Rescue Me: Sexist?
I don't watch the show, but did stumble on the fact that a rape occurred on Rescue Me. Then, I read an article about in NJ Star Ledger. Here's a bit of it:
The writers had an opportunity to incorporate a more well-rounded woman into the guys' world with Laura, the female firefighter played by Diane Farr for parts of the first two seasons. Initially, Farr seemed there to fill the same role she played on Leary and Tolan's short-lived ABC cop comedy "The Job," as the tough woman who calls the guys on all their macho idiocy. Instead, Laura was thrown into an affair with Franco (a decision Tolan later regretted) and was proven to be incompetent at the work.
That was the whole point of that character, according to Leary, who railed at length against the real FDNY's relaxed physical standards for female and minority applicants -- "She shouldn't have been there," he said of Laura. "She wasn't capable of doing it." -- before acknowledging that "I've met female firefighters from other parts of the country who are supremely physically able to do the job."
In fact, Leary and Tolan are considering adding a new female firefighter next season, who Tolan said might be "a lesbian or somebody who's extremely capable in the job and the guys have to deal with that. They'll do the same thing, they'll say she shouldn't be there, but she'll prove herself and they'll have to accept her. And then you'll be getting that woman's viewpoint from a woman they are forced to respect for her abilities."
But right now, these are the female characters we have, and this is the scene we got, including Tommy's "I came, I saw, I conquered" expression as he walked out of the apartment -- which, to those who viewed the incident as rape, played as the show's endorsement of it.
My favorite part is the suggestion that only lesbians, among women, would be capable of being firefighters. Yeah, why don't they get Jenny from The L Word? I was thinking of Starbuck from Battlestar Gallactica, but she's into guys, so I doubt she could do it.
Now, I can't say for sure that the show is sexist having never seen it, but I don't doubt the makers are.