Friday, Dec. 17, 2004

Rescue Me (FX)

When you admire someone, you put them on a pedestal. When you love someone, you point out their flaws and call them on their crap. Denis Leary loves firemen — his firefighter cousin died in a 1999 blaze — and he brings his tough love and jagged-edged humor to a searingly funny drama about a New York City firehouse after 9/11. The terror attack killed 343 FDNY firefighters and made the survivors, briefly, into national heroes. But mostly, Rescue Me says, it simply intensified their usual lot: the same qualities that make them brave and determined on the job can make them bullheaded and self-destructive on their own time. Its firemen (and all but one are men) are often belligerent, sexist and homophobic, and the show sometimes comes too close to embracing their POV for comfort. But Rescue Me respects its characters enough to show their failings, and it respects us enough to make our own judgments.