So I’m one of those people who gets really mad when my friends and family don’t watch a TV show I recommend heavily.
I think I have a secret fear that if I don’t zealously spread the word, it’ll get canceled.
I told everyone I knew to watch “Freaks and Geeks,” still the best show about high school ever. Few did. It got canceled after 18 episodes.
I raved about an old Jay Mohr show called “Action,” which was hilarious but criminally unloved. I loved “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip,” which lasted a whole season.
After the pilot, I spread the gospel of “Dirty Sexy Money.” “It’s smart, it’s funny, it’s well acted, and it’s probably way too smart for most of America!” I exclaimed. It too got canceled.
With that track record, friends and family have grown skeptical. But dammit, sometimes I’m right. And from the first episode in 2004, my favorite show on television has been FX’s “Rescue Me.“
If you are not familiar with it, a brief primer: It’s about life in a New York City firehouse post 9/11. The adventures of Ladder 62 make for the most hilarious yet heartbreaking show I’ve ever seen. In one minute, you’ll be busting out laughing at the wildly inappropriate humor. A few minutes later you’ll be devastated by the drama.
No show I’ve ever seen does comedy and dark humor better. Denis Leary is the star and is a genius. He plays Tommy Gavin, who has so many terrible qualities but so many great ones. Leary has been on other shows before and I’ve always watched them, because the dude is flat-out funny. When I was 14 I wore out his “No Cure for Cancer” comedy cassette, I played it so much. (The joke about the guy with the voice-box pulling up to the drive-through at McDonald’s still kills me).
Turns out Leary, who is one of the writers, is also a great actor, and the rest of the cast is fantastic, too. There’s Franco, the Puerto Rican tough guy who gets all the ladies and was revealed this season to have some interesting 9/11 theories. There’s Mike the probie, who is just so stupid but so endearingly earnest. There’s Ken (aka Lou), a great foil to Leary’s Tommy, who’s unlucky with women but has a great heart. There’s Sean, a great partner for Mike who has great comic timing and facial expressions.
There are lots more terrific, well-drawn characters, too, including a pair of crazy women Tommy’s constantly ping-ponging between. (For fans of the show, yes, I know that’s an old picture of the cast I’ve got up top, but I’m still mad they killed off Jerry the Chief a few years ago. I loved him.)
I don’t know why the Emmy Awards people keep snubbing this show, but it’s in the middle of Season 6 now and it’s still fantastic.
OK, end of arm-twist. It’s on tonight at 10 on FX, and it’s well worth your time.
**On another note, I was wildly disappointed in Rickey Henderson’s Baseball Hall of Fame induction speech. Not only was Rickey one of my favorite players growing up (at least when he was a Yankee), but the dude was 100 percent unintentionally funny. He spoke in the third person constantly; one of my favorite Henderson stories was when, disgruntled with the team he was on, he called every GM in baseball and said “This is Rickey, calling on behalf of Rickey, letting you know that Rickey is available in a trade.”
Then there’s the story, which may be apocryphal, when he went up to John Olerud and said he played with a guy in New York who also wore a batting helmet in the field.
“Um, Rickey, that was me,” Olerud allegedly said.
Anyway, Henderson’s speech was anticipated since he was elected in January; what would such a strange dude say on the biggest day of his life?
Sadly for us, it was a straight, emotional, speech. Rickey didn’t even call himself “Rickey” during the 14-minute talk.
I’d say it was a pretty big letdown. Oh well. We still have the great Phil Rizzuto speech from1994 to appreciate.