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Thursday, July 29, 2010

Rescue Me: Too Much?

One of the downsides of being a blogger who has random thoughts about topics that might be worth writing about is that, if the topic involves anything outside of a personal event, someone else has thought about it. Just the other day, I wrote over and over in my mind the idea that, just like Arthur Fonzarelli of Happy Days fame, Tommy Gavin and perhaps my favorite show, Rescue Me had Jumped the Shark this season. The worry is that some professional critic or just another blogger has had the same thought and in fact pulled the trigger ahead of my spectacular analysis and write-up making what I post here seem like some sort of piggy-backing.

Turns out, I was a full season behind. I did do a search and TV Guide put out a story last season questioning if Rescue Me had avoided Jumping the Shark. Avoided? That's one take on things. Technically, I'm good I think but, if someone else has already made this observation, what the hell. I'm just a guy who writes a blog from time to time and I happen to be a fan of Rescue Me. Sue me. (Actually; please don't.)

So to be clear, for those of you who are not familiar with the term or the story behind it, most people agree that when The Fonz was forced to don some water skies and jump over a shark in an episode of Happy Days, that was pretty much an accepted recognition that the show was beyond over (or should be). I say should be, because in fact, Happy Days continued for several more years!

I appreciated the abrupt ending of The Sopranos and in retrospect, I could have lived with the ending of Rescue Me had we seen Tommy Gavin laying on the floor behind a bar with bullet holes bleeding out. In fact, I thought it was the ending.

My complaint is not with the idea that we know this is the end of Rescue Me and perhaps the star has to go through a bunch of things to gain closure before he dies (in fact, I told my wife that I believe he is (like in LOST!) already dead). No, I am upset that the writers and actors all are treating this season as a gag reel of sorts.

Yes, I giggled out loud at the term "shitiots" uttered by Sheila; and who doesn't find it funny that Tommy got liquored up and found himself the object of photos wherein he is dressed up like a fine thong-clad Ho? But really, the characters are all gone. They have become cliches.

Last season when (white) Sean participated in a musical number (he was dreaming) I think it actually worked. But now, he and co-knucklehead Mike have been relegated to fodder for gags and jokes. Each week, the writers appear to be answering the question: Could these two guys be any dumber? And of course, the answer is a resounding, Yes!

Two other characters that have become another team of idiots for the writers are Mickey and Uncle Teddy. Mickey is Tommy Gavin's cousin and former priest who is his AA sponsor. In previous seasons, they enjoyed dramatic confrontations, rich dialogue and numerous intense scenes. Now, they have Mickey playing Uncle Teddy's (a serial killer by most accounts) straight man. It's just pathetic.

What hooked me with Rescue Me was the dialogue; the writers knew how to pull us in and shock us one minute and make us feel a little teary eyed the next. The harsh reality of life dictates that not every family is perfect. Not every father is Ward Cleaver and not every mom measures up to June. In real life, father does not always know best. Likewise, we know that you don't have to be perfect to be a hero. So we accepted the star firefighter with all his faults - the drinking, the fighting, the cheating and so on because, for God's sake, this guy was genuine and he saved lives while dealing with his demons.

The only valid scene in the most recent episode of Rescue Me was where Tommy is locked in a back room, the victim of spiked Irish Whiskey perpetrated by Beavis and Butthead (also known as cousin/Father Mick and Uncle Teddy), and he fights with the ghosts of his cousin Jimmy Keefe and the grown up son. This is the Rescue Me that I crave. Tommy kicks Jimmy's ass pointing out that he covered for him for years but even worse, unexpectedly calls out his son for being a pussy! The kid was hit by a car as a pre-teen and Tommy is so distraught in life, he calls out the dead teenager for ruining things between he and Janet, the wife he can't seem to quit cheating on. I love this drama only because it is so wrong.

But everything else this season just sucks. We have come to understand Tommy has a speech impediment. That is, he stutters, stammers, puffs, and fizzes when he is frustrated. The weird thing is, many of his fellow characters have picked up this speech impediment. I like it for the comedic value, but geeze, has it become a crutch? Can Tommy or any other character in the show make it through a simple sentence without this verbal blowing of a gasket?

Look, I'm not going to stop watching now. I'll ride it out to the end and I hope that I can accept how the writers decided to finish this. But in my mind, I have decided that Tommy Gavin died from gunshot wounds on the floor in a bar at the end of last season. I would like to believe that he made a brief stop-over in Hell or perhaps some sort of purgatory for a moment or two, but followed his heroic firefighter brothers into the light no worse for wear had Jennifer Love Hewitt walked him in herself.

Naturally, I won't hold my breath.

Thoughts from the group? Why not click on the comment button and tell me what you think.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Glad I never watched it!! Is it like the Sopranos without the crimes?
I didn't like that new show with Angie Harmon where she plays a detective and her best friend is a doctor who dresses to the nines and can diagnose everyone by just looking at them. Tired script and everything else. Looks to me like they are trying really hard. I can tell by just watching that they are acting, which they are, but I don't want to know that at the moment! It's just a filler for the summer, I guess. Even the name of the show is hard to remember!

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I love to observe the odd things happening around me as I go about my day. I especially like it when I can get a picture of people being themselves. Here, I attempt to report the various people and events I have encountered in my neighborhood, and my city. I'd also love to hear from you. Feel free to e-mail your experiences and photos of life in San Antonio.

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