Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Hot Summer Fare

There simply isn't a better program on TV right now that FX's "Rescue Me."

The story of post-9/11 firefighters and their screwed up lives is about as raw television as you will find. This season has raised the benchmark for what already was a great show, filling it with humor, tragedy and some moments that were so shocking that it created a rift between fans over what was truly over the line in what you can show.

Earlier this season, the show's protagonist, Tommy Gavin (Denis Leary) sexually forces himself on his ex-wife, who at first fights him off, then seems to enjoy the moment. Many fans who watched the scene were immediately turned off to the program, saying Tommy had gone too far and raped his wife. Leary and other cast members, however, has defended the episode over the past few weeks, saying it illustrated the messed-up relationship between Tommy and his ex-wife, Janet (Andrea Roth). Certainly, a measure of TV karma was unleashed upon Tommy, who was drugged and seduced by his sometimes-girlfriend Sheila (Callie Thorne), who was attempting to get pregnant. Sheila convinced Tommy, a recovering alcoholic, that he had fallen off the wagon and wrecked his apartment.

Tonight, Tommy confronts Janet about her being pregnant, possibly with his child, possibly with his brother's. Janet has continued to have encounters with Tommy while living with his brother, Johnny (Dean Winter). (Did I mention how screwed up these characters are?)

That really just scratches the surface of what is going on with the show, since we get an entire firehouse full of characters with plenty of stuff going on with their lives as well — Jerry, whose wife is suffering from Alzheimer's; Kenny, who was conned out of his life's savings and is going through a mid-life crisis; Mike, who is struggling with whether or not he is gay; Franco, whose daughter has been kidnapped by a wealthy older woman; and Sean, perhaps the funniest character on airwaves, who is about to marry Tommy's lunatic sister, Maggie.

With Rescue Me's season winding down, you may want to wait for the DVD to catch up on everything. Either way, it's well worth your time to catch this show.


Zodin2008 said...

Couldn't agree more, phillip. "Rescue Me" is the best show on Television, bar none. Bravo to this post.

I also concur that "Sean" is possibly the funniest character on Television. His sleepwalking incident some weeks back actually hurt my sides I laughed so hard.

This Girl said...

I loved the sleepwalking show. This season is really good, although I don't have previous seasons to compare it to. Some things were a little weird when I started watching, like why noone acknowledged the boy he kept seeing, but the show does a good job of keeping you up on the previous season loose ends.

I am a woman who was nearly raped and that scene is hard to watch, but for me, it solidified the groundedness of the show. Plus, this was his wife, as far as he was concerned. Did you see him beat the crap out of that guy when he saw them holding hands? This is his wife. You don't think about the sex, you just do it. They are still, however, a very effed up group of people though.

This Girl said...

as a girl, however, I like relationship creating shows like The Closer, better. Bones. Numb3rs.

Phillip Ramati said...

Thanks for the comments, guys.

Zod -- The sleepwalking scene was the funniest scene on any show this year, but the scene last night in which Tommy has to ask for cab fare may have topped it.

This Girl -- I'm sorry to hear about your personal experience. As a man, it was difficult for me to watch as well.
For me, the scene didn't qualify as a rape because of Janet's subsequent encounters with Tommy. Also, when she's fighting him at the beginning of that scene, she isn't really frightened or upset, but more annoyed that he is forcing himself on her.
That the scene can provoke such a wide range of reactions from viewers is a testament to the quality of writing and acting in the show.

This Girl said...

really, I think the act of rape is forcing oneself on another person. The thing that makes this work in the story is because it is part of the story. It is something tommy would do because he forces himself on her all the time. She would fight him because she fights him on everything and she forces herself on him as well. But just because it was rape doesn't mean that the show condones rape. And just because it was rape doesn't mean it didn't add to what we know about the characters. Things like this happen in real life. Janet still loves Tommy, she just can't stand him right now. She is in mourning and she can't have him around. She fights him, but accepts him all at once. Tommy want his stuff to stay his. His crew, his sister, his family, his wife. He fights whatever wants to take that away. To say it was not rape lessens how Tommy's character has been drawn. He would stoop to rape. That is what makes this show work. Don't lessen the act, just understand it's play in the dynamic of the show. That's why I like the show. (of course, just my opinion)