some things never change.
for years, 786 told me to get into 24. it seemed that every time i stopped by his desk, he'd tell me again, "jeff, you've got to watch 24!" i would thank him that he was concerned about my entertainment well-being, but i had no interest in television, and our conversation about movies would resume.
a few years ago, i was called to be the f.h.e. "dad" for (the dearly beloved) group 2. our monday night activities were an idyllic time over the first few months, as attendance grew and we made new friends, until one night when jen, my wife-in-calling, pulled me aside with a problem: the 2-hour season premiere of 24 was on at the same time as f.h.e.
good grief, was she one of "those", too??
i agreed to record it for her, so that she could watch it afterward, and life could resume.
after f.h.e., she came over and i watched the show with her. this jack guy was in an airport with terrorists and jen was courteous enough explain who each character was. still, when, after the first hour, she asked, "so, are you hooked?", i hardly saw what all the excitement was about. i watched the second hour, had a dream that night that i was in an airport with terrorists, and the rest is downhill history.
each week, our group grew. jen's roommate kristin came to watch. it turned out that phil and scott were longtime fans. mark got hooked. trevor, nicole, collette, and corinne soon came too see what the ruckus was all about. it was an unending snowball. f.h.e soon became a meager holding time for the real activity of the night, and we would all be stealthily looking at each other with the unspoken unity of being "in" on something together.
and that's why i love it: we got into it. every episode was a cliffhanger, with expected unexpected plot twists as often as the "wild mouse" ride at lagoon. we talked to the tv like a harlem movie theater, calling out how long the recently introduced extemporaneous agent will last, who's really the spy and who's really a good guy, cheering and booing like a vaudeville audience. i think it's no coincidence that my least favorite season was season 1, which i watched by myself because i was in japan when the rest of the group watched it.
the new season started this week. with the exception of mark, it's a new group but the fun is still there. theories are tossed around with joyful abandon, we yell with delight at the surprises, and cheer when old friends make dramatic returns.
we're no different than the kids in the fifties, who ran to the saturday matinees every week to see if the cowboy arrived in time to rescue the damsel from the train tracks. i don't think they ever feared he wouldn't arrive in time, but it's thrilling to see the adventure just the same. there's something very cool about that.