This show, you guys! This show drives me crazy. At the start of last week’s episode, a poor guy has his arm stuck in some heavy machinery, he’s screaming in pain, it’s quite awful, and as the paramedics and fire fighters are scrambling to get him extracted, my husband (Mr. JK) turns to me and asks, “why are you watching this show? what are you getting out of this?” I didn’t immediately have an answer for that… but I think now maybe I do. Many of the characters are really likeable. Much of the cast is as well. The action sequences are intense and diverse. Yeah, it’s a Dick Wolf (L&O) show so it’s well written and highly unlikely any of these people are going to live Happily Ever After but at least we’re going in eyes wide open, yes? Or in the case of Mr. JK, eyes not at all, because ChiFire can be just one tragic, depressing thing after another, really (and he watches Hawaii Five-0 with me every week) but this show, he will walk out on.
OK so the main character is this dude, Kelly Severide. He is played by Taylor Kinney whose acting coach has instructed him in the “just stand there, everything will be fine” method of modern thespianism. Because you can not believe his face, absolutely you can not.
Seriously he stands there with his big square head & puffy lips & I’m all “what are you doing on my tv screen, you are obviously too pretty to know how to SPEAK,” but then he does talk and his voice is all gravelly & I’m like, “ok you can talk, because it’s not like you can read, right? For serious, this guy can’t even read, how did he get this job on tv??”
And this link is for Momo (and also for all of you): proof of pantslessness. Chicago Fire, five eps in: Pantslessness Achieved. Hawaii Five-0, fifty episodes in and counting… If you care about that sort of thing. Which certainly I do not!
So Severide is in charge of the “Squad” portion of the fire house, these are the guys that don’t actually put out fires (primarily), they also rescue people in dangerous situations (like collapsed structures), they operate the jaws of life on cars, etc. Kelly also has a broken neck (which he’s hiding, somehow, along with his morphine addiction). All he want to do is be a big tough firefighter and he’s not interested in the 6-12 months it would take to recover from the neck surgery. Hand in hand with his macho man ego, he is also a huge dog who will sleep with anything that shakes its tail at him. HOWEVER, his most interesting character note is that he has the biggest, softest heart of any tough guy character that ever was. I mean, twice in four episodes this guy sits down with two different little old ladies, and is emotionally supportive of their very sad situations. I mean. You just don’t see that. Like ever. But here you do. Twice. In Four Episodes. It’s actually quite charming.
Kelly’s roomie & BFF is a familiar face for H50 fans, LaGerman herself, playing paramedic & lesbian Leslie Shay. Leslie, not coincidentally, has been the one (grudgingly) giving Kelly the morphine. These two have a real special friendship which is shown in… I don’t know. Scenes like this one.
Leslie has a sly sense of humor and is handy around the firehouse (she keeps busy) and I like her. I mean, really, look at that crazy bed-head, how can you not like that. Although, note what she’s wearing in this pic, as well as the one above, girlfriend has some serious wardrobe malfunctions that make up the “at home” portion of her style.
Lauren German is great as Leslie Shay. Part of Shay’s job (paramedic) requires her to maintain composure in the face of some shocking and distressing scenarios (like dead kids or unexpectedly bumping into her heavily pregnant and married-to-a-man ex-girlfriend). LaGerman excels at that, “panicked eyes, set jaw” sort of look. She is also very pretty when she smiles with her mouth open, which, for me to admit, that is a big thing because normally I hate that.
However, some of my favorite scenes are with Shay and her paramedic partner/good friend Gabriela Dawson. They stick together personally and professionally and are the best example of true teamwork on the show. Also they keep the place from being a total sausage fest and neither feels like a “token” woman. Here they are getting a warning from their boss.
Gabriela (played by Monica Raymund) is cute as a button, and I think the female character that female viewers are meant to relate with. She’s competent but still makes mistakes, which she has to work her butt off to fix. She wants more out of her career (she’s thought about medical school) but real life concerns make it tough to follow through. And of course, she’s invisible to the man of her dreams… firefighter Matt Casey.
So Matt’s life kind of sucks. He’s the leader of “Truck,” the actual fire-fighters, so his job is a little stressful. Matt’s BFF is killed in a house fire in the show’s opening scene. Matt has a fiancé with whom things are a little shaky right now, a doctor named Hallie Thomas (making there two reasons for poor, pining Dawson to be jealous of her). Not a ton of background has been given out on their relationship but it appears they were drifting apart due to his want to start a family, her focus on her medical career and not wanting kids right now, and just busy schedules making everything “routine.” Matt’s also run afoul of a dirty cop who has been harassing him, but Matt and his loads of personal integrity aren’t backing down from doing what’s right. Finally, his voice sounds like Jesse Spencer would rather be speaking Australian, as he sometimes veers from a cliché Chicagoan accent back down to a flat, California accent, and all the time it sounds like he has a chest cold. #FreeTheAccent
While Severide is the morally ambiguous noble heart, Casey is the conscience, and often the righteously indignant one.
Matt’s team of firefighters are three of the most easily loveable supporting characters on my tv right now. The main focus is on rookie & fire fighter candidate Peter Mills. Earnest and serious minded Peter Mills works alongside Otis, the previous candidate, who is a total wise-ass, and Herrmann, a family man whose recent on-the-job injury has led to him moving his wife and children in with his in-laws.
Peter has a bit of a tragic past, his father was a fire fighter killed in the line of duty when he was very young. He has a mother & a younger sister who run a local diner, where Peter also works when he’s not at the fire station. Herrmann also has to address the insecurities of his young sons, who are afraid of their father incurring further injury. And Otis is still just the class clown, obsessed with the fire truck’s unusual emblem, a seal with a rampant goat. So a little bit of everything!
And not to drop another character on you but the station’s Fire Chief is awesome. Seriously. He’s amazing.
So that is ChiFire! On tonight (Wednesdays) at 10pm on NBC. Watch it if you want. Then you can talk to me & Kimmer about it tomorrow on twitter. But seriously, if you’ve never watched the show, I’m interested in your thoughts anyway. Like, who read this far down? Let me know if you did!
Note: House of Hose is actually the name of many pipe/tubing supply companies, including one in my town, so I can’t take credit for that… Still makes me laugh, though.