DVD Review: 'Rescue Me, Season Three'
Alas, there isn't a commentary on that episode, "Sparks," or any other on the show's season three DVD set. But the show's cast and creators don't avoid the hugely controversial scene either, discussing it at length in a 24-minute featurette called "Behind the Smoke."
Their answers may not satisfy anyone who saw the scene and thought "He just raped her," but Roth and co-creator Peter Tolan at least lay out their case for why it exists: "It sort of re-establishes that underneath these two dysfunctional people, the sexual passion and attraction is still ragingly strong," is how Roth puts it.
Tolan, for his part, admits surprise at the reaction to the scene, in part because he was so immersed in the characters. "Maybe it was because we were so deep into our own show, but we fully believed the characters would behave that way," he explains on the featurette.
"Behind the Smoke" is the centerpiece of a pretty hefty batch of extras on the DVD for the roller coaster that was season three, delving into all the major story arcs of the occasionally brilliant, occasionally maddening season. And although there aren't any commentary tracks, the set is well-stocked, with several featurettes, deleted scenes and a tour of the show's New York locations, among others.
Among the best of bunch is a comedy short that imparts a "Treehouse of Horror" vibe to the 62 Truck station house. The roughly 10-minute film features the crew being stalked by a large and, they presume, menacing animal, goofing on horror-movie conventions and themselves. There are also a couple of nods to real firefighters, with short pieces on firehouse traditions and the challenge of doing the job in a vertical city like New York.
And, this being a show with Leary and Tolan at the helm, the extras also reveal the substantial amount of joking on set. In addition to the standard (albeit bluer than usual) gag reel, one featurette is told from the point of view of Leary's stand-in, and another, "Going to the Gay Place," details an elaborate practical joke and a series of double-crosses perpetrated during its commission.
Whether you buy the explanation for "Sparks" or not -- and I'm still not sure I do -- credit has to go to Tolan for at least explaining the thought process behind it. Leaving the controversy unexplored would have made for a big hole in this DVD set; thankfully, that's not the case.
EXTRAS: Deleted scenes, gag reel, "Rescue Me" comedy short, location tour, featurettes "Behind the Smoke," "Being Denis Leary," "Going to the Gay Place," "The Bravest Traditions," "Fighting Fires in a Vertical City," "Behind the Hose"
PRICE: $49.95, $79.95 Blu-ray