Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Day 8.140 Fooled again (My Stage Win)

We won't get fooled again (no no).

As much a I like The Who, we will get fooled again.

Because we want to be fooled.

I am not speaking about politics (I played this anthem every day in spin class during the voting period prior to our foolish election of that guy before Mr. Obama).

We are human. We do silly things. We get fleeced. We elect village idiots to the highest office for the sole purpose of enriching those already in the top 1% of Americans. Fool me twice he tried to say.

Hollywood knows this, as does any good magician. I don't know, maybe even Trump knows it. PT Barnum and Charlie Chan did. Hunter and Garcia did.

It is the Hollywood fool, as tool, that I reference today not the Capitol Hill shill.

I had to take a couple of days off between season 2 and season 3 of 24 in order to digest it all. As you know this is my third consecutive viewing of all episodes of all seasons. I probably don't need to tell you why I am doing this again in detail, so here are the Cliff Notes:

1) Crisply written
2) Adeptly produced
3) Well acted, scored and edited
4) Relevant
5) Dramatic

It is the last of these that I detail today, The Dramatic.

We, as audience love to suspend belief. We love to get tricked and we adore the sensation of plausibility. I, perhaps desperately, want to see the heroic. I want to follow the lead of a person I completely trust and respect. I want to fight for a cause so important that I will do whatever it takes to accomplish the mission. I also would really like to be a bad-ass.

Jack represents all of the above. In spades as card players like to say. He is everything we (or at least I) would like to be.

There is a fine line however. The jumping of sharks. Once you go TOO FAR, it is almost impossible to return. You cannot insult a sophisticated audience unless you are in the comedy genre. Your protagonist must become our hero, and therefore above the normal laws governing our definition or current understanding of reality. THAT is another fine line that all artists walk, How much is too much? Where will they stop buying into the premise? How outlandish, ridiculous, impossible or implausible can it get before the dreaded 'no way' reaction?

The current rage of Super Hero movies is a perfect example. Remember the first time you saw Super Man fly? Jackie Chan fight or John Wayne shoot? How about 007, Captain Nemo or Iron Man? Too much?

Jack is hanging, tied by his wrists, naked. He has info that the bad guys want. He is being tortured by a sadistic enemy combatant terrorist mercenary a-hole. Jack is being cut open with a heated scalpel. He will not talk. The bad guys cuts some more. Jack won't talk. We hear again that everybody has a breaking point. They hook up electrodes to Jack and pump 1,000 watts of hurt into him. No talk. They inject him with a pain inducing drug. Jack screams but says nothing else. They repeat this until Jack is dead. Then they panic because he is the only one who knows the location of the computer chip that incriminates the whole gang, including Mr Big.

So they get the handy AED and hit him with 360 joules. Nothing. The lead bad guy yells for his toadie to get the epinephrine. They shoot him up with 200cc's. Nothing. More joules, more drugs. Nothing. Jack is gone. The clock counts down and we fade to black. Jack is dead. I might as well start watching The Wire.

But we know he won't be dead be for long. We have suspended believe and love the drama that we missed something, that one small detail, that will allow Agent Bauer to return and thoroughly kick the asses of all those responsible. Not because they almost killed him, and he wants revenge, but because it is his job and he loves his country.

Next episode opens with Jack laying on a gurney. They give one more jolt and one more injection and Jack is back. We breathe a sigh of relief.

And than he does what he does. Not longer than five minute after all this trauma he kills all the hostiles, steals a car, makes three phone calls, re-loads, finds where the latest lead has led and speeds off in that direction.

All I can do is sit and watch, happy for the opportunity to be fooled, again.

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