Sunday, August 20, 2006

Rescue Me – Another Crazy Season

Rescue Me – Another Crazy Season

Lately, I don’t get out much. My life does not exactly revolve around the television shows that I watch, but they at least occupy a portion of my daily thoughts. I like provocative, edgy writing and quirkiness, which explains my leaning towards cable drama offerings such as Monk, The Shield, and Rescue Me.

Rescue Me is possibly my favorite at this point, as it is capable of shocking me, provoking thought, and making me laugh out loud repeatedly throughout a single episode. Just the plot lines, which while ludicrous still come off as possible in this world of ours, make me shake my head as I think them over.

And the writers know that they seem crazy, making light of themselves in a scene from the show two weeks ago. I am not sure what the title of the show was, and am not going to spend a lot of time being exact about it, but the gist of it was; Tommy (Dennis Leary), is having a crisis (as always). He walks into a New York pub, orders the most expensive Whiskey behind the bar, a couple hundred dollars worth for a couple of tall glasses of the stuff.

When he doesn’t have any money to pay for it he tells the bartender that he’s FDNY, which apparently gets these guys free reign throughout New York. This is a theme throughout the show. I do not know if it is like this in New York still, but that is how it is portrayed.

The bartender at first doesn’t believe him, and Tommy breaks into a monologue where he first shows the crowd around him his scars from fire-fighting. Then he tells them what’s going on in his life, how his estranged wife is pregnant with a child that could be either his brother’s or his own child and how he just saw his dead son riding the downtown bus.

Dennis Leary pulls this off quite well, and with a straight face, bringing sympathy to a character that on paper is a selfish, abusive, self-serving bully. The mood and the buttons this show pushes are all over the place.

It's not always perfect, there a lot of red herring plots that seem to fizzle out, such as one character’s daughter being abducted by a girlfriend/benefactor. Watching this show, you get the idea that the writer’s are allowed free reign but also told to drop plots that producers feel are not going well, after they are aired.

As far as I can tell, there are two episodes left this season, and this is a show for season-ending plot turns. Recently, Tommy’s son was killed by a drunk driver, and his uncle killed the drunk driver in another episode. Now, two main characters might die.

Central to it all is the FDNY, and the reverence each and every one of these characters hold for the fire department, even those that aren't fire-fighters. These characters make the New York buddy set from "Seinfeld," seem like a group of missionaries, but still respect the job and look to the other’s in their "House,"(Firehouse) closer than anyone, especially their families.

The firemen come off as a group of Prima Donna’s at times, but sprinkled throughout the show are telling signs of why they look on it all the way they do. When a friend of Tommy’s from his days in probationary school gets hurt critically in a fire, Tommy spends a lot of time in the hospital room, helping his friends wife cope as his friend is continually whittled down, his legs and arms amputated, and then, when the wife is out of the room, Tommy tells his buddy to just let go.

It is touching at times, and done well enough that you forget that one scene before you were laughing at gay jokes or that a nun just got done sleeping with Tommy’s room mate. I recommend "Rescue Me," highly, and hope it keeps coming back as fresh as it has this season.

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