Monday night was the spiffy-neato preview of Rescue Me’s second season, and I, by some miracle, was on hand for the fun. The first two episodes from season two were screened in Chelsea to an enthusiastic crowd of mostly 19-year-old women and 50-year-old men. After the thanking of faceless executives by FX’s new president (whoever he is) and the show’s producer/writer/star, Denis Leary, we got under way. I’d heard of the show but had avoided it, fearing it would be as depressing as Third Watch. As it turns out, Rescue Me is like Third Watch, but with better writing. The show centers on the personal and professional lives of the FDNY’s Ladder 62. Leary’s character, a stubborn, angsty drunk of Irish heritage, is nothing new, but the refreshing humor (like the “fag/ultra-fag/mega-fag” argument with his cousin) saves it, as does Leary’s convincing performance. Really, all the characters are familiar archetypes, but FX allows them franker dialogue (the word blowjob was especially popular—or is that two words?) and less pressure to be P.C. about things like faith, substance abuse and 9/11. The latter issue is particularly prominent, for better or worse—at one point, in a delightfully cathartic tantrum, Leary flips out on people selling 9/11 cookies at Ground Zero. I spent all of 15 seconds at the afterparty at 40/40, but by the time I get the song they were playing out of my head, the second season of Rescue Me will have officially begun. And I, for one, will be watching.
—Posted by David Kiefaber
Photo: Craig Blankenhorn/FX