I’m not even sure how to start this but y’all if you haven’t seen the new hit TV show 9-1-1, or at least the first three episodes, then you need to do it. Right now. Forget about work, school, your family, responsibilities and watch the show.

I just binged watched the first three episodes (the only ones that are out on Hulu last night) with my mom, and I feel like an addict separated from its fix, I need the fourth episode now. Now damn it. Right freaking now. This is probably the best show on TV ever. And I mean ever. If you are wondering what makes me qualified to say this just know I got my BA in Radio, TV, and Film.

I don’t really have a plan for writing this so it will mostly be my unfiltered and raw thoughts being played out for you to read.

Quite literally and figuratively the show takes you on a roller coaster. One second you are staring at the screen with tear-filled eyes and the next you are laughing. The first few minutes show you life, death, and hope all in a short period of time. Taking you on an emotional ride of what a first responders day must feel like. The experiences form an old dog taking it one call to another, to a newbie figuring out how to react in the world he is thrown in. The show never seems to slow down but is a continuous play by play of emergencies.

The show can be summed up in the phrase: the feels. While I was watching I couldn’t help but feel hope, sorrow, kindness, despair, relief, anger, surprise, and dread. The show has a way of putting you in everyone shoes and trying to help you understand that every job isn’t easy. That each decision each person makes weighs a toll on them. That sometimes the best decision seems like a hard one, that sometimes you have to lie to a person to save another, and sometimes there is nothing more you could have done to a save to a life. You can replay a situation over and over again in your mind and try to find a way that could have saved the person but that’s not how life works. Life is a cruel bastard that rips away pieces of you, it challenges you and tries to bring you down. But those around you that are like family are your saving grace, those around you are the ones who will help you rebuild and move forward. You are never truly alone. Remember that on your darkest days. This show encompasses all that mentioned above and pulls you deeper into the world on screen.

This is not an easy show to watch, it’s a challenge, but a challenge that is worth your while. It shows us that each of us is human, from the person needing saving, the person doing the saving, even to the bad guy who is human. This beautiful work of art on TV shows you that each person is human in the most humane way, through our actions. We all struggle with what to do each day, we all replay events in our mind, we all feel a need to find a purpose in life. And sometimes it isn’t clear why something happened. This show deals with the playing those situations over and over again in your head and how it can be a dark slippery slope down.

Watching this show I felt angry in so many ways, these characters struggle felt like mine, each saves they made was a victory and each person they couldn’t was a knife in my heart. I am by no means employed in the world of first responders but through the characters on this show I felt immersed and understanding of the lives, both personal and professional, the characters lead.

The show reminds us that first responders are not gods playing with life in their hands but people who step out and choose to try and help us. It shows how they struggle in their personal lives that they are human and all humans need saving, even those who do the saving. We should all treat each other with kindness and understand that behind closed doors everyone is fighting a battle.

First responders have an intense job, they arrive before anyone else does. They are the ones that start working to save us, they are the ones that may never know if we are okay after they drop us off at the hospital. Like doctors, they have to put each victory and more importantly each defeat behind them because the next person who comes along needs their best level of help.

I cannot even imagine what it must be like to have someone’s life slip out of your hands and have to keep going. I cannot even imagine what it must be like to keep working a shift knowing that someone died on your watch. I cannot even imagine what it must be like to have the relief of saving a life and yet not seeing that person grow and live a life. But that’s a first responders job, to keep moving forward and be ready to give the next emergency your best efforts.

First responders, much like those in the military, deserve our gratitude. They take a job that isn’t always glorious. They arrive on scenes where nothing can be done. But when they do arrive in time they hold a life in between their fingers, playing with time, fighting time to give the person one more day, week, month, year.

I want to end this post by saying a huge thank you to those of you who are first responders. You have a hard job, you have a job where I can imagine that you don’t always get thanked. So I am saying thank you, thank you for everyone you have saved. And for those moments when you tried your best but couldn’t save someone, my heart bleeds for the emotional stress I cannot start to imagine it puts on you.

So please go watch 9-1-1 and thank a first responder the next time you see one.

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