12:43pm PT by Marisa Guthrie
'Rescue Me' Co-Creator Peter Tolan Drops Pants During Panel
BEVERLY HILLS – It may be a first for the Television Critics Association press tour. During a raucous and profanity filled panel with Rescue Me co-creators Denis Leary and Peter Tolan and series stars Steven Pasquale and Callie Thorne, Tolan actually dropped trou to reveal rather white legs and skimpy turquoise and black striped briefs.
For media reporters accustomed to the Leary/Tolan TCA performance, it was nevertheless an outrageous moment.
After Tolan pulled his pants up, Leary chimed in that he’d take his pants down too, but he wasn’t wearing any underwear.
Tolan ribbed Pasquale, Thorne and Leary for all heading over to USA Network. Thorne stars in Necessary Roughness, Pasquale plays a day trader with a gambling problem in the USA pilot Over/Under and Leary is writing a comedy pilot about paramedics called Sirens.
Tolan joked that he would be doing “very mild janitorial work [at USA]. And working for just a few weeks as [USA co-president] Jeff Wachtel’s fluffer.”
When a reporter observed that Leary would be remembered for his portrayal of psychologically damaged firefighter Tommy Gavin, Tolan said: “I think you’re forgetting Operation Dumbo Drop.”
This prompted Leary to clutch his chest.
Pasquale was asked if there was anything he didn’t get to do during his years playing the rather dumb and monosyllabic Sean Garrity.
“Form a pretty complete sentence," he said.
On a more serious note, Tolan noted that Rescue Me was one of the few successful pieces of popular entertainment to spring from the tragedy of Sept. 11, 2001.
“It’s the only one that was accepted and lasted and I think the real reason is because we always approached it with humor,” he said.
Tolan and Leary said they kicked around a grim end for Tommy Gavin including multiple suicide scenarios; having him sit down in a chair during a fire and let the carbon monoxide overwhelm him; or walk into the ocean and drown.
“It was just a very negative message,” said Tolan. “So we decided to go with something a little more hopeful.”
Rescue Me’s series finale airs Sept. 7, days before the tenth anniversary of 9/11.
“We thought that ending it at the tenth anniversary of 9/11 would be perfect,” said Leary. “There would be a natural feeling of summing up. Plus Peter and I really hated each other in the end and [FX president and general manager] John Landgraf was sick of giving us notes.”