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Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Rescue Me and Dancing with the Stars finale

July 13, 2005

You think you’ve got problems? Here’s my advice to feel better immediately: watch an episode of Rescue Me.

There’s not a member of New York City Firehouse Engine 62 whose troubles won’t make yours feel minor. The proof: protagonist Tommy Gavin, still haunted by his cousin’s death during Sept. 11, has visions of dead people. He’s also battling an alcohol addiction, fighting with his ex-wife about their kids, and trying to regain the trust of his co-workers, whose lives he risked when he let his alcoholism interfere with his job.

Then, there is Franco Riviera, who is popping Vicodin like its candy; Chief Jerry Reilly, who has a serious gambling problem; And rookie firefighter “Probie” Mike Silletti, who is so obsessed with his ex-girlfriend that he’s bordering on stalking.

See, don’t you feel better already?

This gang of heroes consists mostly of liars, adulterers and morally challenged hotheads. Their primary redeeming quality is that they’re firemen, who risk their lives on a daily basis to save strangers. It’s gritty, raw drama, with elements of humor, that is strangely compelling. Before you tune in, be warned. This is an R-rated show, for adults only. The language and situations are sometimes cringe worthy.

Denis Leary brilliantly plays main character Tommy Gavin as brash and sassy. His temper is short. His insults long. And he has the petulance of a preschooler, which makes for some entertaining situations. The deeply flawed Gavin does have a few redeeming qualities: his candor and his courage.

Rescue Me is an education in machismo, with a scandal at every corner. The show is appropriately titled, considering the gang spends a good portion of the show saving New York citizens. However, the title seems to better describe the motley crew of firefighters, who need some rescuing of their own from their personal and emotional demons.

Rescue Me airs at 10 p.m. Tuesdays on the FX Network.

Dancing with the Stars finale - It’s no secret our society is obsessed with celebrities. What they wear, or don’t wear. (Thank you Paris Hilton.) Who they date, marry and divorce. (Bennifer, RIP.) And now, how they dance. Dancing With The Stars snagged 22 million viewers last Wednesday, during its finale.

If you’d told me last year that a show about dancing would be the number one show of the summer, well, I would have said that was about as likely as West Virginia becoming a red state. Admittedly, I was one of those million glued to the tube for the finale. I was equally rooting for underdog General Hospital star Kelly Monaco and the “king of the ballroom,” former Seinfeld star John O’Hurley. They each had their own styles: his, elegance and grace, and hers, saucy Latin sexuality.

Monaco won the competition, despite being called “an awkward mover” weeks earlier. I think it was well deserved, considering she did a back walkover and a helicopter spin during the routine. With the huge numbers the show posted, I’m sure it won’t be long before Dancing With The Stars 2 hits the airwaves.

Originally published 7/13/05 in The Exponent Telegram newspaper.


lilly said...

Ian and Cheryl get my vote! They always look fantastic and give every dance their 100%. Ian is not a professional dancer like Joey Fatone, or a professional athlete like Apolo or Laila, so he comes to the show at a disadvantage to them. But yet he stays up with them in talent. A week ago he received six straight "9s" from the judges, so he definitely has the potential to win. I hope he surprises everyone by giving us his best performances in the next two weeks and capturing the trophy. If you like Ian and Cheryl, please do your part to vote for them on Monday -- vote 4 times for each phone number and 4 times online. Also, Ian has really cool videos on his websites at www.IanZiering.com and www.MySpace.com/OfficialIZ and there you can sign up to receive his fun email blasts.

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