That's Jack'd up.

It was like the plague this morning at work.

I heard the unmistakable digital clock countdown in my head. Well, and then I turned around and discovered it was my co-worker, whistling the tune to himself.

Nervous and excited chatter filled the newsroom. Had there been a water cooler at which co-workers actually congregated to discuss the happenings, we would have been at it.

"How did he detonate a bomb from his cell phone?"
"He really hasn't killed too many people yet. But they totally deserve to die."
"He's just had five really bad days."
"Yeah. Well he's angry this time."
"He's so HOT." (Er, wait. No. That wasn't actually said. But I thought it.)

Who is this "he," you ask? Jack Bauer. Duh. Never since MacGyver has there been a man so bad-ass. Oh, and hot. Granted, I was about five during the height of MacGyver, I'm pretty sure re-runs with Dad never got old.

My Fox favorite, 24, concluded it's four-hour premiere last night. And it was gooooood. Yes, good enough for six "o"s. Within eight minutes of Jack's fifth really bad day of a lifetime, two-and-a-half of my favorite characters were killed. That is unacceptable. But Jack will save the day. Because he's P.O.'d.

Sigh.

24, next to the Titanic, is my favorite obsession. Well, no, Jason Mraz trumps them both, but that's for another day. (Jason, I heart you. You complete me). Ahem... what?

Anyway. I have seen, with my own eyes, Jack get tortured, beaten, forced to jump from an airplane that was carrying a nuclear warhead, find his murdered wife, kill his former girlfriend, almost die, like, 14 times, chop off his daughter's fiance's arm, and fake his own death. All within five seperate days.

Excuse me? Who endures all that and doesn't end up in a padded room? Uh, Jack does. And he's good. And if I were being held captive by terrorists disguised as presidential aids who threaten to poison me, slowly, with nerve gas - or shoot me in the head, whichever - in five seconds, I'd want Jack to get me out of the bind. Effortlessly. Within 24 hours.

Sigh.

Point is, 24 is one of those shows I truly wish to be real (minus the terrorist attacks every year or so). I know, I know, there is no Counter Terrorism Unit in Los Angeles. No President David Palmer (obviously, since you should know he was assassinated at 7:03 a.m.) No Michelle Dessler. Dead. No Tony Almeida. Half-dead. No Chloe O'Brian. No Edgar. No Audrey Raines.

OK. Stop, stop. I've had enough. I can't handle what's next.

No Jack Bauer.

Well, then I guess if I'm ever being held at gunpoint, tied to a nuclear warhead, flying in a helicopter that's running out of gas, call my Dad. He's as MacGyver as it gets around these parts. And that's OK.

I don't think Kiefer Sutherland would return your call anyway.