Wednesday, August 24, 2011

{alltv} Rescue Me's John Scurti on the Final Episodes: "Lou Steps Back Up"

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[Warning: The following story contains mild spoilers from Wednesday's episode of Rescue Me. Read at your own risk.]

There are a couple of co-stars John Scurti wishes he'd had fewer scenes with in Rescue Me's final season.

"I honestly wished we could have given the doughnuts and cupcakes a rest at some point," Scurti tells "You pick your battles. I just remember there was a lot of it ... and I didn't think it was that necessary. I hope that people aren't jarred by it."

The prop pastries have been a nearly constant presence during the seventh season as the series explores the continually troubling health of Scurti's character, Lou. "It was kind of a drag to have everybody commenting on your weight all the time and how unhealthy you are," Scurti says. "And even though it's a character, I've got to sit around and listen to this s--- all day long.  It wasn't the most pleasant stuff in the world to shoot. Plus, I felt really sorry for what was happening to my character.

"Every avenue he's ever gone down has basically ended in some sort of heartache for him," he continues. "So in my mind, he was becoming more isolated. He was eating more; he was drinking more. He was just being a lot unhealthier than you've ever seen him before."

What's keeping Lou going, Scurti says, is being able to do the job he loves. "That's the one thing getting him out of bed in the morning," he says. "He's really kind of lost control over a certain part of his life, but the one thing that he's got is his job as a fireman."

To that end, viewers saw a renewed spark in Lou in Wednesday's episode when he got the better of Franco (Daniel Sunjata), who had temporarily assumed the role of lieutenant only to fail miserably. Scurti promises it will be that Lou — not the cupcake-clutching sad sack — that will remain through the series' final two episodes.

"After all this kind of plays out, Lou steps back up," Scurti says. "And he basically saves all of their lives."

Will that heroism be able to repair the latest rift between Lou and Tommy (Denis Leary)? After Lou prematurely delivered letters Tommy had written to his loved ones in case he died — and told those loved ones that Tommy was going to retire from the fire service — Tommy called out Lou for his betrayal. Scurti says not to expect a warm and fuzzy ending for these old friends.

"They're never going to agree on everything," he says. "There's so much love between those two guys, but they just drive each other crazy. "I certainly glad we didn't go in the other direction with an 'I love you, buddy.' Nobody would have bought it anyway. I think it's great that they go down to the wire fighting."

Scurti also promises that the show will stay true to its blend of heart-wrenching drama and side-splitting comedy in its final hour. "I think it's kind of a brilliant ending to the whole show," he says. "Instead of becoming weepy and having this Kleenex festival, people are going to piss in their pants. It's so horribly, horribly wrong, yet so horribly, horribly right for Rescue Me."

And despite Lou's last-season dependence on doughnuts, Scurti, who wrapped shooting the show more than a year ago, still gets emotional thinking about letting go of the Rescue Me experience. "There were good days and there were bad days, but even the bad days weren't that bad," he says. "I hope I can be incredibly lucky and get on a show that's half as much fun, and half as good as Rescue Me was.

"It was a moment in history," he continues. "It was tied in with one of the defining moments of a generation, it was emotional, and it was funny. It was all there. It was a dream job. I miss Lou. I miss playing him, and it was really hard to say goodbye to him."

Rescue Me's series finale airs Wednesday, Sept. 7  at 10/9c on FX.

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