Janeane Garofalo Joins Cast of 24

Janeane Garofalo is joining the cast of 24 next season.  She “will play a government agent who is part of the team investigating the crisis befalling Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland) and company in the upcoming season.”

Garofalo has appeared on The West Wing and has had a radio show on Air America. Her liberal reputation has created an uproar among the conservative fans of the show. Co-creator and executive producer Joel Surnow describes himself as a “right-wing nut job” and the show has been controversial for its unrealistic portrayal of the use of torture.

Some conservatives are declaring this will destroy the show (although it is hard to believe it could get worse than last season). They apparently haven’t received the memo that the show is already dangerously leftist due to the political views of star Kiefer Sutherland.

Network television requires large audiences to survive and generally avoids ideological leanings in either direction which will reduce its audience. Issues of interest to liberals have been included in the show in the past, sometimes upsetting conservatives, such as consideration of the civil liberties ramifications. They also had an extended arc about Charles Logan, a rogue president whose actions risked serious damage to the country, reminiscent of Richard Nixon and George Bush.

Ultimately the success of 24 will depend upon whether they can develop better story lines this season as opposed to the political leanings of the cast. If they continue to simply repeat ideas from previous seasons they will have a hard time surviving regardless of cast. On the other hand, if Garofalo and other characters are placed in interesting situations and their parts are well written, only the most extreme ideologues will care about their personal beliefs.

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