I didn’t put this in any of the other threads, since it seems like you guys are talking spoilers about the 2006 season. I’m way behind. I just rented the first season and loved the pilot. But I’ve been increasingly disappointed with each successive episode.
I really like the ensemble feel, and Dennis Leary’s asshole stand-up guy/anti-hero is a great anchor for them, struggling as he is with ghosts (literally) and demons (figuratively). The storyline seemed like it was going to have some real bite, with a candid portrait that accepts racism, homophobia, and misogyny as just the way people talk when they’re not worried about bettering society.
I liked the way it was about the firemen and not the fires they were putting out and people they were rescuing. When I was a kid, I used to love a show called, I think, Emergency, but IIRC, every episode was firemen solving three minor mishaps, each with its own guest star and fifteen minute segment. In between each segment, there’s a little firemanly banter at the station. Then there’s a big fire to end the show before scenes from next week.
Rescue Me seemed the opposite. It’s about these guys at work rather than the work itself.
But then, as the season goes on, it’s like they’re bringing in new writers, or trying to push the comedy, or drawing out the soap opera aspect, or some such pitfall of episodic TV. Because I really started to hate where it was going.
I was okay with the Hispanic fireman discovering he had a daughter, and I was kind of even willing to go along with Dennis Leary’s daughter getting in a car wreck that he’s called out for. Okay, so the fireman who beats up a gay man has a gay son. Yeah, convenient. But okay, we’ve got a full season to sustain here.
But the moment where it really jumped the crappy TV shark was the group therapy meeting with the poetry-writing fireman. The way that scene was played to ridicule the people weeping about 9/11 officially left the domain of the thoughtful and veered into sneering sitcom territory. Then they start measuring their dicks (yuk yuk, dude’s penis is caught in a cockring!), rescuing cute little daughters from evil foster parents (awww, it’s just like Little Miss Marker, but with NYFD), and engaging in shenanigans where the ex-wife comes in while the new girlfriend is upstairs (d’oh! When do the John Ritter pratfalls start?). Whoops, Dennis Leary is sleeping with the ghost’s wife and he almost got busted! Ha ha! Hey, look, they’re all bending the therapist’s ear instead of working on his porch! Hyuk! Ha ha, that dude’s going out with a transvestite! Fireman sure are wacky!
I think the final straw was the direction the show took with Charles Durning as Dennis Leary’s father. There was a pretty cool moment in episode 2, I think, when Durning and Leary had a subtitled phone conversation. It wasn’t too much because it was used sparingly. A stylized point was made that these men don’t emotionally connect and then the season moved on. But it moved on to Charles Durning and wacky Uncle Teddy in a house full of old whores chasing a monkey around and giving it amphetamines. WTF? Fear and Loathing in New Jersey?
So I’m eight episodes in and I’m wondering if I should bother finishing up the first season. Does this crap go on, or does it clean up its act? Because if there’s more dick-measuring, monkey-chasing, porch-building, and tranny-mishaps, I’d just as soon move on to the next thing in my Netflix queue.