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Better Call Saul Fans: Let's Agree NOT To Make 'Chicago Sunroof' Happen

By Danette Chavez in Arts & Entertainment on Apr 10, 2015 9:20PM

Jimmy McGill (Bob Odenkirk) in Episode 110, 'Marco,' of 'Better Call Saul.' Photo by Ursula Coyote/AMC.

Chicago has made innumerable cultural contributions (jazz, improv comedy and blues, just for starters), many of which have been to the literary canon. Our citizens—like Gwendolyn Brooks, Saul Bellow and Raymond Chandler—have always had a way with words. And while not all of our lexical loans have been elegant (see also: asswipe, Mickey Finn), we need to make something clear to our countrymen: "Chicago sunroof" is not a thing and never has been a thing here.

Chicagoans are usually thrilled to get shout-outs on TV and when they come via great dramas like AMC's Better Call Saul? Even better. But the name-dropping in the season finale of the Breaking Bad prequel / spin-off, in which we finally learn what sent Saul Goodman a.k.a. Jimmy McGill (played by Bob Odenkirk) to jail just didn't, ah, sit well with us.

The show introduced the term "Chicago sunroof" at the beginning of this season, but viewers still didn't know what line Saul / Jimmy had crossed exactly. Was it a nickname for some kind of firearm, like the Chicago Typewriter a.k.a. Chicago Style a.k.a. Chicago Organ Grinder (all nicknames for the Thompson submachine gun)? Was it inspired by the St. Valentine's Day massacre? Imaginations ran wild and to the scatalogical, and then to Urban Dictionary with definitions, including one that might have been inspired by actual events.

Turns out it was far from Capone-inspired, but something we'd rather keep our distance from anyway. During the episode, Jimmy (who's originally from Cicero) snaps at a bingo game and shares the incident that got him locked up: he defecated through the open sunroof of a rival's car. [Ed. note: You really need to watch Odenkirk's delivery as he revisits this moment in his past. We simply can't do it justice.] Because said rival's kids were in the backseat at the time, Jimmy faced indecent exposure charges and well, you know the rest (if you've been watching the show).

The show's executive producer and writer Peter Gould told Esquire the term wasn't a dig at our fair town; the two words just came together in the writers’ room. Once they'd decided on the definition, they took into account the fact that Jimmy was from Cicero and the "Chicago sunroof" was born (this is one time where Cicero's lower profile probably worked in its favor). We do wonder what Odenkirk, a Berwyn native, thought of the scene.

Now, we're not suggesting that we've been perfect in our waste management (though that Dave Matthews thing was not our fault). After all, there was the serious misstep at the Cubs season opener last week and we're not sure we buy the whole "rust" explanation for what was happening in the Chicago River yesterday. But you can relax and not worry about something so vile happening to your car in our city (the worst is you'll just going to get gouged on the parking). So let's just say no to this neologism and stay far, far away from the "Chicago sunroof."