Christmas is a magical time for many people in many ways, but especially for the disaster-prone residents of Southern California on 9-1-1. Those poor, hopeless goofs. Every year they suffer a menagerie of improbable holiday-themed personal tragedies and every year I giggle like a madman. My favorite was the time a waitress at a chain restaurant got her entire nose lopped off by a mistletoe-carrying drone. What an incredible television program. God bless us, every one.
This year's Christmas episode did not disappoint either. Did it open with a woman losing her mind over a toy and pepper-spraying everyone in the store, including the Santa Claus who tried to reason with her? I think you know it did. Was there a bit about a woman who turned her entire body blue by using a pain-relieving ointment for a toothache, all of it set to “Blue Christmas”? Of course. Were there long and often melodramatic things about the personal lives and struggles of the civil servants on the show? Yes, but we fast-forward through those. We are here for calamities only.
Which brings us to the main event. The reason for this post. The 9-1-1 Christmas episode featured one of the wildest things I've ever seen on network television. It was honestly incredible, like a complete short story that had nothing to do with anything. I was flabbergasted when I saw it. I'm still a little flabbergasted today.
Let's set the scene. A family is in the airport. They are going to Hawaii for Christmas. The dad tries to claim his golf clubs are a carry-on and the agent at the counter informs him that, no, you can't bring golf clubs on the plane. He's sad. He really loves these golf clubs, possibly more than his children.
CUT TO: Two baggage handlers loading luggage onto a cart. One is very thoughtful and concerned about breaking potential gifts. The other is just flinging bags around all willy-nilly. There are shattering noises. It's everything you suspect is happening to your bags every time they leave your sight. The golf clubs roll up on the conveyor, but there's no room in the back. The cranky employee refuses to wait for the next cart and attempts to jam the clubs into the front seat, right near the gas pedal. It goes... poorly.
Chaos ensues. People fleeing the tarmac. Bags everywhere. The cart is ripping unmanned donuts with no solution in sight.
The good baggage handler, wearing a Santa hat to show he has the holiday spirit, leaps into action. He hops into another cart and rams the ghost machine, tipping it over and ending the crisis. Hooray. Christmas is saved. Everyone give our hero a nice round of applau-...
Ladies and gentlemen, I have good news and bad news. The bad news is that, yes, our hero did in fact just get sucked into the whirring engine of a very large passenger airplane while wearing a Santa hat in the days before Christmas. The good news is that, somehow, because the holiday season and 9-1-1 are both full of miracles, he survived.
But how? How did he survive? How did a man survive getting sucked into the whirring engine of a large passenger plane? Shouldn't he have been shredded up like confetti and spit out all over the pavement? Why, it's almost like something flew into the engine first and blocked up the spinning blades. Something, like, say, a large bag filled with metal sticks. But where would anyone find a large bag of metal sticks on an airport tarmac? It seems a bit far-fetc-...
Yes. Yes, this is what happened. The golf clubs — the ones the ticket agent made the sad dad check, the ones the Scrooge-y baggage handler jammed into the cart, the ones the dad was extremely concerned about as the baggage cart screamed around the pavement and mowed down various employees...
... those golf clubs — stopped the motor and saved our hero's life. I couldn't believe it. I still can't believe it. Again, it had not a single thing to do with any of the actual dramatic beats on the show. It was just plopped in, right after Santa got pepper-sprayed, like a little story about the magic of Christmas and the physics of a 7-iron wrecking a plane's engine. It was strange and beautiful and I'm so happy I had this opportunity to share it with you.
The New Pope HBO, 9:00 p.m. - Confrontations abound this week. First, Cardinal Spalletta comes for Brannox, and then he must pass on some unfortunate news to Voiello, who’s also tying up loose ends elsewhere. And Sofia learns her husband’s secret, so yep, looks like a night full of religiously-toned drama.
9-1-1: Lone Star Fox, 8:00 p.m. - Riding high off the bull semen factory explosion, this episode’s emergencies include a gruesome farming accident and a ride-share that ends in disaster. Oh, a memorial service will go awry and possibly spawn another funeral. Yikes.
Prodigal Son Fox, 9:00 p.m. - The NYPD goes undercover at a funeral director convention where two key suspects, a pair of sketchy morticians, used to have professional dealings with a victim who was found in an already-embalmed state.
All American CW, 8:00 p.m. - Spencer’s looking to impress football recruiters, but everyone’s worried that he’s pushing himself too fast. Meanwhile, Coop’s distracted from his music with Layla by what’s going on outside.
McMillion$ HBO, 10:00 p.m. - This week, Frank Colombo’s unveiling the scam’s inner workings, which involved winning ticket trades and sales, all for Colombo getting a cut of the dough.
The Good Doctor ABC, 10:00 p.m. - The team’s looking toward an experimental procedure to treat a young boy who was born without a fully functional trachea, while Shaun and Carly are still dancing around his Lea friendship.
LATE NIGHT GUESTS RERUNS
Jimmy Kimmel Live!: Billy Crystal, The Tenderloins, and Kelsea Ballerini
The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon: RuPaul and Meghan Trainor
The Late Show With Stephen Colbert: Steve Martin, and Steve Martin with the Steep Canyon Rangers
Late Night With Seth Meyers: Ewan McGregor, Rob McElhenney, and Ilan Rubin
The Late Late Show With James Corden: Greta Gerwig, Baumbach, and Demetri Martin
A Little Late With Lilly Singh: Cameron Monaghan and Noel Fisher from Shameless