Let’s start at the beginning. The very beginning, as this is the first episode I’ve ever watched of Rescue Me. That in of itself is a shock because I’m a huge Denis Leary fan. The Ref may very well be the best Christmas movie of all time, and in Judgment Night he lives out the fantasy of many by shooting at Cuba Gooding, Jr. and throwing Jeremy Piven off a building (come on, before Entourage you hated the guy too). But after kicking myself for two season for missing the funniest drama on television (or the most depressing comedy on television – depends on your mood, I guess), I resolved to watch at the start of the third season. Stupidly, I thought I’d just throw on the TV and catch up with these firefighters and their lives. After an underwhelming “Previously On Rescue Me…” segment, I was thrust into a mass of confusion, with dream sequences, character developments and Tatum O’Neal. Thank you God for inventing the DVR. I was able to stop, collaborate and listen and get the scoop on the previous seasons. And as the kind and gentle blogger that I am, I pass that exposition on to you in case you’re in the same boat as me. More after the jump…Denis Leary is Tommy Galvin, a New York City firefighter who likes to smoke, used to like to drink, and looooves the ladies! I think the chasing tail part was put on the back burner (PUNS!) last season when he and his on again, off again wife, Janet reconciled. He’s haunted, literally, by the ghost of his cousin Jimmy, who died in the 9/11 attacks. To appease his survivor’s guilt, Tommy started banging Jimmy’s widow, Sheila. Despite the fact that their affair is over (and that Sheila is muy caliente!), she still has a thing for Denis Leary, who is too cool to make fun of, even if he does look slightly like a character from The Secret of NIMH. At the end of last season, just as things were getting back to good for Janet and Tommy, their young son Conner is killed by a drunk driver. Janet can’t forgive Tommy for not saving Conner, and they break up. Again looking for a way to appease his conscience, Tommy looks to take revenge on the drunk driver who ran Conner down, but lets Uncle Teddy (Lenny Clarke) “do one good thing,” and he shoots the drunk driver, sending Uncle Teddy to sing sing. Phew! Alright I think we’re all caught up. Who knew the star of Two If By Sea could star in such a complicated show? Now on to the season premiere.
It takes me a minute to realize the show has started as Tommy goes to check on his two daughters. They ask him if Uncle Teddy is going to die in the electric chair, and Tommy stammers, saying something unconvincing about how “bad” what Uncle Teddy did, avenging their little brother’s death. Taking that cue, one of his daughters asks their dad if he sees Conner, to which Tommy says no. Daughter #2 says that she sees him all the time in her dreams, and he’s always sad. Tommy then goes on some tangent about how Conner is in their heads and hearts and the girls start to giggle and call him lame. It’s actually quite funny because it’s hard to think about what convincing thing the singer of “I’m an Asshole” would say to his pre-teen daughters about death. It should also be noted that Tommy’s daughters have great taste in music, because they have Franz Ferdinand, Modest Mouse and Death Cab For Cutie posters on their walls. So while they may be grieving, they are at least grieving to some hot emo/hipster tunes. Tommy then struggles with his next big problem as he goes back and forth to the fridge, the bottle of vodka begging him to drink up. “DRINK ME! DRINK ME!” and so he does, which leads him to the smart decision of going through pictures of his dead son and his figuratively dead family. He rips his wife, Janet’s picture out of one of the group shots and lights it on fire, and promptly falls asleep. He wakes up as the whole apartment is burning down around him. I know the regular television season has only been over for about a week, but it takes me a little while to realize this must all be a dream. I just keep on thinking, “wow this guy sure has some shit luck’” and “Boy, is Janet gonna be mad at him for killing their other two kids.”
Tommy crawls to his daughters’ bedroom and sees the ghost of the guy who he had his uncle Teddy kill and appropriately gets whacked in the face, finally waking Tommy up. He quickly realizes he didn’t burn the apartment down, kill his other two kids or have any vodka. YAY! All in all a good morning so far. When he opens the door that is meant to lead to his daughters’ room, we’re all disappointed to find they aren’t in there, but rather it’s Tommy’s father, Charles Durning! Score! Oddly, before I watch this show, I’ve caught up on my DVR and have already seen Charles Durning as Andy’s curmudgeon father on Everwood and the first hour of ABC’s Desperation (skip it – please!) where he plays a curmudgeon prisoner! It’s a Charles Durning-a-thon, and I love it! Unfortunately, he had better luck on both those shows because here the poor guy has just pissed the bed. Who cares! He was in The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas! He also has a little fatherly advice for his son: “Get out there and knock up some slut, so we can get another male in the family!” Sounds like so many conversation Eddie, Sr. and I have had on a bright, sunny morning. I start to worry about what would happen if Tommy did get someone knocked up, and she gave birth to a girl. Throw her in the sea? Bind her feet and sell her to R. Kelly? On top of the genetic demands, Tommy’s dad is also turning 83, and he wants a super sweet 83rd birthday party, and he wants one now!
I WANT A PONY AND A CHOCOLATE CAKE AND THE BLACK EYED PEAS!!!
In response to Poppa Bear’s request, Tommy calls his cousin-in-law/ex-mattress thumping partner, Sheila for help. When Tommy calls Sheila he refers to her as his sister-in-law. I get that Tommy and his dead cousin Jimmy were close, but our buddy needs to take a look at a basic family tree. She says she’ll start going over to help with Poppa Bear’s untimely bowels, etc., if Tommy has the talk with her son, Damien, about the condoms she found in his drawer. Tommy doesn’t want to have this awkward conversation, probably because he’s afraid that something like “Safe sex is fun sex. Especially with your mom.”
Can you say MISMATCH???
On his way to the firehouse, Tommy stops by jail to visit old, murderous Uncle Teddy. Uncle Teddy is working on an insanity plea in jail, saying that he’s allergic to foods and other crazy things to mess up his trial. Get this, Uncle Teddy loves jail! He loves jail even MORE than Michelle Rodriguez. He’s lost some weight while in the clink, and sure he feels a little guilty, but he’s glad he killed the drunk driver who ran over Tommy’s son, and he’s ready to do his time.
Before I forget that this show is about firefighters, we are treated to a toasty blaze that the boys are fighting, in which they find random pets all over the house. Random as in snakes and rats and an alligator. They have some post-fire banter where they discuss the similarities between snakes and cocks, and it’s all pretty funny. The chief finds something else funny, the fact that the guys are all going to have to quite smoking in the firehouse as per the mayor’s order. ZOINKS!
Clearly this doesn’t sit very well with the tobacco lovin’ firefighters – oh the irony! Sean, the resident punching bag, has a swell idea. Why don’t they all quit together. It’s quickly very easy to see why he is the punching bag. The guys dismiss Sean, as is his rightful place in the circle of life, but this time he’s not gonna take it anymore! He tells them that he HAS to quit smoking because the woman (yes, woman) he’s sleeping with wants him to quit, even though she won’t give up smoking herself. She just wants to see Sean give it up.
The guys, obviously, don’t have many nice things to say about this, and although I haven’t seen this show before, I don’t think that this is the first time Sean has dated a girl who was one C-cup short of a full bra. Finally, the chief puts an end to this nonsense and pulls out the old swear jar. Well, I doubt it is a swear jar in this firehouse, because they’d probably have enough money to pay a whole other fleet of firemen to do their jobs for them, but it’s a jar none the less. Everyone ponies up $50, and first time they are caught smoking they pay another $50. After that it’s $100.00. After that it’s your left arm. After that it’s a testicle of your choice. After that your immortal soul.
The guys are throwing out their cigarettes and wondering about Sean’s new lady love. They assume she’s an older woman, and I make the general assumption that Sean’s kind of an ass. Outside with Tommy are Mike aka Probie, the firefighter in training and Franco, the top-cock in the henhouse. Tommy and Franco are busting on Probie, although I keep thinking they are calling him Pubie until I turn on my closed captioning, and Probie keeps saying: “I’m going to be a real life firefighter soon!” It’s actually really creepy because that’s pretty much the only thing he says, and he just keeps repeating it like the little girl on Small Wonder.
PUBIE can’t wait to be a real boy!
Tommy leaves to pick up his godson/cousin/nephew Damien from school and have a stern talking to about the birds, bees and his mother’s oral skills. Seriously, Sheila couldn’t think of ANYONE else to have this conversation with Damien? Damien leaves the high school girl he was talking to, and immediately wonders what’s wrong that his uncle is picking him up from school. Damien quickly deduces by Tommy’s evasive eye contact and speech patterns that his mother found the condoms. Damien, one step ahead of everyone, tells Tommy that he put the condoms in a drawer where his mother would definitely find them, just to give her the head’s up that her little boy is hittin’ it regular. Tommy seems relieved not to have to give Damien a biological recitation of the male/female anatomy, but he still seems a little squeamish, which to me rang a little false. He just doesn’t come off as the kind of guy who’d be freaked out by the fact that his 16 year old nephew is having sex. He seems more like a “let’s go celebrate at the Feathered PussyCat” kind of guy. However, Damien still has a few tricks up his sleeve (no not the shocker). Tommy asks about the girl he’s sleeping with, and points out that the girl he saw Damien talking to seemed a little young. Damien says that he likes his ladies a little less cast of The O.C. and a little more cast of The Golden Girls, because he’s sleeping with his science teacher! Damien tells Tommy that they met while coping with their respective losses: him losing his father, she losing her husband. They went through the grieving stages together: denial, anger, acceptance, sodomy. Tommy is appalled, but then Damien informs him that he learned the Tommy Gavin patented post-funeral bang technique directly from him. Tommy then asks if Ms. Turbaddy, the science teacher, raped him to which Damien laughs, and says she didn’t rape him but she definitely seduced him. Damien loves it while Tommy is angry that his science teacher was someone he dubbed “Sister Mary Shovelface.”
Elsewhere, the Captain is having lunch, when Ellis Grey seeming very lucid (being away from Meredith & McDreamy can cure even Alzheimer’s it seems) comes on in, and gives him the news that his rent is being raised a few hundred dollars. The captain has had a hard time of it lately, as he’s had to put his wife of thirty-plus years in a nursing home because of her own Alzheimer’s diagnosis. Those costs plus the additional rent may be too much for him to handle, but he’s too much of a man to let Ellis Grey help him along.
Back at Damien’s school we find out that Damien’s cradle robbing teacher, Ms. Turbaddy is OLLLLD. Like wrinkled EVERYWHERE old.
WHO WILL BE… GILF OF THE YEAR!?!?!
Tommy is totally grossed out that this is his nephew’s hot fling, and also by the fact that he’s a little turned on by her dentures and then PSYCH! This is the OTHER Mrs. Turbaddy, as in the pedophile’s mother. DUH! So of course when Tommy finds her, she’s more than hot and tutoring another young stud. Just to prove that she’s not a racist statutory rapist, this time the soon to be “victim” is a young black man. Aww, how sweet. Again, I don’t buy Tommy’s outrage (or my own), but it doesn’t matter because Ms. Turbaddy is hot and an old friend of mine. We go way back to her days as April O’Brien from the second two Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movies AND Bailey’s older girlfriend with that annoying kid in between Jennifer Love Hewitt beddings on Party of Five. Good to see you again!
Mrs. Turbaddy/April O’Neil worried about a different kind of shredder
Tommy feigns disgust, and to enter the Kathleen Turner in Body Heat pantheon of sexual predators Mrs. T. subtly plants the seeds of seduction in Tommy’s brain. Since Tommy is all cock and no brain, he barely notices. Tommy continues to ride his moral high horse, and Mrs. T. quickly takes that horse out back, shoots it and turns it into glue, by informing him that she is well aware of his love of booze, pills and women that used to be married to his dead cousin. Tommy meets Damien back in the car, informs him that he’s going to tell his mother that Damien’s only selling the condoms, because Tommy needs time to think about how to handle this situation. And by handle this situation he means ravage Mrs. T. without his godson finding out. When Damien exclaims that he loves Mrs. T. Tommy gives him a strange, but effective analogy about the wires hooked up to his entertainment center, saying that if he’s not careful the wires from his brain to his cock are going to get all screwed up. Tommy is worried that when Damien is forty-five he will be wanting to nail seventy-five year olds. On the plus side he won’t have to worry about teeth… Tommy says Damien needs to end things, and Damien in turn asks the question that is on all of minds: Can he still think about Mrs. T. when he’s jerking off? Tommy says that as long as it’s not Mr. T., then yes she can be a part of his spank bank. The music swells and they ride off into the sunset together after this stirring family moment. Oh and then Tommy finds out that Damien still calls her Mrs. T. even when he’s giving it to her doggy style. YAY! Family bonding!
Someone in a worse position than Tommy right now is poor, fat Lou. You see, last season Lou was duped out of a shit load of money by a Sarah Silverman-looking girl who swindled him by saying she had to pay off an abusive boyfriend (pimp?) in order to break free of him. Lou, being a fat guy in his fifties didn’t see anything wrong with this pretty girl needing money and wanting his hot body. Sigh. You’re a nice guy Lou, but not to bright. Obviously, she took off with the money, and for all practical purposes, Lou’s will to live. Now he’s in something of a tailspin, involving porn and booze and yelling racial slurs at his loud neighbors.
Tommy’s next stop on the Family Bonding tour of 2006 is an AA meeting with Damien, who is loving the freak show. Tommy’s sponsor starts to ask Tommy about his tense behavior and he explains that he just quit smoking cold turkey. He doesn’t explain, however, that he’s had a raging hard-on ever since the meeting with Mrs. T. and the fantasy he’s been replaying in his mind about screwing her in both the teacher’s lounge and the auditorium with Sister Mary Shovelface watching and grading. Sick man that Tommy. Or is that me? Tommy also finds out that Damien has taken up smoking and when he tries to reprimand him about it, Damien plays the my dad is dead card. Tommy thinking that there is no card that trumps the dead father card, drops it and counts the days until his own father will die so he can do whatever he wants to!
The next thing we see is quite shocking: It’s Tatum O’Neal! Yes! Crazy Tatum! The most cracked out celebrity dance contestant EVER! Apparently, she’s the mystery woman that Sean is dating. At first it takes me a minute to understand why it would be such a big secret that Sean is dating Tatum O’Neal. Is it because she’s an Oscar winner? Because he’s scared of John McEnroe? As she’s barking orders at poor Sean and acting generally crazy, I slowly realize that she’s not playing herself, but rather a crazy, cracked out character! What great casting! Apparently Tatum is playing Tommy’s sister, Maggie, who has banged tons and tons of Tommy’s friends, and he’s never taken it well. Umm, okay. So Tommy’s got a bad temper and Maggie’s a whore. Are we sure this isn’t the O’Neal family True Hollywood Story? Continuing this charade that Tatum is playing “Maggie”, she orders four more drinks for herself, tells Sean she wants a casual fling, makes sure he’s quit smoking for her and goes out for a smoke alone. Wow, there’s just a whole lot of crazy going on in this scene, and it’s hard to keep a handle on. I thought the reemergence of Tatum’s wacky ways on Dancing with the Stars was just a flash in the pan, but now I see that she’s back for good! And I love it! Welcome back Tatum O’Nutcase!
After leaving the AA meeting, Tommy takes his teenage nephew to a bar where Tommy is meeting his brother John about his pending divorce to Janet. It’s okay because there next stop is a whore house and after that a ritual animal sacrifice, so things should be looking up for Damien and his emotional bankrupting. I don’t know much about this John guy, in fact I don’t find out he’s Tommy’s brother until later, but he just seems like a real dick. Janet doesn’t want to go through a messy divorce, so she’d rather not get a lawyer. She wants the kids stuff and the plasma screen TV. Tommy automatically denies her claim to the TV, which Janet was expecting, and Tommy is informed that he can keep it. We get the first real glimpse here that Tommy is definitely not in Janet’s league when it comes to this divorce. If Tommy agrees to the terms, John tells him that Janet will have a face to face with him tomorrow. John is sick of this divorce shit and needs them to just figure it out. Tommy also finds out that Janet asks about him occasionally, and this is pretty much the end of his attention span. Switching gears, Uncle Teddy’s lawyer tells Tommy that if Uncle Teddy cuts the crap about the food allergies he could get less time. Tommy barely registers this news and tells John to tell Janet that he’s out banging models every night. He also asks John to give Janet this note:
After the gangbang that Tommy takes Damien to, he drops him off at his house and tells Sheila the fake bad news: Little Damien is a pusher. A Condom Pusher! He’s just selling the condoms to kids at school – don’t sweat it! For some reason this is easier to believe than Damien having safe sex at sixteen years old, and Sheila buys it. She then holds up her end of the bargain and dresses in a maids costume while shaving Tommy’s balls. Oh wait. The deal was for Sheila to go spend a few hours a day with Tommy’s dad. Tommy leaves, but boy is it awkward. In the car before Tommy leaves, he has a brief conversation with his dead cousin, Jimmy. Jimmy is none too pleased with Tommy, and not just because he’s dead and Tommy was plowing his wife last season. He’s upset with the way that he’s handling Damien. Apparently Damien snuck a drink while they were at the bar (crazy!), in addition to his smoking and banging his crazy science teacher. Tommy asks Jimmy why he’s blaming him for all this, and Jimmy plays the only card that trumps the dead dad card: The I’m dead and have no one else to blame card. I have to say that this scene is really well done. It’s relatively simple, but never being a fan of the dead-person-guiding-the-hero-of-the-story plot technique, it works really well here. Before Tommy gets going he makes a call to his brother John, and thanks him for all the help he’s been giving with the divorce and the kids and Janet. Tommy really appreciates it. John would really appreciate it if Tommy would blow him. Again, what a dick.
The next morning, Tommy and Janet meet at their old house. The conversation is obviously a little strained, but its not long before Janet starts telling Tommy that she’s aware that he knows that she is seeing some one and she begs him not to ask questions or ruin it for her. He makes some kind of quip about the new house décor and then gets into the real meat and potatoes of what’s going on. Tommy starts defending himself about how he handled the accident with Conner last year. He did everything he could. I like that this doesn’t turn into a huge screaming match. Janet just calmly says, “It wasn’t enough.” Ouch. Janet definitely still blames Tommy for the death of their son, which while probably not true, is how many people in this situation would feel. The whole scene is played very well. Tommy, realizing that there isn’t much he can say to reason with her, starts throwing history in her face. Janet’s the one who asked him for a second chance. She said “til death do us part.” Janet somewhat scoffs and says that she didn’t know she would be psychic all these years later. It was a death that parted them, just not theirs; their sons. Things start to get a little ugly, but Janet gives Tommy a nice parting shot: She’s just glad that Conner won’t grow up to be just like his father. In the battle of the hurtful comments, Janet has this thing sewn up.
THE GOLD MEDALIST
There’s another fire the squad has been called to, and this time instead of zoo animals the guys pull out a little girl. She’s alive and talking to Tommy, when he goes back into the building. We also see Sean smoking a cigarette in the building while shit is burning down. I guess when you’re a firefighter getting out of the building isn’t your first concern, especially if you’re trying to hide a smoking habit. Unfortunately for Sean, Lou’s nose is trained in all smoke smells, and he knows Sean was smoking in the building. He was smoking Parliaments in fact. Gosh, Sean can’t catch a break. Tommy then sees a blanket covering the little girl who got pulled from the fire, signaling that she died. Thinking about everything that he and Janet just spoke about, he goes over there and starts giving her some very aggressive CPR. The paramedics start to tell him to give up but Tommy says hell to the no! After some hardcore chest pumping the girl finally coughs up some blood/smoke, which scares me on every possible level. She was still alive!?!?! And they were ready to put her in a body bag and send her to the morgue? It’s like every horror movie nightmare I’ve ever had. Shudder. And just to prove that both Tommy and Denis Leary are, like, the coolest ever, he doesn’t say a word and only walks by his fellow firemen smoking a cigarette. Honestly, how cool is Denis Leary?
All the while, as Tommy is reviving the little girl we are flashing to Janet getting ready for bed with the mystery guy. Slowly but surely it’s revealed… to be… none other than… Tommy’s brother John! See, I knew that guy was a dick.
Douchey McDouchebag Ladies & Gentleman!
What did you think of the Season Premiere? More importantly, how do you think that things are going to end for our buddy Sean and King Dickhead John, for screwing the two women in Tommy’s life?