As someone who is still suffering through the influx of money and development taking over the various neighborhoods of my hometown, Sirens had a little extra zing to it for me this week. The mere sound of NoNoWeWe (North of North, West of Western), the name that Johnny’s landlord was hoping to imprint on their neighborhood, was enough to give me a small shot of gentrification-based PTSD.
If that weren’t frustrating enough, the poor EMTs had to suffer through getting a fake call from a bunch of entitled rich kids who were just trying to see who would show up faster, the ambulance or the pizza delivery person. Who among us wouldn’t want to smack those douchebags in their smug little faces? It would be somewhat hilarious if it didn’t seem like something that actual trustafarians would do for kicks.
As I’ve likely mentioned in my write-ups already, the comedy in this show often succeeds because so much of it feels grounded in real life situations. You can imagine a trio of EMTs dealing with idiots like those Johnny, Hank, and Brian did in tonight’s episode. Just as you can imagine many of the emergency calls they go on from week to week. It’s the little twist that the writers employ to help give these incidents and the aftermath of them their comedic weight.
For tonight’s Sirens, it was Johnny getting caught in the fray of the relationship his landlord is having with Hank. And it’s not just his co-worker popping by in his boxer briefs to grab a bottle of Gatorade, but the fall out when the couple splits and he’s enticed to repair the damage with an offer of a month’s rent and free HBO (and Showtime). Or the real heartbreak that Brian was feeling after Voodoo starts seeing another asexual gent. It would have been painful if he wasn’t looking so comically bug-eyed and freaked by the whole thing, and getting treated kindly by the ever hilarious Billy.
As much as they skimmed over the social issues in tonight’s episode, the half-hour felt like a reassertion of the camaraderie between the three co-workers. The opening and closing scenes with the guys shit talking, showing some support for their romantic woes, and genuinely enjoying each other’s company was a perfect showcase for the ever-present chemistry of the three leads. All we need now is a nice bottle episode with nothing but Johnny, Brian, and Hank action to really cement this, and hopefully get these actors some overdue recognition by TV tastemakers.
Robert Ham is a Portland-based freelance writer and regular contributor to Paste. You can follow him on Twitter.