Fox has wrapped up it’s sophomore season of “9-1-1″, a procedural drama about a group of firefighters, police, and 9-1-1 dispatchers set in Los Angeles. It’s not a terrible show. The show has some fun stories, and boasts a talented cast that includes Peter Krause, Angela Bassett, Kenneth Choi, Aisha Hinds, and Connie Britton, whom left after season one. She departed abruptly, leaving firefighter Buck, played by man candy Oliver Stark, the counterpart to her May-December romance, in the dust to wonder why for a handful of episodes, before finally moving on. Enter Buck’s baggage packing sister Maddie, played by none other than “Ghost Whisperer’s” Jennifer Love Hewitt. Maddie’s arrival is meant to fill the Connie Britton void. Stopping short of incest, brother Buck is still left bereft.
So Maggie, having left behind an abusive lover is hired as a rookie 9-1-1 operator. But there’s a problem. Maggie’s ex is a real jerk and she’s hiding in LA, hoping he doesn’t track her down. Alas, he does, and he comes and nearly murders her. I’m little shamed to say I was honestly rooting for his character. Not because I condone abuse or murder. Both of those things are pretty bad. I do however condone murdering off the show, any character played by Jennifer Love Hewitt. She’s show poison. She popped up in the show “Criminal Minds,” a show I will sometimes watch to lull me to sleep, to surely bring in some inflated storyline. I don’t know what happened to her character, but she left. Maybe she died. At any rate “9-1-1” had a huge opportunity to cut her loose, but squandered it.
The show runners blew it again on the penultimate episode of season two as Maggie contemplates her existence as a 9-1-1 operator. She’s thinking of moving on due to feeling unfulfilled. She disparages her job by saying “Here I just send the help. I need to get back to giving it.” She used to be a nurse see, and being a 9-1-1 operator is clearly beneath her. That same dialogue read by any other capable actress and I would have no problem.
For some reason though, J-Love makes my skin crawl. She delivers every ounce of dialogue as though nothing anyone said before this moment right here and now matters. A much better show would have been “Party of Four.” Just saying. Now Maggie is up in arms because most of her calls end without her knowing the outcome. Get over it! Oh but she can’t because she’s meant for much bigger things.
In order to keep her on as a 9-1-1 operator, her coworker stages an intervention of sorts at a restaurant. He gathered all of the past callers from the season, who all stand up and give their testimony on how her talking with them had some profound impact on them. Because that happens. Listen, I’m sure it does, but this was a damn sight excessive. Now Maggie knows this is truly her calling and she’s here to stay. Gross.
The show sans Jennifer Love Hewitt would be much better. In the case of this show, a person can easily look past every other actor’s cheesy dialogue, but not hers. Her contract must have some kind of rider that dictates she get an over sensational story line, meant to eclipse the already somewhat sensational story lines of everyone else on the show. I loathe her breathy delivery. I keep waiting for an out of control bus to barrel through her third floor apartment and take her out. In conclusion, if I called 9-1-1 and Jennifer Love Hewitt picked up, I’d be like “Oh god no!” and say “Sorry, can I talk to someone else?” Then I’d wait as my house burns down around me and murderers with knives close in around all my loved ones.