Lunchtable TV Talk: Not Billy Flynn’s Chicago


Dear god, I’ve sucked up Chicago Fire, Chicago PD and Chicago Med. I can’t defend it. I don’t know why. I don’t find it very engrossing and find entire episodes have passed without my having paid close attention – and the storytelling, particularly in Fire, leaves gaps, so it would be difficult to tell if it was the poor narrative or my attention span. Case in point: Chicago Fire returned from year-end hiatus, and I fully believed that one of the firemen was left with his life hanging in the balance as a cliffhanger, and when the show returned, he was returning to work. No explanation as to how he managed to recover. Did I miss an episode or is this just the way the show goes? (I realized after seeing Chicago Med and PD that there is a lot of crossover, so some of the story you think you missed might have unfolded in one of the other Chicago shows.)

I think I was seeking a mindless outlet after the mindless OD of House MD, and Jesse Spencer being a bridge between House and Chicago Fire seemed easy enough to cross. It entertains my ear to listen to the shortcomings of accent/dialect retraining. To Spencer’s credit, his midwestern American accent improved over the course of the few seasons that exist. I don’t mind him, don’t mind the woman who plays his partner/fiancee, Dawson, and don’t have feelings about a lot of the cast. But if ever there were an annoying ‘bawbag’ (to borrow from my friends the Glaswegians), the dude who was even more annoying on Sex & the City is him… I can’t remember his real name and can’t be arsed to look it up… but his character is the very loud, heavily accented, very Catholic Chris Hermann.

The captain is likeable but so overwrought as an actor, which I suspect is some holdover from stage training – he is so demonstrative and emotive in all his actions that it is just too much for television (it would make sense on the stage). He was the same as the perpetually tortured Muslim character in prison drama, Oz.

When I ran out of Chicago Fire episodes and didn’t have much more in my to-watch folder, I decided to go for Chicago PD. I find the scratchy-throat voices of both Sophia Bush and Jason Beghe to be just shy of fingernails scratching a chalkboard – and the looks on Beghe’s face along with how his head slightly bobs around when he is getting in someone’s face and being threatening – just a bit too much.

But who am I kidding? It is all too much!

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