Fox's new series 9-1-1 is an emergency services procedural with a bit of a twist — the emergencies these everyday heroes are responding to are pretty f***ed up. That's to be expected as the show comes from Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk, the guys behind a series that featured a blistered Chloe Sevigny crawling out of a basement to haunt a playground. These guys just don't do "normal."
Yes, there's some interpersonal and past drama that the characters from 9-1-1 face, but c'mon, we're not watching 9-1-1 to see Connie Britton get boinked by some stud a decade and a half younger than her, we're watching to see just how bizarre these 9-1-1 calls can get.
The interesting thing is that no matter how far-fetched these emergency calls sound, Murphy and Falchuk told reporters at the Television Critics Association winter press tour that they were inspired by real events captured on viral videos.
With the show on break until the Winter Olympics concludes, we figured now is the best time to run down the wackiest, deadliest and weirdest emergencies the characters have had to respond to, with proof that they happened IRL too.
1. Congrats, it's a pipe baby! (Episode 1)
We were just getting settled into what this show was all about when the pilot episode threw a truly insane situation at us. A stoner dude called 9-1-1 to report that he heard a baby crying in the wall of his apartment complex. Yeah right, Tommy Chong, you just hit that spliff too hard. Except these weren't the delusions of a blunted bro, and the fire department ripped open the wall to remove a section of plumbing that had a newborn baby in it. One guy lubed up the tube with defibrillator gel and *shloop* the baby popped out and was taken to the hospital.
How did that baby get there? A disapproving father had his very pregnant teenage daughter give birth in their apartment and then flushed the little guy down the crapper. Baby got stuck, baby cried.
"I'd actually seen the YouTube video for it," star Oliver Stark said earlier this year. "So I wondered at that point if this was based on it or if it was purely coincidence. I went and saw that video in the production office and said, 'Oh, I've seen this, I remember this, I know what happens to this baby.'" But he never thought he'd be getting paid to recreate the video for work.
2. You must be this dead to ride this coaster (Episode 2)
Roller coasters are bent into shapes in order to not kill people, but their real intent is to become a murder machine. That's a fact. So when one decides to torment those who abuse it for their own personal entertainment, it can lead to deadly results.
That's what happened in Episode 2, as a death coaster got stuck in mid-loop. But to dramatize things a bit, 9-1-1 left riders dangling from their seats (always make sure that lap bar is secure, folks), and two riders splatted to their death on the ground below. Thankfully that didn't happen to the passengers in the many YouTube videos of coasters gone crazy.
3. Bounce house of pain (Episode 3)
In 9-1-1's third episode, things at a kid's birthday party are going innocently bouncy when nature decides enough's enough and a gust of wind blows a bounce house off the edge of a cliff (putting a bounce house near the edge of a cliff probably wasn't in the instruction manual) with kids trapped inside. And it doesn't just roll around on the ground like a runaway beach ball, it takes off like it has wings and is cleared for landing at Burbank Airport. It's a moment that you'll definitely finding yourself laughing at, and that's OK, because it's objectively hilarious. Luckily, no one is killed in the incident in the show, but that kid's dad will probably just stick to Bobo the Clown next birthday.
You watched this episode and thought, "There's NO WAY this actually happened ever. Nope, not a chance." No way can a bounce house, one of the most omnipresent attractions available to rich kids' birthday parties, become a balloon ride of misery, right? Wrong-o!
4. Chim gets a splitting headache (Episode 3)
Ever since Lethal Weapon 2 turned a car accident into a guillotine by surfboard, I've been more worried about what's coming through the windshield during a fender bender than what's going to smash into the back of my ride. Firefighter Chim (Kenneth Choi) was driving somewhere after a fight with his girlfriend, and a few skids later he smashed into one of those dividers that separates freeway from freeway exit. Everything was fine and — OH GOD A PIECE OF REBAR SHOT THROUGH HIS WINDSHIELD AND THROUGH HIS HEAD!
Chim was still able to function and talk, and didn't even realize he had rebar through his brain because the human body is an amazing machine that constantly perplexes us. I step on a Lego and I'm in the back of an ambulance, this guys gets a steel rod through his brain and he's taking selfies. Chim survived the surgery, and even made it back to the firehouse to angrily eat cake while younger firefighters found hot dates on Valentine's Day.
Again, you're probably like, "No way, this dude would be dead." YouTube says otherwise. WARNING: These videos too graphic and disgusting to show here, but if you really want to see it because you're some kind of sicko, there's one on YouTube. In fact there are all kinds of videos of guys with things going through their heads, because apparently that's what kind of society we live in.
5. I now pronounce you man and whyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy didn't we check the structural integrity of the wedding site? (Episode 5)
Family weddings are great! Everyone gets drunk and your best friend hooks up with your cousin. Big weddings and dance parties are even better, because Uncle Edward and your mom get jiggy on the dancefloor as soon as "Y.M.C.A." comes on and you contemplate the idea that you might be adopted.
But big weddings take a lot of planning, so allow me to suggest one more responsibility for the best man: checking to make sure the dancefloor isn't made of balsa wood. The opening of 9-1-1's fifth episode featured a joyous wedding where the wedding crasher was disaster, as the floor collapsed and sent all the wedding guests free-falling through the building like a cartoon. Whatever the case, 16 people died and one person got impaled. That's going to put a damper on the newlyweds' anniversary.
As the first season has gone on, we've seen 9-1-1 recreate these YouTube vids almost shot for shot, and this one is the biggest example. This show is basically someone flipping through YouTube disasters with some soap opera drama thrown in until we get to the next emergency. How amazing is that?
6. I hope he didn't pay extra for wax (Episode 5)
The first responders aren't really allowed to laugh at the mishaps of others — the bounce house horror was treated incredibly seriously even though it was one of the top TV comedy moments of the year — but this one was an exception. One employee at an automated car wash got a little too close to a spinning brush and became a human centrifuge, twirling him around like a breakdancer on ice. He survived, but doctors say he will be walking in circles for the next three years.
And yes, the real life inspiration for this is just as funny.
9-1-1 returns Wednesday, Feb. 28 at 9/8c on Fox.