So that's the defense for this off-kilter, badly paced, erratic season?
That "Rescue Me" is like life, which is like baseball, which has long boring stretches interrupted by marvels that we sleep through? That it's a Cars song -- "Good Times Roll" in this case that moves along, with the seeming drone of Ric Ocasek's vocal, until you realize that the drone has gotten under your skin, and you're feeling some kind of exhilaration, the humming of your own engine in life?
Some nonsense like that. Not even John Scurti, as good as he is, could have made that baseball speech work.
This season has been a mess. It has rambled, it has fumbled. Tommy's flashbacks at the beginning of last night's season finale felt like, "Hey, remember when we were really good?" Now it's all too obvious. Weren't we waiting to see Tommy's daughter connect with the new firefighter? Didn't we long ago sense that Tommy's dad was close to death?
And, in letting Tommy's dad die, it loses another piece of its foundation. Charles Durning, ladies and gentlemen. Affable character actor and real-life war hero. (You can read about that here.) And such a fine actor, that when he was in a scene, I'd keep an eye out for what he was up to -- because it was bound to be entertaining.
But now Durning's gone. And Tommy's season-long attempt to have a normal life -- from not drinking, to that desperate domestic tableau with Gina Gershon -- has taken another hit. Maybe the show is arguing that there is no such thing as a normal life. Maybe, again, the whole season has been an attempt to prove that a less tormented Tommy just isn't that interesting -- again, like a life quietly led -- so we'll go back to desperate, insane Tommy next time around. But it's more likely that the show has just lost its magic, the knack for balancing comedy and drama, the way it gave all the characters shape, the way it made us care about people.
Now it's just the (fake) ghost of Jimmy Keefe, rattling around the firehouse, stirring things up, but not really all that serious, and far less than it used to be.