Saturday, 21 July 2012

Mini-Review: Rescue Me Season 1 Episode 1 "Guts"

'Rescue Me' first aired on July 21st 2004, 3 years after 9/11. The series follows New York City firefighter Tommy Gavin and his firehouse as they live their lives still haunted by the shadow of that day 3 years prior.

Tommy Gavin struggles to perform his job as a member of the FDNY, his experience with 9/11 still haunts him to the present day through fear and hallucinations of the cousin he lost in the fire. Tommy's family life is falling apart as his wife seeks divorce and is dating another man, Tommy, who is a recovering alcoholic is losing control on the last constant in his life, his family.

'Rescue Me' is co-written by co-creator and lead actor Denis Leary, his dark sardonic humour is present in the very well written and genuinely moving script. As first episodes go this series is one of the best I think I've ever seen, it has incredible wit and a fascinating story combined with an exemplary lead actor and a unique perspective. The very first scene in the episode has a monologue delivered by Leary that is the very epitome of the series and its tone aside from being one of the best written, delivered and moving speeches I've ever seen in television.

What I really admire about 'Rescue Me' is that the tone throughout is deeply patriotic, not patriotic in the jingoistic bullshit manner with which Hollywood endlessly depicts it but as true patriotism where someone's love of their country doesn't involve a blindness to the country's faults or flaws but a defence of the place it is and what it can be, that is exactly the kind of patriotism Tommy Gavin and this series demonstrates.

Leary is fantastic as Tommy Gavin, his acting is complimented perfectly by the writing of the show and Leary's humanity as the character is astonishing to watch. The complicated family dynamic present in the show through the Gavin family is handled superbly and allows for unflinching reality in those scenes as well as great humour.

'Rescue Me' is a shockingly underrated series and deserves so much more acclaim than it has received, its characters are so real and visceral that I have no doubt you'd be able to bump into one on the street. The true success of the series though is its depiction of Tommy Gavin, the journey the man has been on and what he still has to go through shows the true impact that a disaster such as 9/11 can have on a man's soul. This terrific series speaks to both the dark and light aspects of a person, and masterfully succeeds at both.

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