The only nights I really watch TV are Sunday and Tuesday, and it’s Fox all the way. Weekly, I am astonished by the level of inventive, subversive, satirical humor on the Fox Sunday lineup of The Simpsons, Bernie Mac, Malcolm In the Middle and the scabrous-yet-ingratiating Arrested Development – I have actually known people like the floundering, formerly-rich Bluths, forced to deal with the real world after the protective bubble of their wealth has been burst. Basically all they are good at is shopping and drinking, yet somehow every member of the Bluth family has some redeeming quality and the cast is brilliant.
With the return of American Idol, Tuesday is now a TV night rather than just the hour of 24. I skipped last week’s Idol return because there were other things going on, but I figured I would check in last night to see how far along they are in the process of getting the at least somewhat promising hopefuls to Hollywood, where they will be whittled down – eventually – to the final ten.
I could have easily skipped last night as well because they are still doing the regional auditions and, of course, emphasizing cruelty and conflict. We didn’t see much of the “good enough” contestants who were waved on to Hollywood by Simon and Randy (Paula was having her hair done or something for most of the show), but we sure saw plenty of really bad contestants, who were ritualistically abused: “dreadful” “never sing again” “disastrous” “horrible” “deplorable” “wretched” “talentless” “weak” – these were some of the critiques, and while no one should be encouraged if they are without talent, the editorial emphasis on the bad and benighted is both depressing and mean-spirited. And the time spent on the abused returning fire is pointless and just conflict for conflict’s sake. I really hate this phase of the show.
24, which won the Golden Globe for best TV drama, was back in fine style last night after a week off for the American Idol opening blitz, and I am beginning to perceive that their strategy this season was to start relatively slow then build – the opposite of the previous two seasons, which started with big bangs then inevitably petered off.
Last night we had the return of Sherry Palmer, President David Palmer’s devious ex-wife because it takes a snake to deal with a snake: former Palmer-ally Milliken has turned against him due to Palmer’s brother’s (and his Chief of Staff) indiscretions with Milliken’s wife. “We need big dirt on Milliken – stat.”
Eager to get back in the game after her banishment from public life because she nearly caused the end of the world last season, Sherry is happy to oblige. Penny Johnson Jerald, who plays Sherry, was the guest on new 24-fan talk show 24Inside last night – check out the tape here.
Meanwhile, down at the drug kingpin’s ranch in Mexico, Jack tries to convince Truly Evil Woman Nina Myers (double-agent, traitor, murderess of Jack’s wife and Kim’s mother) that he has gone over to the other side and is not merely working undercover for CTU in an effort to wrest the deadly virus away from the unnamed seller via the trust and resources of the (drug kingpin) Salazars, but that he is now a free agent, in it for the money just like she is, and disabused of any lingering idealism and/or concern for his fellow man.
She makes him kiss her to prove his turned-wormedness, which would normally be cool because Nina is pretty hot and all, but it is NOT cool because Nina killed his wife, is Truly Evil and bereft of a soul, and Jack really IS undercover for CTU, and besides, he has the hots for the sterling-hearted and puffy-lipped Claudia, girlfriend of younger Salazar brother Hector, who unbeknownst to Jack has been killed aiding Jack’s junior partner Chase Edmunds’ escape from the clutches of said Salazars.
Nina, using powers gained when she sold her narrow-assed soul to Satan, can tell from Jack’s kiss that Goodness still stokes his inner fire, and as such she doesn’t trust him. Jack head-butts her across the room like an Evil rag doll, threatens her and reaffirms his offer of $20 million if she will conclude the transaction for the virus.
Hector – now discombobulated by the death of Claudia, the vicissitudes of the deal, Jack’s subjugation-with-prejudice of Nina Myers, and the reversion of drug-organizational leadership back to his older brother Ramon – wants to call the deal off. Ramon says no. Hector says yes, calls to his men, turns his back and stalks off. Ramon – who we have been warned has no human feeling for anyone other than himself – shoots his brother in the back.
The deal must go on!
I can always tell when an episode of 24 is good because my stomach cramps up from the tension and I fart a lot. Last night was a gas.