Mouch (Christian Stolte) is emerging as an MVP candidate in Chicago Fire season 12. The character has always been an important part of the show, but he's sharper than ever after he nearly died in the season 11 finale.
Not only is Mouch in better shape than ever (the silver lining of having to do months of physical therapy), but he's going out of his way to rebrand himself in the firehouse. The character decided to reject the nickname that fans have known him by for over a decade, and go by his real name, which begs the question: where did the nickname "Mouch" come from?
Mouch's nickname combines 'Man' and 'Couch'
Fortunately, Mouch explains it. In the episode "Call Me McHolland", the character reveals that the nickname came from combining the words "man" and "couch", as a comment on lazy Mouch was when he at the firehouse. The combining of words is known as a portmanteau, which is surprising since many fans assumed it was merely a shortening of his surname. That's what we thought.
Mouch's decision to rebrand himself as McHolland, his proper name, signifies a major shift for the character as he embarks on the last leg of his firefighting career. He may be in good shape, but he's still in his early 60s, and the mandatory retirement age for a Chicago firefighter is 65.
Mouch now wants to be called 'McHolland'
The character is no doubt feeling the heat of not having enough time, and this is something that Fire showrunner Andrea Newman addressed during a recent interview with The Hollywood Reporter:
""You can be a firefighter at 65 and a lot of these guys and women, they work hard to stay in shape and stay a part of it. But they also have to start thinking about the future; some of them are happy sliding into a desk job at a certain point.""
Mouch still has a few years left, and he's dealing with age about as gracefully as one can hope for: staying healthy and doing his best on the job. It'll be interesting to see if the attempt to rebrand as "McHolland" sticks, or if the rest of the 51 will continue to refer to him as "Mouch", given that it's all they've known him as for decades.
Either way, we now have an answer to a question that very few of us thought to ask.