Thursday, June 8, 2006


A thousand pardons, effendi!

It just occurred to me that I never posted this week's big crossover salute on Monday. I guess I was too caught up in the Birthday Honors list for the TV Crossover Hall of Fame.

Last week, I mentioned that the entry for this week would be a crossover between a TV show and online content, in much the same way as had an added finale for an episode of 'CSI: Miami'.

This time, it was more of a bridge between seasons; a little something online to whet the audience's appetite for the new batch of broadcast shows.

The show is 'Rescue Me'.

Denis Leary and Peter Tolan really delved into the Dark Side last year for Season Two, making the dramedy (dramady?) about NYC firefighters almost unrelentingly painful to watch. In just two season, Tommy Gavin suffered almost as much as Andy Sipowicz did in eleven seasons of 'NYPD Blue'.

But if you're going to entice viewers to come back for Season Three, that won't play in any bonus come-on to be shown online. It's a mood-killer.

So they came up with a fantastic fifteen-minute mini-episode about the guys in the firehouse being spooked by some kind of feral beast roaming through the place. Before it was over, all of their darkest fears were revealed and acted upon, culminating in one big gross-out sympathy puke. It was milk-up-the-nose, laugh-out-loud funny.

And I think making that short may have liberated the writers from spiralling farther down into the abyss for Season Three, as the humor has returned in a big way in the two episodes shown so far.

Here's what I wrote to about this week's episode, "Discovery":

Remembering last season, I think the series had become relentlessly grim. Tommy Gavin was the FDNY's counterpart to Andy Sipowicz of the NYPD - a modern day Job.

The bleep is still piling up on Tommy, but I think the writers have finally found the right balance between the drama and the humor.

Best example from last night - I found myself laughing out loud during Charles Durning's b'day speech and then tense with anticipation as Tommy got more coiled over his discovery about Johnny and Janet; and then gasping with shock to see Tommy thrust his brother's hed through the car window.

Earlier in the day, before seeing the episode, I had been thinking of a scene from the 'Columbo' 25th anniversary episode in which he noticed that the forensics investigator helped the suspect into the back seat because she got easily car-sick - a fact that the CSI guy should not have known, having never met her before supposedly.

And that same type of set-up came into play in 'Rescue Me' when Tommy saw Sean take the cherry out of Mae's Manhattan. I'm sure if his attention wasn't immediately diverted by seeing his wife and his brother holding hands under the table, Tommy would have been leaping over the table to pounce on Sean instead.

Can't wait to see where that leads.

And I have great fears for "Lou". The only reason I don't think the worst of his storyline is because of Scurti's blog-work over in the TV Guide blogs - I don't get the sense from the way he writes that his role may have a planned finality.

all in all, a great show!

Posted at 7:23PM on Jun 7th 2006 by Toby OB

Now, that's not to say that it was only the online short film that has brought back some levity to the program. In plotting out the show's overall storyline arc, perhaps this is what Tolan and Leary had in mind. In much the same way as the original "Star Wars" trilogy had to plunge into the bleakness "The Empire Strikes Back" before bursting forth with a renewed optimism in "The Return Of Jedi", perhaps they always meant for Season Two to be as dark as it came to be.

Or maybe I'm just blowing smoke out of my ass. Which, come to think of it, is kind of appropriate for this show.

At any rate, the mini-episode is available only online. (It's accessed through AOL's In2TV, but I'm not sure if anybody else, like, has it.) And as far as I'm concerned, it's a vital component in the makeup of the series. (Hopefully the DVD boxed set for Season Three will include it.)

So as we'll probably see happen more often in the new millennium, the Crossover of the Week was between a TV show broadcast over the airwaves, and that same TV show only available for download on the Internet.

The prime times they are a-changing.



Miss 604 said...

totally in love with the show - rescue me is hilarious and gut-wrenching at the same time. watched episode 2 of season 3 last night - i havent seen the 15 minute bit you mentioned, i'll have to try searching for it, thanks :)

Miss 604 said...
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