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Lt. Kenny "Lou" Shea
At heart, it's a funny, raucous, bittersweet and vividly entertaining chronicle of the spontaneous emotional combustion that goes on in the lives of one soulful, eclectic assortment of firehouse characters.
Yet one more example of how this series skillfully hopscotches from tender to intense.
This year, though the juxtaposition of harsh drama and dark comedy is as seamless as ever, Rescue Me starts out by placing more emphasis on the humor.
For the most part it's still morbidly fascinating, with the last seconds of Episode 3 providing one of Rescue Me's biggest jolts to date. The series may not be on fire all the time, but it hasn't cooled its jets just yet.
More than in past seasons, Rescue Me openly talks about the ways that women emasculate men. Women exist on Rescue Me to terrify men, and thus the show constantly loses out on opportunities to deepen its storytelling.
Rescue Me so often pulls off the impossible that its misses are forgivable. And that's an impressive kind of understanding of art and its complicated mission.
Leary's barbed performance gets sharper by the year, and the comedy is as strong as ever, but this series filled with recidivist addicts can't kick its own worst habit: unnecessary melodrama.
Where daytime serials toss in one-dimensional evil twins or random demonic possessions without a second thought, Rescue Me genuinely cares for its weird characters and plot deviations.
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