Confessions of a “24” Junkie

Let me first start by saying that my wife and I do not watch television. It’s not the hardware – we do rent movies – it’s the content. I am a big fan of the new media, and am a regular listener to talk radio.

I first heard of “24” on the Rush Limbaugh Program. I remember “America’s Anchorman” spending a big chunk of broadcast time talking about the show. He told about visiting the set, and generally yucking it up with Kiefir (is “kiefir” a type of liquid yogurt, or marijuana pollen? I forget) Sutherland, the writers, and the directors. I made a mental note.

Within a few weeks, Hugh Hewitt, talkshow host, author, constitutional law professor, and blogger extraordinaire discovered the show. People called in to share in his excitement, and described themselves as being “hooked” on, and “addicted” to the show. A few days later, Hewitt sounded almost giddy when he reported that some blogger of prominence described him as the “Jack Bauer of talk radio.” At the time, I had no appreciation of the magnitude of the compliment – for those of you who don’t know, Jack Bauer is the hero/protagonist of 24.

So, when it became time to rent a movie, I said to my lovely wife, “Let’s try something different. Let’s check out this television show about which everyone is talking.” She said, “O.K.”, and our fate was sealed.

Our intent was to try an episode. After forty-five minutes (no commercials on DVD), the first episode ended. We looked at each other, and without saying anything, I punched up the next episode. We watched all for episodes on the disk – and would have continued on had we disk number two.

8:08 P.M. Nine days before the California primary

I rented disk two. My wife cried desperately, “Will there be any resolution at the end !?!”

“No, it never ends,” I said flatly. My hands trembled slightly as I placed the disk in the player. The haunting techno theme music began.

“O.K.,” she said with a hint of fear in her voice, “but I can’t watch just this from now on, we’ll have to watch a chick flick.”

“Of course,” I said, doing whatever was necessary to buy some time… Jack would approve.

9:28 P.M. Nine days before the California primary

Things seemed to be going well, then, after a mere two episodes, a wrenching twist in the plot: “I have to get ready for bed,” she said as she rose from the couch, then added, “I don’t think I can keep watching this. You know, the things you see affect you.”

I had to think fast. “You know, if you stop us now, you will never know how the season ends – I’m your only chance,” I said.

She gave me an odd look, “I’m not saying that we can never see it again – ”

“Nina, there isn’t time – “

“Did you just call me ‘Nina’ – “

“Look, I promise everything is going to be O.K. I have to go now, I’ll call you back when I know something.”

“Are you alright? When was the last time you meditated?”

Cue the theme music