Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Suspending disbelief only goes so far.

I am the queen of suspending disbelief. I can prove it. I still believe - every single April - that I'll be wearing my shorts from 2003 this summer. Honestly, I do. I still believe my boys don't curse when they talk with friends. I still believe there's a chance our family could become really good, lifelong friends with the Springsteen's if only circumstances would throw us together.

But I have to say, after watching yet one more season of '24,' I've just about reached my limit. No, before you jump to the wrong conclusions, the premise of the show is not what's bothering me. I don't mind suspending my disbelief in order to watch a single day of action that identifies something in the manner of four distinct "bad guys" before we finally find out who is truly the mastermind behind all the mayhem and tragedy. I don't mind watching Jack Bauer fight off a biological lethal weapon virus-type disease that has seemingly taken hold of his central nervous system but nonetheless allows him to discharge a real metal-type lethal weapon whenever the situation warrants it.

I've reconciled the fact that by hour six, I can barely remember what characters were of primary importance to the plot during hour two. I can't tell you who did what to who in hour nine once we've hit hour thirteen. I can barely remember who got killed halfway into the day, who killed them, or why. But as I said, it's okay. I've made that choice to just go with it. To do otherwise is to defeat the purpose of watching '24,' which is basically to believe that the good guys - that would be us and our friend Jack Bauer - will always win, despite all odds.

The truth is, there are so many plots twists and meandering stories within a single day (one season), I'm convinced Fox could begin re-running the series starting all over again with Season two. I'm willing to bet not one viewer could tell you exactly how that season began or ended, even if they saw it when it originally aired.

But that aside, back to the title of this post. I think I've had it with '24.' But I'll come back on one condition. They need to make just one tiny change to the next season and I'll be right there, mocking the action relentlessly make no mistake about that, but still tuning in each week. My discomfort started this year when FBI agent Renee Walker dove off a boat to escape the bad guys. This was later in the evening, hours after she had been shot - but only a little bit,which happens several times a day on '24' to several different characters- by Jack Bauer and then fake-buried in a shallow grave for Jack's associates to unearth and more or less resuscitate into crime-fighting action again. (I think I'm remembering this correctly; I think she was escaping the boat and the people on it. Then again, she may have been pursuing the villains. See what I mean about the plot sort of fading out after a while?) Anyway, the point is that she emerged from the bay or whatever it was, situated near Washington D.C., and her hair was just as swingy and shiny and healthy as it appeared nine hours earlier that day.

That started me thinking. If the producers on '24' really want to indicate that time is passing and the team is bearing up as best they can throughout a very long and incredibly challenging day, they'd better start making some wardrobe and make-up concessions. Specifically: They'd better start handing out scrunchies. And the women in the cast better start using them.

I don't know one woman alive (assuming her hair is shoulder-length or longer) who doesn't do the following under duress: pulls her hair back, into a knot or a ponytail when she's at her limit, or she needs to dig deep and keep going, or she has about had it with everyone and everything around her.

I find myself pulling my hair up or back by about 4 pm daily, and I don't have nearly the excuses Renee had on '24.' I'm just sort of cranky at my clients by that time everyday and realize I'm running out of time to do the forty-seven things left on my to do list. And don't get me started on Chloe or Janis. If this series wants to retain a shred of credibility with me or with the thousands of women who watch, they'd better start getting real about hair and the how it looks and feels after a very long day. I mean, my hair didn't look as good by the end of my wedding reception as Renee Walker's did by the end of her '24' day, for God's sake. And I didn't have to shoot anyone, tackle anyone, swim for my life or struggle with the death of a good friend and mentor that day.

So do whatever. Have Jack save the world one more time and I'll be there. As long as the women are in scrunchies by about hour five, I'll believe anything.

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