Please Don't Rescue Me

What a way to piss off your viewership.

I'm comfortably reading my TV Guide, a story about the women characters in the testosterone-soaked "Rescue Me." Frankly, most of the characters annoy me. It's a well-written, well-acted show that I still dislike for the same reason I found it hard to like "The Shield" and even "NYPD Blue" until it hooked me: when every character is a racist, sexist sonofabitch, I lose interest. Nothing says characters have to be saints, but it would be nice if I wasn't rooting for them to die in a pool of their own vomit.

Still, I keep trying with "Rescue Me." It's peer pressure - all my friends like it. Besides, I like the female firefighter and the fact that they have a plus-size woman who is sexually active - with a male hottie - and apparently comfortable with herself.

Then I read comments that I think are from the male co-creators, Denis Leary and Peter Tolan, about the rising female viewership of this predominantly-male show:

"For women, the idea of a sexy fireman is a fantasy. They're these strong, manly men rescuing you."

"Women may start to watch because it's eye candy. Then the story lines and character development and complexity of the relationships really get them."

Steam starts coming out of my ears. Spare me. Can we get over the rescuing complex already? Personally, I'd rather be the rescuer. The last guy to (physically) rescue me from anything was a man who stepped in when a drunk guy attacked me in a bar, apparently mistaking me for another woman about whom he had very mixed feelings. I was nineteen and had the physical strength of a lace doily.

Since then, I have defended myself verbally and physically, and I feel stronger as a person because of it. I have physically fought off three muggers, verbally fended off a man in the grip of road rage, thrown a drunk being an ass at a party into a wall, etc. I can take care of myself and other people. Seeing movies where women cower in the corner and whimper to themselves just pisses me off. When Robin Hood is fighting the Sheriff of Nottingham to rescue Marian, I'm yelling, "Get off your ass and hit him with something, bitch!"

As to eye candy: I appreciate a shirtless Angel or smoldering Lex as much as the next woman. Mrow. But it's sure as hell not why I watch the shows. They've got really hot guys on reality shows, and you couldn't pay me to watch that shit. I choose my movies and TV shows based on the premise, the characters and the reputation of the creators and actors. If the guys are hot, that's icing on the cake.

This is the mentality that, in part, killed the Star Trek franchise (or at least put it into deep hibernation): The idea that men wouldn't watch science fiction unless there was a hottie in a velour catsuit. The addition of Seven of Nine to VOYAGER, the utterly ridiculous way T'Pol's character was treated in ENTERPRISE and so on. I find it insulting to men and women. I presume guys wouldn't watch a boring piece of dreck just because there was a big-breasted woman with a nice ass in it. Why should these sexist assholes assume this of women?

Then I read a little more closely.

It was the women actresses who said this.

I don't know if it was something fed to them by the PR department, or if they've been inhaling too much hairspray in their trailers, or their own insecurities, or perhaps they've been reading some dumbass Freud.

But now I feel even less like watching "Rescue Me." In a show of thoroughly unlikable male characters, I was hoping for some development of those two women. With these idiots playing them, I am very close to dumping this show altogether.

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