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14 9-1-1 Emergencies Ranked From Weird To Horrific

Police, fire, and medical dramas have been the Jell-O of evening TV lineups for decades; no matter how much audiences have already had, there always seems to be room for more. But in a world that's lousy with first responder shows, "9-1-1" stands apart by refusing to take itself too seriously, which stands to reason since its creators are seasoned camp purveyors Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk ("Nip/Tuck," "Glee," "American Horror Story").

The series follows the professional and personal lives of Los Angeles emergency responders including LAFD Station 118, LAPD officer Athena Grant (Angela Bassett), and several 9-1-1 dispatchers. Woven through the responders' personal drama are ripped-from-the-headlines emergency calls ranging from wacky to wild to horrifying to mundane. No matter how bizarre or traumatizing the call, the responders generally get through them with focus and professionalism, deftly compartmentalizing all of the melodrama in their own orbits.

If we've learned anything from Station 118, it's that things could always be worse. From animal antics to impalements, here are the best "9-1-1" emergencies, on a scale from weird to horrific.

14. The poop date

Getting impaled sounds pretty horrifying, but just imagine getting stuck in a window next to a bag of your own poo on the worst first date ever. In Season 3, Episode 12 of "9-1-1" ("Fools") that's exactly what happened to one poor soul. After a successful dinner date, online match Gary (Jeremy Culhane) and Tessa (Rachel Rosenbloom) are ready to Netflix and chill. But just as their steamy makeout sesh is kicking off, Tessa breaks the first rule of Date Club: you poop before, you poop after, but you never poop during.

Gary's toilet isn't up to the challenge of Tessa's vegan diet, and loverboy doesn't have a plunger. Tessa panic-flushes the toilet to the point of flooding, then scoops her solids into one of Gary's hand towels, tying it up like a doodoo dim sum to toss it out his second-story apartment window. When the devil's dumpling lands on the ledge, Tessa's horror compounds — and in a moment of pure instinct, she climbs onto the window frame and squeezes out the window to knock it off. But she doesn't quite reach the tofurkey towel, and instead gets helplessly stuck halfway out the window.

Thankfully, the 118 are quick to save the day, even if it means dodging Tessa's boom-boom bomb as it falls off the ledge. Perhaps more thankfully for Tessa, the story has a happy ending when, despite having his original wood cut out, Gary invites her to stick around. After all, the heart wants what the heart wants.

13. The adventures of Tarmac Guy

It's good to love your job, and no one in Los Angeles seems to love theirs more than LAX baggage handler Darrell (Thomas Daniel Smith). Unfortunately, good workers are often surrounded by slackers, and Darrell's unprofessional colleagues nearly get him killed, not once but twice. 

In "Christmas Spirit" (Season 3, Episode 10), this deadly-poor judgment comes from his fellow baggage handler as they're loading baggage onto a full catering cart. Not willing to wait for another cart, coworker Wade (Daniel Curtis Lee) jams a set of golf clubs onto the driver's seat, inadvertently pressing the accelerator. From there, things go completely haywire as the golf cart takes off, spinning wildly to Tchaikovsky's "Nutcracker Suite."

Onlookers watch from the gate as heroic Darrell rams the cart with another vehicle, knocking it onto his side. But the celebration is short-lived when Darrell gets sucked into a jet engine. Because this is "9-1-1," he magically survives, but to his own peril. 

In Season 4, Episode 8 ("Breaking Point"), a burnt-out flight attendant, tired of the constant abuse by passengers, takes the emergency slide while waiting to taxi, bottle of champagne in hand. Hero that he is, Darrell tries to help, but the flight attendant lands on top of him, quite literally putting a cork in him as the champagne pops. After Hen (Aisha Hinds) and Chim (Kenneth Choi) free the cork from his throat, Darrell unsurprisingly announces his resignation, proving that everyone has their breaking point.

12. The adventures of Shay's Army of Mayhem

It really shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone anymore when influencer stunts go awry in the worst possible ways. Yet, despite their ever-mounting tally of Darwin Awards, influencers just can't help themselves, eagerly embarking on stupid stunt after stunt in the unending quest for likes and shares. In "9-1-1," the worst (but by no means only) offenders are Shay's Army, a group of thrillseekers led by Logan Paul-wannabe Shay.

In Season 2, Episode 1 ("Under Pressure"), Shay (Josh Duvendeck) and Mitchell (Amos Blackmon) convince Jesse to let them cement his head into a microwave right next to an in-ground swimming pool. As the 118 attempt to liberate the terrified dudebro from the offending appliance, he panics and, predictably, goes full headless chicken into the swimming pool. Eddie (Ryan Guzman) and Buck (Oliver Stark) hastily retrieve him, and the responders finish saving the day. Unsurprisingly, the trio resurface in Season 3, Episode 12 ("Fools") to prove that motorcycles and playgrounds don't mix when the G-force of a bike on a roundabout toy leads to an eye-popping outcome.

11. Trapped in the ATM

Season 2, Episode 4 of "9-1-1" ("Stuck") deals with stories about people stuck in all sorts of things both literal and figurative, including a security guard stuck between two buildings, a woman with her head stuck in a tailpipe, and a guy stuck in an escalator. But perhaps most surprising is the call about a talking ATM. Playing out almost identically to a real-life story it's based on, the story begins when an ATM technician gets locked inside the ATM vault before realizing he has left his phone in the car. 

With no way to call for help and his voice muted by the ATM, he does the only thing he can — passing notes through the receipt slot. Unfortunately for the tech, the jaded ATM customers who get them think it's a joke, until he hits them where it hurts by withholding cash withdrawals until someone calls 9-1-1. His Hail Mary works, and thanks to the 118, the sweaty-but-grateful tech is successfully withdrawn from the cash machine.

10. The booby-trapped house

Over the course of the series, "9-1-1" has put its responders in some pretty hairy situations, and they're always up to the task. But few have been dicier than Season 1, Episode 9 ("Trapped") when the 118 found themselves in "Indiana Jones 5: Hoarders of the Lost Ark." Paranoid Winslow and his agoraphobic brother Cecil live in a home only a minotaur could love, complete with newspaper tunnels and booby traps around every corner. When Winslow accidentally triggers a cave-in, it's up to the 118 to excavate him from the piles upon piles of countless books, newspapers, old clothing, and trash.

After Buck takes a bowling ball to the dome, dispatch puts Captain Bobby Nash (Peter Krause) through to Cecil, who tells Bobby he can't disarm the traps because he is blind. Cecil directs Bobby on where to go, but he warns the captain of a circular saw blade booby trap that "will cut you right in two." Chim navigates the tunnel, disarming the Deus ex clock that conveniently connects to every single booby trap, and together, the 118 rescues both brothers, and Cecil feels sunlight on his face for the first time in decades.

9. The robot attack

There are many recurrent themes on "9-1-1," from birthday party disasters to unlikely electrocutions, and one of the best is the series' take on technology-run-amok. But unlike "Black Mirror," the results are more slasher slapstick than existential dread and can often be traced back to user error (or abuse). Such is the case in Season 3, Episode 8 ("Malfunction") when a fulfillment center robot goes haywire.

When the facility's tyrannical floor manager Shane declares bathroom breaks off-limits until the employees can keep up with the transport robots, overworked Jerome is left doing the pee-pee dance. With Shane blocking the bathroom, Jerome quietly relieves himself on Robot Number 3 and gets back to work. Moments later, the abused robot, ungrateful for the lemonade quencher, comes back for its revenge, taking down rows of the massive shelving on Jerome and itself, like some sort of robotic kamikaze. Jerome is crushed and nearly bleeds out under the weight of all that reasonably-priced merchandise, and countless online shoppers are forced to wait an extra day for their packages. Shudder.

8. Blue Christmas

It wouldn't be Christmas at Station 118 without people doing incredibly stupid things to themselves and generally living to tell the tale, which is exactly what happens when one woman goes full Tobias Funke and utterly smurfs herself on "9-1-1" Season 3, Episode 10 ("Christmas Spirit"). In pure agony and in need of a double root canal, Lorna is ingesting benzocaine tubefuls at a time because ... well, warning labels, schmorning labels, apparently. Lorna dials the magic number after waking up to find she's looking more Osmosis Jones Blue Christmas than Patsy Cline Blue Christmas, but the Violet Beauregarde look isn't the worst of it. 

Shortly after the 118 arrive, she starts seizing. Working through the symptoms together, Hen and Chim quickly diagnose Lorna as methemoglobinemic, a very real condition affecting the blood that causes the skin to only reflect blue light. Thanks to Chim's healing potion of methylene blue chloride, Lorna's hue quickly reverts from Andorian blue to pink skin once more. 

7. Pin the mom on the donkey

Only mom bloggers could transform something as wholesome as children's birthday parties into overthemed, monetized Stepfordian nightmares. In Season 4, Episode 10 of "9-1-1" ("Parenthood"), one mommy blogger learns that when you live for likes, the line between entertainment and humiliation can become all-too-blurred, as her son's micromanaged birthday goes completely off the rails. Instagrammer Beth Reidman (Gloria Votsis) hosts a cringe-laden 12th birthday party that's more for her sponsors than her kid. Bryson (Hudson West) wanted paintball or laser tag, but instead, he got Old McDonald right down to the Mommy & Me overalls and neckerchief.

Beth seals her fate when, after trying and failing to get Bryson to play "Pin the Tail on the Donkey," she releases him to the trampoline. When the rusted-out springs can't hack the pressure of Bryson's tween stress-jumping, the hooks come undone, projectile launching across the yard and pinning Beth to the donkey on the side of the barn like some kind of hillbilly stigmata. She's transported to the hospital — barn door and all! — atop the fire engine.

Thankfully, Beth's selfie-hand is expected to make a full recovery, and it seems it was all worth it when her humiliation goes viral.

6. That time the house got hexed

When you work at a firehouse, there's one word you never say out loud: Quiet. And in Season 4, Episode 6 of "9-1-1" ("Jinx"), we find out why when B-shift's new probie tells the gang his first shift was "pretty quiet." "We don't use the Q-word," Buck tells him as a stunned Hen and Chimney work out how to try to undo the curse. Seconds later, the alarm sounds, kicking off their day of weird emergencies within emergencies like a matryoshka doll of calamity. At first, a doubtful Eddie dismisses their panic as silly superstition, but he'll change his mind. They always do.

Over the course of their day, they encounter a host of wacky and bizarre calls. First, there's rapper Izzy Chainz buck naked and duct-taped to a billboard for publicity, where his presence is causing a disturbance of traffic. They contend with a helium tank disaster while surrounded by clowns, pull a lion head costume off one person's head and an octopus from another's face, and watch a man's garage turn into a July 4th fireworks display. At one point, they end up trapped in their own engine when a power line falls on it, Googling hex removal strategies involving bells and bay leaves.

5. The wedding crashers

Weddings can be a stressful time, and plenty can go wrong. But Savita and Prem's wedding in the "9-1-1" episode "Point of Origin" (Season 1, Episode 5) serves as a reminder that no matter how bad that catering disaster or drunken groomsman toast may seem, it could always be worse. When the floor collapses and drops the wedding guests and party two stories, the 118 arrive to find 16 DOA and counting, mainly due to crushing and impalement. While conducting the rescue, Bobby comes to realize the cause of the disaster: flimsy construction of a DIY third story by the building's owner.

It's an absolutely devastating scene based on the real-life Versailles Wedding Hall Disaster in Jerusalem that resulted in 23 deaths and 380 injuries. The ensuing investigation faulted a cheap, corner-cutting construction technique called Pal-Kal for the disaster, which resulted in the conviction of four engineers and the building's three owners. The technique has since been banned, but not before it cost many lives in pursuit of profit.

4. The pile-up

Multi-vehicle pile-ups are nothing new for "9-1-1." But the horrific multi-vehicle collision in "Blindsided" (Season 4, Episode 9) is the stuff of nightmares, as well as a solid argument for developing anti-drunk-driving tech. 9-1-1 operator Maddie (Jennifer Love Hewitt) takes a call from Jacob (Antonio Raul Corbo), who is trapped in the back seat while his mother, wasted on booze to the point of delirium, weaves in and out of traffic. Maddie tries in vain to speak with the boy's mother, but she won't respond. Maddie listens helplessly while Jacob cries out desperately for help, as the car enters the freeway going the wrong way, leaving a path of devastation in its wake.

Soon, calls begin flooding in from concerned drivers witnessing the mayhem. A sickening several minutes ensue as dispatch attempts to handle the calls and have the 710 shut down. But before police are able to shut down the freeway, the vehicle collides head-on with a shuttle bus, leading to a massive pile-up of at least two-dozen vehicles, including Chim's brother Albert (John Harlan Kim). While securing the scene, one responder's failure to disable the airbags results in an explosion that leaves himself and a car crash victim severely burned, further demoralizing everyone. The episode culminates in Albert's near-death psych-out and the birth of Chim and Maddie's daughter Jee-Yun, making it one of the more emotional points in the series.

3. The time Abby went off the rails

One of the things "9-1-1" does better than most responder fare is character development, and over the course of the series, few characters undergo more dynamic development than Evan Buckley. When Buck is first introduced, he is very much a stereotypical thrill-seeking playboy (emphasis on boy), until he meets 9-1-1 dispatcher Abigail Clark. Despite a 16-year age gap, Abby and Buck form a tight bond, and under the guidance of Captain Bobby Nash, the support of his house, and the love of a good woman, he starts to find out he's made of a lot more than just charm and slick moves.

Unfortunately, first heartbreak is some of the worst heartbreak, and Abby devastated Buck when she took off for Ireland and epically ghosted him, leaving Buck alone in her old apartment until he read the writing on the wall (and it took entirely too long for him to read it). 

Years later, Buck comes face-to-face with old wounds while responding to a catastrophic train derailment when he sees Abby at the site of the wreckage (Season 3, Episode 18, "What's Next?"). Abby is mostly unharmed, but her fiancé is trapped in the highest point of a train car that's now completely vertical. Abby pleads with Buck to save her fella's life, and because he's a big damn hero, Buck risks cutting through the side of the unsecured train car to do it.

2. The tsunami and the tsunami reboot

"9-1-1" kicked off Season 3 with a big splash when Buck, along with Eddie's son Christopher (Gavin McHugh), have their amusement park outing rudely interrupted by a deadly tsunami caused by an 8.9 earthquake all the way up in Alaska ("Kids Today"). In a truly ominous scene, Buck stands on the pier next to Chris and dozens of park-goers gazing out at the dramatically receded ocean as a wall of water barrels toward them like a freight train. Episode 2 ("Sink or Swim") picks up moments before "Kids Today" left off, detailing the carnage as the tsunami blasts its way through Los Angeles.

The devastation caused by the flooding (filmed using the same massive tanks as "Titanic") is amplified by the sickening anxiety of watching Buck struggle to find Christopher (whose mobility needs add an extra layer of fear) after the floodwater current pulled them apart. Thankfully, at the end of the three-episode arc, both come out in one piece, and their BFF status is solidified. A season later, the Biblical flood energy returns when microquakes crack open the Hollywood dam and wreak all manner of havoc including a flying bus, deconstructed Hollywood sign, and Chimney in a chimney. Time to update those homeowner's insurance policies, Angelenos.

1. The hack

In the hyper-connected modern world we live in, technology could be our downfall — at least, according to "9-1-1." With ransomware attacks hitting everything from water treatment plants to hospitals, the thought of an almost apocalyptic siege seems less far-fetched these days than it once did. That's exactly what happens in Season 5, Episode 1 of "9-1-1," when a highly sophisticated ransomware attack sends Los Angeles into a state of anarchy.

Demanding a cool $25 million, a hacker unleashes hell on the city, taking down the power grid and air traffic control, attacking phone networks, uncaging zoo animals, and driving smart cars into the water. Amid the chaos, the 118 handle a daring water rescue and a death-defying helicopter-off-roof scenario à la "Superman" (1978). But their most terrifying rescue plays out like a scene from "12 Monkeys" (1995) when, days into the blackout, they're called to an eerily-abandoned Hollywood Boulevard, which has been overtaken by creatures great and small.

Since the attack, the zoo's residents have been keeping animal control busy all over the city, including a pair of unhinged alpacas terrorizing a couple of retail workers. To get to the scene, the 118 walk past the Roosevelt Hotel to the Babylonian Arch, encountering two species of vultures, a gang of emus, a giraffe, an arctic wolf, several camels, and even an elephant. Eventually, they face down the fluffy villains armed only with a bag of chips, proving no scene is too wild for "9-1-1" first responders.