Well, folks, the new season of 24 has begun, and I'm loving it. It's a not-so-guilty pleasure of mine that I reveal to virtually everyone I meet. "You don't watch 24! Never seen it!! WTF!!!", these conversations tend to go.
Having said all of that, I have grown a bit weary of the series, and I've argued quite openly that if in fact this show is meant to be "realistic" (which is what it would lead you to believe what with it's incessant countdown clock framing, literally, every minute of each episode), the most realistic thing that could happen in it would be for Jack Bauer to die. After all, why is it that he's the only character who does the right thing and who can get there in just the nick of time and is a crack shot even when under fire and can withstand exposure to bioweaponry? Oh, that's right. It's because he's the star--and the main reason that we tune in to watch the show. Kill him off--no mater how realistic a move it would be (and it would be a really real one)--and ratings could plummet, I suppose.
So in any case, ENG 72 is off and running with its discussions of realism, so now's as appropriate a time as any to think about how this contemporary fictionalized reality show actually matches up against the reality of the real world. These distinctions are obviously not neat ones, IMO (if you couldn't glean that much from my deliberately muddled prose), so let's, um, interrogate them. Click here to watch a video about the reality of televised representations of torture.