Tuesday, January 27, 2009

What we do When we're Sick

D and I have been sick. Go ahead-groan if you've been around us cus it def. means you'll be getting sick, too. This sickness knows no bounds.

So yesterday, he ran me a nice warm bubble bath complete with candles and tasty aromas and I changed into clean, non-sick pjs and it was great. Then D tucked me into bed with the space heater murmuring me to sleep and Bogey at my side. Bogey thinks it is his job to care for me and since this is the first time D has been the one to really take care of me when I'm sick, Bogey felt pretty territorial and didn't like sharing his responsibilities. Every time D came to the bed, Bogey would jump out from beneath the bed and growl at him. It was cute that they respected each others territory and assumed their individual responsibilities. Here is a shot of Bogey caring for me:

It's a bit on the blurry side, but you get the picture.

Soon, though, my disease infested my caretaker and before I knew it, we were both on the couch, bundles up, sharing a box of tissues, eating soup from Panera (I was so stir crazy I had to get out of the house! So I went for meds and soup), and watching the first season of 24. D had never seen it before and I own it, so what better time, right?

Sometimes, now that we don't have cable, I forget how much I like the show 24. It's so dynamic. We have had an ongoing discussion in our house about television characters and the actors that play them. For example, Hugh Laurie plays Dr. House and he is simply magnetic. The character is incredibly diverse and multi-faceted, which draws watchers to him, and he's full of character flaws, which makes him human and dislikable, yet he saves lives and has this quirkiness that forces you to like him! The question we kicked around for a while was: Could anyone, any actor, have played House in such a way that he'd be just as intense of a character as Laurie's portrayal of House? 

We decided against it. I don't think they could've cast someone else in the role that would've been better than Hugh Laurie. Especially considering Laurie plays all the instruments House plays (which brings up the idea of art mimicking life, of course). He is originally of British descent so his accent is learned rather than natural and, therefore, the very way he speaks his lines is affected by his acting. An American actor wouldn't have to inflect in the perfect way Laurie does because he would take his "American dialect" for granted in a way Laurie does not. Another actor may not be as musically inclined or trained in theatre like Laurie is. It's hard to imagine that Dr. House without Hugh Laurie would be as dynamic.

But on the other hand, there's Kiefer Sutherland as Jack Bauer. Dustin mentioned to me tonight that when he thought of Sutherland as Jack Bauer-bad ass, CTU government agent, running around breaking rules and kicking ass, he couldn't imagine that Kiefer Sutherland was playing a character on a hit television show with that character as the lead. Strangely enough, I imagine D had the whole Three Musketeers-Kiefer in mind. You know, the one who ran around in tights with a bow and arrow? The Kiefer who got ditched at the altar by Julia Roberts? (Does anyone else get the feeling I know way too much about Kiefer Sutherland?) Although he always had a kind of "bad boy" rep, he dated Julia Roberts aka-(in the 90's, anyway) America's Sweetheart and that's just a hard label to break. Sutherland didn't do much of note following that. He may have been a bad boy, but his antics didn't break headlines (not enough to land him on one of those shows like "I Love the 90's" on Vh1 or any other time capsule shows like that). He was sort of a B-list actor, though I totally adored him after The Three Musketeers and would lay in bed at night when everyone else had fallen asleep, skipping from station to station on my little sister's pink LA Gear radio, waiting for the theme song from the movie to come on....
.... ... .... ...
....... ........ ........
C'mon! You must know where I'm going with this by now, right? "All for Love" by the original scratchy-voiced, male singers themselves: Sting, Bryan Adams and Rod Stewart!

When it came on, I quickly hit the "Record" button (I had a blank tape in there, just waiting for this moment) and swooned while listening and imagining it was really Kiefer Sutherland singing that song and he was really singing it to me...just for me at that late hour of the night. It was conceivable-that he'd sing the song, not the other part. He, too, has a scratchy, hoarse voice, similar to the one I've been getting during this sickness when I have to speak for long periods of time (phone to my mom, lecturing in class today)...exactly like Sting, Adams and Stewart's voice. Anyhow, I was a kid and pretty sure my discovery by a big-time Hollywood agent was imminent. Lofty ideas were my forte. Far be it from me to think that Kiefer Sutherland was legitimately out of my reach. I assumed it was only a matter of time.

And time, did, reproduce Sutherland as Jack Bauer-an even more exciting character than whatever Musketeer he played. I had forgiven him his inability to sing and his disappearance from the limelight by the time 24 aired. In fact, I didn't even care about the show when it first came out. I had no time for t.v. or actors and hadn't had a crush on a celebrity since, well, since my Three Musketeers love affair with Kiefer Sutherland never worked itself out. That and the fact that my agent-in-shining armor never showed up while I hung around outside of Spencer's. Plus, I write creative nonfiction...there's no room for falsities in what I do (that's the other genre: fiction, I think they call it). Being in touch with the real and the truth of it are the tools of my trade, not the daydreams I had as a child.

Now you may think that comes off as cynical, but while D and I watched, it occurred to me that no one could play Jack Bauer like Kiefer Sutherland, either. When I first started watching the show, I hadn't considered whether the actor makes the character or not. In truth, I think lots of people could play Jack Bauer, but I don't think they'd have me as an audience member. It's not that I think Kiefer is hot or that he's still single because I am his misplaced soulmate (though fifteen years ago, I might've fantasized that was the case-kind of like when Julia ditched him-I was pretty convinced it was because the Fates couldn't bear to keep he and I from unifying purely and without earlier, mistaken blemish-ahem-aka-Julia!). It's not even that I think he's this fabulous actor with a true talent for complexity and diversity of character or that Jack Bauer is soulful or deep. It's that I think he's a bad ass who, on his days off, would smoke and drink and hang out with his buddies. It's that he could easily be Kiefer Sutherland's alter-ego. For example, when McFarlane Toys Inc. sent Kiefer the prototype of the Jack Bauer action doll they made, Sutherland tortured and burned the doll with friends of his during a night of drinking and hanging out. Supposedly, when they awoke the next day, the doll was a puddle of wax but his clothes hadn't burned up...which Sutherland thought was pretty cool. McFarlane, however, failed to tell Sutherland that the toy was the only one they had, the prototype, information that may have come in handy before the doll was tortured and burned. Needless to say, this doesn't sound too off the cuff when you consider the things Jack Bauer does on the show. Kiefer merely reversed my earlier statement and, unlike Laurie's character House imitating Laurie, Kiefer (life) imitated his character, Jack (art).
Is there a difference?

Why not? Maybe it's necessary for one entity to overtake the other or for there to be a merging point. If I were Kiefer Sutherland, I'd want to be as bad ass as Jack Bauer...and if I were Jack Bauer, I'd totally want to have that raspy, hoarse Kiefer Sutherland voice. Sometimes I wish I could just invite Kiefer/Jack (they're becoming inseparable from one another...see that happening there?) into my classroom to get my kids talking. After all, interrogating with a side of torture is certainly one of his strong points.

At any rate, it seems some actors make the character and some characters make the actor. While I love Kiefer and will probably always harbor a soft spot for him in my heart, he's no Hugh Laurie and Jack Bauer is definitely no Dr. House...but I love the show and I'm looking forward to finishing up the first season with Dustin, who is a growing fan, as well.

I leave you with this conversation from yesterday...a taste of the other questions we pondered while watching the magnetic Jack Bauer.

D: Who would you be more afraid of interrogating you-Jack Bauer or Batman?
Me: Batman. Definitely.
D: Why?
Me: Cus Batman wouldn't kill me.

Further, we wondered:

If Jack Bauer were Lost, could he get off the island in 24 hours?

(Can't do that with Dr. House, now can you?)


Coming to a television next season: Dr. House meets Jack Bauer. 


  1. It is unfortunate you are both sick. Jesse and I take turns. It gives the second one a chance to blame the first one and subsequently feel as if the pampering were earned. I have to admit I'm a "tough-love" caretaker, which makes me seem a little mean. I tend to be too concerned with disinfecting doorknobs than with moving the tissue box from an arm's length to a finger's length away.

    That's not what I came here to say.

    I came to tell you I watched some interview clips with the cast of House last night. It turns out Hugh Laurie was picked because the director didn't know he was British. I guess several Brits read for the part and the director was sick of it. So the rest of the producers (or whoever) did not mention Laurie being a Brit.

    The director loved him, started cheering that he found the right American for the role, and was BUSTED with the truth.

  2. BOO I hate that you're both so sick. :( Glad to see that you're taking care of yourself though, and that pupper is taking care of you!!

    Oh yes - being sick is the best time to start a new series and 24 is an amazing one! We heart Jack Bauer and totally don't see him as Keifer at all. He's such a badass. We quote him often and are HUGE fans of the jack bauer vs. chuck norris funnies!!

    We're also House fans... or more Hugh Laurie fans now. The show is just so formulaic now. Have you see this about 'the House episode formaula'? So funny!