‘9-1-1’ Creator Says Buck’s Big Romantic Moment Has Been in the Works ‘A Long Time’ | lovebscott.com

‘9-1-1’ Creator Says Buck’s Big Romantic Moment Has Been in the Works ‘A Long Time’

SPOILER ALERT: This article contains spoilers from “Buck Bothered and Bewildered,” the fourth episode of “9-1-1” Season 7 on ABC.

via: The Wrap

Buck’s big romantic moment in “9-1-1” Season 7 may have been shocking to the firefighter, but for Oliver Stark — the actor behind the fan-favorite character — that wasn’t the case.

“We’ve been headed here for a long time, consciously or not. The threads have been there for some seasons now,” Stark told TheWrap.

The actor noted that he “immediately” loved the idea when series co-creator, showrunner and executive producer Tim Minear called and pitched a plot involving Buck slowly realizing he has a crush on former firefighter and current LAFD Air Operations pilot Tommy (Lou Ferrigno Jr.).

“I have been thinking about this story for a long time,” Minear told TheWrap. “I was kind of bored with the hamster wheel of the relationships [Buck] had been in. His story needed a slap. It needed some something fresh. This felt like it could be important to some people, and it felt like it was right for the character.”

Choosing Tommy as Buck’s new love interest came down to timing and Ferrigno’s charisma. Originally, Lucy was supposed to pilot the helicopter used to rescue Bobby (Peter Krause) and Athena (Angela Bassett) from the cruise ship disaster from the three-part premiere. But because of her role in Fox’s “Rescue: HI-Surf,” Arielle Kebbel was unavailable for the scene. That left Tommy.

“I remembered how much charisma Lou had in the scenes he didn’t have to play an a-shole,” Minear said. Tommy first appeared in “Hen Begins.” During these flashback episodes, Tommy fails to stand up for Chimney (Kenneth Choi) when he’s facing racial discrimination, a moral failing he later learns from.

Minear thought that Buck and Tommy would have good chemistry. Also, because Tommy already exists in this universe, that allowed him to establish a new love interest without having to invent and introduce an entirely new character.

The EP described Tommy as “Buck 3.0.” “Tommy’s a little bit older. He knows more of who he is than he did when he was at the 118. In fact, you will hear a little bit of that in the next episode,” he teased.

True to the episode’s title, “Buck, Bothered and Bewildered” shows off a rarely seen side of the character. Instead of the suave heartthrob he typically is, Buck stumbles over his words around Tommy and acts like a fumbling teenager.

“I’ve always had in my head that I wanted a partner for Buck to be someone where it wasn’t easy,” Stark said. “He doesn’t know what these feelings of jealousy might be. He just feels something and it’s unsettling and it’s new.”

There’s another reason why this romance is remarkable. Typically, when a presumably straight film or TV character starts to have romantic feelings for someone of their same sex, that story is accompanied by overplayed scenes of self-doubt and denial. “9-1-1” doesn’t take that route. Buck’s panic never seems to come from the fact his latest crush is on a man. Rather, it’s the intensity of these feelings that makes Buck falter.

“It’s 2024,” Minear explained. “I didn’t want to make it the bravest episode of 1983. That didn’t interest me. But I also want to be honest about it.”

Minear noted that next week’s episode, “You Don’t Know Me,” will be devoid of “soul-searching tropes” or Buck “questioning his masculinity.” Instead, the showrunner tried to take a fresher angle for this particular story.

“9-1-1” airs Thursdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on ABC. Episodes are available to stream the day after premiere on Hulu.

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