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Mon, Jul 27, 2020 3:04 PM

Five Real Life Issues Affecting Fictional Characters of Showtimes' THE CHI


Season two of Showtime’s "THE CHI" left viewers to mull over the tale of the scorpion and the frog: The scorpion asks the frog for a lift across the river. The frog is immediately faced with a dilemma because he is afraid of being stung, but the scorpion says that if he did so, they would both drown, dooming them both. Halfway across, the scorpion stings the frog. The frog manages to utter his last words “Why?” The scorpion’s answer is it is simply in his nature to sting.


This fable is a recurring theme throughout THE CHI referenced at different points by Brandon Johnson (JASON MITCHELL), the chef, and Stanley “Papa” Jackson (SHAMON BROWN JR.), a portly eighth-grader who is wise beyond his years. The characters try to parse out who might be the scorpion: Is it Reg Taylor (BARTON FITZPATRICK), a leader in the 63rd Street Mob? Is it Otis “Douda” Perry (CURTISS COOK), Reg’s boss?


The characters of "THE CHI" might be fictional, but the storyline is steeped in a reality where systemic racism is the actual scorpion. The character’s lives are indicative of what many African American families in Chicago navigate in real life: incarceration, gang violence, trauma, family strife, and gentrification.

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