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We Look Great When We Look Like Someone Else

By Rob Christopher in Arts & Entertainment on Dec 20, 2006 7:09PM

Chicago? Tall buildings. A lake. A river. Stadiums. Sports bars. 'L' tracks. All the elements, in the minds of producers, needed to make our city look like somewhere else.

Earlier this week it was announced that the new TBS show "My Boys," which is set in not-really-Chicago, has been picked up for nine additional episodes. When we posted about it earlier, we opined that it's really not so successful with capturing the spirit of Chicago, which in turn generated lots of spirited comments weighing the importance of such a thing when it comes to a mainstream basic-cable sitcom. A few commenters identifying themselves as friends of the show's creators even went so far as to offer justification for certain changes made.

2006_12saddam_disguise.jpgWhat it comes down to, for us, is the fantasy version of Chicago that's firmly embedded in the minds of almost everyone who doesn't live here. The basic elements include: Cubs, terrible winters, deep dish pizza, machine-style politics and Oprah. All of which are indisputably Chicago, of course, and yet....

But as we started to say, Chicago also has lots of things that make it a great stand-in for a place that's wholy imaginery. Great chunks of Batman Begins were shot here in 2004. They must love our scary-looking steel girders and the shadowy environs of Lower Wacker because they'll be back to shoot parts of The Dark Knight, the next installment in the series. Nothing but rumors thus far on who's playing Harvey Dent (Billy Dee Williams again, please!), but Heath Ledger will be The Joker. Quit yer eye-rolling. Any excuse to bring Mr. Ledger to Chicago is a good excuse.