Controversy Surrounding Rescue Me Episode - U2 Feedback

Go Back   U2 Feedback > Lypton Village > Free Your Mind > Free Your Mind Archive
Click Here to Login
 
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
 
Old 06-27-2006, 08:04 AM   #1
Blue Crack Addict
 
MrsSpringsteen's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2002
Posts: 26,340
Local Time: 08:20 AM
Controversy Surrounding Rescue Me Episode

I used to watch this show occasionally, one of the reasons I don't anymore is the depiction of the female characters and the relationships. It got to be tiresome and degrading in many ways. So they have him receive some sort of " karmic payback" and that ties it all up into a neat little bow? Yeah rape is the "technical term". Haven't seen the episode but depicting rape in that way doesn't sound all that appealing or appropriate to me. The sex on the show is quite graphic and "raw", but they really seem to have blurred and crossed the line with this one.

http://www.calendarlive.com/printedi...,6506788.story

Taking risks comes naturally to the creators of "Rescue Me"; the series, after all, is a delicately balanced comedy-drama that explores the screwed-up lives of a group of fictional New York firefighters, the same fraternity who were dubbed "America's Heroes" after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11. But last week's episode, co-written by Tolan and star Denis Leary, went way too far for many fans and critics.

In the closing scene, after Tommy Gavin (Leary) and soon-to-be-ex-wife Janet (Andrea Roth) argued over custody of a chaise longue, he knocked her onto a sofa, ripped off her clothes and forced himself on her sexually. Then he apologized — not for the rape, but for tearing her shirt. ("It wasn't one of my favorites," Janet replied dazedly, a line that, in suggesting her lack of anger over the violation, did as much to incense some viewers as the act itself.)

Accept Tommy as a boozy, faithless, neurotic lout? Sure. He redeems himself by risking his hide to save people trapped in burning buildings.

But accept him as a rapist? No way, said many viewers. Not goin' there.

The Chicago Tribune's Maureen Ryan blogged that the rape scene "hit a sickening new low." Newark Star-Ledger critic Alan Sepinwall attacked "Rescue Me" for "a pattern of misogyny and pathetic characterizations of women" and said the scene "made me uncomfortable and unhappy in a way even the most extreme TV and film almost never does." Fans began heatedly deconstructing the scene on Web forums.

...

TWOP started in 2001, but Tolan learned of it only last month, from an article in Entertainment Weekly. Surprised by the strong reaction viewers had to the rape scene, he thought he would use the TWOP arena to remind them of its context within the series.

He wrote: "I'll admit this is extremely dicey stuff. The idea of any woman 'enjoying' being raped is repellent, and caused all of us (and the network) a great deal of concern. But again, these are seriously damaged people who are unable to express their emotions — and so expression through brutality has become expected."

"Many TWOP denizens were pleased that the executive producer of a series had bothered to join a discussion. But others were hardly star-struck, including one who suggested that Tolan was merely making fancy excuses for a poorly written script.

Tolan followed up with a protest that some of the discussion was "combative."

"The scene was not written to be provocative," he told me Friday. Asked if he believed what Tommy did to Janet constituted rape, he paused and replied: "Yeah, I guess I'd have to say that. That's the technical [term]. But we never called it that, because we were trying to hook more into the relationship."

Will the rumpus from fans affect the rest of this season's stories? Probably not. Tuesday's episode was the fourth of 13 episodes. Nos. 9 and 10 are being shot now; Tolan is currently rewriting the 11th. But Tolan made a point of noting that Tommy will get his "karmic payback" for the rape in a future episode: "There is a consequence, and it's an unexpected one."
__________________

MrsSpringsteen is offline  
Old 06-27-2006, 08:13 AM   #2
Blue Crack Addict
 
MrsSpringsteen's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2002
Posts: 26,340
Local Time: 08:20 AM
I hope it's disturbing to any viewer male or female. Yes it's just a TV show but what message is it sending?


http://metromix.chicagotribune.com/t...,2387527.story

"Rescue Me" has crossed a troubling line.

Sure, Tommy Gavin, the bad-boy firefighter at the heart of the FX drama, has done awful things in the past. But when he raped his estranged wife, Gavin (played by "Rescue Me" co-creator Denis Leary) hit a sickening new low.

On the June 20 episode of "Rescue Me," Gavin had a conversation with his estranged wife about how to split up their possessions. The conversation grew heated, and he became violent with her, shoved her on the couch and forced her to have sex with him.

It apparently wasn't enough that the show depicted Gavin raping a woman, but it had to show that Janet Gavin appeared to enjoy it by the end of the act.

The worst part? Gavin exited the house with a huge smirk on his face.

The smirk seemed to say, "Women love me, no matter what I do to them." After all, Gavin had just gotten a string of phone calls (on "crazy chick call-in day," as he dubbed it) from four of the women in his life, all of whom are needy or shrewish or sexually obsessed with him -- if not all three.

It's one thing to create a show about a troubled alcoholic with rage issues. But it's another thing entirely to make the lead character of the show a scary sociopath who assaults women.

That's disturbing to any viewer, male or female.


But there are signs FX wants to expand its viewer base beyond its largely male demographic; Glenn Close had a terrific run on "The Shield" and both Susan Sarandon and Marisa Tomei make appearances on "Rescue Me" this season. Still, allowing the lead character on one of the network's flagship shows to be not just a sexist jerk but a rapist as well is not a good way to keep FX's female viewers, let alone attract new ones.
__________________

MrsSpringsteen is offline  
Old 06-27-2006, 08:29 AM   #3
BVS
Blue Crack Supplier
 
BVS's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: between my head and heart
Posts: 41,225
Local Time: 06:20 AM
There have been other violent "sex" scenes on film that have blurred this line. The first one that comes to mind is from 'History of Violence'.

Although it's not how I would like to define sex, I don't think it technically defines rape. It sounds like she was of consenting mind and didn't say no...doesn't mean I approve, just doesn't sound like the legal term for rape.

Of course I haven't seen it, so I can't say for sure.
BVS is offline  
Old 06-27-2006, 09:03 AM   #4
Blue Crack Supplier
 
Irvine511's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Washington, DC
Posts: 32,199
Local Time: 08:20 AM
i would have to see the scene to make a judgement.

i am all about art, especially art that pushes boundaries and makes us uncomfortable especially if it leads to deeper understanding and complexity (for example, Dr. Melfi's rape in Season 3 of The Sopranos was tremendously unsettling due to its frank depiction, however it also lead to one of the more profound statements on the cyclical nature of violence that the show explores).

it doesn't sound as if this episode was as artistically valid.

but i'd have to see it.
Irvine511 is offline  
Old 06-27-2006, 10:51 AM   #5
Refugee
 
AliEnvy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Toronto, Canada
Posts: 2,320
Local Time: 12:20 PM
Hmmm...I guess I'd have to see it too but considering the furor, I'm guessing it's safe to call it a rape. Knowing the show, I can't say this comes as a big surprise, especially from Tommy.

I dunno, this kinda reminds me of when people thought Trainspotting advocated heroine use. Personally I thought all around it was a great anti-heroine story. All the Rescue Me characters are hugely flawed and depicted as pathetic stereotypes, not just the women.

Does that advocate or sanction pathetic behaviour or just describe it? The great art debate. I guess it will remain to be seen whether Tommy faces any repercussions for what he did. I don't follow the show closely (I like Leary in general but it's too depressing), but it seems the worse his behaviour, the worse karma bites back at him and continues his downward spiral.
AliEnvy is offline  
Old 06-27-2006, 12:31 PM   #6
Rock n' Roll Doggie
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Strong Badia
Posts: 3,440
Local Time: 12:20 PM
"It wasn't one of my favorites," Janet replied dazedly...

But isn't this a true depiction of the reaction some women have to rape? A girl I knew who was raped in college was so stunned initially that it took her days to process what had happened -- going from shock to grief to self-doubt (and self-blame) before going after her accuser.
nathan1977 is offline  
Old 06-27-2006, 01:03 PM   #7
Refugee
 
AliEnvy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Toronto, Canada
Posts: 2,320
Local Time: 12:20 PM
I really hope they have written that same arc of realization for Janet into coming episodes then because the most despicable part(s) of this scene (even though I haven't seen it) are that she succumbs to enjoy it and Tommy leaves with an empowering smirk on his face.

Regardless of how honestly that may portray their fcuked up relationship, unless there is hell to pay for Tommy, the messages it sends are disgusting.

I hope she has the last laugh before the show is cancelled...which I'm guessing may be soon.
AliEnvy is offline  
Old 06-27-2006, 05:29 PM   #8
Blue Crack Addict
 
MrsSpringsteen's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2002
Posts: 26,340
Local Time: 08:20 AM
Well given the way they describe it, it would never qualify as art to me to portray a man and a woman in a heated argument and to have that as a result-whether they actually had her say no or not, the message is disturbing to me. It also perpetuates the notion of a "rape fantasy", which is disgusting to me as well.

The fact that they had him "smirk" says to me they were trying to portray that he had shown her, that he exacted some sort of sick twisted power or something over her. I would have to see the episode to form a complete opinion. It also really disturbs me that the writer said rape was the "technical term" but they never called it that. So if you never call it that and never have her say no, it's not rape according to them, it's just "character development".

I didn't care at all for the scene in History Of Violence either, it made me extremely uncomfortable
MrsSpringsteen is offline  
Old 06-27-2006, 05:44 PM   #9
BVS
Blue Crack Supplier
 
BVS's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: between my head and heart
Posts: 41,225
Local Time: 06:20 AM
Quote:
Originally posted by MrsSpringsteen


I didn't care at all for the scene in History Of Violence either, it made me extremely uncomfortable
Yeah it was extremely uncomfortable...
BVS is offline  
Old 06-27-2006, 06:01 PM   #10
Blue Crack Addict
 
MrsSpringsteen's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2002
Posts: 26,340
Local Time: 08:20 AM
Another article I found

http://www.zap2it.com/tv/news/zap-re...ap-home-promo1

She fights back but then she submits and enjoys it. Grossly inappropriate message, no matter what other messages they are claiming they were aiming for- we will fight at first but we really want it, we are only somehow pretending otherwise. Yeah I get that their relationship is disfunctional, but there are so many other valid ways in which to convey that. She can stand up to him in so many powerful ways other than in a rape scene in which they are suggesting that she wants it or enjoys it somehow. Sounds like he (Tolan) thinks that is female empowerment, he needs a different angle. I wonder if there are any female writers on that show. Here's some empowerment for you-have men on that show who treat women with respect and depict some healthy male/female relationships. That empowers everyone. Fantastic physical attraction to me is mutual and non-violent.

"At issue is one of the more polarizing scenes in a TV drama in recent memory. In the June 20 episode, called "Sparks," firefighter Tommy Gavin (Denis Leary) and his estranged wife, Janet (Andrea Roth), were having a testy though reasonably grown-up conversation about dividing their assets. A throwaway comment about a dining-room set, though, sets Tommy off, and he forces himself on Janet, tearing her shirt and forcibly having sex with her.

Janet fights back, clawing at him and punching him in the face, but then seems to accept the situation, if not even enjoy it a little. And Tommy leaves her house with a smirk on his face. Those two details, as much as the act itself, have sparked debate among fans and critics about not just whether Tommy raped his wife but whether the show was somehow condoning his actions."

"Rescue Me" co-creator Peter Tolan has been a part of that back-and-forth, posting a number of times about the episode, which he co-wrote with Leary.

"Our feeling has always been that Tommy and Janet are in a highly dysfunctional relationship (obviously), a negative vortex fueled by only one positive -- a faint glimmer of love that is constantly overshadowed by truly fantastic physical attraction," Tolan writes in one of his posts. "In terms of the scene ... I never wrote the words 'don't' or 'no' at any point in the scene, and when I talked to Andrea about the playing of the thing, I pretty much told her that she had to stand up to Tommy -- that he had taken so much away from her over the years, that she had to stare him down from a position of strength while he was forcing himself on her. I told her to shame him with the words she was given - to let him know she couldn't hurt her anymore, no matter what he did."

That said, though, Tolan acknowledges that a lot of viewers didn't interpret the scene that way. "


It's on tonight, I will watch to see if anything happens to him. But the Red Sox are on too.
MrsSpringsteen is offline  
Old 06-28-2006, 07:10 AM   #11
Blue Crack Addict
 
MrsSpringsteen's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2002
Posts: 26,340
Local Time: 08:20 AM
Gee what a surprise, they didn't even mention it. Just from the recap they showed at the beginning-well..sure looked like rape to me. Fighting back like that means no to me, no does not have to be verbalized. Why would any guy continue after that unless his intent was to force someone into submission against their will and humiliate them? I will try to catch the rerun of this episode if they show it.

I did like that line to Tommy that she (not his wife, whoever that other woman is-can't remember) can't live up his ass because he took up residence there a long time ago and the Susan Sarandon character seems like female character other than the typical one on that show.

So his payback is supposed to be getting an STD from the teacher?
MrsSpringsteen is offline  
Old 06-28-2006, 07:41 AM   #12
BVS
Blue Crack Supplier
 
BVS's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: between my head and heart
Posts: 41,225
Local Time: 06:20 AM
Quote:
Originally posted by MrsSpringsteen
Fighting back like that means no to me, no does not have to be verbalized.
This is true.
BVS is offline  
Old 06-28-2006, 08:14 AM   #13
Blue Crack Addict
 
MrsSpringsteen's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2002
Posts: 26,340
Local Time: 08:20 AM
There are some interesting comments on huffingtonpost.com

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2006/0...-_n_23833.html

"I saw the episode, and it was definitely a rape scene, without question. She screams in his face "Does this make you feel like more of a man?" and punches him in the face trying to get him off of her and writhing away, and he holds her down by force and mounts her as blood drips out of his mouth onto her neck. It was very hard to watch, and as he finished he had a look on his face that was filled with rage and pain and failure. She just tried to hold out until it was over.

The scene made sense for the characters, and it made sense in the context of the show. Maybe what really disturbed the viewers was that the scene looked like something that had happened before between the couple, something she'd put up with for a long time and knew how to cope her way through and something he'd done before but denied every time immediately thereafter (neither of which, of course, stop it from having been rape). I hope they explore that event more as the season progresses. While it's reassuring to hear that they intend fot the action to have consequences, I'm not surprised -- they do a good job on the show with the way that characters pay for their misdeeds.

In any event, people who don't expect Tommy Gavin (Leary's character) to be an utter failure at pretty much all of life's ideals missed the other episode this season where he nearly kills his brother with his bare hands for having a relationship with his ex-wife. He's not a good guy, and it's odd to think that viewers would think he was, as everyone on the show -- including Gavin himself -- think he's an asshole."



"Having been date-raped -- and by someone I knew and thought I liked beforehand -- I can tell you from first-hand experience, that even though I'd found him attractive beforehand (hence, the date) once force was applied, all sexual desire was gone on my part.

I might have had sex with the same man, unforced, and I might have enjoyed myself.

But my enjoyment wasn't the point, was it? When force and violence is added, it's for the thrill of the sadist and rapist, not the victim.

It's a sick male fantasy that rape turns a woman on -- and perpetrating that fantasy encourages rapists, the idea that men should use of force to get sex, and the idea that women don't mean "no" when they say "no."

I'd had it with "Rescue Me" -- a misogynist's tale on it's best day -- and can only hope none of the writers or producers involved are ever raped at knifepoint, and forced to learn empathy and reality from personal experience."
MrsSpringsteen is offline  
Old 06-28-2006, 09:09 AM   #14
Refugee
 
AliEnvy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Toronto, Canada
Posts: 2,320
Local Time: 12:20 PM
Quote:
Originally posted by MrsSpringsteen
Gee what a surprise, they didn't even mention it.
The following episode? No mention??? Wow.

You know, they could have Tommy pay dearly for HIS actions in a variety of ways (or not as they haven't so far) but they can't write anything into the story to explain, justify, take back or fix the perception that many people (mostly men) who saw the scene took away the idea that once he forced her to give in, she enjoyed it.

Even if Tolan's intent was that she was "standing up to him" and not giving Tommy the satisfaction of thinking he was victimizing or controlling her, how could anyone possibly get that unless they've been a woman in that twisted type of relationship? Not to mention that the majority of the audience is men.

And now, since we're supposed to think she was standing up to him of course she won't say he raped her and if she does, he wins and he'll make her look like a vindictive bitch playing a pseudo-victim.

Now all this publicity will boost ratings.

AliEnvy is offline  
Old 06-28-2006, 09:45 AM   #15
ONE
love, blood, life
 
greeneyedgirl's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: RedrockU2's Left Shoulder
Posts: 14,459
Local Time: 06:20 AM
My boss has been telling me what a great show it is and that I should try to catch it.
This is the first episode I have been able to watch.
I'm not impressed and probably will not waste my time watching another minute of it.
I was very much disappointed with a few of the characters, having been told how "funny" they are.
However, I was amused by the two roomies in 'denial'
greeneyedgirl is offline  
Old 06-28-2006, 11:47 AM   #16
Rock n' Roll Doggie
Band-aid
 
maycocksean's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: The Most Important State in the Union
Posts: 4,892
Local Time: 07:20 AM
I haven't seen it, and I hate to make judgments without having seen something for myself. But I have to admitt it sounds pretty bad.

I've only seen a few episodes of this show last season, and I didn't care for it. It was just too cynical, too "dark" for me.

Tommy is definitely an anti-hero, but here's the thing about anti-heros. They're still our heros. We still root for them. People won't watch a show with no one they can "root for." The antihero is someone we "cheer on" even when what he's doing is wrong. It's like the thieves in so many chase movies--these flashy, charming, debonaire men and women, who we wish every success as they take what does not belong to them. As much as I enjoy films like this as much as the next person, it's always bothered me a little bit because A) Stealing isn't so "cool" when I've been robbed. I should know because I have been robbed a few times. B). Real criminals aren't like this--"good guys who just happen to steal for a living" They are selfish, mean, assholes. That's why they steal.

It would seem Rescue Me has taken this whole formula still further, and taken it too far. Because at the end of the day it is perpetuating the worst kinds of myths about rape and viewers (especially male ones) will take that home with them.

But it's "art" some will say. . .

And for me this raises the question: Does art have any responsiblities? And if so what are the responsibilities of art? Are there certain messages about humanity and life that art is required to communicate or can it "say anything?" Can art communicate evil, offensive, and wrong messages, or is that no longer art? Is all art okay? Or is some art "unacceptable" and if so, who decides what is acceptable and what is not?

I don't know the answers to these questions but I'm curious to know what others' thoughts on this are?
maycocksean is offline  
Old 06-28-2006, 01:05 PM   #17
BVS
Blue Crack Supplier
 
BVS's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: between my head and heart
Posts: 41,225
Local Time: 06:20 AM
Quote:
Originally posted by maycocksean

And for me this raises the question: Does art have any responsiblities?
I'll answer this, if mods feel like this will be taking the thread off subject let me know and we can do a separate thread.

Does art have responsibility? NO! The artist should create without any self censorship. Distributers of the art have the choice whether to censor or control when and where the art is to be heard or seen.
BVS is offline  
Old 06-28-2006, 01:19 PM   #18
Blue Crack Addict
 
MrsSpringsteen's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2002
Posts: 26,340
Local Time: 08:20 AM
I don't think art should be censored, but I do believe in some self restraint and introspection in some circumstances. When it comes to an issue such as rape, I think the writers and producers of a TV show (which is the lowest art form in my humble opinion , some much lower than others) have a responsibility to their audience to be as accurate and responsible as possible in their portrayal of the issue. To do otherwise can be dangerous and disrespectful. Yes the ultimate responsibility lies within the viewer- to be educated and discerning.

Like I've said I haven't seen the episode, but from what I've read it was irresponsible. She fought him until he was bleeding, and to turn that into just some extension of their relationship is just gross in my opinion-rape is not just a "technical term". I would love to know how the mostly male audience of that show views it. Do any men still believe in such a thing as "rape fantasy"?
MrsSpringsteen is offline  
Old 06-28-2006, 01:27 PM   #19
Refugee
 
Muggsy's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: I live in colombia, with a box of watercolors and butterflies in my tummy
Posts: 2,033
Local Time: 07:20 AM
Quote:
Originally posted by maycocksean


And for me this raises the question: Does art have any responsiblities? And if so what are the responsibilities of art? Are there certain messages about humanity and life that art is required to communicate or can it "say anything?" Can art communicate evil, offensive, and wrong messages, or is that no longer art? Is all art okay? Or is some art "unacceptable" and if so, who decides what is acceptable and what is not?

I don't know the answers to these questions but I'm curious to know what others' thoughts on this are?
^
some ideas i have

* Art in general has a responsability as a manifestation of the Human's nature. I mean, through art we will see how people used to perceive the reality (Humans symbolize their own reality) in a certain era. Obviously, art can't be all around the beautiful and the light, it explores our dark and ugly side too and that whats makes art so icky for many people. To deny the ugliness and the cruelty in art is in fact deny the ugliness and the cruelty in our lives.

* when you talk about art that doesn't "mean" anything, we can talk about an aesthetic research: the inner "beauty" of the piece of art. But even if that piece isn't intended to mean something it has to produce some emotional reaction, and the public will relate that piece with many of the symbols that they have in their heads. When you give a piece of art to the world is not your piece anymore... maybe you had an argument behind that piece, but all the ones who will look at it will give their own arguments too.

* there are many artists who want their art to be "unnaceptable" and that's a part of their artistic position. Many artist want to generate visceral reactions in their public and that reactions are part of the piece, it is not complete without the rage, the disgust of the people who will see it. Obviously the artists has an ethic who will restrain them to certain point.

*Art sometimes is like and open wound... it hurts, and it is ugly but it let us to take a peek inside of ourselves, the flesh and the maggots.
Muggsy is offline  
Old 06-28-2006, 01:27 PM   #20
Blue Crack Addict
 
MrsSpringsteen's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2002
Posts: 26,340
Local Time: 08:20 AM
a video report on cnn.com

http://www.cnn.com/video/player/play...ape.scene.affl

Denis Leary says something like "some people got it and some people didn't, that's the difference between those who should watch the show and those who shouldn't" That's quite an arrogant statement. Hmm what exactly does he mean by that?

It sure looked like a violent rape in that scene, they even put a graphic content warning on the report.
__________________

MrsSpringsteen is offline  
 

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off



All times are GMT -5. The time now is 07:20 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Design, images and all things inclusive copyright © Interference.com
×