I struggle with my affection for Denis Leary. He’s hilarious, but much of what I hear is crude and/or profane, which turns me off from most people. But Leary still seems to draw me near. I suppose it’s the delivery of his wit; he’s so caustic, so cynical, and yet everything he says is so completely valid that I can only laugh with him at the absurdity of life. And the older he gets, the more hilarious I find him. Not to mention that he’s aging very well. I’ve never found him physically appealing in the past, but in his current role on Rescue Me, I find him more attractive each week. And that’s an added bonus to the show.
Rescue Me is one of those series that I find myself watching and feel somewhat guilty about it. There is so much profanity, so much crudeness, and yet the drama is powerful and compelling. Like The Shield, it is hard-nosed and gritty, but there is more heart in Rescue Me… and more humor. Leary’s character, Tommy, is a complex guy who just wants to make everything in his life simpler. He wants to reconcile with his wife, to be a great father to his children, to honor the memory of the friends and family he lost on 9/11. He’s just trying to walk through each day without collapsing from the pressure. And his struggles are basic, the same struggles any number of people in the world have to deal with. Which is what makes him so appealing — he’s relatable.
The drama of Rescue Me is poignant, and the action is secondary. I’ve been able to look past the undesirables in the show simply because it touches my heartstrings. And Leary makes me laugh. But I’m also affected by the stories during these hour-long episodes. And that makes for good tv.