9-1-1 has become a caricature of itself this season

9-1-1: L-R: Oliver Stark, Peter Krause and Aisha Hinds in the “New Beginnings” episode of 9-1-1 airing Monday, March 18 (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. © 2019 FOX Broadcasting. Cr. Michael Becker / FOX.
9-1-1: L-R: Oliver Stark, Peter Krause and Aisha Hinds in the “New Beginnings” episode of 9-1-1 airing Monday, March 18 (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. © 2019 FOX Broadcasting. Cr. Michael Becker / FOX. /

Season two of 9-1-1 has dialed up the dramatics, which begs us to ask the question of whether or not this series has become a caricature of itself.

I’ll be completely honest here, I didn’t expect much from 9-1-1 when it first premiered last fall.

It looked like one of your run-of-the-mill disaster shows with the exception of the show taking a look inside the emotionally hard world that is being a 9-1-1 operator. About three episodes in, I was hooked. The acting, action, and drama were in perfect sync with each other, and if it wasn’t for the surprising success of The Masked Singer, one could argue that 9-1-1 would have been Fox’s flagship hit.

So naturally, I had high hopes for season three of this somewhat formulaic, but highly interesting series.

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Those hopes were quickly dashed by the second episode of the season.

To catch you up, the season three’s arc is built around a tsunami that wreaked all kinds of damage in Santa Monica. Buck, who quit the LAFD in the first episode, gets trapped in a floating fire engine with his friend’s kid along with a handful of survivors.

Of course, a tsunami would provide a ton of drama and action, but the second episode dialed the dramatics up to a point wherein some parts of the episode, it’s almost comical. Take the part where Maddie (Jennifer Love Hewitt) tries to save a person drowning in his attic. The who point of Maddie hearing this guy slowing drowning is already dramatic enough, but Maddie lays on an extra thick layer of drama just to make sure that we know that this is a heavy dramatic scene.

Then there was the car pileup.

Athena (Angela Bassett) and her daughter, May, in up in a car pileup in downtown L.A. While trying to treat the injured, water from the tsunami begins to back up in the drainage system and overflow onto the streets. To add dramatic effect, a downed wire (which was the source of the pileup) has electrified the water, leaving May, who was tending to a seriously injured woman, trapped in the car.

In a moment of quickly summoned bravery by a scared May who is trying to keep the injured woman calm, she gives us an almost cartoonish monolog about how she’s only 17-years-old and has no idea what she’s doing, but implore the injured woman to hold on for dear life. After help arrives, May believes the woman is dead, but her mom comes back to tell her that her daughter’s bravery is what kept the woman alive.

We can already foresee how this turns out — May realizes her calling to be a first responder and follows in her footsteps.

Oh, and I almost forgot this gem of a scene:

This is what I mean when I say 9-1-1 is getting to a point of becoming a caricature. It’s almost like we can predict the future and tell how this season is going to end up. No need for spoilers, folks. But what has bothered me most about the third season is how over-dramatic it has become.  It seems as if every character got a directive to really go in on the dramatics, and in the end, it comes off as forces, formulaic, and cartoonish.

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Granted, 9-1-1 has never been a naturally dramatic series. I mean, it seems as if L.A. is in the grip of tragedy every day its’ comical. The difference between the first two seasons and season three, however, is that the drama wasn’t as in-your-face as it is now, which makes the season a bit too hard to watch.

Hopefully, it will improve, but I seriously doubt it. 9-1-1 used to be a promising series that could spawn spinoffs. Now, I am the point where I and my friends can play a drinking game every time a scene gets predicted to be dramatic.

For the record, that isn’t a compliment.