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October 4, 2015

Creator of Rescue Me defends rape scene

by Anna Johns, posted Jun 22nd 2006 4:12PM
rescue meI was shocked on Monday night when I watched Rescue Me. SHOCKED. Tommy Gavin (Denis Leary's character) may or may not have raped his soon-to-be ex-wife. There was sex. It was violent. She didn't say no, but she sure did fight. And it all started with him hitting her and ripping off her shirt. I definitely think it was rape. I wasn't the only one who was shocked. I've read at least three Op/Eds about the incident that do everything from wonder why Rescue Me hates women, whether it was rape or consensual sex, or proclaiming the series has hit an "all new low". I actually found it to be thrilling television that showed how complicated an effed-up  relationship like that can get. And I like that it wasn't all crystal clear about what exactly happened between Tommy and Janet (as an outsider, I think I saw a rape).

In the Television Without Pity forum, Rescue Me co-creator Peter Tolan (or someone doing a very good impression of him) explains what the scene means:

"We tried to be extremely careful about that scene. Our feeling has always been that Tommy and Janet are in a highly dysfunctional relationship (obviously), a negative vortex fueled by only one positive - a faint glimmer of love that is constantly overshadowed by truly fantastic physical attraction. In terms of the scene last night, I never wrote the words 'don't' or 'no' at any point in the scene, and when I talked to Andrea (Janet) about the playing of the thing, I pretty much told her she had to stand up to Tommy - that he had taken so much away from her over the years, that she had to stare him down from a position of strength while he was forcing himself on her."

From what he wrote, I'm not so sure that Tolan was happy with the way that scene came off. It was supposed to be empowering for Janet but the smirk on Tommy's face as he left seemed like he was the one who was empowered by the whole thing.

Tolan also mentions the Probie story "which no one seems to be enjoying", and says that it was supposed to be much more dark and serious and not as moronic as it ended up being.

[Via TV Tattle]

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I don't understand what people are getting so freaked out about. As a married person I understand that things can get pretty heated. The thing she hates most about Tommy is the same thing that turns her on. Just because it doesn't go down like that in your house, doesn't mean that it doesn't get gritty in anyone else's house. Another thing is that she can take Tommy on anytime, anywhere. She's not afraid of him and she didn't look afraid of him when it was going down.

August 09 2006 at 12:34 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
jonathan farhat

all of you who bash the show rescue me should be tucked into bed! these types of shows are for adults! so kids, tuck yourselves in tight and leave the watchin' to grown folk!!! And im out!

August 01 2006 at 1:51 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Oh and it's just a show, not reality, get the fuck over it.

July 20 2006 at 1:39 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I love the dumbasses who are so offended. It's called rough sex and yeah, I was shocked at first, but you could tell she clearly wanted it by the time it was over. If you choose to be a baby and not watch the show anymore, you're not hurting anyone but yourself. These episodes get better and better.

July 20 2006 at 1:35 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Alexis Knapp Ramer

I wasn't done my comment...so I will start again. My brother, my spouse and I were discussing this scene last night. My brother informed me that there was a forum whereby people were expressing their point of view on the topic...and I logged in a few moments ago.

The scene was violent in nature. Tommy shoved her...and then...the rape. She did not say "no" but she did fight him. Regardless of whether she became aroused or not...is really immaterial. Have none of you ever heard that sometimes rape victims...men and women...become aroused...because of possibly thousands of years of evolution and our second highest instinct being that of procreation?

The scene was irresponsible as hell as far as I am concerned.

A lot of people are saying "but that is the nature of their relationship" Really, rape is the nature of their relationship?

A lot of people are saying that we-who object- are somehow prudish. Right. I won't even dignify that idiotic and fallacious comment.

Below is Merriam-Websters definition of rape. Does it say anything about saying "no"?

Main Entry: 2rape
Function: transitive verb
Inflected Form(s): raped; rap·ing
Etymology: Middle English, from Latin rapere
1 a archaic : to seize and take away by force b : DESPOIL

I am usually a much better writer than this; however word just seem to elude me right now. Not to mention that I haven't slept.

Anyway, here is the deal...y'all remember back in the late 70s when they showed that scene with Luke raping Laura on general hospital??? I was a senior in highschool...and was so messed up over that. Then...then...they make them fall in love. That was
one of the highest rated shows back then. What the hell is going on.

Then there was a movie called 40 days and 40 nights...The dude was trying to abstain from sex...and his ex girlfriend comes over...drugs him...and puts him inside of her. This was rape, too.

The World According to Garp...again...Jenny gets on top of this soldier in a vegetative state...and impregnates herself...Rape.

As for Tommy's smug look...i have a couple of opinions on that 1)he thought he got even with his brother 2) he thought he got even with his spouse or ex-whatever she currently is at this point.

Anyway, now there is a new movie out "Little Man" or something. It is a Wayan's bros. film. There is a trailer that I viewed in which little man's "mother" says "you were an animal last night". Then the little man peeps his head out...showing that it was he...and not her spouse- that she had relations with. RAPE. Not cute...not funny...RAPE.

If I were a man...I would be very offended by that depiction of another male.

July 15 2006 at 7:34 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Alexis Knapp Ramer

Hmmmm...I just logged into this site- as my brother informed me that there was a discussion about this episode.

I was VERY bothered by it. Very very very. It was violent...and it started out with Tommy shoving Janet.

July 15 2006 at 7:14 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
mary smithhowl

The writers say there will be a karma loop to this act, in eps. 7, 8, 9 toward the end of the season. I do not see Tommy "getting" it if the writers don't. Do they plan on having the born-again daughter raped by a date who just KNOWS she WANTS to have sex by being held down while she fights back? Like her mother fought back? And if the writers do that, the female characters just suffer the sins of the father? And that is how he will learn? No, they probably won't do that, since they have said they do not think it was rape.

July 06 2006 at 8:20 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Rose M. LaJudice

I was very shocked watching this episode (rape scene). Clearly, the show is written by 2 men. This is a male fantasy acted out and had no relavance to the story line. What really turned my stomach was Tommy's lear after the act.

July 06 2006 at 2:14 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

My take on it:

He raped her. Not particularly shocking, in my book: Tommy is an abusive, controlling S.O.B. who responds violently whenever he feels himself challenged or that he is not in control. This is consistent with his earlier portrayals.

As for his estranged wife "enjoying it," I think that once she realized that she couldn't stop him, she just went into denial. She just couldn't deal with being raped, and it was easier for her to rewrite the encounter in her mind as consensual.

July 04 2006 at 7:05 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

What is disturbing to me is not that they depicted a rape scene, but that the creators and Dennis Leary had the audacity to defend it as possibly NOT being rape. When you force yourself on someone, THAT IS RAPE. Why is this so hard for everyone to understand??? I don't effing care if she "didn't say no." Consent is the PRESENCE OF A YES, not the absense of a no. And she was certainly kicking and fighting it enough. What is the MATTER with all of you? Being in a dysfunctional relationship now means rape is excusable?? He "snapped", as someone put it, so he's justified? WTF??

July 03 2006 at 10:00 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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