When '24,' 'Battlestar Galactica' 'ER,' 'Buffy,' and other series slipped up
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Episode: Day 2: 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. (Season 2, episode 11)
AKA: "The One With the Cougar"
The very design of "24," and the unplanned way in which it was made, guaranteed it was going to be an uneven series, one where there are characters, lengthy story arcs and even seasons that are better off being ignored. The second season, however, was one of the show's strongest from top to bottom — yet also one featuring arguably the silliest idea to ever come out of the writers' room: Kim Bauer, still on the show even though she outlived her usefulness after the first season, is at the moment a fugitive from the law, running through the hills outside Los Angeles, when she spots a nearby cougar showing interest in her, and in her haste to get away from the big cat, she gets her foot caught in a hunter's snare that only makes her very obvious cougar-bait. It somehow comes across as even sillier than the time in season 1 when Kim's mom got temporary amnesia — in both those cases, as with many of the dumber "24" stories over the years, the motivator was to keep a character in the same location for multiple episodes — and years later, "24" co-creator Joel Surnow couldn't even remember what animal it was, telling me, "Listen, we had her chased by a raccoon or something. You can't be proud of everything."