In retrospect, this wasn’t an episode I should have been watching with my grandma.
In the “A” storyline, Tommy and Janet take a road trip to Katy’s exclusive boarding school, offending uptight honkies and destroying a bed-and-breakfast hotel room with crazy sex in the process.
In the “B” storyline, Lou successfully pursues Genevieve the French journalist, who gives him a “grudge hump” and destroys his outfit in the process.
In the “C” storyline, Garrity’s colon betrays him, and he spends the entire episode desperately trying to take a shit.
All in all, a typical Rescue Me episode; hilarious and affecting and apparently squirm-inducing to watch in the presence of a decent human being who actually possesses manners. I kind of loved that.
What most lingers about this episode, most probably, is the sad story of Katy Gavin. The episode’s title is “Play” which refers to the school play which Katy has given her parents the rare invitation to come and see. When I recapped the first four seasons in my first Rescue Me blog here on CHUD, I referred to Tommy and Janet’s younger daughter as the most tragic character on the show, in many ways.
Katy is by far the most innocent character on Rescue Me, by virtue of age and demeanor. She’s technically had the toughest lot of any of them: She’s grown up in the shadow of her beloved uncle Jimmy’s death. She’s weathered the loss of her brother Connor, so close in age. She’s seen her parents split up and get back together so often it’s probably not possible to count. She saw her mom hook up with her uncle Johnny, and then been to his funeral too. If her older sister Colleen is any indication, she’s destined to have a troubled road ahead.
And that’s just sad. You watch this sweet little girl and you reckon how hard things have been and how much harder they’re bound to get, and if you stop to think about it, it’s one of the most realistic and heartbreaking statements that this show has achieved. All Katy wants is for her mom and dad to get back together so that things can begin to resemble her idea of normal. Her mom and dad, however, are deeply troubled people, who very often are pretty rotten examples of how to behave with grace and integrity. And in this episode, we see Katy come to that last realization, in that haunting final shot so perceptively envisioned by Leary and Tolan as writers, and executed by Tolan as director.
My current theory is that this tragic dead-end street is kind of what the entire show is about.
Speaking of which – last week’s series-best episode, “Perspective,” is now up at Hulu. Check it out here:
And as always, check ME out here: