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Rescue Me: The Complete Second Season
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Rescue Me ~ Season 2
Rescue Me is a wake up call for every man who (as a kid) dreamed about becoming a fireman and every woman who fantasized about being with one. As flawed and complicated as they are selfless and heroic, the fire fighters in this FX series are a compelling lot. They deal with infidelity, drug addiction, and sexual abuse on a daily basis and make it seem like old hat. But the characters are so well thought out that they almost always make viewers care about what's developing in their lives. This second season surpasses the debut year in terms of story lines and pacing. Series creator Denis Leary (Ice Age, No Cure for Cancer) reprises his role of Tommy Gavin. Separated from his wife and children and also battling a drinking addiction, Tommy is now working as the new guy in a Staten Island firehouse. He isn't a hero so much as he's his own best victim. Luckily, he's still got some loyal friends who're quick to nip his pity-parties short: "You feeling a little angry? You feeling a little hurt? You feeling betrayed? Well, congratulations, you're feeling, and you're feeling because you're sober." With his hangdog features and fast-paced speech pattern, Leary is surprisingly believable in the role. Returning character Chief Reilly (Jack McGee) faces some struggles of his own, as he watches his wife's spiral downward thanks to Alzheimer's. And it's not much easier for Franco (Daniel Sunjata), who is trying to figure out the best ways to care for his daughter while working an unpredictable schedule. While the drama on this show can sometimes be fiery and intense, the series provides enough biting humor to lend it an air of humanity and, at times, even a little warmth. It doesn't leave viewers wanting to be fire fighters, but rather empathizing with them. --Jae-Ha Kim
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And on a personal note, to the reviewer below who suggests that the events of 9/11 did New York a favour, you are a vile, cretinous piece of human garbage. The 343 brave men who died on that day did so for people like you, you ungrateful scumbag. These men possessed a courage that few of us can ever begin to appreciate. As for the series emulating real life, well, I'd like to see how you reacted if you lost 343 members of your family. Crawl back under the rock you came from and die.
Anyway, the appeal of this show is simply that it's got a large cast of very interesting characters, most of whom are fairly likable in spite of their various flaws. The show centers around Denis Leary's Tommy, of course, who is extremely reminiscent of Leary's standup persona, being the loud, angry, foul-mouthed jerk. Tommy Gavin certainly isn't a nice guy, and most people will try and tell you that he's a complex and conflicted and you aren't really particularly supposed to like him, but pshh, whatever. *I* like him. He's my hero, in fact. The fact of the matter is, 90% of the time, Tommy is in the right. Of course, in that other 10% he tends to severely over step the bounds of civilized society, but ehh, who cares. Beyond him the most important character, at least in my mind, is Ken Shea, lieutenant in the firehouse. He's probably the most conventionally likable character here, smarter and funnier than anyone else in the show, while simultaneously seeming like more of just a regular guy. He certainly ain't perfect either, but he's still really the heart of the show, I think.
There are just too many characters to consider them all individually: as we've got Franco, a former total womanizer who found out he has a daughter last season and is trying to turn himself around to some degree; Mike and Sean, two of the younger firefighters who are just particularly stupid and oblivious, and who, frankly, seem to be pretty much the same character; Laura, the one woman in the firehouse, who is, of course, quite an outsider because of this; Chief Reilly, another sorta normal guy character apart from his severe homophobia, which comes into play frequently since he has a gay son. Then you've got Tommy's family, his kids his father his uncle and his inscrutable semi-ex-wife Janet, and his current girlfriend, the crazy Sheila and on and on. Suffice to say, this show's got all sorts of stuff going on all the time, far too much to summarize in any meaningful way. Occasionally individual plot threads won't work as well, and sometimes things peter out with no good explanation or conclusion (such as when Mike plans on killing his ex-girlfriend in a jealous rage, and then just doesn't.) To be honest, the show is basically a prime-time soap opera, albeit far more professional and less cheesy than the real thing, but it's the same basic essence. If you haven't seen this you may, reasonably, think it's a show about firefighting, but it really isn't. Most of the characters just kinda happen to be firefighters, the actual, uhh, fighting of fires is a relatively small part of the show.
Though you shouldn't need to be told this, those who are easily offended ought to avoid this show. Yes, they use lots of swears and slurs and there are a number of butts to be seen. Frankly, I dunno why this should be surprising to anyone in modern society, but apparently it is, so consider yourself warned. As a whole, this season actually seems less concerned with being over the top, which is nice. When something is trying too hard to be outrageous it can come off forced and tiresome, which does happen at a few moments in 'Rescue Me', but not too often, and not as much as in season 1.
Geez, I've gone on and on and I haven't said anything yet, so I guess it's back to the basics to close out this review. So, in summary: 1- This show is funny 2- This show is dramatic 3- This show manages to create a certain amount of empathy for just about every character in it, even when they come into conflict. (Except for Janet, who is evil and who I hate.) 4- I like this show. Watch it. Also, the theme song is great.