Hi show that I used to love! I've missed you! Where have you been?
Best "Rescue Me" in weeks, if not of the entire season. More thoughts after the jump...
Why was I so pleased? First, because the laugh quotient was way the hell up there: the guys getting baked by the marijuana fire, Garrity's eagerness to join the Gavin family, Garrity's conversation with Mike -- really, the entire sequence with the house finding out about Mike's, um, ex-roommate -- plus Uncle Teddy's coitus interruptus. But Steven Pasquale is fast becoming as money in the bank as John Scurti, and the amazing thing is that he has almost no comedy background to speak of.
Second, because I will never, ever object to a subplot about the Chief and his wife. I do wonder, though, whether they're now setting Jerry up to get involved with the woman from the home, or if this was just a standalone bit.
Third, because Sheila wasn't insane, wasn't whiney, wasn't date-raping anybody; for once in an absurdly rare while, the show took her seriously, and Callie Thorne played the hell out of that scene where she tried to talk Tommy into retiring and moving somewhere far, far away from all this madness and all those bad memories.
Fourth, because Dr. Gina was in it! Now, her stint as Tony B's girlfriend during "The Sopranos" season five came before watching "Sesame Street" with my daughter became a morning ritual for me, so I didn't get to experience the whole "Wait, where do I know her from?" reaction, followed by, "Oh my God, it's Dr. Gina!" For those of you without small children in the house, never mind, but it's just cool to see her in such a grown-up show, and to be very good, too. The image of Stackhouse without his legs was really haunting (though am I the only one who thought the burn makeup made him look too much like Lou at times?).
Fifth, because the Franco storyline went in a different, much more interesting direction than I was fearing. (Like him, I assumed she was another cheating manipulative nutbar.) They've got to tread a really fine line with the brother character, but so far it felt in that comfortably Farrelly brothers territory where they're having some fun with his problems without actually making fun of him.
Sixth, because nothing really pissed me off, for the first time in a long time. Even the reveal that Janet's pregnant -- no doubt a result of The Incident -- didn't bug, if only because we'd all been assuming it would happen ever since The Incident took place. For the first time in a long time, Tommy felt like a guy -- a flawed guy, but a guy -- instead of the larger-than-life macho assclown he's been since he found out about Janet and Johnny.
Is it just me, or was this one really good?