teantacles asked: Yo David, I've always heard of 24 as being super racist republican power fantasy but I've seen you and the Riviera dudes talking it up before. Could you give me an elevator pitch on why it's worth watching?
At one point in the series, Bauer explains what he’s about. “I see fifteen people held hostage on a bus, and everything else goes out the window. I will do whatever it takes to save them—and I mean whatever it takes.”
He’s Batman, he’s James Bond, he’s the Punisher, he’s Dirty Harry, but his mandate is more pure and less reactionary than theirs: prevent the deaths of innocents at all costs. To accomplish his goals, he beheads child molesters, goes undercover in cartels, and murders a Bennetton ad of villains—it was never just brown faces—in exciting ways. He is semi-explicitly positioned as a monster, a vicious guard dog, and he only comes off the leash when we’re in danger. He sacrificed his adult life, relationships, and happiness in service to his cause.
The twist, what I think keeps it from being Ronald Reagan fanfic, is that Bauer himself is willing to do evil things in the name of good, but he’s also willing to pay the price for what he does. When his bosses offer to lie for him—twice—he angrily tells them to do their job and tell the truth. The show doesn’t call his bluff until very, very late, but it’s there and it feels real. He doesn’t want special treatment. He wants to do his dang job and prevent a variety of horrible disasters.
A brief scene, after Bauer shoots two people in order to gain access to a certain facility, that is Pure Jack:
Jack Bauer: I only grazed them, sir.
Person: How do you know, Jack?
Jack Bauer: Because I pulled the trigger.
Bauer is a demon, but a demon that is bound to protect innocent lives to his fullest capabilities. It’s more nuanced than a republican power fantasy, especially once it starts actively incorporating the biggest critiques of the show. It’s about seeing outrageous violence paired with a curious approach to morality.
Jack Bauer is as close as our fallen, awful country will ever come to Golgo 13.
and Chloe O’Brian is easily a top ten television character