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The first Republican president once said, "While the people retain their virtue and their vigilance, no administration by any extreme of wickedness or folly can seriously injure the government in the short space of four years." If Mr. Lincoln could see what's happened in these last three-and-a-half years, he might hedge a little on that statement.
-Ronald Reagan

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Sunday, February 09, 2003
Since it seems to be the blogging rage at the moment, I might as well weigh in on the critical question of 24. I agree with Jesse that the Kim Bauer subplot, even if Kevin in a mocking sort of way, enjoys it, is the weakest part of the show. Kim was a legitimate part of the plot in the first season, since one of the numerous elements of the ludicrously complex terrorist plot was to kidnap her. (We never did get an explanation in the first season of how the villains, who appeared to have a workforce slightly larger than the population of Van Nuys, managed to assemble it without drawing any attention to themselves.) In the current season, the writers have found no way to draw her into the plot except by throwing a series of catastrophes at her. She is currently wandering around the hills someplace near LA. Her almost-latest problem is to have encountered a hungry mountain lion, after which she promptly and typically did the stupidest possible thing, trying to run away from it. She then hit her latest problem, being caught in some sort of snare with the lion still on her trail, which is where she's been left until this week's episode.

Matt Yglesias has provided an argument of why Kim should be on the show that I can only describe as compelling. But it is less persuasive than it might be because the producers of 24, who seem to have forgotten what network they're on, have taken remarkably little advantage of Elisha Cuthbert's impressive gifts. It's even more strange than Enterprise, where the producers hired Jolene Blalock, then buried her under makeup until she was unrecognizable, even though Blalock's special qualifications are not inferior to Ms Cuthbert's:

But Enterprise has managed to arrange for several scenes that showed Blalock's character T'Pol in some sort of high tech shower/sauna, all of them no doubt <cough> essential </cough> to the story. On 24, pretty much nothing. Maybe they need to import a writer or two from Alias, the current and possibly all-time leader in the find-a-plot-excuse-to-get-your-bombshell-actress-in-a-new-skanky-outfit-every-episode derby.

John Cole thinks that the best plot twist so far this season has been the Warner sister turning out to be a terrorist. It certainly succeeded in surprising me, and probably most other viewers, but it accomplished that mainly by cheating: we'd had no previous reason to believe that she was at odds with her family or anyone else, then she turns without warning from a valley girl arranging her marriage into a ruthless terrorist spending her wedding day blowing up the city she and her family live in. Maybe we'll get some reasonable explanation later on of why she joined the terrorists; more likely it will get swallowed up in future plot twists without ever being explained.