The Maniacs At ‘9-1-1’ Did Their Most Deranged Emergency Yet

Versie Dortch

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 – Stay with me here

There’s a long and storied history of 9-1-1 doing just the most lunatic stuff you can imagine. The first episode of the first season featured a woman almost getting strangled to death by her own pet snake. A child floated away inside a bouncy house on a windy day. A body fell out of an airplane and landed on top of another dead body that was in a coffin, during a funeral, in front of everyone. Just last week, in the season premiere, a blimp crashed into a soccer stadium. It’s a fun show. But it might have topped all of that this week.

Let’s set the scene: A dude is watering the plants in his little garden. He’s kind of obsessive about it, to the degree he has cameras installed all around the house to monitor them. This is his wife.


File that away.

So he notices the ground around the garden sinking a little and assumes he has rodents or something burrowing underneath the yard. This leads to an extensive montage of anti-vermin measures taken over the musical backing of, I swear to god…


Again, a wonderful television program.

After the montage, and I must stress that we are maybe four minutes into the show here at most, the husband comes home early from work and his wife rushes out of the house all flustered to greet him.

Remember the thing about him caring more about the plants than her?

Remember the thing about all the cameras?

Keep filing those away.


The husband starts getting fed up. He’s not catching these rodents with his conventional traps. So he takes extreme measures. What kind of extreme measures, you ask, as though I’m not going to tell you with words and more screencaps as soon as this sentence is over?

I’m glad you asked. He set off a bomb. Under their yard. There was an explosion and everything. His wife was very concerned, which would be a normal reaction for anyone whose spouse just blew up the yard…


… but she was, like, very concerned. Like “call the ambulance right away” concerned. Which seemed odd, until you remember the things I told you to file away and the fact that this show is staffed with maniacs who spend all day thinking up the most unhinged scenarios they can get their brains to spit out. All of which is to say, yes, of course the woman had been having an affair with the neighbor, who had built a full-on drug smuggler tunnel under the ground between their houses so he could sneak over without getting caught on the husband’s cameras.

A visual representation will help. Let’s do that.


It was amazing. There was a whole second montage of him excitedly diving into his tunnel whenever the husband left for work and then popping up through a hole in the closet on her side, everyone all smiles and raging libidos. I laughed out loud. A lot. I mean…


Two notes here:

  • The neighbor’s name was Gary, which is somehow the perfect name for the kind of dude who builds a tunnel to have an affair with his garden-obsessed dweeby neighbor’s neglected wife
  • Gary survived the tunnel bomb

It’s a happy ending.


Well, uh, kind of. The husband sort of admitted to the firefighters that he suspected the neighbor was down there in the tunnel and blew him up anyway. So… he got arrested. For attempted murder via backyard tunnel bomb. Which would be a really fun story to see on the local news. Please consider this my pitch for a 9-1-1 spinoff that does just that, tells the stories from every episode of the show through the lens of a local Los Angeles news affiliate. We can do crossover episodes sometimes. A cameraman can try to electrocute an anchor he doesn’t like. I don’t know. I’m just spitballing here. These people are clearly the experts. Let’s leave it to them.

ITEM NUMBER TWO – Well, guess what: Colin Farrell got kicked by a donkey

Focus Features

You hear a lot about behind-the-scenes drama on movie sets. This person didn’t like that person, or this guy didn’t like that the other guy got paid more than him, or the whole cast didn’t like the way the director went about the directing. Look at the run-up to Don’t Worry Darling and its various alleged shouting matches and workplace romances and potential spit-based fiascos. Look at the Fast & Furious franchise and its infamous beef between its two beefiest stars. This is all familiar territory.

What is less familiar, however, is a donkey kicking the star of a movie. Which is a shame, kind of. Not that I want to see Hollywood stars get kicked by donkeys. I mean, I do, a little, at least in a way that doesn’t leave anyone maimed or injured horribly. I could go for lots of stories about big stars getting a little light to moderate donkey kicking. I could go for one or two a month, honestly. That’s why it brings me so much pleasure to inform all of you that Colin Farrell got kicked by a donkey on the set of his new movie, Banshees of Inisherin.

“Ah, Jenny was tricky,” Farrell recalls, sitting down alongside McDonagh and Brendan Gleeson in a new Empire interview. “It was her first film, but she acted like it was her 100th. She was kind of over it. Kind of jaded,” he jokes. “She didn’t like her nose being touched, I found out. She kicked me in the knee. But that was my fault. I got too close to her.”

The thing here, which I swear made sense when it first popped into my brain, is that Colin Farrell is pretty much the perfect person to get kicked by a donkey on the set of a movie. He’s attractive and talented enough that there’s a petty part of me that’s like “Yeah, good, I’m glad that donkey kicked him,” but he’s also so charming and likable that he can tell a story about getting kicked in the leg by a donkey and make it sound like a little light goofing around on set. There are some celebrities who would probably want the thing euthanized. Right there. Between shots.

So, I guess everything worked out here, is the m-

Farrell fared better with another animal, Minnie the horse – but proved similarly unlucky with a canine co-star. “Minnie was great,” he says. “Minnie proved that there’s no such thing as small parts, just small actors. And [Gleeson’s] dog! I fucking got bitten by your fucking dog! I still have the scar. The donkey kicked me, the dog bit me…”

Hmm. I guess the takeaway here is that a lot of animals hate Colin Farrell. Maybe they’re a little petty about the good looks and talent, too. At least they’re kind of allowed to kick him and bite him about it, though. If I did it, they would lock me up.

ITEM NUMBER THREE – Jim, please go inside (do not actually go inside)

Two things are undeniably true here: One, sometimes Mother Nature will wage war against the planet via natural disaster, be it tornado or blizzard or hurricane, as she did this week with Hurricane Ian in Florida; two, whenever she does that first thing, Weather Channel meteorologist Jim Cantore will drive to wherever it’s happening and stare her straight in the face in defiance of good sense and most life insurance policies.

That’s him up there — wearing a helmet, which is the first sign you’re doing something reckless — getting walloped by a semi-airborne tree branch on live television. It’s also him down here avoiding getting struck by lightning right on his helmet by a small enough distance that he damn near leaped out of the frame.

I don’t know why we keep doing this. Why we keep sending our most charismatic weather professionals into harm’s way whenever we see nasty conditions. Why we don’t just, like, set up a camera or fly in a drone and let them report from the safety and warmth of a television studio. Where there’s no dangerous flying debris or lightning strikes. And coffee. Donuts, too, sometimes. I’m not the smartest man alive but I do know that, as a general policy, I want to be wherever the donuts are. That’s what I’m about.

Jim… not so much. The man loves this stuff. He lives for it. I genuinely think it might be his favorite part of his job, which is kind of weird and kind of cool, pretty much in equal parts. He’s almost definitely the only member of the Weather Hall of Fame — a real thing he is a real member of — who has a four-paragraph entry on his Wikipedia page under the heading “Viral Videos”:

On January 28, 2014, while doing a live on-location report at the College of Charleston in Charleston, South Carolina, Cantore was charged by a student named Colin Marcelli. Cantore noticed the charge, and kneed Marcelli in the groin. Marcelli immediately ran off. Cantore never broke his train of thought nor appeared frazzled during the incident. A recording of the shot has gained upwards of two million views on YouTube.

On February 14, 2015, while covering the impacts of Winter Storm Neptune along the South Shore of Massachusetts, an intense band of thundersnow struck the area, causing Cantore to react excitedly to the presence of the ultra-rare phenomenon. The video of his reaction now has over 5,000,000 views on YouTube.

On October 10, 2018, while covering landfall of Hurricane Michael in Panama City Beach, Florida, Cantore was forced to quickly dodge a flying piece of lumber while reporting live. Video of the incident was viewed on Twitter more than 500,000 times in the hour after its occurrence.

On September 28, 2022, while covering Category 4 Hurricane Ian, Cantore was hit by a flying tree branch in the eyewall of the storm at Punta Gorda, Florida.

So… I guess my point is… congratulations?

To Jim Cantore?

On the… hurricane?

I’m just going to stay inside. Near the donuts. Again, this is, in a nutshell, what I am about.

ITEM NUMBER FOUR – Oh look, a movie for Brian

Getty Image

Sometimes you’ll hear someone is making a movie about something and you’ll slap yourself in the forehead and say, “Oh duh, someone should have made like three movies about that already, Jesus Christ, what was our problem?” Maybe it’s just me who does that. In any event, I did just do exactly that, this week, when I saw that Jonathan Majors was zeroing in on the role of Dennis Rodman in a movie about the time Dennis Rodman ran off to Las Vegas with Carmen Electra for 48 hours in the middle of the 1998 NBA Finals.

I want this movie right now. I want to watch it this weekend. I would actually prefer to stop typing this paragraph and watch it immediately if anyone knows how to fold space and time in half to make that happen. Look at this thing.

Everybody had heard the rumors of this crazy story when it first happened in the ’90s, but it was recently given the spotlight again following the success of the Michael Jordan-Chicago Bulls doc The Last Dance, which premiered to massive numbers last May. The incident was given the full treatment in the doc, with everyone from Jordan to coach Phil Jackson to supermodel Carmen Electra talking about what went down as Rodman took the trip all while the Bulls were trying to complete its second three-peat championship run.

I know people always say stuff like “imagine if that happened today,” but, like, imagine if that happened today. In the age of social media. Where everyone could take pictures of the 6’8 heavily-tattooed NBA All-Star and his Playmate girlfriend hanging around Las Vegas during the NBA Finals his very famous team is very much trying to win. Where NBA Twitter would vibrate with such intensity about it that you’d be able to hear a disquieting hum in the air every time you went outside. Where ESPN has about 150 hours of programming to fill over a half dozen channels every single day. It would be chaos. Woj and Shams might start glowing, literally. I would like it a lot.

Anyway, the biggest question I have now is who they’re going to get to play Michael Jordan in the scene where Jordan reportedly showed up in Vegas to collect Rodman and he was just chilling in his bed with Carmen Electra when the greatest player in the history of basketball marched into his room. God, I need this movie.


Film it as fast as you can.

ITEM NUMBER FIVE – This is just very good

Snoop Dogg was on Celebrity Wheel of Fortune. That’s… cool. It’s really cool. It’s a fun thing to say and a fun thing to type and a fun thing to just have be a real thing that happened. It’s weird, kind of, given the thing where he was once one of the most divisive figures in all of popular music due to various murder-related lyrics and his love of marijuana. But time softens things. He did a cooking show with Martha Stewart. You can basically buy weed at the store now. We have much bigger problems to deal with. Let Snoop solve some puzzles.

Or rather, uh, let Snoop try to solve some puzzles. It didn’t go great. Watch that video up there. It’s really very funny. You can read this paragraph instead if you want, I guess, but I really do recommend you watch that video first.

When the board only showed a few letters, he guessed: “Baking onions.” The right answer was actually “Baking brownies.” “Martha’s gonna be upset,” joked the host. Another guess he made was “Airport teacher” instead of “Acting teacher.” An even more baffling guess was “Swallowing the knot” instead of “Sweetening the pot.” Somehow they became weirder as he went on. However, he finally had his moment of redemption with “Sun’s out bun’s out.”

God bless everyone involved in making this a reality. Let Snoop do all the game shows. Get him on Holey Moley. The people deserve this. I deserve it, at the very least. I am people. Listen to me.


If you have questions about television, movies, food, local news, weather, or whatever you want, shoot them to me on Twitter or at [email protected] (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 Mark:

My friends and I played this game the other night and I think you would enjoy it, too. You can have your pick of any celebrity to appear as a guest on Hot Ones. The only rules are they can’t have been a guest on Hot Ones before and they have to be alive. That’s it. Who are you picking? I feel like you’ll pick Vin Diesel. Are you picking Vin Diesel?

Oh man, what a good email. I could think about this one for days. And I have been, seeing as Mark sent this on Tuesday and I’m just writing this up Thursday night. I am really good at time management.

To answer the question: No, I am not picking Vin Diesel, actually. And to answer the original question: I am picking Joe Pera, Buffalo comedian and star of the now-canceled beautiful little show Joe Pera Talks With You. Look at this sweet man.

Anyway, my reasons for this selection are as follows:

  • He’s great
  • I think he would be a good guest
  • I want to see what happens to his face when he eats a really spicy chicken wing

Hot Ones, if you are reading this, please book Joe Pera on the upcoming season. Thank you.


To the cosmos!

A NASA spacecraft has intentionally slammed into an asteroid in humanity’s first test of planetary defense.

Every now and then a piece of news will lodge itself into my brain and refuse to leave until I learn every single thing about it. That’s what happened here. I could not stop reading articles about the NASA DART mission. Which was good, mostly because it pushed the international chess cheating scandal out of my head. That was becoming a problem. I had other things to do this week. Like, for example, apparently, reading about space things.

While the asteroid, Dimorphos, was not at risk of impacting Earth, this demonstration could determine how to deflect space rocks that could pose a threat to Earth in the future.

A couple of things are worth noting here: The first is that, for all the talk about “smashing” and “crashing” and “slamming” the spaceship into the asteroid, if you watched the actual video, it just kind of looked like a light little bonking. Like a nudge. Which brings me to the second thing: After years of watching movies like Armageddon where people go to space and blow stuff up to save the planet, this was all somehow equally disappointing and hilarious. Just a lil bonk. Boop. Get out of there, buddy.

At the time of impact, Didymos and Dimorphos were relatively close to Earth – within 6.8 million miles (11 million kilometers). The team estimates that the spacecraft hit the asteroid at a point about 55 feet (17 meters) away from the space rock’s center.

The goal of the spacecraft, in addition to impact, is to affect the motion of an asteroid in space, but DART team members say it will take about two months for scientists to determine if the asteroid’s orbit changed

The funniest thing — I use this term very loosely here — would be if we all miscalculated and ended up knocking this thing straight into ourselves. That would be a real apocalyptic kick in the pants. Maybe then we could explode it, though. Let’s see how this one plays out.

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