Blogs > Liberty and Power > The Best Show on Television (Possibly)

Sep 23, 2004 9:39 pm

The Best Show on Television (Possibly)

One of the best shows on television today, and certainly one of the most honest, is "Rescue Me", on the FX network. It airs Wednesdays at 10 eastern. It’s about a fire engine company in New York City. It stars, is produced by, and is partly written by Denis Leary, the smoking, drinking Irish Catholic comedian who’s been good in everything he’s ever done. (My favorite line from him:"My father never beat us growing up. No, when we were bad, he'd just get a gun and wave it around--and we got the idea.")

What’s amazing about “Rescue Me” is that it is absolutely not politically correct. The firemen use all the language they might really use, they talk about all the things they might really talk about (you can imagine, I’m sure), and they face the problems and pressures men in situations like that really face. On top of that, it’s convincingly acted and the story lines are lively, unpredictable, and interesting.

A recent story line is that the fire house has been forced by the Mayor and the courts to have a woman fire fighter. The men of the firehouse hate the idea and the woman, and they are allowed to express exactly what they would be expressing, and in exactly the terms they would use. When the woman actually shows up on her first day and it turns out she’s beautiful, things get a bit dicey; but their heated objections, her defenses of herself, and the workings out, or attempted workings out, of the dynamics are, as I said, about the most honest thing I’ve ever seen on TV.

I quite frankly don’t know how they get away with it. I recommend watching the show before some PC nazi catches on and shuts it down.

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Jonathan Dresner - 9/24/2004

...Go back and read what they said about "Sex and the City" a few years ago.

Chris Matthew Sciabarra - 9/24/2004

Jonathan, it certainly does have that character in some respects. But I do agree with James that it is, at least, one of the best shows on TV.

One thing that's worth mentioning is that the show's characters are all very much post-9/11 people; this is one of the most raw, and most honest, portrayals of how surviving firefighters have psychologically processed the horrors they've witnessed. It is both raw and honest, as I said, without being exploitative. The show makes extensive use of fantasy sequences with the Denis Leary character talking to an assortment of departed souls, including one lost on 9/11.

I should also note that as politically un-PC as the show is, a more appropriate designation might be politically "post-PC"; by that, I mean that the show deals frankly and honestly with themes ranging from homosexuality to violence, and it deals with these themes in ways that are not at all stereotypical.

In any event, it's certainly a show worth watching.

Jonathan Dresner - 9/23/2004

...which doesn't mean that its bad, just that it's catering to an audience, in this case male, which wants to think of itself as 'edgy' and 'uncensored'.

They get away with it because there are no 'broadcast standards' for cable.