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  • Lance Mannion
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« Real elitism | Main | Journalmalists and the Hemingway Panic »


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Hi Lance, so you've found Rescue Me? Several years ago I was channel flipping and saw people having hot angry sex. What on earth is this, I said to myself, as no one else was home at the time. Later I told my husband about it but couldn't remember the channel or the name of the show. All I could remember was Denis Leary. Long story short, I did find it again and watched for a while, but it is too irregular for me to keep up with. The schedule I mean. You are right, there is a lot of woman-hating going on. I am in awe of how much sex they get away with, but then I am not a big TV watcher, so maybe everybody has sex now on TV. The Jesus episodes are very interesting, so you might hang on a while longer.

And while I have your attention, thanks for your calm and rational writing about Clinton v. Obama. Everybody needs to just chill.

take care,

minstrel hussain boy

chocolatissimo nutella bomb ice cream

better, way better than dennis leary.


If you’re strong enough to stomach watching Denis Leary for as long as 60 seconds you’re stronger than I’ll ever be. A third-rate thief of Bill Hicks with Andrew Dice Clays “I’m a tough mofo” shtick tossed into the mix (and honestly, Leary and Clay are about as tough as Danny Kaye) I find him utterly unwatchable doing anything.


What Bob said.

Mike Schilling

I just started The Shield and am having a similar reaction. Yes, the first show was amazing. It looked like the plot arc would be a well laid out but not terribly original piece of intrigue but DAMN I DIDN'T SEE THAT COMING!

But the main character is a monster. He's a well-written, brilliantly played, even at times sympathetic monster, but a monster all the damn time. How long can you make that compelling?


You seem to have a lot of compassion for Tommy and none for the women in the show. Color me surprised.

Kevin Wolf

It was the talking to dead people thing that made me tune out after a few episodes. Yeah, post-9/11 and all that, but it was an old idea when they started Rescue Me. I understand the show has moved on but I've never gone back.


I think Janet's easier than all that. Just ask yourself: is there any way that his character, particularly as a young man, would marry anyone who even showed signs of growing up to be a functioning adult? Would a functioning adult have considered marrying him?

K, so for years she put up with his destructive bullshit, which he served up with a heaping side dish of I face death every day, how dare you ask me to keep my pants zipped, right up until she didn't any more.

It was all about loyally looking at the world through his eyes. Now they're divorced, and she isn't required to do that any more. I don't think the danger is any less real to her. I think she's decided to reject the idea of it as a stick he uses to beat her with.


I didn't stick around to see how "Rescue Me" developed. I can't say it was bad TV (since I lasted about 20 minutes into an episode), but I just couldn't take the pervasive meanness to the women characters. It might have been incisive as all hell, but in recent years my threshold is real low for that shit, entertainmentally speaking.

I have to say I liked Denis Leary in "The Ref" with Judy Davis and Kevin Spacey.


Callie Thorne gets naked in "The Wire", if you're interested. Season 2 or 3. Just one of the reasons it was the best show on tv.

Dan Coyle

The women get worse. Far, far worse. By seasons three and four the series becomes... let me put it this way. When Andrea Roth appeared on Lost this season, I couldn't watch the scenes she was in. I changed the channel. Because she reminded me of Rescue Me. All that screaming. All those hard looks (the woman has one acting speed, slow burn annoyance). I couldn't read the episode without thinking whoever wrote it has a misogynistic streak (and boy, the episode didn't disappoint me there, reducing Juliet's hatred of Ben to a simple half-assed love triangle that the show's done hundreds of times). Lord knows I have my own issues with women, but I'd prefer not to have that button pressed the way Leary and Peter Tolan prefer to push it.

Don't bother with it. Just don't.

Schilling: Vic eventually becomes more moralistic and self-aware as The Shield goes on. After the pilot his personal life completely unravels by the end of season 1, and while he's not on a path of redemption, he becomes less of a bully.

Of course, in Shane's case, the opposite happens...

Ralph Hitchens

You touched all or most of the bases in "Rescue Me," which I regard as among the best shows on TV. Along with "The Shield," "The Wire," a couple of others. Let's hear it for cable!

With Dennis Leary in the driver's seat, you had to know there would be a strong streak of comedy. The blackest.

Anne Laurie

Since we don't have cable, I found Rescue Me via Netflix, while searching for more Denis Leary. After watching the first rental disc, I immediately went out and bought my own copy of the first series. I've bought the next two as soon as they came out, and I'm looking forward to buying Season 4 at the beginning of June. And frankly I'm kinda glad I don't have the 'temptation' of watching each episode as it comes out, because waiting for the resolution of some of those cliffhangers would *not* have been good for my blood pressure!

For me, the series has great nostalgia value... not least because it reminds me of why the heck I was so eager to get away from my roots! I grew up in the Bronx, at approximately the same time Leary was growing up in Dorchester, in a working-class parish where most of the guys worked "for the City", many of them as cops and firefighters. Believe it or not, both the situations and the personalities Leary & Tolan outline in Rescue Me are not particularly exaggerated; the main line between journalism & fiction in the series is that journalism isn't as polished, as neatly finished. The female characters in Rescue Me get the short end of a mucky stick, but that's exactly the plight of the women I grew up with -- working-class men with dangerous jobs and anger management issues create women who are manipulative, passive-aggressive, physically abused, physically abusive, and generally prone to characterization (caricaturization) as Borderline Personality Disorder cases. These women, in turn, create men with anger management issues who function best (if at all) in jobs where adrenaline is privileged over reasoned discussion. We didn't have cell phones or internet porn when I was growing up in the 1960s, and the idea of female firefighters was still considered so impossible that it was one of the standard anti-feminist tropes ("Yeah, but can you imagine a *girl* hefting forty pounds of gear up a smokey stairwell?!?"). But I can attest that most of the "baroque, twisted, unbelievable" incidents from the first three seasons, including the emergence, endangerment, and eventual disappearance of Franco's daughter, have real-life precedents in the NYC I knew, and probably in the regions of every other American city where people identify themselves by parish or "project" rather than by address or development.

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