This week’s installment of Sirens addresses a fairly interesting subject: the lack of respect meted out to EMTs, even though they work alongside firemen and police, and provide a crucial, often life-saving service. So why don’t they command the same level of respect as the other first responders? And why are they paid so much less?
I would like to think that the people who do that work are in it for the reason that Cash lays out in this episode—because they know they’re making a difference. But I’d also like to ask some EMTs out there if they look at it like that. And if they are treated as poorly as Johnny, Hank, and Brian are when they go to treat an up-and-coming rapper who had his buddy shoot him in the leg to help establish some street cred.
Try as they might, the dudes still get smacked down, even as they attempt to offer up free medical checkups and flu shots to folks in one of the rougher neighborhoods of the city. A little kid calls Hank a “bitch” and they get all the stuff in their rig stolen. What’s it gonna take, people?
The comedy in this week’s episode came from watching Johnny try to reconcile the fact that his girlfriend is the one who gets all the respect in inner city Chicago. Michael Mosley was adorably cowed as he quizzed Theresa about her ability to take a big guy to the ground, and then deciding to run to the gym at 11 PM as a reaction to his lady throwing him around a bit in the bedroom. And when he finds out that the rapper he helped is back in the hospital because he wasn’t given discharge instructions on how to treat his bullet wound, Johnny starts throwing his weight around the ER to get the guy some quick help.
The mood of this episode is something of a reflection, too, of the state of Sirens in the TV landscape. It’s a fine show, even though it’s a sitcom that generally doesn’t bring out gales of laughter from its viewers (at least this particular viewer). The warm conviviality of the cast—as exemplified in the scene in the rig as they guys envision getting a grand reception complete with a flyover from the Blue Angels—makes up for that lack of gut busting in a big way.
Yet, the show isn’t pulling in the kind of ratings that would make me think USA is getting excited at the thought of paying for a third season. So, we could be closing in on the end of the line for Johnny, Hank, Brian, and the whole Sirens gang, with next week’s final episode of this run. And a good run it was. I’ll hold off on making any memorial posts until I’ve heard one way or the other, but for now, I’ll do as I did with Looking and ask Sirens’ parent network to give this show a chance to find its audience. The fans are out there, as is the potential for new ones. With an opportunity to grow, I think the show could really find its footing and take off in a sizable way.
And if I’m wrong, you can bill me for the expense of funding a third season. You guys take AmEx?
Robert Ham is a Portland-based freelance writer and regular contributor to Paste. You can follow him on Twitter.