Surviving Jack Bauer (While Maintaining Your Laid-Back Lifestyle).
The series 24 first debuted on Fox on November 6, 2001, which is coincidentally the day terrorists around the world learned the word "fear". (They grow up so fast, don't they?) 24 is carried out in real time, which is a more verbose way of saying that a 46 minute episode is equivalent to an hour of each character's life. Furthermore, if one season equals 24 episodes, then you have subsequently witnessed one entire day. Also; blah blah blah. Onto the more exciting stuff...
As of now, Jack Bauer has killed 227 people onscreen alone. However, what we functioning members of society call "227 dead bodies", Jack merely refers to as a warm-up exercise. Jack has shot, stabbed, bitten through and broken the necks of more folks than you've probably ever met. He does this all, however, in the name of protecting your cookie-dough ass. While you were oozing off the couch in stretch pants, armed with a carton of fudge-swirl ice cream, Jack was saving the USA from biological weapons, presidential assassinations, nukes, or some shit like that. You know, whatever sounds scary at the time.
Pictured: Some serious shit going down.
Jack's taste for combat and counter terrorism isn't limited only to his work at CTU, or his many rogue operations (and there have been many). Jack was first a member of The United States Army Elite Special Forces, Delta Force, and of the Los Angeles Police Department SWAT Team. Remember how you were sure that you're hot shit for being second-string on your high school football team? Well, consider your ass handed to you, gift-wrapped with all the trimmings.
"Hey Jack, hard at work or hardly working?" Oh, that's his brother by the way.
Don't assume that just because Jack seems to enjoy -- really enjoy -- ending other people's time on earth that he hasn't had his fair share of abuse. As a matter of fact, he's offered to sacrifice himself for his country on three different occasions. What have you done lately? Oh, that's right, you took out the trash and recharged your cell phone. Excuse me all to hell for even asking. In the pursuit of self-preservation, the US decided it was in their best interests to keep Bauer around. You know, just in case a nuclear King Kong dinosaur invaded with super biological testicle blower-uppers. Hand good old Jacky a sidearm and an SUV and you've got yourself the recipe to national security.
Pictured: Your night terrors mid-session.
Aside from being the self-sacrificial lamb that he is, Jack has experienced some turbulent consequences that are apparently common to his line of work. To name a few, he has sustained bullet wounds, heroin addictions, 2 years of torture in a Chinese prison camp, and exposure to biological inhalants. Oh yeah, he's also been known to contemplate suicide and kill his boss. Imagine having that conversation by the water coolers during your lunch break. Just kidding. Jack doesn't have what we "normal" folks refer to as "conversations". Jack has interrogations. Speaking of which...
One characteristic Jack is perhaps most infamous for is his partiality towards torture as an interrogation technique. Or as we Americans refer to it, "Damn good television." When Jack gets someone who's tongue-tied alone in a room, he makes Dick Cheney look like The Good Humor Man in a polka-dot dress. Even if you happen to be deaf and mute (ala Helen Keller), Jack will play Miracle Worker on your ass and astonishingly, you'll cough up the information he needs. Well, that and some personal secrets. Like the time you dressed up in your sister's bikini and pranced around. Yeah, Jack informed us.
Oh what's that? You'd outlast his barbarism? Don't say you weren't warned:
"You probably don't think I could force this towel down your throat, but trust me I can. All the way. Except that I'd hold onto this little bit at the end. When your stomach starts to digest the towel, I pull it out. Taking your stomach lining with it. Most people probably take about a week to die. It's very painful."
Sorry it had to come to that, but you had this look on your face as though you doubted the credibility of a Cracked writer. We're journalists here. You know, journalists who readily dub ourselves as "Purveyors of dick jokes." Anyway, Jack ritually permits himself "personal time" with suspects, or the unlucky folks connected with them. What entails is akin to the estranged cousin of John McCain's nightmares. If you have a bullet wound, prepare to have something digging around in it... Repeatedly. This "something" is usually Jack's fingers, which is unfortunately way less sexy than it sounds. Jack habitually will find something sharp, like a knife or pen. The formula then follows that your bodily appendages will be compromised and if all else fails, there will be beatings. Just plain old vanilla fist-to-face beatings.
You know that whole "walking" thing you like?
"I'm done talking with you, you understand me? You've read my file. The first thing I'm going to do is take out your right eye, and then I'm gonna move over and take out your left, and then I'm going to cut you. I'm gonna keep cutting you until you give me the information that I need. Do you understand me? So for the last time, where is the nerve gas?"
Okay, that one was just for fun.
Unlike these cryptic and foreign humans, a Jack Bauer only has three vocalism levels at its disposal. There's the regular, conversational tone that is hoarse, yet pleasant on the eardrums. Then, of course, there is the sincere and pleading whisper. However, if either of these two initiatives fail, there is the guttural, terror-inducing roar of a man desperate for answers. If you didn't happen to possess relevant intel in the first place, the aforementioned bark from the depths of hell itself will miraculously unveil an uncharted gold mine of it.
When he's not busy asking you where everything is, Jack can usually be overheard verbally assaulting the airspace with a barrage of "damn it". These little damn its aren't much in the way of being harmful, considering what Jack can do. A word of warning though; if you're the cause of a "damn it", the solution will probably be your fucking funeral. So if you're ever within earshot during a "damn it", it's in your best interests to get out of the country, change your identity, sever ties with loved ones and pray profusely.
With all this exceptional survival advice that we here at Cracked offer, there's one in particular we haven't mentioned yet. It goes something like this: NEVER UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES EVER GO ANYWHERE NEAR JACK BAUER. EVER.
Hopefully we made that at least somewhat clear. The main reason this is the best-case scenario for all parties involved isn't just because of Jack's history of anti-social behavior. Consider this for a moment; while all his friends, family and co-workers are busy dropping dead, who is Jack saving ninety percent of the time? If you guessed that he's protecting you; then congratulations, you're conscious. Why go and harsh his mellow by getting up in his grill? Getting your ass saved was going just fine from on the couch. Grab the remote, eat some frozen pizza, and stop harassing yourself about all this "hygiene" nonsense.
The formula is actually pretty transparent: The closer you get to Jack, the closer you get to a dirt nap. He's literally the living, breathing incarnation of death. Instead of a sickle, he has a pistol and astronomical balls. And while we're on the subject of his balls, Jack did humanity a favor by reproducing. He didn't necessarily have to, but it just seemed like something to do at the time. While his daughter, Kim, isn't busy failing all over the place, she spends most of her existence being really, really hot.
Is this the best thing that Jack ever did? Just asking.
Kim is the only main character to survive from the first season, into the current run. Yeah, you totally read that right. If you need further proof that Jack is cursed and that most of his associates go from douche bag to body bag in a flash, here is a brief list of peers that Jack has "lost" along the way:
Curtis Manning (associate), Teri Bauer (wife), Bill Buchanan (boss), Nina Meyers (associate/love interest), Graem Bauer (brother), Philip Bauer (father), Michelle Dessler (associate), Milo Pressman (associate),David Palmer (president of the United Fucking States), Ryan Chapelle (boss), George Mason (boss).
And by the way, three of those people were killed by Jack himself. Oh and only one was a turncoat. And remember, this is quite a partial list. Very much in the same way that Michael Moore and Bill O'Reilly are only partial human beings. So what's the moral of the story here? Well, there's two perhaps. One is that EVERYTHING can be solved by violence. Everything. Second, if you're bitching about your terrible day because your boss made you work an extra hour and you got a flat tire, just take solace in the fact that you didn't have to rescue crying babies from a hungry raptor den full of land mines and Tab soda. Cause that's what Jack Bauer does.