie whacking him on the knee.
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PRESIDENT OMAR HASSAN (Anil Kapoor) -- The President of whatever mystery country the United States is negotiating peace with, Kapoor is also known for his role in Slumdog Millionaire and for stealing Elvis Presley's haircut.
DAVROS THE ASSASSIN (Doug Hutchison) -- The cold-blooded Russian who apparently went to the Hans Gruber school for "foreign characters who can perfectly pull of an American accent," Hutchison is best remembered for putting a dry sponge on Edward Delacroix's head in the electric chair as Percy in The Green Mile.
COP WHO WAS KICKING JACK'S ASS IN THE BASEMENT (Derrick Lombardozzi) -- Best one so far! HERC from The Wire! Since I'm not even sure we were given a name on this character in 24, then I choose to believe that it actually is Herc, he got transferred to NYC, and that 24 and The Wire actually exist in the same fantasy universe. My dream of seeing the
team of McNulty and Bauer stomp out crime remains intact.
Listen to Sean Pendergast on 1560 The Game from 3-7 p.m. weekdays on the Sean & John Show, and follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanCablinasian.