Thursday, October 11, 2012

NBC's "Chicago Fire": we depend on the "selfless" risk-taking of (and disfiguring injury to) others


NBC’s new series “Chicago Fire” premiered on Oct. 10, with a “Pilot” directed by Jeffrey Nacmanoff. The series is created by Michael Brandt and Derek Haas.

The episode starts with a fireman being consumed from a backdraft accident in a building fire (remember Rom Howard’s film “Backdraft”), setting up the familiar situation of a fire company memorializing a loss.
      
A new recruit (Charlie Barnett) and has to learn the social ropes, including the tough chief (Eamonn Walker), and female recruits, one of whom challenges the recruit with the fact that she is a lesbian when he approaches.

The episode shows female firefighters defusing a potential hostage situation to treat a wounded criminal, then participating in a rescue after a terrible auto accident near the Chicago River, and finally acting again to help save trapped firemen in another building fire near the end.

At one point, we see the terrible body scars that the chief has borne from previous fires.
With my temperament, I could wonder why someone wants to be a fireman, just like wondering why someone wants to be a Navy Seal.  We depend on others to take risks and make sacrifices for us, something we’re not aware of except after calamities like 9/11.  When I was growing up in the 50s, young men who deliberately avoided such risks could be called cowards.  

Many communities also depend on volunteer fire departments, an activity that seems almost incomprehensible for me.  Washington Nationals precocious outfielder Bryce Harper has talked about volunteer fire work – I hope his contract would prohibit it.  (I’ve wondered how he would handle the isse of a Mormon mission – see previous post on this blog about Mitt Romney.)   The second picture above is a fundraising sign for a volunteer fire department in suburban Montgomery Village, Maryland. 

NBC’s site is here


The show competes with “Nashville”, which I co-recorded.  

My most recent visit to the Chicago area was in 2003; most recent substantial visit was in October 1998. 

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