The Rundown: A Few Notes About The Exploding Bull Semen Factory On ‘9-1-1: Lonestar’

The Rundown is a weekly column that highlights some of the biggest, weirdest, and most notable events of the week in entertainment. The number of items could vary, as could the subject matter. It will not always make a ton of sense. Some items might not even be about entertainment, to be honest, or from this week. The important thing is that it’s Friday, and we are here to have some fun.

ITEM NUMBER ONE — I’m just surprised it took this long, honestly

When we last checked in with 9-1-1: Lonestar, a few weeks ago, right after the Texas-based 9-1-1 spinoff premiered, Rob Lowe was assembling a team of diverse firefighters from around the country to come to Austin and rebuild a firehouse that had been decimated by an explosion at a manure factory that was triggered by, I swear to God, a bumbling security guard who tried to reheat his burrito in the microwave before taking the aluminum foil off. In the episodes since, we’ve had a tornado and a steak-eating mishap that resulted in urine spraying the walls of a local eatery and, no, I will not explain that last thing for you. Not today, at least. There’s no time. A factory full of bull semen is about to explode.

This will be simpler to explain in note form. Let’s do some notes:

— As with every preposterous disaster on these shows, we begin with a short story that contains an obvious good guy and an obvious bad guy. Here, we have a farmer who is trying to acquire semen from his recently deceased bull, Jericho, who he “raised from a calf” and has strong feelings about. The owner of the facility that stores and sells the bull semen, however (and, to be clear, this is an artificial insemination situation, not lunatics just hoarding and selling bull semen for kicks), has jacked up the price now that Jericho is gone, for supply and demand reasons that he explained right before saying this:


— The guy couldn’t afford the new price, so he showed up later in the evening and, as one does, set the bull semen facility on fire.

— Big flames, loud booms, Rob Lowe and his team show up to fight the blaze, at which point a few things happen. First, large containers start screaming out of the building, through the windows, and into the crowd. Then, the 9-1-1 operator informs them that the facility stores bull semen packed with flammable material. Then, Rob Lowe puts two and two together and realizes exactly what is in the containers that are raining down around them like artillery rounds, and he described it thusly:


— The firefighters enter the facility to try to save the poor schmuck who started the fire and I really must emphasize here that bull semen is flying everywhere. Not, like, loose bull semen. It’s still in the containers. But every now and then there’s a PINGPEW and then WHOOSH a container of bull semen goes whizzing by like a cannonball filled with the seeds of life. I will not be making a GIF or screencap of this because neither would do it justice. You need the sound. Go watch the show.

— They get him out safely, against staggering odds, and drag him out into the neighboring field, beyond where any of the whistling jugs of bull sperm have landed after flying out of the facility. Everyone is safe. No jug could possibly fly that far. Right?



— The container barely misses them. Everyone is in shock. How could it have possibly flown that far, out past all the others, if they all contained the same material that is packaged the same way? Well, I am pleased to report that our bull semen arsonist has a theory.


Just perfect, all of it, up to and including the thing where I got to type “bull semen” almost a dozen times today. I’m giddy. What a beautiful television program. They’ve blown up a manure plant and a bull semen facility and they’ve only been on the air a month. I’m both delighted and terrified about where this could be headed next.

Before moving on, however, I should also note the following things, just for the sake of comprehensiveness:

— The episode opened with a fight that broke out at a male strip club and ended with one woman’s tiara lodged into another woman’s face, while the tiara was still attached to the first woman’s head via hair weave.

— Later in the episode, Rob Lowe’s character had trouble performing during a fling with a character played by Justified alum Natalie Zea, who is a psychology professor with a specialty in sex things (the character, not Natalie Zea, probably), but then, at their follow-up date, he got an erection from eating good sushi and they literally said “Check, please” and rushed out of the restaurant.

It’s a good show. I think that’s what I’m getting at.

ITEM NUMBER TWO — Good night, eventually, sweet prince


Bosch, Amazon’s longest-running original series and my favorite television show about a loose cannon homicide detective who is terrible at putting his hands in his pockets, is coming to an end. Not terribly soon, mind you. But it is happening. Via Deadline:

Bosch is getting an early renewal and an end date. Amazon has picked up a seventh and final season of its hit drama series starring Titus Welliver and based on Michael Connelly’s bestselling books. The renewal comes ahead of Bosch’s sixth-season premiere later in 2020 on Amazon Prime Video.

Two more seasons is still plenty of Bosch, and it’s nice that Amazon gave the show plenty of time and runway to pull everything in for a landing, but I’m still a little bummed. I have fun with Bosch — for being a total dad show, for being the type of show where other characters are constantly grumbling the main character’s name under their breath, for being the type of show where someone questions Bosch’s methods and his partner replies, “He gets results” — but the truth is that it is just about the best version of the show it’s trying to be.

And it should be! There’s so much talent involved. Eric Overmeyer, a veteran of The Wire, is the showrunner. Other Wire alums are sprinkled in liberally, from Jamie Hector as Bosch’s partner to Lance Reddick as the grumbly police chief. Lance Reddick is so good in Bosch. Jesus Christ, is he ever good in Bosch. The man was born to play displeased authority figures, which is, I promise, a compliment. Between his voice and posture and general gravitas (General Gravitas = good fake name) I think I’d start crying if he ever admonished me. I don’t even know what I’d do if he ever looked at me like this.


I imagine I’d just burrow underground and live in the dirt for the rest of my stupid, useless life. Ugh. Even just watching him look at someone else like that hurts me. Uggghhhh. Look at that face! And then he rolls up the window and has his driver pull off. Just devastating and ice cold. I adore it.

Anyway, yes, this was all just an excuse to post the picture at the top of this section and the GIF at the bottom, so mission accomplished. Big shouts to me and Bosch and Lance Reddick.

ITEM NUMBER THREE — Congrats to Korg

Plenty of words have been spilled about the 2020 Oscars, more than a few of them on this very website. The ceremony itself was mostly a snoozer except for the part where poor Bong Joon-Ho kept repeating his desire to get a cocktail but the Academy kept insisting on making him walk up to the stage to accept awards. It was rude, really. Leave the man alone! He just wanted to relax! Come on!

Also of note, Taika Waititi won for his Jojo Rabbit screenplay. This is awesome for three primary reasons: One, because Taika Waititi is a goofy rascal and I love him; two, because he directed Thor: Ragnarok, which is such a fun weirdo experiment that I kind of can’t believe Marvel let him make it; three, he voiced Korg in Ragnarok and Korg is the greatest.

Korg has an Oscar. Things are okay sometimes.

ITEM NUMBER FOUR — Brian Cox is having an almost unreasonable amount of fun right now


We have covered Brian Cox pretty frequently of late in this column, and with good reason: Brian Cox rules. From his quotes in interviews to his new gig as a hamburger salesman, the man who gives life to Logan Roy on Succession seems to be really living it up right now and enjoying the fruits of his labors. Good. Great. Wonderful. But that doesn’t mean it can’t get a little surreal sometimes. Case in point.

“It was a #metoo evening with Ronan Farrow. It was a very serious evening and afterwards I was suddenly surrounded by a coterie of women and one or two of them, maybe three, said quietly, with their cameras, ‘would you tell us to fuck off’ and I said ‘is that really appropriate, a white dinosaur like me’. It’s kind of stirred the pot a lot, which is what you want drama to do.”

Imagine you’ve never seen Succession and you’re at a fancy gala and you see some old dude with a beard shouting dismissive expletives at a group of women in ball gowns as they all cheer and laugh. Think about how you’d react to that, how you would process it, or even begin to process it. It wouldn’t be that much less weird if someone went ahead and tried to give you context.

Congrats to Brian Cox on the role of a lifetime and also on a lifetime of cussing out strangers on the street with relative impunity. The dream.

ITEM NUMBER FIVE — Do… do I hate this?


I’m torn. I’m really torn. Not about Disney+ bringing back The Mighty Ducks as a television show. I’ve come to terms with the slew of reboots and reimagining and continuations that have been flooding our various screens over the past decade or so. This isn’t going to ruin my childhood retroactively or anything. There’s even a net good to it all if it becomes something parents and kids end up watching together and bonding over. No, the thing I’m torn about is that, in the new version starring Lauren Graham, the Mighty Ducks are the bad guys now.

“In the reboot, which is set in present day Minnesota, the Mighty Ducks have evolved from scrappy underdogs to an ultra-competitive, powerhouse youth hockey team. After 12-year-old Evan is unceremoniously cut from the Ducks, he and his mom Alex (Graham) set out to build their own ragtag team of misfits to challenge the cutthroat, win-at-all-costs culture of competitive youth sports.”

See, on one hand, of course the Ducks would be bad guys now. Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely and the Ducks have been nothing but powerful. They overthrew their own dominant local pee-wee hockey dynasty, they won the world championship, they… beat the varsity team at their fancy new prep school, which, in hindsight, was very weird because they had, again, just been crowned champions of the world but suddenly everyone was like, “You JV scrubs are nothing,” like they hadn’t seen the kids destroy Iceland in a tense final game.

Sorry, got distracted. My point here is: This is the cycle of things. David topples Goliath, David becomes Goliath, a new David comes along and topples the new Goliath. You see it in sports and business and just about everything else. It’s good. It’s healthy. Down with the ruling class, the people must rise up, etc.

On the other hand, I… I don’t like it. That’s all. I just don’t like it. It’s like a Spider-man movie where he’s 50 and mad with power and crushing New York under his webbed thumb. It feels… wrong. But on the other other hand (I have three hands in this analogy, work with me), I’m a childless man in my 30s so maybe my opinion on the whole matter is kind of unimportant. Wow, that’s actually a little freeing. Yeah, let’s just roll with this one.

Down with the Ducks.


If you have questions about television, movies, food, local news, weather, or whatever you want, shoot them to me on Twitter or at (put “RUNDOWN” in the subject line). I am the first writer to ever answer reader mail in a column. Do not look up this last part.

From Paul:

I saw a preview for the Apple TV+ Beastie Boys documentary from Spike Jonze and it got me thinking that the Beastie Boys may be the best fake name music collaborators of all time, no? For instance, the music video for “Sabotage” alone contains the following:

– Sir Stewart Wallace
– Nathan Wind as Cochese
– Vic Colfari as Bobby, “The Rookie”
– Alasondro Alegre as “The Chief”
– Fred Kelly as Bunny

This doesn’t even scratch the surface of MCA busting up the VMAs pretending to be a Swiss man named “Nathaniel Hornblower” claiming to have had a dream since he was a small boy of Spike Jonze winning the award for best director while also claiming to have come up with the “idea for Star Wars and everything.”

I guess this was all just a long winded way of getting you to talk about how dang good and funny the Beastie Boys are.

I like this email a lot. It is full of good and true information, it is thorough enough that I don’t need to do any real research, and it is going to give me a really good excuse to post the video for “Sabotage” in a minute. No complaints anywhere. Paul, you are doing great and I appreciate it.

The only other thing I’ll add, and it is admittedly something I’ve mentioned before, maybe even more than once, is that the audiobook for their recently released memoir-thing, Beastie Boys Book, is great. Some of the chapters are narrated by the surviving members of the group, some are read by a collection of celebrities and longtime Beastie fans, one is read by Rosie Perez and is probably my favorite audiobook chapter ever. Rosie really gets after it. It’s good. Rosie Perez should read most, if not all audiobooks. Just one man’s opinion.

As promised:


To Australia!

A man has been jailed for rorting drought-affected farmers and spending their money on lingerie and theme parks.

Three things:

  • “Rorting” is an Australian term that means, basically, to pull a grift or flim-flam, often on a public service or good, and I’m very happy to have learned that and be sharing it with you
  • “Spending their money on lingerie and theme parks” is a hell of collection of words
  • Wait until you see the name of the guy who is charged with this swindle

Ready? Are you? Are you really ready? Be sure. Okay, here goes…

Parkes man Stephen John Swindle was found guilty of defrauding farmers of $80,000 in a hay scam that lasted for more than two years.

Three more things:

  • Stephen Swindle!
  • The guy who bamboozled farmers out of money to spend it on lingerie and theme parks is named Stephen Swindle!
  • Please, I’m begging you, do not overlook the phrase “hay scam” in all of this clamor I’m making

Solid rorting, in my opinion.