I cannot say how sad I am to have seen the end of 24. I’m going to miss the tortured and tragic Jack Bauer. I’m going to miss the upright, uptight and downright loyal Chloe O’Brian. And, in truth, I’m going to miss the stress-induced asthma attacks and nausea of this show’s high-stakes and intensity-riddled plot.
In fiction, we’re forced to suspend disbelief. Many times during 24’s eight-year run, we did just that. Sometimes naturally, and sometimes as a sacrifice to the greater good. Yes. That means not all of it was believable… by any stretch. Yet, we remained loyal fans, knowing, in the end, Jack would grip us by the throat and take us along for the ride we were there to enjoy.
In the years since 9/11, when many people first imagined John McLane swooping in to wallop the bad guy and save us all, Jack Bauer has doled out his fair share of ‘justice’. And we cheered him on nearly every step of the way.
Would we cheer him on if he were a real government agent? Doubtful. But then, as Colonel Jeesep said, “I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very freedom I provide, then questions the manner in which I provide it!”
Jack was our hero. Not because he tortured people. Certainly not. But because, through him, we knew someone was out there fighting for us. Fighting for what was ‘right’. Sacrificing everything he cared about for the benefit of his country, and often doing it on his own. That is, in the rare moments when Chloe didn’t have his back.
It wasn’t just the self-sacrifice and tragic lead character that I will miss. It’s the standing date my family and I had. Fine, our attention was riveted to the television, not to some gripping conversation about how our days were, but… and this is important… the show prompted conversations between us about fear, about right and wrong, about interpretation and about relationships – both healthy and not.
My daughter grew up watching 24. She was just turning seven when it first aired. Back then, we only spoke about it with her, she didn’t watch it. But soon, she was as interested in the real-time program as her parents. Eventually, she started asking questions. Real quality questions. And soon, she offered her opinions. Quality opinions. I remember how the wide-eyed and curious little girl who didn’t understand the depth of the storyline grew into a young lady who not only understood but could debate plot points and logic in the most thoughtful way.
I’m going to miss “24”. I’m going to miss Jack and Chloe and the exciting moments and conversations they brought into my home 24 hours a year now that they have…
shut it down.