I get DVD's from the library. This week, I got season 1 of "Rescue Me", a cable tv series. We don't have cable tv, and after watching this, I saw why. It's practically NC-17. But I got it because despite all the crudeness, I like Denis Leary.
And I like the premise of the show.
The premise is, is that the surviving firemen from 9/11 are forever changed. When the towers fell to pieces, so did their entire lives even though they lived through it. Tommy Gavin (Leary) and his crew hide their anger, pain and grief under drugs, alcohol and sexual promiscuity. Not long after, there are damaged families and marriages--perhaps quite dysfunctional before 9/11, but the relationships can not bear the additional burdens that the tragedy wrought into their lives. As one wife told her husband who was channeling his feelings into poetry, "I don't want to hear about all this." You know that the marriage doesn't have a chance, that's easy. But you feel for this husband, how his wife's well meaning words crush his spirit.
What I like is that there are no quick fixes. The season ends with Gavin having to deal with truth coming to light by punching out his cousin the priest in whom he confided, and you get the feeling that things are going to get so much worse before they get better, if at all. There are no promises they will. Although the hidden pain is understood as the driving force for the self-destructiveness, abusiveness and selfishness, the volatile explosive Gavin is not a character you will like. He does things to people that you will hate. He does not treat people well. He is given every opportunity to start talking, and you hope fervently that he will open up finally at this critical moment. You want this guy to get better.
Also, as Gavin struggles with everyone else including himself, he also struggles with God. This I respect about the show. His prayers are not models of belief, but they are real and even Biblical. Anyone read all of the Psalms--the ones that communicate the serious and hard feelings? Anyone follow the ups and downs of King David? Lamentations? After Gavin punches through the other side of the confessional and slams his cousin's head several times into the dividing wall before pushing him out the door to confront him face to face, his cousin cries out "I'm your cousin!" To which Gavin shouts "You're my priest!" You get the feeling that if he could, he would want to give Jesus a black eye, too. That's how deep and black his soul is.
How does one save a savior?