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Covering Rescue Me: A Fanboy's Dream

Since Chase Squires left the building a few weeks ago, I've been asking Mother Times for the opportunity to do a few TV critic-type stories. And nothing has given me more pleasure in recent weeks than pulling together today's story on the best show on television: FX's Rescue Me.

After the messy death of Denis Leary and Peter Tolan's crack ABC comedy about a sleazy police detective, The Job, I lamented that these two guys would never find a way to get their subversive, bold comedy vision on network TV.

Then came FX's firefighter-based Rescue Me: a perfect distillation of knuckleheaded guy stuff (going to AA meetings to pick up hot chicks; sleeping with women because they had access to good drugs), sidesplitting humor (the station chief, a degenerate gambler, stops fighting a fire to check game scores on a buring apartment's TV) and knife-edged drama (the death of character Tommy Gavin's son, killed by a drunk driver).

All this comes courtesy of Leary's Gavin, a reprobate firefighter who is Superman on the job and a schmuck everywhere else. This is the kind of series HBO should be doing -- subverting the typical hero worshipping firefighter shtick to show off guys who struggle to get through each day without going postal.

Here's some quotes I couldn't squeeze into today's story.

Leary on the psychology of firefighters: "Everything is seen through the prism of what they do. Walking around in the neighborhood where their firehouse is, they look at every building as a possibility. They’re looking at the structure and they’re looking at the ways out and when they look at a heavy person in the street they think, boy – I hope I don’t have to save her or him. I just never goes away. ...(And) if that’s what you wake up with every day, it’s going to be really difficult to get through some of the things in your personal life. You can very quickly cut to the chase in terms of what’s bullshit and what’s not bullshit. Because you have to do it every day.”

Guest star Susan Sarandon on people accusing her of political correctness in her work: "I think people use the term political correctness when they don’t want to deal with an untruth. Sometimes when I’m working with a movie and it has a racial storyline...and all the people of color are crackheads or fanatics, I'll say something and they'll resist. 'Oh, come on Susan, do you have to be so politically correct?' they'll say. But to me, it’s about making things truthful. When you call them on something and say 'Why is it that every woman in this movie who has sex has to die?' They don’t really want to deal with what would make something more honest. They want to keep reinforcing those stereotypes.”

Leary on why he is an actor and not a firefighter: "After age 13, when I did the school play at St. Peters (high school)...I witnessed as a 13-year old that all the prettiest girls were in the plays. And I felt like I had gotten a secret...I went back and told my guys you’re not going to believe it, but all the hot girls are in the musicals. By the time I got to high school, all the jocks were trying to get into the musicals to hang around with the girls. I also got to witness the party thing – which is that, after the musical is over, the last night, there’s a giant party. I got to see the girls dancing and drinking and hanging out with the guys. And man – I’m in. I like this job."

Sarandon on people's sense that she only does political films these days: "Every film is political, you only notice the ones that challenge the status quo. When you look at what Eddie Murphy did with the Nutty Professor, where the fat guy got the girl and the message was, look past the surface appearance. That’s a political statement just as much as an Arnold (Schwarzenegger) movie is political, because it's confirming a system of severe justice or telling you women are disposable."

Leary on when he knew his ABC series, The Job, was going to be cancelled: "(ABC Entertainment President) Susan Lyne came out saying, 'We’re switching gears; we’re going to be about family entertainment.' Peter (Tolan) called me up and said, 'Did you see the papers? Did you see that quote. We’re dead. Family entertainment: The Job is the f---ing antithesis of that.' They started making those shows According to Jim and George Lopez, and I’m thinking, 'Who the f--- is George Lopez? I didn’t know who he was – (co-star Lenny Clarke) explained it to me. And now he’s a big f---ing network star. So what do I know?”

Reward a guy (and a gal) who isn't afraid to say what's on his mind. Watch Rescue Me tonight. (And check out this way cool short with some of the characters)

[Last modified: Wednesday, July 21, 2010 2:36pm]


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