‘Rescue Me’ has Spirits, swagger and pure sex appeal this season

FX has been making hay with the comedy/press junket concert to promote the show “Rescue Me,” featuring star Denis Leary, with special guests Adam Ferrara, Lenny Clarke and Nick DiPaolo.  <P></P> <P>Technically that would be Dr. Denis Leary, the executive producer and star of the rollicking FX series that is a huge hit with real firefighters all over for its realism and pitch-perfect button pushing and humor.  </P> <P>Leary was given an Honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts from his alma mater Emerson College, in Boston, Massachusetts.</P> <P>The guys entertained the crowd last night (April 4) at the Nokia theater in Los Angeles, accompanied by a great band, lots of snippets of the new season and Leary’s own photo slide version of Bill Maher’s “New Rules,” which had him coming down on everyone from the Octomom, Salma Hayek’s African breastfeeding moment to “manscaping”, Brad, Angelina and Madonna. </P> <P>You know he had some songs to sing.</P> <P>Along with an interesting anecdote about a spa trip in Florida that went horribly awry, Denis busted out a new upbeat tempo song called “F*ck You.” He added a nice Irish drinking song to the mix and then closed the show with his rousing Celtic flavored rhythmic signature anthem, “Asshole.” </P> <P>The show was a tip of the hat to the new season as some of the finer Northeastern comics each had their turn at the microphone.  Bostonian Lenny Clark, always a good time, once ran for public office in Massachusetts; his platform tagline was simply, “F*ck the Kennedys.”  </P> <P>***image4:center***</P> <P>New Yorker Adam Ferrara killed the audience; Ferrara shines like a bright big star; his character Chief “Needles” is standout this season.</P> <P>Boston comic Nick DiPaolo joined the group; his act always the quintessential slightly embittered middle-aged Italian guy lobbing hydrogen bombs at any sensitive PC flowers in the audience.  He needs to be back on Comedy Central with Colin Quinn again pronto.</P> <P>Denis Leary had fun at his own expense noting that he was the “go to “guy for the Emmys at the Nokia for anyone looking for a place to smoke. Leary is a self-described “five-time loser” at the Academy Of Television Arts And Science’s annual Emmy Awards. </P> <P>Leary quipped that he hoped to one day get nominated for and likely not win – an Oscar, a Grammy and a Tony Award.  He cajoled Kevin James (in the audience) to get him back into feature films.</P> <P>FX will air 22 one-hour episodes of “Rescue Me” that begin at 9 p.m. Tuesday April 7.</P> <P>“Rescue Me” was gearing up production in late 2007 just as the writers’ strike went down. By the time the strike ended, network executives had decided to combine the 2008 and 2009 seasons. Eighteen more episodes are on the way in 2010.</P> <P>Now the solid punch musical opening of the Von Bondies’ lead man Jason Stollsteimer singing “C’mon, c’mon” herald the long, and I mean LONG awaited return of Ladder 62’s company, headed by Denis Leary as Tommy Gavin.</P> <P>The new season exceeds its predecessors.  The writing and maturation of the characters feels real.  Peter Tolan served as director for many of the episodes that Leary penned with Tolan and Evan Reilly.  Also of note is the continued great work of production designer Andrew Bernard, whose entire art department including set decorator Jacqueline Jacobson Scarfo’s work absolutely shines in creating the physical world of Ladder 62.  </P> <P>The nine episodes od season five I viewed could be described as the Ghosts of Gavin’s past, with Tommy, still starved for his dead father’s approval (Charles Durning has great cameos in this season) wavers between sobriety and off-the-wagon despair.  </P> <P>His heart is in play too, as those divorce papers still have not been filed.</P> <P>***image5:center***</P> <P>Michael J. Fox nails a real bastard of a character named Dwight who is having a fling with Tommy’s Janet (Andrea Roth).  Fox turns out some gritty work in his scenes and it is wonderful to see him back on the smallscreen.</P> <P>The fifth season also sees Lou (John Scurti) get his game on, so to speak, no longer relegated to 62’s resident sad bastard role, thanks to advice offered by engine house Lothario Franco (Daniel Sunjata); Lou grabs the brass ring of all babes, an urbane visiting French journalist who is the <EM>objét</EM> of all the guys lust, and scores.</P> <P>***image3:center***</P> <P>Black Shawn (Lorenz Tate) has a dangerous romance; White Sean (Steve Pasquale) battles a health issue; wide-eyed Michael (Michael Siletti) has an inheritance windfall and opens a bar.</P> <P>It is the visiting French babe (Karina Lombard) nosing around 62, penning a 9/11 book who stirs up even more spirits for Tommy, who must revisit Jimmy’s death and face a new truth.</P> <P>Also turning out excellent scenes are Tatum O’Neal as Tommy’s damaged goods sister Maggie, and boisterous Lenny Clarke as Uncle Teddy, who had killed the drunk driver who killed Tommy’s son Connor in season two.</P> <P>Show co-creator Peter Tolan told Monsters and Critics in a past interview that 9/11 conspiracy theories would be broached in the new season. It is Franco who reveals this to the French journalist as he questions the event, causing problems for the entire house.</P> <P>“Rescue Me” this season is pure adrenaline, sex appeal and swagger. Peter Tolan and Dr. Denis Leary’s dramatic homage to the first responders of the world is the reigning crown jewel in FX”s current slate.</P> <P>Bravo.</P> <P>Support your local firefighters, or visit <A href="http://www.learyfirefighters.org/help.php">http://www.learyfirefighters.org/help.php</A><BR></P><EMBED height=344 type=application/x-shockwave-flash width=425 src=http://www.youtube.com/v/ODBf9pmMnZg&hl=en&fs=1 allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true"></EMBED>Note the date on this article may be incorrect due to importing it from our old system.