It makes a certain kind of sense that "Fast," the first Rescue Me "minisode," is about lunkheaded New York firefighter Sean Garrity struggling to maintain a cleansing diet in the face of his lieutenant's irresistible homemade doughnuts. ¶ I expect fans to lap up the series of 10 five-minute Rescue Me mini-episodes, offered as an apology for delaying the fifth season of Denis Leary's singular firefighter dramedy to spring 2009. ¶ FX will air the minisodes at 10 p.m. Tuesdays starting this week; fans can catch them the next day on Crackle.com, YouTube, MySpace's minisode network, AOL Video and Hulu, among other Web sites. ¶ I spent some time with Leary in New York in May, watching him tape sidesplitting scenes with comic Lenny Clarke, whose character dealt with the death of a friend by obsessing over his lawn. Here's a bit of our conversation, held in a tricked-out trailer/dressing room feet away from a cadre of foul-mouthed kids shooting hoops in Queens.
What are the new storylines?
At lot of our stuff is the three younger guys . . . instead of having to have all these side jobs, they decide to open a bar together, which is just …
. . . a train wreck.
But I think it'll be surprising to people what kind of a train wreck it is, because two friends of mine who are firemen actually did that. The way the train wreck occurs is the last thing you think of . . . And then, you know, Tommy dealing with the death of his father, which, of course, of all the deaths that he's faced, that's the hardest.
The way he died, watching baseball with your character, his son, was priceless.
A good friend of mine, his father died last year, after his mother had already died, and he said this strange thing to me. He said, "When my father was alive, there was still that thing in my head like I can't embarrass my parents again. Now I feel like, I could kill somebody."
How tough is it to find new situations for these characters?
When you write something that involves your friends or your family, they can get p-----. And there's two forms of that: "I can't believe you wrote that about me," and "You didn't put me in there." So I've been sort of surrounded by these stories, plus I keep being surrounded by it, so you can't go without hearing . . . "You can't believe what happened when we went to this fire." That's the great thing about doing this material, is that it's never-ending.