The day after: Jack Bauer's next 24 hours
The new season of Fox's "24," in which Jack Bauer spends all of the aforementioned hours in a day running, shooting, driving, and then running some more in order to prevent terrorist attacks against the United States, is as gripping as ever. The show has demonstrated an uncanny ability to manufacture genuine "ripped from the headlines" suspense in a way that, say, NBC's "E-Ring" never quite manages. And "24" has also been justly praised for its innovative format, in which each hour-long episode corresponds to an actual episode of Jack's very long day. But when the day ends, so does the season, which leads to the burning question: What happens to Jack Bauer during the next 24 hours?
Well, wonder no more: the following takes place ... the day after.
7 a.m. Jack catches up on some well-needed rest.
8 a.m. Jack continues to sleep.
9 a.m. Jack wakes up briefly, looks at his alarm clock, mutters something about how someone who saved the world deserves five more minutes, and goes back to sleep again.
10 a.m. Jack is woken by his secure phone. It is, however, a telemarketer asking if he'd like to change his long distance service. Jack manages to use the men's room for the first time in 27 hours.
11 a.m. Paperwork. Jack has, in the previous 28 hours, destroyed approximately $10 million worth of civilian property (vehicles, mostly); you had better believe there are forms that need filling out.
12 p.m. More paperwork, and a light lunch.
1 p.m. Jack goes to pick up his dry cleaning. Some tension when the dry cleaner reminds him he was supposed to come in yesterday; dry cleaner is mollified when Jack displays his latest presidential commendation, and Jack even manages to get the special "unsung national hero" 20 percent discount.
2 p.m. Jack does other errands, as long as he's out; returning library books (he didn't quite manage to finish "The Lovely Bones," but it was overdue); getting new cellphone headset (since the explosion yesterday at 7 p.m., he keeps hearing a sort of staticky sound); buying more ammo.
3 p.m. Awkward apologetic phone calls to various people he attacked, beat up, or threatened yesterday who turned out to be entirely innocent.
4 p.m. More awkward phone calls. There were a lot of people.
5 p.m. Catches the big football game he had videotaped yesterday as soon as he heard it was going to be "one of those days." (Luckily, terrorists generally aren't the type of people to blurt out the score, though Jack is always having to warn people at the Counterterrorist Unit that they shouldn't even *mention* the Steelers while he's on the job.)
6 p.m. Orders Chinese food for dinner. A slight problem arises when Jack believes that the deliveryman is actually an assassin sent by the Chinese Embassy. Mental note made for another awkward phone call for tomorrow.
7 p.m. Gets spruced up for date with beautiful woman he met at 5 p.m. yesterday, during hostage crisis.
8 p.m. Drinks with beautiful woman. Date ends early when turns out that they have nothing in common other than shared dislike of being taken hostage; leave on good terms, though, and Jack agrees that yes, this will make a nice "meet cute" story for her.
9 p.m. Jack goes to bookstore and buys paperback copy of "The Lovely Bones"; heads back home for some quiet time.
10 p.m. Bubble bath.
11 p.m. Jack watches the Daily Show and the Colbert Report, waiting to see what John and Steve have to say about yesterday's events; he laughs a lot, even though they both, like all the rest of the media, have the story entirely wrong.
12 a.m. Stretching exercises; after all the many injuries he's suffered over these very long days, Jack's just a mass of trouble spots.
1 a.m. to 7 a.m. Bed. Sleep interrupted briefly to repel home invasion by assassins from Chinese Embassy. Otherwise uneventful.
So there you have it - the next 24 hours in the life of Jack Bauer. Join me for my next few columns, when we'll examine in-depth one of the writs of habeas corpus filed by Denny Crane on "Boston Legal," and a forensic report submitted by Horatio Caine on "CSI: Miami." Until then.