The summer comedy series is as sharp as the season it started. Despite being a show about a New York firefighter directly affected by Sept. 11, 2001, as well as battling alcoholism, Denis Leary and co-creator Peter Tolan handle the heaviness very hilariously.
Last season, Tommy Gavin, played by Leary, started drinking again while juggling two women, his ex-wife, Janet, and his sister-in-law, Sheila.
Hiding his alcoholism became increasingly difficult when his co-worker and fellow firefighter, Mike, received an inheritance from his mom's death, which he used to open a bar that needed Tommy's and the other firefighters' help to run. Of course, Tommy would take advantage and stay there most nights after closing to get wasted. The season ended with Uncle Teddy coming to the bar and shooting Tommy nearly killing him.
Actually, Tommy WAS killed and this sixth season started with Tommy coming back from the dead. Tommy talks about it and his friends speculate, but the question remains. Where did Tommy go when he died? Heaven or Hell?
Wherever he went, one would think a near-death experience might change Tommy. One would think it'd make him see how alcohol is destroying his life, see how he's wallowing, see how he's making bad choices, and see how he needs to change his behavior, but no!
Since Tommy clearly isn't going to rescue himself from himself, others are going to have to do it for him. At least, Tommy can't get drunk in Mike's bar. It now has a new owner, Cousin Eddie, played by Terry Serpico. Cousin Eddie is more of a hard-ass than Tommy's sponsor and other cousin Mickey, played by Robert John Burke who really is tough as nails.
Tommy does try but so many things are happening with which he can't deal. Eventually, he goes back to drinking. First off, his firehouse is threatened to be closed, so the firefighters have to plan a fundraising, community cookout. Sheila, who is scary sexy, is pressuring Tommy to get her son Damien out of the firehouse. Tommy's daughter, Colleen, has a drinking problem herself and the ghosts that haunt Tommy are getting more and more combative.
Of the living people who are also becoming more combative, there's Tommy's ex-wife, Janet, played by Andrea Roth. Last season, Emmy-winner Michael J. Fox guest-starred as Janet's handicapped yet virile boyfriend, Dwight who was also quite combative. Of course Tommy had a problem with Dwight.
This season, Janet appears to have burgeoning feelings for Franco, played by Daniel Sunjata. With Dwight, Tommy had somewhat of a leg up literally, but with Franco, Tommy can't compete. Franco is so much of a hunk that he even attracts lesbians, which he did last season.
Larenz Tate plays Black Shawn who joined the cast a season or two ago and is now dating Colleen. It was enough that Tommy had a co-worker involved with his daughter. Now, he has a co-worker potentially involved with his ex-wife. It makes Tommy particularly jealous.
This season continues with the show's classic, split-screen, cell phone conversations with Tommy always getting into it with some member of his family. The series also continues such classy scenes of the firefighters sitting in the lounge or break room starting out chatting about genuine or real issues and then devolving into talk of masturbation. These talks are always particularly funny and foul.
Besides having Tommy walk-in to find half-naked men in places they perhaps shouldn't be, I think one of the most hilarious situations so far this season has got to be in episode 3, "Comeback," when Tommy's firehouse confronts their rivals with Ladder 74. They face their mirror or perhaps prism images. Their battle over who was going to save a heroin addict had me cracking up.
Literally, a couple of days before seeing that episode, I heard a joke in a movie called Violet Tendences that was copied on this show. Not that it was ripped off, but, outside an unrated indie film, it's the kind of joke that only this show could handle or even attempt to do. It was a joke involving a fu-pa. Check the urban dictionary, if you don't know what a fu-pa is.
Episode 5, "Blackout" had a plot that was ripped from last summer's hit comedy The Hangover, but adapted to fit this series made it work even better.
Five Stars out of Five Rated TV-MA Running Time: 1 hr. Airs Tuesdays at 10 p.m. on FX