‘9-1-1’ Disaster Showdown: Freeway Shark Attack Vs. Surgery Gas Leak


There were four disasters on the spring premiere of 9-1-1 this week, maybe even five if we want to get a little loose with the terminology. There was a running story about a creep who abducted kids and raised them as his own, which is bad and not fun and was solved by Angela Bassett, who continues to be the only police officer in Los Angeles. There was the thing at the end where Jennifer Love Hewitt’s abusive ex showed up at her door and stabbed Chimney, the firefighter who almost died last season when a car accident jammed a piece of rebar into his brain through his forehead. And Angela Bassett’s judgmental mother came to visit and meet the new boyfriend, which might have actually been the bigger disaster of all.

But we’re not here to talk about those. We’re not here to talk about any of what I semi-lovingly refer to as the show’s “talky parts.” We’re here because things get weird on this show and someone — me, ideally — needs to document it. Let’s talk about some fun disasters. In fact, let’s pit them against each other and declare a winner. Let’s have ourselves a DISASTER SHOWDOWN, folks.

Yup. This is happening.

Mid-surgery gas leak!


The setup: A woman is going under anesthesia at a plastic surgery office. She is getting her face tightened up and lifted. As the staff is administering the medicine, she hears banging and is informed that there is construction happening in another part of the office. She wakes up later and discovers all of the staff is passed out around and on her, and she maintained consciousness throughout because of her oxygen tubes.

The emergency: I mean…


… that’ll do it. Not only did the staff pass out in the middle of her surgery, the construction workers passed out, too, included one who quite literally ran into a buzzsaw and woke up with the circular blade lodged in his chest. At least his face didn’t fall off of his head, though. Silver linings.

Analysis: I do not want my face to fall off of my head. I also do not want to wake up from anesthesia and discover my doctor is passed out on the floor. That sounds terrifying. One time I had to have a small procedure done and the anesthesiologist informed me, as I was going under, that the medicine they were giving me was “the Michael Jackson drug,” which was disconcerting for a number of reasons, including the fact that Michael Jackson died from it. That was upsetting enough, and I still woke up to a room full of alert doctors and my face still secured to my head. What I’m saying is that this is all not super ideal.

Freeway shark attack!


The setup: A woman and her daughter are arguing about college selection as they drive down the freeway. 9-1-1 is so great at this, the pointless small talk between characters you’ve never seen before that lets you know something insane is about to happen. And it does. A truck jackknifes in front of them and goes tumbling down the road with water splashing everywhere.

The emergency: Well, the truck had been transporting a tiger shark and one of the specialists on-board got his dang arm stuck in the shark’s clenched teeth while trying to help it survive on the exposed highway. The first responders use the jaws of life to free the man from the shark’s jaws of death, rush him to the hospital, and then take it upon themselves to finish transporting the shark to the open sea to be released. It leads to one of my favorite screencaps so far in 2019.


It’s even better, I imagine, if you have zero context. Yes, that is a lyric from “Touch of Grey” by the Grateful Dead. Yes, that was playing as they rushed the shark to the sea. The shark was released, safe and healthy. Everyone lived happily ever after, except maybe the guy who got his armed mangled in a freaking freeway shark attack.

Analysis: You fools! You released the shark into the open seas after it got a taste of sweet human flesh! It has the hunger now! Surfers everywhere are doomed! This could lead to dozens of casualties at SoCal beaches and… wait. Wait a second. I just realized we can’t rule out the possibility that this shark will return later this season on a Jaws-like feeding frenzy and have to be captured by firefighters on jet skis. It wouldn’t even be the weirdest thing this show did. Not even close, to be honest. So let’s all keep that in the back of our minds.


Hmm, tough call. One on hand, I do not want my face to fall off during a botched surgery. On the other hand, it is a little disquieting to think about a shark attacking you on land. I’m very scared of sharks and it was always kind of comforting to me that I’d be safe as long as I was on dry land. Now I have this in my brain. I’ll never get it out. Man, how annoying would it be to get your arm chomped by a shark on a highway? I’d be so mad, but I’d also be in shock so I’d be mad about the wrong parts of it. I’d end up in a viral YouTube clip shouting “YOU’RE NOT EVEN SUPPOSED TO BE HERE” in between humiliating screams. You can sew a face back on. The internet is forever.

Plus, I have “freeway shark, doo doo doo” to the tune of “Baby Shark” stuck in my head now. It’s been there all day. So that’s another disaster. Freeway shark is the winner.

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