Like anyone else hooked on the show 24, I’ve got Jack Bauer on the brain. Unlike many fans of the show however, I came to the world of CTU late in the game. Therefore, I’ve been hauling in the DVDs on Netflix, recording the current season on TiVo, and racing to catch up. This means that I’m cramming in about 12 hours of Bauer every weekend. That kind of input makes you go a little crazy.
I find myself dreaming about sockets and protocols. Wondering who Division is going to send down to bust me for skipping my Advanced Trademarks seminar. When someone takes too long swiping his debit card at the grocery store, I scream, “We’re running out of time!” I’ll admit, I’ve got a problem.
However, one of the good things to come out of my daily ponderings of 24 is that I’ve stumbled on a striking similarity between Jack Bauer, CTU Agent extraordinaire, and Harry Potter, boy wizard. This may seem like an odd pairing, but just check out the evidence.
1. Both Jack and Harry are impervious to fear. Time and time again, the two heroes throw themselves into terrifying situations with no hesitation. This is probably a quality that exists in most heroic characters, but it is hard to recall any action hero running headlong into danger more often than Jack Bauer. And there is certainly no precedent for a 14-year-old old boy confronting a 50-foot basilisk, as Harry did in the second book. The only other combination of youth and bravery that even compares to that would be the time that Chunk found the strength to befriend Sloth in “Goonies.” Or any kid that made it through a stay at Neverland Ranch.
2. Signature skills. Both Jack and Harry have a plethora of heightened skills that enable them to save the day when everyone else fails. Among those varied abilities, the two heroes have signature skills that stand out and define their greatness. Bauer’s are killing, torturing, and pistol-whipping, as evidenced by websites that track his total kills and tortures every episode. Every Monday on PTI, Tony Kornheiser gleefully announces that he will be tuning into 24 later that night and keeping tabs on Bauer’s number of pistol-whippings. For all of Bauer’s stamina, decisiveness, and helicopter-piloting skill, it is his handling and use of weapons (including his hands, feet, and head) that stands out the most. As for Harry, his signature skill is clearly flying on his broomstick. That was made obvious in the fourth book (and movie), when he was nudged toward using his broomstick to defeat the dragon in the Tri-Wizard tournament. Throw in his amazing record as a Seeker in Quidditch and there is no doubt about this one.