‘24’ Gets All Literary

Published:February 6, 2009 by Brendan Wolfe

Yes, the new, seventh season of the FOX drama 24 is terrible. (They’ve all been terrible since Season 3; to quote Jack Twist, “I wish I knew how to quit you!”) Still, there’s a character named Ethan Kanin, which is interesting because his name looks an awful lot like Ethan Canin, the novelist and short story writer who teaches at my alma mater, the University of Iowa.

Coincidence?

Hardly. Turns out the show’s executive producers are pals with the writer and gave him a “friendly shout-out,” as they put it. In the season’s first episode, they gave a decidedly less friendly shout-out to their old nemesis, the New Yorker staff writer Jane Mayer, who once wrote an article critical of the show’s simplistic portrayal of torture. In the opening scene, a fatuous U.S. senator bullies our beloved hero Jack Bauer and what do the writers call him? Blaine Mayer.

The New Yorker‘s Mayer took it in stride, saying, “I was hoping for a younger, more fit body, and a better head of hair.”

What does any of this have to do with Virginia? Well, with all the double-meanings with names, I’m led to wonder about the show’s First Gentleman, the president’s husband Henry Taylor.

Could he be named after this Henry Taylor?

For now, let’s just say yes. It helps to make the season more bearable.

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