Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Raping the shark

Big, big, big ol' spoilers for last night's "Rescue Me" after the jump (though I'm thinking the subject line is a bit of a hint)....

God, I don't even know where to start. Wait, of course I do. Let's start with Tommy smacking around his ex-wife, forcing her onto the couch and raping her until she gets into it. Seems a notable event, dontcha think?

On the one hand, Tommy and Janet's have had a dysfunctional relationship since the start of the series, one bound up in anger and mutual self-loathing, so in the context of everything the show has done, I can believe that she might start to enjoy it. But the show has such a pattern of misogyny and pathetic characterizations of women -- in one sequence, Tommy took successive phone calls from Janet the shrew, Sheila the doormat, Maggie the alcoholic bitchy skank and Mrs. Turbody the sexual predator -- that I don't care whether it was consistent or not. It made me uncomfortable and unhappy in a way even the most extreme TV and film almost never does.

As I've said in the past, there's a difference between letting your characters have a despicable point of view and letting the show as a whole have it. The men on "The Sopranos" do evil things all the time, but the writers never try to suggest that, say, Paulie was perfectly justified in smothering an old lady to death so he could steal the money under her mattress. But when Tommy marches out of Janet's apartment, having no doubt just produced the Gavin heir he was struggling to create at the sperm bank, the tone of the show was just as triumphant and unrepentant as the look on Tommy's face.

I'm not saying I'm done with the show yet, since I had already accepted it as a brilliant comedy and a deeply flawed drama, but I think I may have to start treating it the way I did "ER" back when I was still watching it. This was a couple of years into the Maura Tierney era, and the writers had turned Abby into such a pill that I would TiVo the show and then fast-forward anytime she appeared on screen. At this stage, I may have to start skipping over any "Rescue Me" scene that isn't all-male.

And even there, it's not always safe. Probie's "I'm not gay but you kind of are" was just embarrassing. When "The Sopranos" did the Gay Vito storyline, it was an obvious attempt to have some fun at a supporting actor's expense, but the show also took it seriously. Vito was gay, he was conflicted about it, he did find some measure of happiness with Johnny Cakes but they also fought, he went into denial about it to get back into his old life, etc. This was just about making Mike Lombardi squirm, and the tone of this week's scene in no way matched last week's closer where Probie and his buddy rested their heads against each other for comfort after a tough day. Plus, the roommate may be an even more pathetic caricature than any of the women on this show. Ugh.

Some other random thoughts:
  • The reason I haven't given up on the show yet is for scenes like Lou and the bum arguing over who gets to touch the third rail first -- and the bum realizing that Lou's life is worse than his. Now that's the blend of comedy and pathos that the show does so well, and it worked because Lou is a fully-realized character, and so well played by John Scurti.
  • Good opening scene with the bus -- one of the more extended on-the-job scenes we've had in a while -- and if you ever questioned whether Al Sharpton was anything but a publicity hound, his willingness to play himself in a scene that makes his usual shtick seem self-aggrandizing and foolish should put that doubt to rest.
  • On the one hand, I'm glad the show hasn't forgotten that Franco doesn't have legal custody of his daughter, since in the real world that would come back to bite him eventually. On the other, I worry that Susan Sarandon's going to be the one doing the biting, just as she's turning out to be the only decent female character on the show.
  • This was the first episode of the season that I watched live on FX, including the previews. Do they always seemingly give away so much of the next episode? I feel like I just watched the trailer to a Robert Zemeckis movie and don't need to go buy a ticket.
What did everybody else think?


dirtgirl said...

Great post title. You nailed it -- the scenes involving women in this show are painfully and ridiculously unrealistic.

If my boyfriend is home when it's on, he will usually ask why I don't get that excited about sex when he walks in the door. I have to remind him that the show's writers are all men and this is their penthouse fantasy.

That last scene was hard to watch. I was expecting Johnny to walk in, or for Tommy to finish the job in five seconds like he did with teacher lady. I guess if you accept that this is some meathead guy's sexual fantasy of how he will win his ex-wife back, maybe they're leading up to Tommy having an affair with Janet behind Johnny's back, all while screwing Johnny's ex.

As far as I'm concerned, the show is best in the firehouse scenes with the guys.

Anonymous said...

During the rape scene, I kept wondering how it ever made it on the air... didn't someone object somewhere along the line? How'd they convince Andrea Roth it was the right thing to do for the show? It's clear that Peter Tolan and Denis Leary don't really answer to anyone creatively (it was best in the first season when it tried at least to stick to some standard TV drama conventions, before everything in the world happened to Tommy to the point where it's impossible to believe in him). I just get the sense they're always trying to see how far they can go, just for the sake of doing it, like Tommy himself. And this time it felt like they went too far.

And I can't imagine all of these amazing actresses they've wooed and courted to get on the show (Callie Thorne, Susan Sarandon and now Marisa Tomei) have to be happy seeing the show air and discovering they're there as bodies to be discussed or complained about.

Anonymous said...

Oh wow. I just found this interview with Andrea Roth. They all read the scene so differently. Worrisome.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I totally agree with you all. Very unpleasant to watch, and not "in a good way", either.

And they're definitely setting up that "Susan Sarandon steals Franco's kid" plot.

Anonymous said...

The rape scene between Janet and Tommy was horrible and I could barely watch it. However, Tommy's triumphant walk after his crime did not, to disagree with you Alan, laud Tommy and what he has done but, instead, further showed how horrible he is and can be. Although his character has attributes that many find admirable, that is what made that scene all the more awful. Watching a (somewhat) admirable character do an indefensible thing makes it that much more real (and makes you question what you think of the character).

The show punishes Tommy for every bad thing he does. Each one has come around to bite him in the ass(his affair with Sheila, his drinking, etc.). This will come back to (justifiably) get Tommy as well.

Although I agree the show's portrayal of women can be misogynistic, it is realistic in how firefighters are. Janet's fighting and then 'enjoying' Tommy's rape is also consistent with her character and the disfunction she has with Tommy (who likely caused it). There is a good chance she thought that was how her meeting with Tommy would end.

Also, Probie's (Michael's) sexual experimentation I do not believe is being done just to make Lombardi squirm (though, in part, it is). His character has always been looking (poorly) for companionship and it is totally consistent with that for him to have a gay relationship in continuing his 'quest.' His "I'm not gay" scene, although ridiculous to a degree, was also consistent with his character and the character's very simpleness.

"Rescue Me" is one of the best shows on television despite, like the men it depicts, its flaws.

lady t said...

That Tommy and Janet scene was not so much of a rape,IMO,it was more of a (pardon the profanity) hate fuck. HF is a term I've heard bandied about and basically means rough sex between two people who are so angry at each other that it drives them to sex.

I do agree that there are negative portrayals of women on RM but a)men are certainly no better and b)it is realistic behavior. Many of the viewers know both men and women who act like this which is one of the reasons RM is a strong show.

As for the rest,the Probie roommate romance is very Brokeback(if one of them says"I wish I knew how to quit you",I'm going to laugh like hell)and I was worried about Lou there for a moment,real damn good scene at the third rail.

Anonymous said...

To the critic that cried rape:

I believe that the nuances of a realistic turbulent couple who had been through many breakups and reconciliations were lost upon your judgemental eyes.

It is not beyond reason that such a couple would tussle and jab only to find themselves having intercourse. Was it really "rape"? Would it be in character for Janet to say "Tommy raped me," I think that it is at least as plausible to view the session as rough semi-consensual sex.

I think that you merely want to advance your thesis that Peter and Dennis get the chicks all wrong.

Yes, Tommy gets more action from hot women than he probably should, but we must remember that he is the anti-hero of a tv show......and entertainment is the name of the game.

And the guys do the entertainment thing as good as anyone on the tube.

Anonymous said...

That scene walked a very fine line between "hate sex" and rape, IMHO. I think it was supposed to make the viewer feel uncomfortable, which certainly worked on me because I was squirming watching it. It also highlighted how Janet is less a real woman to Tommy & Johnny than she is a pawn in their power game. Tommy wasn't so much having sex with Janet as he was getting back at his brother for "stealing" her (and admitting he's wanted her since they were teens). Stupid Janet might as well have been a blow-up doll and really, she needs to kick both those assholes to the curb instead. She is a very fucked-up character.

As for Probie's drama: I know some guys who are like that. They think that getting a BJ from another guy is okay because a mouth is a mouth and a BJ is a BJ, and that doesn't make them gay. BUT...if they *give* the BJ, then that would be "gay." It's pretty much sexual confusion that's driving Probie's actions right now. I was cracking up during those scenes because it reminded me of a guy friend who's always going about which guys he would let blow him because that's okay, but will never blow in return because that's "gay." In contrast, he constantly talks about the girls he would do and let do him. He doesn't consider himself gay in the least, either. And, yes, he's very young (barely into his 20's).

Anonymous said...

I don't have any problem with the show being from the male character's point of view. And I actually like the Probie and his roommate storyline. Sure it's silly, but I see it as also poking at the edges of sexuality and sexual identity.

But the "rape" scene was NOT OKAY.

I respect the writers, and I don't think for a minute that they meant for it to be a rape scene. They obviously meant for it to be a "hate fuck" (as a previous comment called it). They wanted to make the audience uncomfortable and come right up to edge of rape without going over the line.

The scene is fine, if it's interpreted by the viewer the way it was intended. The problem is that the writers have a social responsibility to take into account what message they might accidentally be sending.

1. Tommy was feeling impotent, as shown in the sperm donation scenes.
2. Janet gives absolutely no indication that she has sex on her mind or that their back-and-forth about money was turning her on. In fact with her body-language, tone of voice, and dialog, she gives exactly the opposite indication.
3. Tommy forces her down on the couch, they exchange blows, and he forces himself into her.
4. After a second or two of Tommy's thrusting, Janet indicates with body-language that she's enjoying the sex.
5. Tommy finishes. Janet looks at him stone-faced.
6. Tommy walks out to his truck with a triumphant look on his face.

In real life, this happens. And most of the time it is rape. No question. Just because it's your wife or girlfriend doesn't mean it's not rape. And if she seems "into it" part way through, it's usually to get it over with as quickly as possible. Non-consensual sex is rape. If people watching this episode get the idea that this was non-consensual sex and that it was okay, then the writers have made a serious mistake.

Anonymous said...

It's an uncomfortable fact, but nevertheless a fact, that women sometimes enjoy being raped. I loved the scene. It's obviously not a typical rape, but it's not necessarily unrealistic. Atypical and unrealistic are not synonymous.

I don't think the depictions of sex or women on the show are any less realistic than any other show. They're just very different from other women on television. You might not have any personal experience with sort of women or the sort of sexual encounters in Rescue Me, but that doesn't mean they don't exist.

Anonymous said...

I have never met a woman who was raped who "enjoyed" it. Where did you get that "fact"? And if you're talking about "rape fantasies," well, those are hardly real rapes. Good Lord.

Anonymous said...

Alan said
As I've said in the past, there's a difference between letting your characters have a despicable point of view and letting the show as a whole have it.. . .

Yes and this is something I struggled with even back in S1 (so far I've only seen that season) Whether or not the writer's overview is aligned with the character's makes all the difference in the world. You never suffer that confusion with TS.

Mase said...
The show punishes Tommy for every bad thing he does.

I can only comment on the first season. But again because I have trouble distinguishing between the author's and the character's perspective, if just deserts is intended, the point is often lost on me. Made easy in the case of the women because they represent cliches that some men tell themselves and their pals, women are (relentlessly nagging in some cases, hyper-sexualized in others), rather than flesh and bone -- if not in some cases, misguided -- people, to cover their insecurities, rage etc. . . Women gossip, men gossip, people lie and play games, but unless we're clear on what's lying beneath the clutter, you run the risk of obscuring the significance of the behavior and it can become about the gossip lying and games. Then degenerate to what sounds like some very disturbing gags, some of which may make a character too unlikable to care about.

I loved The Job and really wanted to love this show I was especially jazzed about seeing Leary and Farr together again. But her slight physicality was a mockery to any reasonable debate about the legitimacy of female firefighters, though it was a major theme in that story.

I'll stick with it a while longer. I still find Leary compelling and anytime Jack McGee has a scene, my focus intensifies. I'm a long time fan of his, I think he does a lot with whatever material he's given. But too often I find it difficult to watch and not for the right reasons.

Anonymous said...

I have a feeling this is going to turn into a big debate about calling it a rape scene or a "rape" scene.
For what it is worth, I agree with Alan that the scene didn't actively offend me until the end. The swaggering walk, cocky grin and suave putting-on of the sunglasses, combined with the song on the soundtrack, was absolutely replusive. The final insult was Johnny's mad dash into the house to find Janet changed into a fresh new blouse, curled up on the couch, coyly batting her eyes at him.
This was how I read Alan's criticism, and where the line was crossed between what he called the characters' point of view and the show/writers point of view.

And I thought I had reached my limit of impatience with the rapid disinegration of any empathy or likability for Sheila (what little there was to begin with, of course).

Anonymous said...

"The swaggering walk, cocky grin and suave putting-on of the sunglasses, combined with the song on the soundtrack, was absolutely replusive. The final insult was Johnny's mad dash into the house to find Janet changed into a fresh new blouse, curled up on the couch, coyly batting her eyes at him."

Yes, exactly right. This is similar to the scene 2 episodes ago where Tommy beats the shit out of his brother. The show wasn't saying "Tommy is a violent psychopath", instead the whole fight was in slo-mo, Tommy walks away in victory at the end, and in the next episode he's joking around again and his brother is explaining to Tommy's daughter why it was ok.

This show has become really unpleasant this season, and I'm not sure how comfortable I am watching it anymore. In the first season, the characters were at least still likeable, even if they sometimes did bad things. Now they seem unlikeable - which might be ok if it seemed like that was the point, but it sure seems like Tolan and Leary still think we should like these guys.

Anonymous said...

How nice to delurk just once and be told I am "exactly right" :) Thanks!

Now I must admit - the "Probie is maybe sorta kinda gay" plotline totally tickles me for some reason. Good for Leary/Tolan for hinting around at it all last season, and good for them for following through in a way that is so true to his character; completely conflicted and completely dimwitted.

Anonymous said...

The Probie's scenes made me think of the "Wicked Scepter" sketch on Mr. Show. They're too dumb to realize they're gay.

And how about that Johnny? He agreed to make himself scarce while Tommy went to work on a new generation of Gavin firefighters. That's the only way I can get it to make sense in my head. Not that those two idiots ever make sense, but it would make sense to them. "I stole your wife, I'll allow you to knock her up and let Dad die happy, we're even." To me, that's even more disturbing than the rape/"rape"/whatever.

Anonymous said...

>> "I stole your wife, I'll allow you to knock her up and let Dad die happy, we're even."<<

It's twisted enough to be Gavin logic, that's for sure. But why wouldn't a male heir from Johnny suffice? Or the other Gavin brother we never see anymore? Why does the boy have to be Tommy's? Because he's the firefighter and has the "firefighter gene" or something? I guess that would fit in with Gavin logic, too!

Chuck said...

I was stunned by the RAPE (no quotes) scene last night. Whether Janice "got into it" as it progressed was hardly relevant. Tommy's intention at the beginning was rape, and whether she got aroused was not important to him.

What I find is pushing me away from the show, however, is the show's attitude toward Tommy's behavior. He beats Johnny mercilessly, and walks away like Dirty Harry after the last perp is dead. And last night the whole feeling of triumph in the photography and music as Tommy swaggers away from his pathetic doormat of a wife made me sick. And thanks, Dennis, for ruining that Screaming Blue Messiahs song for me forever.

I lean towards Alan's view that the portrayal of women on this show stinks. You can almost understand why the Probie's turned gay. I like Franco, love the Loo, and get a laugh out of Sean. But Tommy's lawless rampage this season has got me looking for other alternatives for next Tuesday night.

Anonymous said...

Someone claiming to be Mr. Tolan posted at Television Without Pity, and said the original story for Probie and his roommate was supposed to be a serious relationship, but then the other guys in the firehouse make Probie doubt the relationship and he plans to break it off. Then the other guy gets violent with Probie. The story was supposed to be very dark, and some of the people at the show disagreed with it, so the story was changed.

I think that they have no idea what to do with gay characters, and I wish they'd just stop having those kinds of stories if it always has to involve violence or shock value.

Anonymous said...

Very good article, Alan.

It absolutely 'was' rape, period.

In the interest of plausible deniability, the writers left out the word 'no'. However, the absence of 'no' did nothing to ameliorate the fact that Janet fought back, ultimately gave up, and 'was' raped.

This show has gone far away from its original excellent premiere and very good follow on episodes. I am surprised that Denis Leary has agreed to let his character move so far away from the sympathetic, angst-ridden believable male who struggled with pressures at home and in the workplace.

He is now a caricature of a sex obsessed, stereotypical male whose brains are in his pants and who considers women nothing more than playthings. None of the women have ever been written well in this series, but now their depictions have stooped so low as to be despicable.

Tex Antoine was a weatherman in the 1970s who was thrown off the air for uttering this remark: "With rape so predominant in the news lately, it is well to remember the words of Confucius: 'If rape is inevitable, lie back and enjoy it.'"

To see this attitude still predominant on a show with the stature of Rescue Me in 2006 is reprehensible. Mr. Leary and Mr. Tolan, I am ashamed of you.

Kate said...

I found the rape scene incredibly difficult, and I had no doubt (nor did my husband--he was more upset by it than I) that Tommy was intending to rape Janet when he started hitting her, that he wasn't about to stop whether she "enjoyed" it or not.

While I think we will still watch the show, I also think some kind of line was crossed with that scene--and the follow ups of Tommy's smugness and Janet's response to Johnny--that I'm not sure I, personally, can get past.

Anonymous said...

Great article. I don't know what I'm going to do. I want to continue to watch Rescue Me, but a show that portrays rape in such a fashion probably isn't the show for me.

Anonymous said...

Sorry to be what many will undoubtedly consider overly technical, but that was a rape. Sheila did not consent, he penetrated her, therefore it was a rape. Not a hate f--k. Not a dysfunctional relationship. A rape.

Sorry again that so many people insist on their lead characters being likeable. A lot of leads engage in despicable activity (e.g., Michael Corleone, Tony Soprano), but I think it's dangerous to spin their conduct into something it's not.

By the way, I'm a fan of the show. Keep up the interesting work.

Anonymous said...

anonymous said...
A lot of leads engage in despicable activity (e.g., Michael Corleone, Tony Soprano), but I think it's dangerous to spin their conduct into something it's not

Sure they even commit brutal murders. But I think the difference between Sopranos and RM is that on THAT show there's a sharp distinction between the writer's perspective and the characters POV. On THIS show that line is very murky.

The other thing is all the characters on TS -- often shallow, stupid men and shallow, stupid women -- are very well drawn, even those with limited screen time like Tracy. Which gives the acts of sadism gravity. No easy points are scored because the victim was a characature.

And yet Paulie, Pussy, Tony, Sil, Chris. . . ALL still represent a misogynistic male point of view.

Anonymous said...

I think it is worth pointing out that most of the commenters are in agreement with Alan's broad points about Rescue Me, setting aside the particulars of this specific episode:

1) For the most part, even defenders of show agree that the women on Rescue Me tend to be caricatures.

2) For the most part, everyone seems to like the comedic parts more than the dramatic ones -- or at least finds the comedic parts more consistently written and executed.

3) For the most part, those who enjoy the dramatic parts enjoy the male camaraderie aspects of the show, not the dysfunctional relationship aspects of the show.

With that said, mase's comment that

"Although I agree the show's portrayal of women can be misogynistic, it is realistic in how firefighters are."

has been made by other commentators as well, and I have a real problem with this as a defense of the show. I am willing to grant that fireman are misogynistic jerks who can only treat women as harpies or whores -- and remember, this is an argument by a defender of the show -- but I would suggest that any writing staff that chooses to write a show with that attitude is lazy. If the women are never going to be allowed to be interesting, three-dimensional characters, then just don't have any women on the show. The whole thing could be set at the firehouse and nearby environs, it could be half an hour long, and it could still be compelling (See The Job, a show I still miss). But if the writing staff is going to be so lazy with interesting actresses like Andrea Roth, Diane Farr, and Susan Sarandon...Well, I would just as soon watch shows where the writers try harder. In this day and age it should not be that difficult to write halfway credible adult female characters (see Deadwood and The Sopranos, where the female characters are mostly fully formed, even though they are at the peripheries of power). At the same time, I will concede that this difficulty seems to be endemic to most if not all of FX's original programming.

Begin aside:

I believe the argument that the writers are lazy is the most charitable, since the only other arguments I see are that:

1) The writing staff isn't simply presenting the firemen's misogynistic point of view -- the writing staff actually supports it. This explanation would make the writing staff misogynistic jerks.

2) The writing staff doesn't support the firemen's point of view, but feels that some insight is gained by continually introducing female characters that are written as two dimensional caricatures so that the male characters can treat them badly. Because, you know, nothing introduces complexity into a drama like adding cardboard cutout characters that simply serve to reflect the fantasies and serve the needs of the leads -- in literature, I believe these important characters are known affectionately as "plot devices." This explanation would make the writing staff morons.

3) The writing staff is doing the best it can. This explanation would make the writing staff incompetent.

End aside.
I write all this as someone who agrees with Alan's three broad points. When the writing staff focuses on what they're good at -- primarily the interaction between the guys, which is still incredibly dysfunctional -- Rescue Me is a good show. So why does the writing staff keep throwing its weaknesses in my face?

Finally, to the various commenters who have suggested that "women like that really exist," I say -- so what? We're talking about Season 3 of this show. If all the writers wanted to do is show that crazy, shrill, unstable women exist in the world, then fine, they've made their point throroughly. Hell, wasn't what they did to Patricia Velazquez and Diane Farr in previous seasons sufficient to make their point? Can't we move on to something else now? Because let me tell you, this really deep observation about women really doesn't require any more episodes dedicated to it.


Anonymous said...

Truly. We all get it. Women are on the periphery, cannot even penetrate the inner sanctum without being called twat, and are more nuisance than necessary. Now what else you got?

Unfortunately, I shall not be sticking around to see if there is/what's on the other side of Tommy's arc. Last season, I was mad at the show after every episode. But I returned just to see if it would get better or draw me in. Maybe I was also trying to get an understanding of what made my father, a firefighter, the way he was. He is a hateful, bigoted person who rails against all ethnic groups (including blacks, which is only noteworthy because he is black) and has a poor track record with women. Does the job attract that kind of personality or does it create that kind of personality?

Tuesday's episode was the final stop for me. Later to the Gavins.

Charlie said...

What started as a show about post-9/11 trauma and firefighter life has devolved into a Nip/Tuck-like love of gratuitous shock. And as for the misogyny and oversexed, simplistic women specifically, it's been there from the beginning... e.g. Sean and Franco's parade of personality-less lovers, the sad misuse of Callie Thorne, the woman whose name Tommy never learned being so into him. But probably the most telling example is when Tommy's mother died. We had never seen her and he barely had any reaction. It was just a quick, pointless plot point.

And just to be clear, I'm not slamming the show out of political correctness. I'm slamming it for the lazy, clueless writing (which can be so good at other moments of the show.)


Anonymous said...

My husband and I were just starting to get into the show after catching a few of the reruns.

No matter. We're done. If I hear that the writers decide to leave the frathouse and pull their heads out of their asses...nah, Leary's character is just so unlikable at this point that there is no interest left.

Besides, based on this show's history with female characters, let me guess: Susan Sarandon's character will become the evil ex and threaten to have the kid taken away.

Anonymous said...

If you go to the 'Television Without Pity' Rescue Me message board, there is a poster there who claims to be Peter Tolan. Read his take on the complaints against the rape, which he likens to 'beating a dead horse', and all will be made clear.

Anonymous said...

Anon quoted part of my comment that"Although I agree the show's portrayal of women can be misogynistic, it is realistic in how firefighters are."

(and then Anon added [in part])has been made by other commentators as well, and I have a real problem with this as a defense of the show. I am willing to grant that fireman are misogynistic jerks who can only treat women as harpies or whores -- and remember, this is an argument by a defender of the show -- but I would suggest that any writing staff that chooses to write a show with that attitude is lazy. If the women are never going to be allowed to be interesting, three-dimensional characters, then just don't have any women on the show.

Just to be clear, the quoted comment was not a defense, per se, of the show, but a defense in how the show depicts (many/most)firefighters as being misogynistic. Being accurate is not lazy, but not fully realizing the female characters, I agree, is.

Unquestionably, "Rescue Me" could be a better show if it flushed out its female characters (see Andrea Roth, Callie Thorne, Diane Farr, and Susan Sarandon [jury's still out on her character]). That being said, I think Thorne's character has come a long way from the first season. Don't get me wrong, she is still a shrill, very annoying character; but there has been growth. Prior to the last episode, I thought Roth's character was on her way to being fully-realized. Tolan's description on what the scene was meant to convey on TWoP seems to acknowledge their attempt to make Roth more three-dimensional, however how the scene came across to viewers makes that a very debateable point.

There are still many episodes of this season left and I'm willing to see if they just stay a very good show or actually make the jump to greatness by improving the women.

Anonymous said...

I belive it was unfinished business for both of them. I think Janet is sleeping with Johnny to make Tommy furious. She clearly has no regard for Johnny and is just using him.

I think she could like it with Tommy because she still loves him. Break ups are unclean, and there is nothing fair about them. When you are hurting you cant see straight.

To let you know I'm speaking from experience, I slept with my ex-husband's brother when I found out he was cheating on me with his brother's girlfriend. He never found out, but whenever he was being a real "dick" I used it to make myself smile, I'd think I could crush you like a bug, if you ever found out what I did.

But if he ever found out, and came after me, it would suck, but dont play with the big boys if you cant take a punch.

Anonymous said...


I didn't mean to misrepresent what you wrote. I just wanted to point out that (supposed) verisimilitude is not a justification for poor and/or unimaginative writing.

Also, while everyone has their own theshold for how long they'll watch a show in hopes that it will live up to its potential -- some people did watch Six Feet Under all the way to the final episode, after all -- I would say that three seasons should have been more than enough time to develop a character (Andrea Roth) introduced in the first episode of the show. Everyone's threshold is different, and that's fine.

But I'll reiterate that we actually seem to agree with Alan's initial, basic observations about Rescue Me. Not focusing too much on the most recent episode makes that clear.

Can't wait to read Alan's interview.


Anonymous said...

To the poster about halfway up the page who said that women "sometimes enjoy being raped"-

are you kidding me?
women never enjoy being raped.

there's a difference between rape FANTASIES, in which case the woman is in control of it all times, since it is a fantasy, and RAPE.

get your 'facts' straight, you misogynistic turd.

Anonymous said...

No woman enjoys being raped.

A woman's body may respond to the physical stimulus (may) but that does not mean she is truly "enjoying" it. It is sick and ignorant to claim that women sometimes enjoy rape. To rape someone (whether through coercement or physical violence) is to take away their control, their dignity and their respect. It has damaging effects both short term and long term. Even if the character of Tommy's exwife appeared to enjoy it by the end of the scene, it could be argued that she was in shock and desperate to get out of the situation without any further harm. Remember, Tommy is a violent character, she had already fought back and failed. She was more than likely in fear for herself and needing to get out of it any way possible, even if that meant pretending to enjoy it so as to end the attack and get him away from her as soon as she could. The need to survive is strong.

Hopefully the show will take this horrid scene and do something constructive with it to show that rape is wrong. Unfortunatley, I doubt they will do.