Saturday, July 18, 2009

Copy That

My son Mac and I are devotees of the TV show “24.” We don’t have an actual television, so we rent the show on Netflix and we’ve watched it for the last year, one season at a time. Somewhere around the third season, we realized that the show was not, as we had assumed, a guilty pleasure, but a compelling show chock-full of moral nuance and complexity. Occasionally the writing can be a little bit lazy, but the acting is really good, and Jack Bauer, the antihero (who is, I feel compelled to add, played by Canadian actor Keifer Sutherland), reflects the evolving zeitgeist of America for the last eight or nine years. All the questions we’ve asked ourselves after 9/11 about due process, civil liberties, and that delicate balance between protecting our citizens and honoring the law are interesting questions to ask. As a result, Mac and I have been thoroughly hooked.

So last night, we were on the final disk of Season 7. It’s not outside the realm of possibility that I will die before Netflix releases Season 8. And so this is probably our last season of watching the show. Mac had mentioned to me earlier that this was our final season and we both did our best not to cry. So there we were, watching the second to the last episode, and Jack Bauer’s daughter Kim was now a mother and she’d named her first-born daughter Terry, after her dead mother who was killed in Season 1. And Maclen says, “What an idiot. Why’d she name her kid after her mom? She needs to move on, It’s been six seasons already.” I responded in a calm, measured way, as any mother would. I said, “You are totally full of shit. What the fuck are you talking about? That’s a wonderful gesture.” And Mac says, “She needs to move on. She can’t spend her whole life grieving her mother.” And I said, “Naming the kid after the mother is a way for her to move on.” We left it at that, but I could tell he was utterly unconvinced.

Finally, we were about to begin the final episode. Episode 24 of Season 7. Before we began I told Mac to pause the DVD player and I said to him, “Sir, it has been an honor to serve with you these past seven seasons. I’m proud to have watched this show with you.” And Mac responded, “As am I, sir. As am I.” And we smiled at each other and watched our very last “24” episode. I know, I know, it's a FOX show with lots of explosions, but this was a heavy event for me.

Much to my disappointment, despite all promises implied ( SPOILER ALERT. DO NOT CONTINUE READING IF YOU WANT TO BE SURPRISED BY THE ENDING. ALSO DO NOT CONTINUE READING THIS SENTENCE IF YOU DON’T WANT TO KNOW THAT TONY SOPRANO IS DEAD. . . . WHOOPS!) Jack Bauer was not killed off at the very end of the season, even though he had a fatal and incurable illness. At the end of the season, his daughter volunteered her body for an experimental and never-been-proven-successful stem cell procedure. So you know he’s going to come back for the final season. I was really disappointed in this plot cop-out, and Mac said to me, “What do you have against last-minute experimental stem cells saving the day and making the main character survive a fatal and incurable illness?” And I had to admit he had a point.

So as I was getting ready for bed, he was helping me as he always does, pulling the blankets over me, putting my breathing machine on for me and right before I said goodnight to him I looked him in the eye and I said, “Mac, after I’m dead, if you have a daughter, it would mean so much to me if you would call her . . . Terry.” And this big grin and one sort of staccato guffaw burst out of Mac and he leaned over himself and slapped his thigh. His eyes beam when he laughs hard, just like they did when he was 3. And he said, “Wow, that will be a tough one to explain to my wife. We have to call her Terry for my mom…Carla”

As I told Edith later, making Mac laugh is like ringing the bell with a giant hammer at the state fair.

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

keep laughing you two
(or is it three?)
terry carla mac...

Anonymous said...

Boy, if you like 24...track down the BBC series called MI5 (in England it is called SPOOKS). It make 24 look like Sesame Street. It is the most intense spyish series you will have ever seen. Amazing writing, camera/editing work...much more realistic than 24...with more plausible story lines and MORE intelligent suspense...oh and more intelligent characters. They aren't afraid to kill-off main characters or have them have to leave. Give it a try and let us know what you think.

Again...makes 24 (which I watch too!) seem so silly!

Anonymous said...

BTW, I LOVE and LAUGHED OUT LOUD about your comment to Mac to name his daughter TERRY...hillarious.

Love to you as always...

a MOOSE-ling

Anonymous said...

Hi Sweet Girl,

I have been urged, by several people, to watch 24. I have never seen it but now will start with year one.

I love that you made Mac laugh. What an experience you two are sharing and how beautifully you are sharing it.

Love, Pat

gsbuck said...

If the two young men you wrote about your last blog are soldiers, then you are a war correspondent who's wonderfully well-written dispatches from the front keep us on the edge of our seats. Good luck with the benefit tonight.

Anonymous said...

This made me cry.

You need another series to watch, that's all. Have you watched The Wire, it's fantastic (you just have to get through the first 6 episodes or so, asking yourself, what's all the fuss, before you find out what's all the fuss.)

Also, Deadwood is so good ( maybe too much fellatio to watch with your son in the room) but by season 3 the language is downright Shakespearean.

Obviously, Arrested Development, which you can watch on Hulu.

Anonymous said...

I loved reading this as much as I loved hearing it. -E

Anonymous said...

Do they kill off Chloe? I tried watching way back in Season two I think it was and could not stand Chloe and her constant "Jack, Jack" breathlessness....

Anonymous said...

Carla,
You made me cry with this. Yikes. Try Boston legal if you have not seen it..bizarre, funny, powerful writing. The best I have ever seen. Joanna

barefootonthenorthshore said...

Our family would watch West Wing & Red Sox like it was religon. The irony was that in the West Wing, the president got a neurological disorder!! What are the odds?? I mean of all the sitcoms and tv dramas...Then we watched the season of the Red Sox and Curt Schilling (a true ALS advocate) took the mound with "K ALS" on his bloody cleate and wins the only Red Sox world series of my father's lifetime...magic!

Sometimes TV isn't just TV...

Great blog!

Anonymous said...

I read this earlier today and when I thought of it throughout the day I would start to laugh - hesitantly in that way that says you aren't sure you should laugh because maybe it's a little inappropriate but you really want to cut loose (I did have a laughing fit at my great-grandfather's funeral when I was 6 so I do have a history...or a record?). But then I think, what the hell, it's Carla and she would probably be offended if I didn't laugh. It is the best medicine, after all...

--lisa

Anonymous said...

You have got Mac's laugh described to a T. He does beam and it is the best thing to see....

Whoever he meets and spends the rest of his life with will be lucky indeed.

Helene