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'Rescue Me': Does it have free checking?

June 21, 2007 |  1:17 pm


It’s been almost 15 years (!) since the legendary “Seinfeld” episode “The Contest” introduced the phrase “master of your domain” to the pop culture lexicon. So it’s about time for another TV take on masturbation. This week, “Rescue Me” served up something equally memorable, if significantly raunchier: the “spank bank.”

As introduced by porn-lovin’ Maggie Gavin (Tatum O’Neal), it’s a mental filing cabinet of people and images stored for later…use. Of course, “Rescue Me” didn’t invent the spank bank (there’s also a reference to it in “The 40-Year Old Virgin”), but this week’s episode was probably the most extensive discussion of the concept yet in entertainment.

Back at the firehouse, Maggie’s dim-witted husband Sean (Steven Pasquale) brought up the question “Who’s in your spank bank?” After the expected round of celebrity names — or, in Tommy’s (Denis Leary) case, the not-so-expected mention of Ellen DeGeneres — the question backfired on Sean when he couldn’t resist admitting that Tommy’s wife Janet was in his.

Anything the writers do to place Sean in an awkward situation with Tommy is always good for laughs, and the spank bank reveal was typically well played by Pasquale and Leary. But it was the fearless, intelligently vulgar way that the subject was approached in the script by Leary and Peter Tolan that really sold the scene and proved these guys are masters of their own, unique, domain.

-- Geoff Berkshire

(Photo courtesy FX)