It’s Memorial Day, so here’s a reminder that we’re not working today

May 27, 2014 3:11 AM

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It’s Memorial Day, so here’s a reminder that we’re not working today

Last week, I made a joke about how often characters on 24 are struck with disbelief at moments when it would be most narratively convenient for them to be so stricken. But really, that’s just a symptom of one of the show’s most basic storytelling tools, a tool that works okay in small doses, but suffers when it’s forced to do too much of the hefty lifting: the Obstacle.

Pretty much all narratives have obstacles that prevent their protagonists from immediately achieving their goals, because without that, all stories would be very, very short. (“Frodo had the One Ring. He broke it. SAURON WAS DEFEATED.”) But 24 takes this idea to ludicrous extremes, featuring charact...

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