Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Rescue Me, "French": Flashbacks

Quick thoughts on last night's "Rescue Me" coming up just as soon as I have a drink...

As I mentioned last week, I watched the season's first five episodes in one burst back in January, sans notes, so I'm not going to go really in-depth until we get to episode six.

That said, I found "French" to be a big improvement over the season premiere, albeit still with some problems.

The introduction of Genevieve, the French writer working on the 9/11 book, is the best thing to happen to the series in a while -- not necessarily because of guest star Karina Lombard, but because the show desperately needed to get back to talking about the day the towers fell rather than just be the silly, ego-maniacal story of the world's most sexually irresistible fireman.

The only problem I had with the first episode with Genevieve is that, initially, it was hard to tell whether Franco and Lou's stories were genuine, or if they were just saying whatever they thought would help get them into bed with her. As it turns out, Franco's belief in 9/11 conspiracy theories comes from Daniel Sunjata's own belief in them, and Lou's enough of a sensitive soul (and a wannabe poet) that I could mostly believe what he was saying. But because the show's characters have been such inveterate liars (particularly with attractive women) for so long, it's hard to truly invest in the moments where they're being sincere, you know?

Still, those two scenes were well-played by Sunjata and John Scurti, and Michael J. Fox continues to be hysterical as Janet's insane boyfriend Dwight. On the downside, he's the only bit of comic relief working at the moment. Sheila needs to go away, forever, the bar subplot isn't funny enough to be as stupid as it is, and I'm not a fan of Black Shawn with Tommy's daughter.

Anyway, what did those of you who have the episode much fresher in your minds think?


Unknown said...

Agreed on Shiela and Black Shawn's plots. Shiela seems like a caricature of her character from the first two seasons, and it doesn't seem like her plot has much to do with anything other than uncomfortable comic relief. Same for Shawn. But overall I'm still enjoying this season, a lot more than I did the fifth season of another FX standby Nip/Tuck

Adam said...

I really liked Rescue Me, although the show lost me at some its more bizarre moments (the funeral/wedding, the baby-dangling). I've only caught last night's episode thus far, and was glad to see they're returning to the theme of 9/11 and its effect on the crew. I do feel though as if the show is running out of things to do with its characters. It seems like plotlines are being repeated (how many of the firemen are going to date members of Tommy's family? First his sister, now his daughter?) Part of the problem may be that none of these characters (except for Tommy) has really changed all that much from season 1. Without growth, the characters just serve as background to Tommy's story, which has been compelling at times (his survivor guilt, his affair with sheila, the death of his son), but currently is stuck in a rut (is his sobriety story really that interesting?) Something that can certainly add some fire to the show is a strong female character... something the show's been missing since what's-her-name left the firehouse. Or a genuine, committed relationship, like the Chief and his wife used to have.

Anonymous said...

Eh, the show basically lost me as a hardcore fan after the abomonation that was Season 4. I'll continue to watch now that I've spoon fed myself the rest of Mad Men, but I'll continue to hold that this show needs to wrap things up and call it a day. Too many things on the show come off forced and/or unrealistic for my liking. If I were still in high school perhaps I could overlook it, but the Wire and the Shield spoiled my taste buds for shows that try to sell themselves as real world dramas.

I have major issues with yet another Tommy Gavin death defying heroic rescue--where he's in the right place, at the right time--yet AGAIN! (thinking back to when he was on a lunch date last season and made that daring rescue off-duty, which in turn led to him bedding another hot chick) I thought it was going to be parlayed into him getting a pass on the Section 8 hearing, but no, the scene was completely unnecessary, except to remind us how Tommy Gavin is--while such an disgusting human being--more fitting to be on Heroes than on this show.

But I do agree, this episode was much stornger than the premiere. Uncle Teddy had his best scene of the entire series in my opinion. For a character whose role always seems to come with some prepacakaged sitcommy one-liners, him letting Tommy "have it" was a breath of fresh air. I'm hoping this is the beginning of a serious bout with guilt/depression which causes Gavin to re-evaluate how bad of a person he is. I'm not holding my breath though.

TC said...

I enjoyed the bar scene with the shot drinking fake out. For some reason it's always funny to watch a man SLAP (not punch) another guy. Repeat as needed for added fun.

Joe said...

If there was a Rescue Lou, I would never turn it off.

He's the best actor and gets all the good lines.

"It's only 8:30..."

Great line and as always, delivered crisply.

erin said...

Also agree on Sheila and black Shawn--i like Callie Thorne, but she is pointless now and just repeating herself. Actually, much of the show seems a bit like a repeat of itself, but of it's better seasons, so I'm willing to forgive it. And as to Nip/Tuck--I actually surprisingly enjoyed because it felt like it got back to its roots, as cheesy as they were, and I feel like Rescue Me is doing the same thing. Loved the opening slap fight, loved the scene with MJF, and I think the bar is faintly amusing. And I ALWAYS love the mess hall scenes...they are classic Rescue Me. Still hanging on a little longer to see what they will do!

Anonymous said...

I would totally watch Rescue Lou! I am generally smiling during any scene with him in it (though usually also bracing for something bad to happen to him).

The Franco 9/11 rant bugged me because I couldn't quite imagine his character speaking so coherently and crisply about anything, even if it's something he's been spoonfed. I can picture him believing that, but something about the delivery seemed off.

Sheila: Please. Make. It. Stop.

I did love the return of guys talking around the firehouse bits. Hope for future episodes?

erin said...

I thought the Franco conspiracy bit was annoying just because of its subject matter, but I bought it because it was from Franco. He's not an idiot, just a p-hound (and an effective one at that). Now if it was from Probie or Sean...totally different story.

I think one of the things I liked the most was Tommy's kissoff to the guys, which really wasn't a kissoff of course, but the best way Tommy could tell them how much they meant to him, in the manliest way possible. That's what gets me about this show--it's just so...dude-centric. And I love that.

Sonia said...

Oh...I am so spyched -- this is SO much better than last season...SO MUCH better!! I'm glad they are returning to dealing wit the effects of 9-11 -- for me, that was such a critical component to the show...I think it's totally realistic that they are still reeling from it (50ish funerals in 20ish days? That's gotta leave a lasting impact). I thought Franco and Lou's memories as told to Genevieve were genuine -- especially Lou.

MJF was hilarious, and it must have been painful for him to fall off the couch (with his Parkinsons)...but good to see he can still be effective and get a big laugh. He was really funny!

The firehouse and bar conversations are why I watch this show...classic!

I think Gina Gershon needs to go.

Sonia said...

Oy...sorry @ the typos...LOL

Ethan D said...

"Getting cold feet?"

"At least I can feel mine"


Tara said...

This is my first season watching the show and my immediate reaction to these first two episodes was:

1. Sheila is like nails on a chalkboard plus scraping your fork on a plate multiplied by a car alarm outside your building at 4am that won't stop.

2. I don't understand the purpose of Gina Gershon's character. Does she have one outside of sleeping with Tommy? The actress isn't a big name, but she's not a nobody either, so when I saw her name in the credits, I assumed she'd actually have something substantial to do. I'm not complaining - I'm not a fan of hers at all - but if she's just going to get a 30 second sex scene each week, she really needs to go.

3. I really like the young, dumb fireman who bought the bar. Mike? He and Lou are the only two guys besides Tommy that I've really connected with so far. And I agree that the Black Shawn/daughter plot is wholly uninteresting.

4. Michael J. Fox is *hysterical* as an aggressive crazy person. When Dwight told Janet to bring the chair and clueless Tommy countered with "You're gonna use a chair? Then I'm gonna use...a book." - hilarious!

I was wary about this show. I started watching this season solely in anticipation of a guest star who shows up near the end of the season, but now I'm glad I did. The good definitely outweighs the bad so far.

Pamela Jaye said...

unlike (those of) my friends who are watch Chuck just for Scott, I cannot bring myself to even watch a whole episode of this (I'm sure my aversion to Dennis Leary is based on something totally trivial, but there it is. try not to hit me)

Is MJF in more than one scene this week, or just the one?

I had a friend (in NYC) who loved this show (and Dennis) but her cable company wouldn't give her FX (and then she died, at 54 or so, and I never really found out from what. I've only had a few friends that died (4, I think), she wasn't even a close friend, but somehow I know so many little things she liked - I keep running into them. It's just weird.)

Anonymous said...

So far, so good. It's a huge improvement over Seasons 3 & 4. The show seems to be getting back to the ensemble part of it which is much more interesting to watch than Gavin/Leary has another hot woman wanting him.

I like the way the French journalist handled Franco & Lou with varying degrees as merited by their behavior. Franco's obvious hitting on her gets him a look that she's not interested, wheras Lou gets the friendly goodbye from the taxi for slightly less obvious hitting on. Though I fear, given past writing, she'll end up being another hot woman who falls for Gavin.

Sheila is embarassing to watch the way they write her character. She was much more interesting Season 1.