Right Wing Nut House



Filed under: "24", Blogging — Rick Moran @ 8:13 am

Should Right Wing Nuthouse continue the tradition of recapping each episode of 24 when the show picks up again on January 11, 2009?

That’s the poll question I’ve posted above in order to get a sense from my reader’s as to whether the tremendous investment in time would be worth it to them - and to me.

For the past three seasons, I have blogged every episode of 24 with the dedication of a Franciscan monk. When I started, I was virtually alone in doing so - a solitary, very unknown blogger with a unique take on the show - a combination of world weary cynicism about TV’s portrayal of conservative values with a dash of pop culture snark. As far as I know, I was the first chronicler of 24 to include a “Body Count.”

Since then, there have been a number of imitators. Some have original takes of their own. Some sites even liveblog the night’s episode. Many are very good. Some are pretty sucky. The point being, I’m hardly the only game in town anymore when it comes to this genre of blogging and I have a decision to make.

The process of writing one of these summaries is quite laborious. I watch the entire show twice (once for personal enjoyment) while taking copious notes during the second viewing. I then watch parts of the show a third time, gleaning quotes and nuance from some of the scenes. After all that, I write a 1500-2000 word essay that includes an introduction that tries to fold themes from the episode into a mythic-historical perspective.

My problem is that now I have two jobs which take up 10-12 hours a day of my time. I would love to continue writing these summaries but don’t want to do a half assed job and just throw something together in a couple of hours. It will take a genuine committment on my part to produce the kind of recaps I have in the past. And before I make that committment, I would like your thoughts on the matter.

The readership of this blog has changed quite a bit since those early days. It grew tremendously, then shrank precipitously, and has now grown again thanks to an influx of the kind of reader who thinks deeply about politics and ideology rather than having simple-minded, knee jerk reactions to issues based on litmus tests and talking points. Many of you may be unaware of my previous writings on Jack Bauer and the show’s place in our political culture. Suffice it to say that many of the posts that I am most proud of on this blog are in the 24 archives.

My passion for the show led to my being invited to contribute to a best selling book on the show: Secrets of 24. To be included in a book that featured the writings of so many well known journalists, writers, theologians, philosophers, and members of the cast was a real treat.

My essay from the book (Chapter 2, page 50) is entitled “The Circles of Hell: Dante, Daniel Boone, Gary Cooper, and . . . Jack Bauer:”

Bauer has transcended the entertainment world and become a political talisman; stroked by the right and bashed by the left, 24 has become the favorite guilty pleasure of the political class in America. Even many liberals confess their addiction to the show, despite Bauer’s enormously troubling use of torture and the cavalier way in which he disregards the constitutional niceties. And many conservatives, seeing Jack taking the fight directly to our enemies (along with maintaining a moral certitude that is both refreshing and emotionally satisfying), cheer their hero on as he battles evil.

We watch spellbound as he relentlessly pursues the enemies of the United States with a frightening determination and dedication that brooks no opposition from friend or foe. His disputes with the national security bureaucracy are fought with the same tenacity and brutal “win at all costs” mindset with which he battles the terrorists seeking to destroy us. In this respect, Bauer is a man outside the law rather than someone of the law.

Sound familiar? It should. Hollywood long has prospered making heroes of such men although not quite in the same context. Jack could best be compared to the small town sheriff who finds himself up against the ruthless outlaw gang as Gary Cooper played in the classic western High Noon. Cooper’s portrayal of Marshall Will Kane, who must vanquish a gang of criminals bent on revenge on the day of his wedding, had many of the same points and counterpoints found in the character of Jack Bauer. It is the solitary nature of his fight - the man willing to do his duty against terrible odds - that brings to mind Bauer’s predicaments as Jack flies from the frying pan into the fire week after week, always coming out on top because in the end, good must triumph over evil.

Even if I don’t blog every episode, I will probably write something about the show from time to time. Any thoughts you have on whether I should continue this enjoyable but time consuming tradition would be appreciated.


  1. Actually, I enjoy your summary better than the show.

    By the way, Merry Christmas! I hope Sue and you have an excellent holiday season.

    Comment by lionheart — 12/22/2008 @ 9:16 am

  2. I do love the recaps you do, so I voted #1. However, I understand the amount of time that goes into your analysis, so just the occasional post of your thoughts on the show would be fine, too.

    Comment by Toni — 12/22/2008 @ 9:18 am

  3. I first came to your blog because of the 24 posts, Rick. However, in view your current workload, would either of your employers consider paying you for your 24 posts? That way everybody wins!

    Comment by Fausta — 12/22/2008 @ 9:23 am

  4. I’ve sent liberals to your posts on 24 and at least they had the opporunity to be exposed to a different viewpoint if they checked out some of the other articles. It is always fun to see your take on the previous 24 show. I never cared for the route other bloggers took- such as Dave Barry, I think. The writers of 24 itself could have used your help in plotting some of the seasons. I hope teh show doesn’t veer further to political correctness.

    Too bad you couldn’t have had the time or inclination to analyze a really great albeit underexposed drama like The Wire, an absolutely riveting look inside the cesspool of Baltimore city government, school, drug culture and newpapers.

    You may well have also enjoyed the seven years of The Shield, which will be sorely missed by some of us. That show even managed to entice such great guest actors as Forrest Whittaker and Glenn Close for full seasons.

    Comment by HE HATE ME — 12/22/2008 @ 10:31 am

  5. I am a democrat who also happens to be a fan of 24. However, I think the show’s time has come to an end… I don’t see how it could or should continue. I enjoyed the series…Now I’m all 24′d out. What more is there? I’ll probably watch this season but I think this is it for the show..

    Also - I don’t think you should continue with re-caps. This is a political blog and the 24-politics connection will end on Jan 20 when the US goes back to operating within the confines of laws and treaties and returning to the honorable and respected nation we once were…

    24 will irrelevant in this new Obama-world-order (chuckle)

    Comment by Tim — 12/22/2008 @ 12:37 pm

  6. Like poster #3, I discovered your blog as a result of searching for commentary/coverage of “24″ and have disseminated it to a number of other “24″ diehards. I equally enjoy your commentary on all things political as I find it to be quite insightful. I voted #1 and would be quite disappointed without the episode analysis.

    Comment by James Hendricks — 12/22/2008 @ 1:19 pm

  7. It’s a wash for me, Rick; I don’t watch 24 and never will. On the one hand, scrolling through your reviews distracts from the “red meat” of your blog. On the other hand, you clearly love the show and enjoy writing about it; therefore inspiring you to blog more. As long as reviewing 24 jump starts your creative juices, I say go for it. (Thank God you don’t blog your attempts at cooking like other bloggers!)

    That’s because my “cooking” skills are limited to boiling hot dogs and making hamburger patties.


    Comment by Surabaya Stew — 12/22/2008 @ 4:09 pm

  8. While I’d love to see you start the recaps again Rick, it won’t be a show stopper if you don’t.

    Play it week by week, I had the distinct impression that you loved doing them, if that passion comes forth this new season, go for it! If not, a few quick notes with fill-in material by the readers in the comments will be enjoyable too.

    Comment by Mark H. — 12/22/2008 @ 9:45 pm

  9. I’ve never seen the show and don’t plan on watching it this year, but it doesn’t particularly bother me if you write about it. I just sort of gloss over TV stuff generally.

    Comment by Jazz — 12/23/2008 @ 6:45 am

  10. I prefer NCIS.

    Comment by Anna D — 12/23/2008 @ 10:09 am

  11. I have missed your reviews almost as much as I have missed the show. Please continue if at all possible. Even a briefer blog would be better than none. It provides a nice break and healthy variation on your usual political themes.

    Comment by Bob — 12/23/2008 @ 5:37 pm

  12. I couldn’t answer. I’m just starting to follow your blog after seeing you on AT.

    No opinion.

    Merry Christmas, Rick, and to all yours as well as your readers a Merry Christmas as well.

    Comment by l — 12/24/2008 @ 9:59 am

  13. Hey… ??… Rick, do you work 10-12 hours a day on jobs other than writing?? Other than journalism??

    I’m really hoping that you’re being supported by your writing and journalism and news reporting/editorializing.

    Merry Christmas.

    With the exception of the very early morning (4-7) my whole day until 6 pm is taken up writing and editing for AT and PJM. And you have a nice holiday as well.


    Comment by l — 12/24/2008 @ 11:01 am

  14. I feel kinda bad. oh dear. I hardly ever work. had an appointment yesterday - and probly 3 months worth of income is right there for me… but I’m changing my ways. i’m going to keep working… and not sit back and read and study and not work further for 3 months. I’m feeling quite guilty that I can work so little… like 5 hours… and live for 3 months, possibly. I PROMISE.. I’ll work more and start contributing!! Love your blogs.

    Comment by l — 12/24/2008 @ 11:05 am

  15. I skip 24 and I skip your summaries, so whatever…nothing against 24 per se, you see.

    Comment by mannning — 12/26/2008 @ 9:11 pm

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