Quick thoughts on tonight's "Rescue Me" coming up just as soon as I clean under the truck...
The deeper we get into this season of "Rescue Me," the more I'm coming around to the viewpoint, expressed off and on by some commenters here, that doing 22 episodes instead of the usual 13 was a mistake.
Even under the old format, "Rescue Me" was a shaggy dog kind of show, meandering at its own pace, presenting episodes where the scenes seemed to be ordered at random, sometimes following through on ideas, sometimes not. But if a season was never as tightly-plotted as "The Shield," doing 13 usually meant that we got to the end before things felt too shaggy.
And while this year has overall been much stronger than either of the previous two seasons, it's also felt looser and more random than usual, either doubling back over the same material too often, or simply dragging things out past the point of interest.
Take the reverse intervention Tommy pulled on his family(*), which might have seemed funny if it hadn't come so close on the heels of Tommy trying a similar stunt at his AA meeting. Or look at the ongoing Tommy/Sheila/Janet love triangle; admittedly, I wouldn't find it interesting under any timeline, but dragging it out as long as they have (because they can, and because they have episodes that need filling) is just making things worse.
(*) Speaking of Tommy's family, whatever happened to his other brother Timo, played for a few first season episodes by James Badge Dale? At the time, I got the sense that they hired Dale because Dean Winters had a scheduling conflict, but given all the tragedies Tommy has suffered in the years since, shouldn't Timo have turned up again? And was he ever memorable enough to be considered a 21st century Chuck Cunningham?
Now, an argument could be made that because they have so much time to fill, they can let scenes run longer than normal, and then we get terrific sequences like Tommy vs. Needles in Needles' office, or even the pre-credits stuff in Sheila's kitchen. The latter is an instance where I was starting to get irritated (oh, look, Sheila's being an unreasonable shrew again!), then I started to laugh (around the time Callie Thorne started saying the word "fluffy"), and then it really all clicked in when Sheila brought out her pill dispenser and we remembered that Sheila does (understandably) have severe emotional problems, and that the show occasionally takes them seriously.
For scenes like those two, I'll suffer through a lot of fluff. But I still think 13 is a better number for season six (assuming there's going to be a season six).
Given my press tour commitments over the next several weeks, and vacation time after that, I'm not sure how often I'll be able to weigh in on the rest of the season. If nothing else, if I've seen an episode, I'll make sure to put up a post so those of you who are watching can discuss it.
What did everybody else think?