Sunday, September 03, 2006

'Rescue Me' A Safe Haven...

...from 'Real'ity TV. I can't stand 'Real'ity TV. For one thing: IT'S NOT REAL. It's contrived drivel trying to disguise itself as a peek into the spontaneous unfolding of actual situations as they allegedly happen to supposedly 'real' people. Well, MOST of it is, anyway....basically anything with any kind of competition is C-R-A-P (my one exception being Season 1 of Bravo's 'Top Chef' - don't ask me why, that's just how it is.) The only time I see someone on 'Real'ity TV that even remotely resembles what "normal, everyday people" look like or act like, is on 'The Biggest Loser'.

Thank the stars for 'Rescue Me', my indulgent Tuesday night reprieve from such choice fare as 'Last Comic Standing' . 'Rescue Me' is, I think, one of the most smartly written shows on TV these days, and possibly in quite a long time. The writing ranks right up there with 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer', 'Gilmore Girls' and 'NYPD Blue'. In fact, I like to think of 'Rescue Me' as a kind of mixture of the most successful elements of all of those shows - only with an extra kick of testosterone (BAM!).

Speaking of testosterone, some folks are deeply offended by the show's portrayal of women. As a woman, I admit they have danced a little close to the edge - maybe even crossed it if you agree with this article (or not, if you agree with this article). However, generally, I am not at all offended by the depiction of the female characters on the show as I understand they are shown through the eyes of self-avowed misogynist [character] "Tommy Gavin" (whom I inexplicably root for in spite of this fact - lol). Actually, I don't think he's a misogynist. I think he's more of a many straight men unsure of their place in society today (metrosexual? ? retrosexual? ubersexual?) , which is to say he fears what he cannot relate to and/or does not fully understand. But the great thing about that is it's celebrated within the show, much like the Mars/Venus craze of the early 90's: i.e. "We are different creatures, period. Accept it and move on."

Something I wouldn't mind seeing would be to have an episode where the events unfold as seen through someone else's eyes [other than 'Tommy Gavin']: preferably one of the female leads. Bet it'd be hilarious...and enlightening. Kind of like the movie "He Said/She Said", with Kevin Bacon & Elizabeth Perkins. (If you haven't seen it, grab a copy - it's a hoot!)

To me, though, by far the coolest thing about 'Rescue Me' is something I've not heard mentioned anywhere or by anyone else: how they "trick" their large male viewership into expanded viewpoints. It's quite subtle, but I assure you, it's there. Go back and look at some of the dialogue/events. Some examples:
  • the storyline with 'Keela' and how "...little girls [often] grow up to date and marry guys like their Daddies". That is why 'Franco' could give her up to a "better life" [for now that is] - it made him look at how he relates to women & he didn't want her ending up with someone like him that treats women like he does.
  • 'the Chief' taking Viagra w/o a doctor's Rx & ending up having a heart attack & nearly dying! There are TONS of men out there doing just that w/o regard for the consequences. Maybe that episode/storyline has made some take notice & think twice about endangering their lives unnecessarily. I'm not saying men that need a 'lil help' shouldn't take Viagra (or Cialis or Levitra). But sheesh! If ya want it, don't be STUPID - go to a doctor, already!
At the same time, as a female viewer, I've come to be a little more understanding of men as a general populous - kind of the way you accept that really good friend who is forever returning things to the store, or invariably complains about their meal at a restaurant each time you eat out: it's not pretty, but that's just the way they are a lot of the time and besides those flaws, they're really not that bad.

Great show. Great cast. Great Scot! - the season three finale has come and gone. It's going to be a looooong wait 'til next season. (sigh)

Thank goodness Smallville starts back up in 25 days....