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Elliott Serrano Presents:

A friend recently raised my ire when she dismissed an observation I’d made. I’ve always wondered how on the show “24”, Kiefer Sutherland’s character Jack Bauer never seemed to be tired by the 24th episode. If the show is taking place in ‘real time,’ and within the context of the story, Bauer has been going non-stop since hour number one, you’d think the guy would start getting a little punchy near the end of the season. That’s would make for some interesting drama wouldn’t it? Agent Bauer decides to torture some terror suspect but screws up because he hasn’t had any sleep for a whole day. But no, Sutherland’s character just goes full bore throughout the whole season, immune to the effects of sleep deprivation. And what does my friend say when I express my dismay that Bauer has more energy than the Energizer Bunny? “He doesn’t get tired because it’s not real. It’s a TV show.”

AAAAAGH! It’s that kind of response that just drives me crazy.

I guess I got it from my dad. When I was a kid, my dad would always point out the inaccuracies in television shows and movies. We’d watch a program or film after which my dad would give his notes: “That movie was supposed to take place in the 40’s but they didn’t dress that way back then.” Or: “They didn’t have cars like that in the 60’s.” And my all-time favorite: “That ship wouldn’t be able to fly, it’s not aerodynamic.”

(The ‘ship’ in question was the Millennium Falcon, and I’ve gotta say that my dad was right in that regard, although the concept of dramatic license was often lost on him.)

I guess I get my attention to detail from him. If something in a story just doesn’t seem to fit, I just can’t let it lie. I’ll dissect it and look at it from every angle I can to try and see where the story teller went wrong.

Luke and Leia, the children of the most powerful Jedi in the galaxy, with a midichlorian count that should set the alarm bells of any force-sensitive in the system ringing, are placed on a planet that seems to be the travel hub for every ship in the galaxy and with a Senator of the Galactic Senate, right under the nose of Senator Palpatine.

Ask George Lucas how that’s supposed to make sense and he just dismisses it. “They’re just stories,” he told Jon Stewart in a recent interview.


These days, the whole ‘it’s just a movie/television show/comic book’ argument has become the ultimate excuse for lazy storytelling. Too many things happen in a narrative simply for the sake of the plot, regardless of how far-fetched it may be (i.e., Norman Osborne, a known super-criminal and murderer is made the head of security for the United States and is expected to be trusted with the secret identities of the world’s superheroes).

“But they’re just comic books” comes the counter-argument. “It creates a new paradigm for the Marvel Universe” some have said. “You just don’t get it” is the final verdict given to my petition for sensible storytelling.

There is a thing called ‘suspension of disbelief,’ where the reader is expected to put aside certain things that they know about the ‘real world’ so that they can enjoy the fantasy world. How else can one accept the notion of a man flying without the benefit of propulsion? Or that a teenager can create a substance that takes on the properties of fluid until it’s exposed to air and then it’s as strong as tensile steel?

But there is still this thing called ‘internal logic.’ When you set the parameters for a story, the physics of the universe it takes place in, the motivations of the characters that inhabit it, you adhere to these constants. Otherwise, it becomes more and more difficult for the reader to suspend disbelief because the story just doesn’t make sense within the established parameters.

It wouldn’t make much sense for Superman to suddenly have the ability to teleport when you’ve spent so much time establishing that he gets around by flying. (That part really annoyed me in Superman II.) And I don’t care what you say, Superman DOES NOT HAVE ‘rebuild-a-brick-wall-vision’ like he did in Superman IV!

Oh, and to say that you are offering a ‘rare variant cover’ book for 50 covers from your competitions’ books, under the guise of ‘helping retailers’ while your own company puts out more product than your Distinguished Competition is a cock and bull story if I’ve ever heard one.

It lacks internal logic, defies all the established parameters of what we know about the comics’ retail industry and strains one’s suspension of disbelief to the breaking point.

Come on Tom, you can tell a better story than that.

And goddamnit! I don’t care what anyone says, Jack Bauer should be DEAD ON HIS FEET by the end of 24!

Elliott Serrano is a comic-book writer/columnist/blogger/web show host who obsesses over things like how Speed Racer can drive through a jungle at full speed since those spinning blades in the front of the Mach 5 really shouldn’t be able to cut down all those trees in the way. This often will lead to arguments with friends and other creative types. He has yet to kiss a girl.

E.R. Serrano

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