Chicago Med "borrows" a Hemingway storyline

Peter Hays

Presumably, there are only seven basic plots. Everything else is detail; change the names, the hair color, maybe even the gender. But when it comes to castration, the gender is a given (I would have said "fixed," but my wife abhors my puns).

The April 13th show of  NBC series Chicago Med (season 2, episode 20),  used a plot right out of Hemingway's "God Rest You Merry, Gentlemen." Writing credits were for Shelley Meals and Darin Goldberg; none for Hemingway. A boy of seventeen was brought to the hospital, severely beaten up. He had been seen by other boys while he had climbed a roof to peek into the window of the girls' shower room at their school. He confessed to the hospital's psychiatrist, played by the estimable Oliver Platt, that he had uncontrollable urges toward nubile young blonde girls, and he desired chemical castration before he did something even worse than peeking. His devout parents denied the boy's wish for chemical castration--an alternative probably not available in 1918 when Hemingway learned of the incident in Kansas Ci8ty--and prayed over him. The unnamed boy in "God Rest You" only had "impure thoughts" and presumably, naturally occurring erections, both of which he regarded as sinful. Today's audience with its knowledge of pedophilia and familiarity of sex tapes demands something more scurrilous. Later the boy is missing from his bed and, when found, seen lifting the blanket off a young, unconscious, blonde patient. Chased out of the girl's room, he mutilates himself; like Hemingway's young man, he acts when the doctors will not. The show ends with the boy in a corner, screaming, while blood seeps out from the edge of his hospital gown. Whether castration or amputation, as in Hemingway's story, is impossible to tell. There were no allusions to the Fisher King, as in Hemingway's story. We will have to wait for another desperate script writer to use that detail.

Peter Hays 05/31/2017

How to cite this blog in MLA 8: 

Author's Last Name, Author's First Name. "Title of Post."  THR Blog, The Hemingway Foundation and Society, Date blog was published, Link to blog entry (omit http:// or https://).