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Worst TV Show of the Week

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WARNING: Graphic Content!!! Do NOT push play if you don't want to see the explicit video!!!


24 on Fox

By Josh Shirlen


The highly anticipated season premiere of 24 aired this week on Fox and lived up to its reputation for pushing the limits of decency with violent content.  This season the show presents another ultra-patriotic storyline with hero Jack Bauer defending freedom and almost single handedly protecting the United States from terrorists.  The two hour premier episode earns its place on our Worst of the Week list for graphic violence including torture.


The show begins with a Middle Eastern suicide bomber killing himself and over 20 Americans on a city bus with explosives.  The scene, while graphic and intense, is overshadowed by the emotional realization that people are dying in this exact manner in certain parts of the world nearly every day.  In this instance, it could be very difficult for young viewers to differentiate what is happening fictitiously on 24 and what they have just seen on the evening news.  Because of its realism, the scene is likely to strike a nerve in viewers of all age groups invoking emotions of fear, anger, and even violence. 


The show also contains several instances of torture.  Within the two hour period Jack goes from being tortured by the terrorist leader to torturing an extremist.  In perhaps the most disturbing display of torture, the terrorist spreads his tools out on a table and selects a specific knife to stab into Jacks shoulder.  Jack screams in agony when the terrorist pours alcohol over the stab wound.  Moments later Jack is able to escape the bondage when he manages to lock his teeth onto the jugular vein of his captor.  Like a vampire he sinks his teeth in and then rips a chunk of the man's neck off.  The terrorist lays dead in a large pool of his own blood while Jack, resembling Hannibal Lecter, spits out the flesh and frees himself.


Another noteworthy instance of violence surrounds a young man of Middle Eastern decent who lives in the suburbs.  Initially, the viewer is led to feel sorry for him as he is harassed by ignorant American peers for his ethnicity, but later we learn he is actually working for the terrorists.  He takes a family who has shown him love and compassion hostage and holds them at gun point.  When confronted by an angry peer, he shoots him twice, killing him.


The plot for this season of 24 has received a good amount of criticism for writing involving an actual United States enemy.  Television has a way of blurring the lines between fantasy and reality and may create unrealistic fears in young viewers. 


For this questionable plotline and excessive graphic violence, 24 is out pick for Worst of the Week.

Worst TV Show of the Week

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