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September 2, 2015

Rescue Me: Disease

by Jonathan Toomey, posted Jun 23rd 2009 11:00PM

Steven Pasquale as Sean Garrity on 'Rescue Me.'
(S05E12) "...you guys have been getting divorced for like eight years. Isn't it time you took that old dog into the woods and put one in it's head?" - Lou

Considering who he's starting to hang around with again, is Lou even qualified to give advice like that? If anyone should be wary of getting back in bed with someone, it's him. At least Tommy knows that Sheila and Janet aren't going to rob him blind ... well, at least not for as much as Candy took from Lou.

We're starting to see the effects of what 22 episodes has done to Rescue Me (in a good way). After last week's first musical number featuring the comatose Sean, "Disease" featured more moments that, while not completely out of place, certainly seem to be a result from the extra breathing room.

The most obvious of these moments? The opening fire scene featuring Tommy, Franco, Black Shawn, and Mike. Set to a song by, I think, Duffy(?), it featured no dialogue amongst the firefighters and completely stood alone from the rest of the episode. It actually reminded me a lot of the minisode finale from last summer, "Smoke." Just a really well done moment that required us, as viewers, to simply watch and enjoy rather than having to analyze the whole scene.

The big thing worth analyzing in this episode? The bet made between Tommy and Lou - that Tommy's no strings attached arrangements with Sheila and Janet would crumble before Lou caved to Candy's advances. Kind of a pointless bet, don't you think? For two guys that know each other so well, you'd think one of them would have backed out, fully knowing they'd both fail. Lou is obviously going to cave to his own loneliness and Tommy is obviously going to create his own strings, as evidenced by his conversation with Katy near the end of the episode. Janet, Sheila, and Candy won't have to lift a finger.

I found it interesting that Katy, much like Mickey, was so easily able to decipher all of Tommy's code phrases. While she's obviously far more gullible than Mick, she still sniffed out Tommy pretty handily. Is he in denial? Gee, you think? What was most troubling (and this is where he created his own strings) was how smoothly Tommy lied to his own daughter to help support his own agenda. The real problem now is going to be how he's pulled in two directions, as a direct result of him choosing to commit to two women - drink with Sheila or stay sober with Janet.

A few thoughts on "Disease" --

  • This episode was chock-full of great one liners - Terrence talking about how he's gonna beat off to the nurse later, Franco admitting that Mike has learned too much about picking up women and now he must destroy him, the "cucumbive or potative" pun in Sean's musical, Lou's Archie Bunker jab, and Tommy's "wheelchair height" epiphany were all great. This might be the best episode Evan Reilly has penned for Rescue Me yet.
  • What exactly does Feinberg have on Needles that will trump the dirt Needles has on Tommy?

As for Sheila saying that Tommy is just like Keith Richards? I'm not sure I'd take that or "functioning alcoholic" as compliments. Much like the subtext to last week's Mickey Mantle scene, who the hell wants to be like Keith Richards?

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Sobriety sucks! Put that on a bumper sticker. Love it!

I too was confused about the Michael Gavin thing as I've always thought it was John Gavin Sr. as well.

I am really enjoying Tommy going back and forth between Sheila and Janet - you know it's only a matter of time before that blows up in his face.

Oh, and I thought black Shawn looked more like Carlton from the Fresh Prince of Bel Air.

June 25 2009 at 1:02 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I thought the singing was silly...until you see him punching the dancers number into his cellphone. Loved it!

There were so many funny lines this episode. My fav was a tie between his fist bump not being a black thing but a hot potato and more of an Irish thing and "Tommy, Archie Bunker on line 2".

June 25 2009 at 12:28 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Hey glad you liked the opening scene. I work for a company called The Molecule who was responsible for the visual effects on that scene. Unfortunately, the clip hasn't been loaded to our website yet (www.themolecule.net) but on our blog (which only talks about the technical side of our visual effects) we have a before-and-after shot (http://themoleculevfx.blogspot.com/). If any one was interested check it out.

June 24 2009 at 1:44 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

"...who the hell wants to be like Keith Richards?"

Richards is freaking brilliant. There are 2 books just released on his 'wit and wisdom' so I think we all could strive to be more like him.

June 24 2009 at 12:49 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Opening scene song:

Syrup & Honey by Duffy, from her debut album Rockferry.

The iPhone application "Shazam" is the best--I keep it cued up when I'm watching Rescue Me because I know there will always be a song I've never heard before.


June 24 2009 at 12:11 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
ben woocher

Please, someone, anyone, I beg of you to help identify the song from the beginning. I doubt it is Amy Winehouse, her voice is lower. Duffy makes sense.

June 24 2009 at 11:52 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to ben woocher's comment

Ben - I don't know what the song is, but please call me when you want to. I want to know how you are doing and didn't have your number or email written down. Leah

September 04 2009 at 1:49 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Cdawg...good question. My hubby was wondering the same thing. I just figured he was recooperating...but IDK.

June 24 2009 at 11:29 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

i thought that was Amy Winehouse who did the song. What do I know though.

June 24 2009 at 10:25 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

No love for "you look like the lost retarded Huxtable kid"? I was dying when Coleen said that, and the scene where Tommy told Black Shawn that he didn't have any Potier in him. I think "Rescue Me" is coming close to "Curb Your Enthusiasm" when it comes to honestly potraying race relations.

June 24 2009 at 10:06 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Adam's comment

Yes the scene between Black Shawn and Tommy was the best in an episode that had TONS of great scenes!

I was wondering why Dennis never gets Emmy noms; my husband pointed out that its because he's not actually acting - that is really him :)

The dialogue throughout this ep was incredibly witty. "What, did I cross the line?"

And the musicals - oh my the musicals. Totally outrageous yet still seamless. Hilarious.

After this ep, I really think that Rescue Me is a top ten show of all time for me.

My one question: I don't remember them actually saying that he was in a coma - was that something we just assumed or did I miss something?

June 24 2009 at 10:29 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Are you ready to admit that Tommy's father is Michael Gavin and not John Gavin Sr.? "I'll trade you a Mickey Mantle for a Michael Gavin." - CD Exchange.

June 24 2009 at 7:56 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Ken's comment
Jonathan Toomey

Honestly, I'm still torn on this. Any official documentation regarding this (Emmy submissions, FX press materials, cast bios) refer to the character as John Gavin Sr., but yeah, you can't deny that they've consistently referred to him as Michael this season. Maybe Jason is right and it's an assumed nickname thing, to avoid confusion with Johnny?

June 24 2009 at 10:31 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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