STUDIO: Sony Pictures
MSRP: $49.95
RATED: Not Rated
RUNNING TIME: 447 minutes
•Rescue Me Dysfunctional Family Dinner
•Deleted and Extended Scenes
•Setting the Backfires of Season 5
•Gag Reel

The Pitch

Denis Leary is Tommy Gavin: haunted alcoholic, liar, and all around good guy fireman.

The Humans

Created By: Denis Leary & Peter Tolan
Starring: Denis Leary, Mike Lombardi, Steven Pasquale, Daniel Sunjata, John Scurti, Andrea Roth, Callie Thorne

The first entry in “the nation’s cockpunched with a shopping cart by firemen”.

The Nutshell

A good show that anyone can get into even halfway into a season, Rescue Me finishes its extra long fifth year with the last eleven episodes and a bang. Along the way is humor, sex, arguing, some ghosts, a little firefighting, and of course- drinking.

The Lowdown

This reviewer had never watched a single episode of Rescue Me before sitting down with this DVD set, so it came as a surprise to find how good the show is, even after five seasons. Rescue Me is the story of Tommy Gavin, a fireman in present day New York City, and his family and friends. It is the quintessential guy show, full of drinking, sex, and jokes. The camaraderie on screen plays like a real bunch of average guys, with the pranks, put downs and bets. Never before have I seen the reality, in both weakness and strength, of men portrayed so well on screen.

Respect: The Rodney Dangerfield Story auditions were going well.

The second half of the extra long fifth season finds Tommy and the Engine 62 crew dealing with Sean in the hospital, Mike’s band “Apache Stone”, Black Shawn starting to date Tommy’s daughter Colleen again, Lou getting back together with the hooker who stole from him, Franco’s boxing career and dating a lesbian, and most importantly- Tommy balancing his relationships with both his ex-wife Janet and his cousin Jimmy’s widow Sheila. Tommy’s drinking also reaches new heights of depravity, as he in one episode mutilates himself with a blowtorch while drunk. He also turns an intervention from his family (who are all recovering alcoholics) into a party when he convinces each and every one of them to begin drinking again. “Whose idea was it to hold an intervention in a bar?” is indicative of the dark humor of the show.

Each episode had me pulled further into the experience. The format, where the show is not shy about long, drawn out conversations that can take up a 10 minute block of the episode is a welcome change from typical television plotting and usually doesn’t feel drawn out. Also, the show is unafraid of letting dramatic moments simply happen off-screen or between episodes. Many episodic shows would draw out the “what’s going to happen when?” but Rescue Me knows that we’re not there for that, we’re watching because of the characters themselves. Seeing Tommy get chewed out for the millionth time isn’t as important if there’s something better to be talking about. For the record though, Denis Leary’s “I just got caught fibbing” face is one of the most real and delightful aspects of the show, something that just about anyone can relate to (but especially guys).

The ship in a bottle contest deadline was only days away, and half the bottles still needed to be emptied.

If there is a main fault, it is that once you’ve settled into the show’s rhythm, the final two episodes of the season forego that for a quicker pace and things getting summed up much faster. While I didn’t care that Sheila finding out Tommy wouldn’t be keeping an eye on her son happens off-screen and between episodes, I do care that Lou’s relationship suddenly goes from marriage to a trick just as quick. A lot has to happen to build to the cliffhanger finale that Season Five leaves us with, but certain elements could have been spread out a little more. Overall, I’m a fan of the show now, and like everyone else is now waiting to see what happens to Tommy come Season Six.

The Package

Every episode is presented in its original widescreen anamorphic ratio and has a 5.1 audio mix that gets truly utilized maybe once every episode or two. The lack of audio commentaries on any episodes is disappointing, because this feels like one show where that could be beneficial and informative. Fortunately, there are other features to help fill that void. Each of the three discs of the set has a few minutes of Deleted Scenes which add a few moments or chuckles but don’t detract from the narrative arc by being excluded.

Scene from Singe’d in the Fire.

Disc three has the bulk of the extras, starting with a Gag Reel which further emphasizes the jovial tone on the set of the show which comes across so nicely in each episode. Pranks are pulled, jokes are made, and lines are flubbed- as far as gag reels go this is one of the better ones. Also included is a featurette “Setting the Backfires of Season 5” which covers behind the scenes vignettes from the entirety of Season 5. Some are funny, some are technical. They include interviews with key cast and crew personnel based on the focus of that particular scene. It also expands the type of footage you see briefly in the gag reel, but doesn’t run long enough to feel repetitious.

The crown jewel of additional features is an episode length discussion of the entire series, called “Rescue Me Dysfunctional Family Dinner”. The main cast (excluding Andrea Roth) as well as the creators and writers all sit down to have dessert after a nice meal and discuss questions submitted by fans. The same tone of buddies making jokes at each others’ expense and goofing around like brothers that is on screen is apparently inspired by the actors themselves. The entire thing is highly informative, and covers everything from the inception of the show to which character each actor would rather be playing and lots in between. Anyone who is a Rescue Me fan would not want to miss seeing this, which is why it is also available online at

8 out of 10