Brow Beat

The Hidden Ferris Bueller Easter Egg in the Better Call Saul Finale    

Better Call Saul homage to Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.,Better Call Saul homage to Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.

Photo illustration by Slate. Photo by AMC, film still by Paramount Pictures.

This week’s season finale of Better Call Saul featured a mini-tribute to director John Hughes. While on a trip to visit the Chicagoland area, Bob Odenkirk’s character, Jimmy McGill, makes a 911 call and identifies his location as “an alley southeast of LaSalle and Shermer.” LaSalle is a major thoroughfare in Chicago. But based on a thorough Google search, there appears to be no Shermer street, avenue, or boulevard anywhere in the city. Neither does there seem to be a street named Shermer in Cicero, Illinois—Jimmy’s other main Land-of-Lincoln haunt. Whence the fake name?

Shermer, Illinois, is the fictional town that features in myriad John Hughes works—from Sixteen Candles to Ferris Bueller’s Day Off to Home Alone, and more. (Several Hughes fanatics have tracked down his films’ imaginary Shermer locations.) Hughes grew up in Northbrook, Illinois, which was originally called Shermerville. He went to Glenbrook North High School, which is located on Shermer Rd in Northbrook. Cementing the connection: In Better Call Saul’s very next scene, Jimmy’s friend Kim calls him on his mobile phone. “Is this Ferris Bueller?” she asks. ‘I don’t want to interrupt your big day off.’ ”

The episode itself featured Jimmy engaging in a series of escapades that require minor deception—accompanied by his slightly less magnetic sidekick, Marco. Shades of Ferris and Cameron? Only Vince Gilligan knows for sure.