2018 has gotten off to a rocky start — teens are eating Tide Pods, President Donald Trump is spending his time handing out Fake News Awards, Justin Timberlake has become a Man of the Woods — but there has been one good thing this year: the arrival of 9–1–1.
Fox’s adrenaline-fueled clusterfuck comes from Ryan Murphy, the mind behind artistically ambitious, critically acclaimed projects like the American Crime Story, American Horror Story, and Feud anthology series. 9–1–1 is not that. It is a show about the people — played by legitimately good actors like Angela Bassett, Connie Britton, and Peter Krause — who respond to emergency situations in Los Angeles. It is less concerned with an actual narrative than with upping the ridiculous stakes of said emergency situations. To wit, the premiere featured a baby stuck in a pipe who needed to be squeezed out with lube, a robber getting stopped via fire hose, and a woman who was nearly constricted to death by an albino Burmese python before being saved by a firefighter sex addict named Buck. They later had sex. (Quick aside: I had an albino Burmese python as a pet during my childhood reptile phase, and he was a good boy and never strangled me.) The second episode featured folks dangling from a roller coaster, and then Buck had sex with a trauma therapist, because sex addict Buck is irresistible, and the best-worst part of 9–1–1.
9–1–1 is truly terrible, and I can’t stop watching it.
So, in celebration of the television program — and as a coping mechanism for this obsession I’ve somehow developed — we have created 9–1–1 Watch, a running feature in which we will check in with this show and all of its absurdity and Connie Britton–ness. Let’s get going.
The Wildest Shit That Happened on 9–1–1 This Week
How did 9–1–1 top itself in Week 3, you ask? Naturally, by thrusting a metal spike through the cranium of one of its main characters.
This is Howie (Kenneth Choi) — but even if you watch 9–1–1, it is possible that you did not know his name was Howie, because the other firefighters have nicknamed him “Chimney,” in what feels like an arcane form of punishment (to my knowledge, nobody else has a firefighter-themed nickname, but I’m holding out hope for someone called Blake “Dalmatian” Dominguez). How did Chimney get here? Strap yourselves in.
Chimney has a girlfriend named Tatiana, who he’s super into, but their relationship isn’t all that stable because she’s an adrenaline junkie who finds the whole firefighter thing hot. “Is it bad that the phrase ‘when we were rappelling down’ turns me on so much?” is an actual quote from Tatiana this week. When Bobby (Peter Krause, earn that check!) tells him the relationship is probably on weak footing after Chimney proposed to Tatiana and she just sorta looked perplexed about the whole thing, Chimney storms off blasting rock music and speeding down the highway. Enter spike in head.
Somehow, Chimney survives — because his brain isn’t located in his head, I’m guessing? — and they rush him to the hospital where some brain surgeons carefully remove the spike and put him in a medically induced coma. These are some good doctors! And if you’re wondering: No, none of the surgeons were The Good Doctor; 9–1–1 is a Fox show, and The Good Doctor is an ABC show, so a crossover is super unlikely (but would be welcome). Chimney wakes up from his coma at the end of the episode and holds Peter Krause’s hand, so he’ll live another day to (maybe) rappel down something and arouse adrenaline junkies.
Elsewhere on 9–1–1, a bouncy castle flew in the air because the wind was strong.
(A quick shout-out to the two dudes who saw this traumatic thing happening and immediately pulled out their phones.)
Again, somehow, nobody dies here, even though an adult man literally fell out of the bouncy castle midair onto a cliff. Good thing the fire department is used to peculiar cases (see: python strangling, baby stuck in pipe, spike in coworker’s head). And now, some weekly 9–1–1 awards:
Best Interruption of a Delicious Firehouse Dinner: One of my favorite early 9–1–1 tropes is when the firefighters prepare intricate meals that they’re never allowed to eat because somehow they are always interrupted by an emergency.
In this episode, when Bobby, Buck, and Hen (Aisha Hinds) are about to dig in, they receive a call that Chimney has been in an unusual car accident. (Turns out, it was quite unusual, because a spike was in his head.)
Best Out-of-Context Buck Quote: A tie between “It’s a flesh wound, Obamacare!” and “Is it wrong I was stoked there was an emergency?”
Best Reminder That Connie Britton’s Character, Abby, Is Single: Abby is an emergency dispatcher, which means the character is mostly Connie Britton answering a phone and looking very confused. When Abby is not at work, she’s taking care of her mom, who has Alzheimer’s. Everyone in her orbit will remind her that, because she’s taking care of her mom, her dating life is quite difficult.
In Week 3, Abby’s brother says this: “Ever since Mom has been here, you’ve been alone.” It’s always dope to be reminded by a sibling that you’re a lonely, sad loser.
Best Angela Bassett Live-Tweet:
Come back next week, when a plane crashes and is stranded at sea! (This is not a joke.)