Previously on 24: HOLY CRAP, TONY'S EVIL?!?!?!
So yes, Tony Almeida solidified his bad guy credentials last week when Jack had his "I've fallen and I can't get up!" moment at the end of the episode. Tony coldly hovered over a convulsing Jack, saying something to the effect of "You gotta be in it to win it" or "Take the pebble from my hand, grasshopper" (I honestly can't recall the exact line). There's evil and then there's EVIL- last week, Tony showed he is a full-caps version of the word.
But to help alleviate the shock of that moment, here are a few scenarios in which Tony could have been much more evil. After reading these, you'll be saying "Hey, at least Almeida isn't that bad!"
5) Tony Almeida Worked for Bernie Madoff, The World's Biggest Thief: Imagine if Tony woke up from his death-sleep at the end of Season 5, went back to school, earned his MBA and became Bernie Madoff's right-hand man. $65 billion is a lot of money to stuff under the mattress. And you don't steal Kevin Bacon's money unless you want to go to Hell (I read somewhere that Bacon is six-degrees separated from God).
4) Tony Almeida Dated Lindsay Lohan: It takes a major league asshole to willingly do that sort of a thing. Do I need to say anything further?
3) Tony Almeida Becomes a Scientologist, Tells Women How To Do Stuff: As a guy, I understand our tendency to opine on all things around us. We're trying to help solve problems! But there are certain areas where men should shut their mouths- something Tom Cruise didn't quite understand when he offered his thoughts on postpartum depression. How much more awful would it be to sit through ten minutes of Tony Almeida doing the same thing?
2) Tony Almeida Is Married To A Real Housewife of Orange County: So, judge not, lest ye be judged, right? Well, I gotta say that these well-to-do housewives are some freakish offshoot of the human species that I can barely believe exists. If you haven't seen the show on Bravo (I know, Adam, wtf are you doing watching Bravo?) check it out for all of five minutes and you'll get the gist of the show right away. Anyway, Imagine Tony Almeida sheepishly forking over his credit cards to some bleach-blonde squeaky-voiced shopaholic that maps out her next ten years of plastic surgery with her friends. That wouldn't be so much an "evil" Tony as much as a pathetic, enabling doormat of a person. But either way, you see how much worse things could be?
1) Tony Almeida runs for Congress: In-between mind-numbing Jack Cafferty editorials, CNN.com runs a series called "The Freshman" which follows freshmen congressmen in a series of videos and articles. And watching this series, one sees that public service is a perverted self-parody at the national level. As a good friend of mine said to me about these congressmen: "There is no dignity, only celebrity. And furthermore, their jobs seem utterly banal." If Tony Almeida was a freshman mugging for the CNN cameras, I'd slap him with a brick right across his scruffy mug.
So, there you have 5 alternative scenarios in which Tony Almeida would be a much more reprehensible human being. Yeah, he stole some bioweapon and sneered at Jack for a few seconds. Even still, be thankful for the Almeida we've been given- yes, he is bad but he is still much better than most.