Exit Stage Left.

Somewhere in New York, I'm hoping the cast and crew of Rescue Me is getting shit-faced and duking it out with each other. You may find that term crude and obnoxious, but any other word used to describe those people getting drunk just wouldn't seem appropriate. Tonight, the curtain drops on Rescue Me.

rescue me
rescue me

It's hard to describe the emotions I feel for what is to be the end of a show I called my favorite for so many years.

Rescue Me's appeal is difficult to pin down. It has heroism. It has comedy. It has drama. It can be lewd. Inspiring. And poignant.

All great works of art are all that and more.

Now, you may find me calling Rescue Me a work of art blasphemous, but I would passionately disagree. For the record, so would the Smithsonian, which inducted props from the show into its hallowed walls just this year. I got news for you, they don't do that for just any program.

It's fitting that Rescue Me ends right around the same time as the 10th anniversary of 9/11, as so much of the show's content, both seen and unseen, was derived from that horrific day. As a nation, and as individuals, we're still trying to come to terms with what happened. So are the characters. In fact, it's hard to imagine another show so deftly handling the delicate tightrope of emotions that come about from such a tragedy.

Rescue Me did just that.

And it did so much more.

For those of us who loved it, Rescue Me became a constant flickering pulse in the background of our ordinary, mundane lives. Even when the storylines dragged a bit long or became a bit too soap opera for its own good, we kept watching. Because at its best, Rescue Me is a snapshot of what most of the men in America think on any given day.

I have never seen a show so accurately portray the beautiful idiocy that is men. The guys from Rescue Me weren't just characters, they were brothers and friends each of us came to know and love. One minute they're talking about the fire they just narrowly escaped, the next a dissertation on jerking off. And through all of that nonsense, nothing matters more than the one word common thread these guys understand most- respect. This is a world where no subject is off-limits, but respect is earned, not given. The code of honor and friendship amongst each other matters most, and those not worthy enough might as well watch some other superficial bro-show.

Of course, Dennis Leary was at the core of that mixed bag of misfits. It's a travesty he hasn't won some sort of Emmy for his work as Tommy Gavin. There aren't a lot of shows on television that have the balls to do what Rescue Me does, and no one deserves more credit than him. In an age where finding a show that has BOTH comedy and drama becomes increasingly hard, Leary did it with ease. Oh, and he threw action into it too. Let's see your Mad Men do that.

Rescue Me has been criminally undervalued by the people in charge of 'esteemed' awards for far too long... call it the curse of FX's brilliance. It's something the new kid on the block, Sons Of Anarchy, is finding out as well. Go ahead and heap your love and adoration on other, glossy shows... I'll take the grit of Rescue Me, because I know they'll also make me laugh.

But no matter.

Rescue Me doesn't need awards or Hollywood ass-kicking schmooze-fests to know its effect.

Its legacy is in fans like me. Fans who cared about each and every character on the show, the ultimate award in any work or art.

Just last week, I watched in horror at one of the most gripping moments I have ever witnessed on television when Tommy and his crew rushed into a burning building, only to find their one route of escape cemented shut.

Those 12 minutes or so of television caused me to wake up in the middle of the night, lost at the thought of their outcome.

And so tonight, the end will occur. Like a one-time heavyweight champ getting in one last knockdown, I expect nothing short of tears.

From where I stand, how can you not take the time to see this beautiful show end.

In closing, I'd like to thank the people who made that show come alive.

Raise em' up boys, you did well.

You most certainly did well.