WE WILL NEVER FORGET OUR LOSSES
WE WILL NEVER FORGET OUR HEROES
WE WILL NEVER STOP ASKING QUESTIONS
Out of our tragedy and loss comes new purpose and strength.
Louis C.K. is back on television and thank God for that!
Lucky Louie, his prior cable show that infused his comedy writing into a lewd and hysterical sitcom, proved to be too much for people. Their loss! The cast (Pamela Adlon, Rick Shapiro and several great fellow comics) was perfect, and his knack for putting himself into extremely awkward situations was both bold and hilarious.
Louie, the new show, merges clips of his stand-up performance with related filmed set-ups, which is not a new idea (think Seinfeld if the clips were used within the show instead of just bumpers). But Louis is an extremely watchable actor who convincingly sells uncomfortable and cringe-worthy. The material is based on his own life; I sure hope he’s embellishing the bad parts.
Great to see fellow comics like Jim Norton, Nick DiPaolo and Eddie Brill onboard as well (I could watch a “poker scene” every week just to let these guys riff) and Chelsea Peretti was great as the date from hell. But the better part of the show is simply Louis on stage, showing why he might just be the best stand-up comic we have right now. Not to mention prolific – this year should also see the release of yet another CD and DVD of fresh material.
Personally I enjoy the blend of stand-up and filmed segments – Louis C.K. writes, directs, edits and produces the entire thing, so it’s a pretty consistently funny experience. But if you’re the type who enjoys the stand-up routines but hates the vignettes that set them up, Videogum is the site for you – they’ve parsed the stage material.
Bonus: hearing “Brother Louie” as the theme song every week!
Rescue Me is also back for its final season, although the decision was made to split the episodes between 2010 and 2011, with the closing of the show set to coincide with the tenth anniversary of 9/11.
The first episode picks up after the pseudo-cliffhanger from last year (did anyone really think they were going to kill Tommy Gavin?) and uses the hour to re-introduce most of the central and recurring characters, most of whom have finally had their fill of Tommy. Haunted by his personal failures – and still haunted by his dead cousin – Gavin is somehow still on the precipice of a further fall even when seemingly at rock bottom. His wife might be finding solace with one of his crew, his daughter might be following in his footsteps, and his workplace might be closing, the victim of budget cuts and politics.
When the show first aired, there was a solid dose of homage to the fallen heroes from 9/11 and an emphasis on what is was all about to be a firefighter. As seasons progressed it became more about the humor and pathos of the firefighters’ personal lives (much like The Job spent less and less time at the police station), but anyone who knows good television cans ee an arc of redemption on the way. Will Tommy Gavin have to sink lower before rising to the occasion? Do bears shit in the woods?
Leary has always been loyal to his friends and associates, so thankfully that results in a lot of face time for Adam Ferrara and especially the great Lenny Clarke, whose Uncle Teddy character has shown he’s not shy about firing a sidearm. Also great to welcome back the luminous Andrea Roth, note-perfect as his exasperated (and smoking-hot) wife Janet.
I like Denis Leary the stand-up, but I really like Denis Leary the actor/producer/writer a lot more. He’s two-for-two already and I hope he and partner Peter Tolan have more concepts up their sleeves for 2012 and beyond.
Just two more home runs for FX, arguably the best channel on TV the past couple of years. And only a couple of more months before It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia and Sons of Anarchy return.
My Dad lied about his age to join the Navy during WWII. Days later he was in San Francisco, getting ready to ship out on a destroyer headed for Japan. He was surrounded by a bunch of guys of all shapes, sizes and backgrounds, but much like him they shared a common sense of purpose. He spent most of his time in the Pacific Theatre and thankfully returned home safe and sound, although I know he experienced horrible things we still don’t talk about to this day.
Our enemies then were obvious and easy to identify. They had a defined geographic location. Wars like that were as horrific and unthinkable as any ever were or will be, but few could argue that we didn’t have skin in the game.
Things are very different after 9/11, although the call for retribution after the attack on American soil and the frustration and anger we felt mirrored Pearl Harbor. Somehow whatever goodwill and global sympathy that came our way was quickly destroyed, and almost a decade later we find ourselves involved in at least two major war efforts. Whether liberators or occupiers, our blood is being shed halfway around the globe in an effort that increasingly looks more like Vietnam than World War Two.
We’re on the cusp of even bigger involvement while back home our economy struggles, our politicians bicker and – perhaps most sadly – a large number of us walk through each day oblivious to what is happening to us.
Are we really a society that is that ill-informed on matters of importance but well-schooled on what’s happening in the gossip pages? Too lazy to listen to the President’s speech but plenty of time to DVR Gossip Girl? Unwilling to discuss health care or the morality of foreign conflict but happy enough to dedicate hours of talking head television to Tiger Woods and his family indiscretions?
At least for today – a day that will live in infamy – can we put aside the mundane bullshit that we wallow in like oblivious sheep? Can we give thought to the brave men and women – hell, boys and girls – who volunteered to put their lives on the line so that we could sit at home, safely, to participate in such nonsense? Like my Dad, they went not out of formal obligation, but as a personal one. People of character, strength and purpose.
Yet we take them for granted. We’d rather give our attention to the celebretards and reality show losers and fallen idols. Can we please, as we stumble through a holiday season of gifts and parties and fanfare, give some thought to what really matters?
I was lucky that the man who would become my Dad came home. Many he served with did not. Many families today mourn – and will mourn – when their sons and daughters and mothers and fathers depart and never come home. Maybe you know those people. Maybe you are those people.
I don’t pretend to understand the complexity of what is happening in the Middle East, or whether our actions are justified or not. I do know that we have thousands and thousands of brave people around the world who are in the thick of it all day every day. I do know that I do not and will not ever take that for granted.
Even if for one day, remember these people, these volunteers, the truly brave among us, and do something. Write a letter, send a care package, reach out to their families…do something to acknowledge in a small way that you understand their sacrifice and appreciate it. And when you sit around your Christmas tree or holiday celebration, take a moment to remember all those people who wish they could be doing that with their family as well, but who chose to sacrifice even that for the rest of us.
I normally alter between comedy and music links on Fridays, but today I prefer to honor the memory of the civilians and rescue workers who lost their lives eight years ago. If you didn’t lose someone, you probably know somebody who did. I often sign off on the Friday columns by saying that life is short, savor the moments and laugh every day. It’s not always easy. Today will be one of the hard ones.
If nothing else, maybe give people a little more space today, the benefit of the doubt. Keep your anger, frustration or impatience in check. Let the little things slide. In the main scheme of things, all that day-to-day pettiness doesn’t mean a thing.
Sometimes it takes a big jolt to give us perspective. We came together as a nation that day; race, creed, gender, age and other dividers were tabled because we shared a moment, albeit a horrible one. There was a pervasive sense of humanity in the following days and weeks, and it’s sad that over time it eventually diluted and faded away, and things went back to what we have come to accept as normal.
We’re better than that. Let’s pick up where we left off. Maybe it starts with charity. Maybe it starts with a simple thing like common courtesy. But it needs to start with something.
Find your something. Today’s the day.