The ‘24’ Absurd-o-Meter: Bauer Family Values

In Daily Intel’s new 24 Absurd-o-Meter, we’ll each week count down the most incredibly ridiculous (ridiculously incredible?) plot points in the last hour of Jack Bauer’s crappy day. Last night was relatively slow going for the Absurd-o-Meter — post-nuke, preposterousness took a backseat to plot — but we still found our top three:

3. Cell phones apparently work just fine moments after a nuclear explosion. Before the first commercial break, ten minutes after a nuke goes off in Valencia, both Jack and the bad guys are enjoying crystal-clear cell connections. Remember how your cell didn’t work on September 11? Wouldn’t a nuclear attack be much, much worse? (Also, that underground presidential bunker gets awfully good coverage.)
2. There is apparently no traffic — in L.A.! — soon after a nuclear explosion. Carping about the lack of traffic on 24 is always easy, but still: It only took fifteen minutes for Jack to get a car delivered with all the chaos that’s going on? Never mind, Enterprise: CTU will pick you up.
1. And the most absurd plot point in last night’s 24: Jack Bauer has a brother! And he’s eeevil! Last season we saw Mysterious Bluetooth Guy — perhaps you recall him as ER’s helicopter-tormented Dr. Rocket Romano — talking on his Bluetooth phone, bossing around the bad-guy president, pouring himself a drink, trying to kill Jack Bauer, and talking some more on his Bluetooth phone. Now he’s back — and he’s Jack’s brother. And Jack, of course, mildly tortures him. We can’t wait for Thanksgiving at the Bauers. —Ben Wasserstein