This will be the first of a random assortment of television reviews. Just because I feel like it.
I started Rescue Me a little over a month ago. I am now into season 5. This review will contain spoilers, but as I haven’t finished the show, I hope none are given beyond that point.
Rescue Me is about a group of NY firefighters. It primarily follows Tommy Gavin (Dennis Leary), is a veteran firefighter, alcoholic and survivor from 9/11. He sees and has many conversations with his cousin, who was also a firefighter and who died in the WTC. Throughout the show, it is implied his visions of dead people are connected to his alcoholism, though he sees things even once he gets sober.
There is a lot of comedy mixed in, which helps lessen the seriousness of the show down to a reasonable level. There are often rather hilarious situations the characters get into, not your typical over the top sitcom situations, or slapstick moments, but more realistic. The humor is entirely believable in a real life sense, as you can see real people in those situations, or making the jokes. Without the comedy, the show would be to heavy to watch. One of the reasons I couldn’t finish the Shield was because it was just to dark.
Despite it being a drama about firefighters, not much of that drama revolves around fires. There are usually a couple fires in each episodes, but most times these serve as backdrops. More as scenes in the office, just to emphasize what they do and that it’s dangerous. Occasionally, there are harrowing moments, and some examples of heroics.
Most of the drama centers around the characters lives. How they may be heroic in fires, especially Tommy, but don’t know how to live a normal life. They can be jerks, but not usually over the top TV jerks. They can do stupid things, but usually stupid things that you can see people doing, not just TV people.
While the way they handle the situations is well executed, the sheer number and level of situations can get a bit overwhelming, possibly due to the compressed nature of watching the show straight through, rather than once a week over the course of 5 years. They have even made fun of this themselves. At one point Tommy and his wife go to a marriage counselor and explain everything that has happened to them. The counselor thinks it’s a joke.
The seasons seem to follow a set pattern. In the beginning, Tommy is in a bad situation he needs to get out of, which normally happens in a few episodes. Some crazy stuff happens with the other characters, Tommy’s relationship with Janet (his ex-wife) see-saws, season ramps up to something bad happening, one or more people die. Each season seems to follow that pattern.
The number of deaths of semi-main characters is one of the things that is over the top. Despite the dangerous jobs of firefighters, there has only been one death amongst the firefighter crew in a fire. Outside of fires, half of Tommy’s family plus a few others had died. His mother, his son, his brother, his father, Chief Rielly, Mike’s mom. Some were natural and should be expected, older parents die eventually. But mixed with the number of tragic deaths it becomes a little to much.
Now, with most of season 5 plus 6 and 7 to go, I predict two more bad situations await Tommy, which will disappear within a few episodes, and three more deaths. I will predict that it will be at least one of the main firefighter crew, possibly in a fire and one more of Tommy’s family members. The end of season 7 will see Tommy die, hopefully heroically in a fire, but I wouldn’t put it past him relapsing and dying while driving drunk or throwing himself off a bridge or something.