Liz Tells Frank What Happened In (Parts of) “Touch”

Dear Frank,

So things have been kinda busy lately, but I am taking a break from the chaos for a short update because FRANK, IT IS SUPER-IMPORTANT THAT YOU KNOW ABOUT SOMETHING STUPID THAT HAPPENED ON TELEVISION.

In case you’re not aware, Kiefer Sutherland is back on Fox as the star of Touch, which was created by Heroes creator Tim Kring and BOY HOWDY can you tell that that is the case. Because BOY HOWDY is this show terrible in all the ways that Heroes was terrible, but sans superpowers and with the added bonus of having a terrible pilot, so you don’t suffer under any illusions that the show might actually be functional down the line.

I don’t really want to go into detail about the whole Kiefer-and-his-autistic-son-who-Kiefer-is-raising-alone-because-of-9/11-wife thing, or the whole autism-gives-you-magic-powers thing because, c’mon, heavy sigh. Really, Frank, I just want to tell you about this thing with the cell phone.

At the beginning of the pilot for Touch, Kiefer (who is working as a baggage handler at JFK) picks up a bunch of lost cell phones from lost and found to bring home to his magically autistic son. One of them rings, and he answers it — the caller is the phone’s owner, a British guy who lost it in Heathrow Airport and desperately needs the phone back because (we learn later) a picture of his dead daughter is on the phone from right before her tragic death, and it’s her birthday tomorrow, and this pilot was written before Apple introduced iCloud, I guess.

Kiefer gets distracted by his magically autistic son and ends up losing the phone again, and it begins a merry trek around the world! First, it ends up in the possession of an Irish guy who uses the phone to record his cute co-worker performing a song at a local bar. She’s convinced she’ll be a cubical dweller her entire life, but putting his faith in the power of viral marketing, Irish Guy puts the phone in a random stranger’s suitcase.

Meanwhile, in Iraq (sure), the family of a teenage kid who wants to be a stand-up comedian is in trouble because their oven broke, which means they can’t bake bread for their bakery. And the only way the family can afford a new oven is if the kid signs up to be a suicide bomber– Wait, let me repeat that sentence again. THE ONLY WAY THE FAMILY CAN AFFORD A NEW OVEN IS IF THE KID SIGNS UP TO BE A SUICIDE BOMBER. This is a real show that is really on network television right now.

Anyways, the kid decides to try stealing the oven instead, from a restaurant owned by terrorists. I BET THIS WILL GO REALLY WELL.

And now the magic phone is in Tokyo, courtesy of that random stranger’s suitcase in Dublin, and a Japanese prostitute/harajuku girl steals it as well as her client’s cash. (Real nice, girl.) The ho and her friend watch the video of the Irish chick singing on the phone and dig it — thus, they decide to give all the contents of the phone to a guy they know who programs one of those massive Tokyo Jumbotrons (I guess figuring that he’ll put the video on the Jumbotron and make Irish Girl famous), and then pass the phone to the prostitute’s next client, who I guess she is not planning to rob, and will be heading to Kuwait right after banging her.

Oh, hey, remember what I was saying about stealing an oven from the terrorist-owned restaurant would go really well for that Iraqi kid? Whoopsie! The kid gets caught. And now he HAS to be a suicide bomber for the terrorists. Oh no!

Meanwhile, the British guy who originally owned the phone is in Tokyo now, conveniently right by the Jumbotron! So while the video of Irish Girl plays on the big screen, British Guy calls his cell phone provider’s customer service line to get some help in tracking it down — and who should be his customer service representative but Irish Girl! EVERYTHING’S CONNECTED, FRANK.

While Irish Girl puts him on hold, the unseen Jumbotron guy decides to switch from videos to photos, and starts putting the photos from the phone on the screen, including all the missing pictures of British Guy’s daughter! British Guy gapes at the screen in awe and EVERYTHING’S CONNECTED, FRANK.

Meanwhile, Irish Girl calls British Guy’s phone in the hopes of tracking it down, and guess what, Frank? GUESS WHAT. This phone we’ve been following around the world? It went from Kuwait to Iraq, and the terrorists have used it TO MAKE THE SUICIDE BOMB currently strapped to Iraqi Kid’s chest. I AM NOT FUCKING LYING TO YOU.

I am not lying to you about this part, either: Iraqi Kid (in really good English) tells Irish Girl about this whole suicide-bomber thing. And Irish Girl? She a) knows exactly how to disarm a bomb triggered with a cell phone and b) is able to convince him not to go through with the bombing.

How, you might ask? Oh, Frank. Frankie Frank Frank. This is, I swear to Hugh, what happens: Iraqi Kid tells her that he has to go through with the bombing because his family needs an oven. And guess what British Guy just told Irish Girl he did for a living? Oh, man. Oh, man. OH MAN.


I’ll give you a moment. To process this. Done? Great.

Iraqi Kid disarms the bomb, his family magically gets an oven (I guess those terrorists didn’t REALLY need him to blow up whatever he was supposed to blow up, and British Guy was moved enough by getting his photos back to just donate the oven gratis?) and Irish Girl discovers that her video is on the internet and has gotten over a million views. So I guess we all win? I guess we all win.

Everything’s connected. Danny Glover is in this show. And it’s seriously on television. Let’s all take a nap.


About Liz Shannon Miller

Liz Shannon Miller is a Los Angeles-based writer and editor, and has been talking about television on the Internet since the very beginnings of the Internet. She is currently Senior TV Editor at Collider, and her work has also been published by the New York Times, Vulture, Variety, the AV Club, the Hollywood Reporter, IGN, The Verge, and Thought Catalog. She is also a produced playwright, a host of podcasts, and a repository of "X-Files" trivia.

Posted on March 29, 2012, in Some Spoilers, TV and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. It’s really more like a picture book than a TV show when you lay it out like that, isn’t it? Actually, it might be kind of a cute picture book. You could sub in bullies for terrorists and a tack on the teacher’s chair for the bomb vest.

  2. I actually said aloud “no, no, no, no!” when I read that the British guy is an oven salesman. I didn’t think TV got this bad in a post-Touched by an Angel and 7th Heaven world.

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