In Daily Intel’s 24 Absurd-o-Meter, we each week count down the most incredibly ridiculous (ridiculously incredible?) plot points in the last hour of Jack Bauer’s crappy day. Last night’s decidedly meh installment was low on Bauer action and high on both boring Morris-Chloe subplots and the lackadaisical packing of a suitcase by a bearded ex-president. Nevertheless, as always, there was absurdity on hand.
3. President Logan simply cannot choose a shirt that goes with his beard. In yet another attempt of real-time fungibility, Ex-President Logan appears to have spent ten minutes dithering about what to pack in his suitcase. Why a man on a brief furlough from house arrest even has a suitcase is a good first question; a good second one is why it takes him ten minutes to pack it. Absurdity factor: 2 (out of 10)
2. The pen is explodier than … The Boiler Room of Doom was joined by its brothers: the Briefcase of Terror, the Tape Recorder of Destruction, and, most terrifying of all, the Highlighter of Death. All of which were smuggled into the presidential bunker below the White House without much difficulty. (No X-ray machines at the White House?) Then the delicately assembled bomb materials leak out of the tape recorder’s speaker — damnation! why did it have to have that feature?! — tipping off the intended victims. Oops! It’s a little much to have the bomb maker be on the one hand a spookily effective potential president assassin and also a total screwup. Absurdity factor: 3
1. Dude, wipe. For 24-philes, having a character use the bathroom is a weird treat, like the rare occasions when characters eat or sleep: a bit of mundane verisimilitude within the show’s heightened reality. So the spat between Chloe and Morris was considerably enlivened by the spectacle of Chloe marching into the men’s room to drag Morris off his can. However! His neglecting to wipe or wash his hands was a lot less cool. Absurdity factor: 7
Bonus: Morris’s former AA sponsor, Jeannie, may have sounded familiar: She was played by Springfield’s own Nancy Cartwright. Ay carumba! —Ben Wasserstein