Oh Jack Bauer.
You’re back. Now what am I going to do?
The fictitious character of the TV show “24” stole 10 years off of my life during its eight-season run — it was that heartstoppingly intense. Now the series is back on the air. I just don’t know if I can handle it.
For those unfamiliar with “24,” the show takes place in real time — a 24-hour span of the Counter Terrorist Unit agent’s life in which Bauer engages in all kinds of badassery that includes plenty of questionable moral decisions all in the name of some greater purpose like saving the world.
I can totally relate.
Not because I ever got caught up in a foreign country’s military coup (although one baseball season some parents talked of overthrowing a coach) but because I, too, hear that ominous ticking clock that counts down every episode. Just like Bauer, I don’t have time.
I hear that darn clock all day long, as I race to get kids to school and then while at work and then when I hurry to pick them up and get them ready and off to practices while trying to squeeze in a workout and get dinner ready. I have completely forgotten how to relax. The incessant tick-tocking reminds me constantly that there’s more to do.
So now, this show is back on the air and the hubs and I already can’t make a dent in the program backlog threatening to explode the TiVo. He actually suggested we take a day off work and binge-watch.
As anyone with kids knows, this parenting thing means all kinds of sacrifices. And the biggest is in your television viewing. Once the kids can tell time and realize you’re putting them to bed at 7:30, the jig is up.
If you’re lucky you have an hour, usually less, to watch your favorite shows before passing out cold and missing the all-important teaser for next week’s episode — that you won’t even get to watch until two months later.
Once upon a time, Nielsen wanted us. Sent us a crisp dollar bill in the mail as incentive and called multiple times because the ratings company cared about what we watched. Heck, back in the day, we watched programs the day they aired. Now it takes us three days — two if we’re lucky — to watch an hourlong program. With some shows, like “Modern Family” and “Parks and Rec,” we’ve just caved and let the kids watch with us.
But our Netflix programming? Watching female prison dramedy “Orange is the New Black” for family time? Yeah, I don’t think it’s overprotective to shield them from inmate-on-inmate shower violence and DIY electroshock therapy. Those are the kinds of things you’re not really ready for until at least freshman year of college. I’m not sure I’m even old enough to handle the extreme blackness of “House of Cards.”
So, Jack, to steal your most famous line — Dammit. I just don’t know how I’m going to squeeze in your show.