The following is a re-enactment of the writers' meeting that took place when they came up with tonight's RIDICULOUS episode of "24":
Joel Surnow: Okay, guys Jack Bauer has to give these Chinese dudes some sort of a chip. Otherwise, they kill Audrey.
Michael Loceff: Joel, what if he just brought a fake chip with him?
Jon Cassar: Don't address Mr. Surnow directly, you got that, Loceff?!
Loceff: Sorry... but like I was saying, why not use a dummy chip?
Cassar: Because the Chinese will KNOW it is a fake. They're CHINESE man! They know things like this. I don't know these things. You sure don't know these things, but THEY do! They have mysterious powers that we cannot possibly understand. Haven't you seen "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon"?
Surnow: (almost trance-like) I met a Chinese person on a city bus in San Francisco ten years ago. A butterfly landed on the Chinaman's finger like he knew the guy. I'm still haunted by that day.
Cassar: It's okay, Joel. (pats him on the shoulder) It's over now.
Loceff: Manny, you've been awfully quiet. What do you think this episode needs?
Manny Coto: We need more dinosaurs!
Silence engulfs the room.
Surnow: Um, Manny, I thought we talked about this last week-- we can't put dinosaurs on the show. Nobody will believe it. We need to keep the show grounded in reality, otherwise the viewers will lose interest.
Cassar: People, Mr. Surnow and I are very clear here- we need a show that has an airtight plot, no holes or silly decision-making by our characters. Get it?
Loceff (giving up): Fine, let's do this then: Jack should carelessly bring the real chip with him to his meeting with the Chinese, the very chip that will cause World War Three. And when Jack finally meets up with Cheng, Jack should hand the chip right over. Does that make sense to you guys?
Surnow: Yes! and there will be hummers and choppers and bazookas and stuff too?
Loceff: Why the heck not, Mr. Surnow.
Coto mumbles something.
Cassar: What is it, Manny?
Coto: All I'm saying is that we could have a velociraptor come in and shake things up a bit.
Surnow: Dammit, Manny!
Loceff: Oh, and what's better, let's make Audrey totally nuts.
Cassar: See, now you're getting it, Mike. Okay, so what's wrong with Audrey?
Loceff: She thinks she's covered with spiders. And she calls everybody "Jack." Basically, she's turned into Charles Manson.
Surnow: This is excellent stuff. Get cracking, Mike. We'll come back and meet tomorrow to look over the draft. Manny, come back with me-- I bought you a new LEGO set. And don't forget your sippy-cup, okay?
Manny picks up the sippy-cup and marches out of the meeting, grumbling.
Cassar: Mike, remember-- we gotta make the characters do believable things! If you get stuck, that's why we have all this scotch and vodka in the room. How else do you think Joel and I came up with the cougar hunting Kim back in Season 2? Oh, and make sure the Chinese bring a bazooka to the gunfight, ya got it? Joel loves bazookas.
Loceff: (sighs) Copy that.
Cassar leaves and Loceff gets stupid drunk and starts typing. And that, boys and girls, is how tonight's episode came to being!