Rescue Me: Enough Already

rescueme4That’s it! I’m off the Rescue Me train. Were it not for my contractual obligations with Poptimal, I wouldn’t even watch this show again. As it is, I am resisting the urge to make this review five lines total. Because you’ve already seen this episode. All season long.

Guess what happens?

Damien moves in with Apache Stone bandmate Mike, and cancer recover-er, Sean Garrity. They debate the merits and linguistical birthplace of “carpe diem.” I’ve called that phrase on this show already, so I’m over you, Horace. Once again, we listen to Franco explain to his girlfriend that his idiot friends think she’s a lesbian, and she is offended. Kind of? I’m sure hilarity will ensue when said friends show up for Apache Stone’s Sean Garrity benefit gig. Or nothing will happen, like every other plot development on this show. Did you know Franco’s a boxer? Yeah, there was that one fight. If you don’t remember, they repeat it to us. And, you know, Garrity had cancer, in case you forgot, and Franco’s having the best sex ever with his lesbian-girlfriend, in case you forgot. It’s not called plot development, by the way, if we’re just listening to the same conversation, week after week.

Something new: a conversation/shoving match between Needles and Tommy, wherein Needles reprimands Tommy for his physical attack against the politician last week, which made the news and the papers. Because Tommy was seen holding a drink, everyone assumes he was drunk. Not incredibly stupid – just drunk. In order to make the punishments and reprimands go away, Tommy promises to quit drinking for 30 days, and take over Damien’s probie grunt work around the firehouse. Tommy doesn’t like this addendum, but Needles does.

Tommy’s spotlight in the media also causes the Gavins to align and stage an intervention. I fast forwarded through the speeches – sorry, I’d about had it by then. Basically, they say he’s an alcoholic and he says alcohol keeps him happy, thereby making others happy, and pulls the “I watched my best friend die on 9/11, so I’m allowed to be an alcoholic.” Because five seasons in, it’s the same old line. Tommy’s speechifying turns everyone but Maggie back on to the bottle. I guess that would be a nice surprise if we hadn’t seen some form of this conversation every week, for the last few weeks.

Now it’s time for the Janet and Sheila double-team! We open the show with Sheila and Tommy after a night of no-strings sex (except for the strings attached from Tommy to Damien, because Tommy’s sworn to protect Damien – don’t worry, if you forgot THEY HAVE ANOTHER CONVERSATION REMINDING US). Jimmy’s ghost appears, repeating his last conversation with Tommy about telling Sheila that Lou now has protective custody of Damien. Tommy stops short of confessing this to Sheila, because she’s a woman on Rescue Me. Okay, I know I’m criticizing the show for its repetitive conversations, but then I can do it too, right? We watch the poorly developed character of Sheila flip out like a madwoman, in a jealous rage over some woman Tommy talked to whenever-ago, and then start crying, then go manic again, then come back with a bunch of pills she takes daily for anxiety, sex drive, and alertness. Because if the women on this show aren’t there for sex, they are being unreasonable, impossible to understand and deal with, and are insane. Is that all redundant? Perfect!

As for Janet, she shows up at the firehouse while Tommy’s grunting his way through Damien’s job of cleaning a closet. She’s all happy that bratty Katy loves her, so she opens her coat to reveal she’s dressed only in fancy underwear, then convinces Tommy to go for a shag right there in the closet. He loves it, asks her on a date, and she says no. Because he’s hurt her too many times. And also, saying yes would require new dialogue to be written, and I don’t think anyone’s up to the task.

Obviously, I’m extremely frustrated over the plot development, as I’ve noted previously. Unfortunately, what drove me over the edge this time was yet another conversation by the crew breaking a woman down to all they really care about: the snatch.

Feinberg’s dirt on Needles turns out to be a mail-order Russian bride. She shows up at the firehouse looking for Needles. Possibly for a nooner, possibly just to drop something off. Her tiny skirt inadvertently revealed to Damien that she’s undergarment-less, and has a shaven vajayjay. The rest of the guys compete to be the first to catch a glimpse of “the business.” We watch Lou, Franco, and Tommy be “funny” in their pursuit until Tommy wins.

The entire incident sat wrong with me, mainly because I keep having to watch this. Last week it was the widow’s boobs, another time it was Garrity’s nurse.  I’m normally not so sensitive (usually I can simply poke fun at it), but yes, I find it a little degrading. I’m aware these conversations happen amongst guys in real life, and I’m aware they happen on a regular basis, and sure, television portrayal must be some sort of edgy verite. Whatever. I’ve recommended this show before with the caveat that it’s very sexist. I’m beyond even recommending it now. I take back the writing Emmy nomination I suggested: that was for moments like Tommy wrapping up a burned child in the creepiest, saddest three minutes of television. But I can’t recommend the show at all anymore. Between the fact that viewers are watching recycled conversations and moments and that the women aren’t even real people, I’ve found very little redeemable here.

Which isn’t to say I think they should shut the show down – obviously, Rescue Me has a huge fan base (and Leary is still awesome). Ordinarily, I’d just stop watching, as is my right. I’m only in for the rest of this season, and not by choice. For me, that ending can’t come soon enough.

Next week: Janet versus Sheila. If there’s a catfight, I’m turning it off, I warn you now.

For another take on this episode, check out Cameron Cubbison’s review here.

Listen to The J Factor with J.B. and Jaimie here or on iTunes.

Season 5, Episode 16: Clean (originally aired July 21, 2009)

For more on Rescue Me, click here.

Tuesdays at 10pm on FX

Photographs courtesy of FX and IMDbPro

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