There’s a new show on Fox called 9-1-1. It has an incredible cast. Connie Britton plays a character who works in a Los Angeles emergency call center and cares for her ill mother. Peter Krause plays a fireman who is a recovering alcoholic. Angela Bassett plays a no-nonsense police officer whose marriage is falling apart because her husband just revealed that he has been hiding his homosexuality from her for years. The show checks all the boxes for your classic Peak TV prestige drama.
Guess how long it took the show to get a baby stuck in a toilet pipe.
Did you say “under 11 minutes”? I hope you did, because then you would be right, and I like giving people good news. In fact, let me give you some more good news. The emergency was called in by a stoner and when the fire department showed up, this is what he told them.
If all of this seems a little shocking to you (again, Angela Bassett and Connie Britton in a TV show where a stoner discovers a baby trapped in a pipe in his wall), let me provide some clarity: The show is produced by Ryan Murphy. He of American Stories Crime and Horror and any number of television shows in which wildly qualified thespians engage in just the looniest action you’ve ever seen. I do not mean that as a form of disrespect. I love it so much. Remember everything John Travolta did in The People v. O.J. Simpson? I do. I always will. This show is kind of like that. But different. The performances are more straightforward, which makes the whole thing even wilder, because the things that happened in the premiere were… hoo boy.
I’ll give you three examples. First, obviously, the baby in the pipe, which was the result of a scared teenage mother flushing it down the toilet in her apartment building and was resolved by Peter Krause cutting the pipe out of the wall and sawing the pipe down to baby size and squirting a ton of lube into it and sliding the baby out. I swear all of this is true. Here, look:
This is the best example of a television character saving a baby in a series premiere since James Van Der Beek emerged from a pond holding an obviously fake baby in the premiere of CSI: Cyber. Yes, I keep track of these things. No, I do not have to explain my life choices to you.
Number two: At the midpoint of the episode, a call comes in from a woman who is choking. Guess why she is choking. Did you say “Because one of her many snakes has wrapped itself around her neck and is squeezing the life out of her”? I bet you did. It feels like you’re getting the hang of this. And after a kind of long discussion about how to get her free — she’s been choking throughout the original call, and the time it took to get there, and their deliberations — they finally decid-…
Whooaaaa. I’ll be honest with you guys. Even after the baby thing, I did not expect “sudden snake decapitation.” And yet, there it is. And it is somehow barely crazier than what happens immediately after. The fireman who swung the axe, who is a young thrill-seeking possible sex addict hotshot nicknamed “Firehose” for exactly the reason you think, gets caught by Peter Krause having sex with the snake lady on top of her building, with the truck parked out front and the ladder fully extended to the roof. Peter Krause fires him. Which brings us to the third thing.
There is a home invasion. A young girl calls 911 while hiding in her bedroom, alone. Connie Britton dispatches Angela Bassett, but the little girl doesn’t know her address, so they’re frantically trying to figure out where she is. Connie Britton has an idea: She calls the fire department and asks them to drive through the area with the siren on so they can pick it up on the girl’s phone without tipping off and spooking the robbers. But! The fire department is on another call. The only person around is Firehose, the just-terminated loose cannon. So he takes out a truck and does it anyway and the plan works and they flush out the robbers, one of whom flees on a motorcycle and begins shooting at the cops.
Guess what happens next.
Did you guess… no hold on. Don’t guess. I want you to experience this with fresh eyes.
Yes. Yes. Firehose shot the robber off of the motorcycle with a firehose! God, I love this. I can’t stop watching it. It took me an extra 10 minutes to write this post because I can’t stop watching it. Look at him fly off the bike! I know it’s ridiculously early but it’s gonna be really hard to push this out of my top ten TV moments of the year. Which is saying something because it happened in the same episode a fireman decapitated a snake and then hooked up with its owner on her roof.
What a remarkable hour of television. I hope the show lasts for years and season six opens with them saving a dolphin that crashed an ATV during the X-Games. It sounds crazy, sure, but they’re burning through emergencies at a rate of “baby in a toilet pipe in the first 11 minutes.” Anything is possible now.