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These gay firefighters get “closer than ever” in new 9-1-1 season

Too often, procedural dramas are the last place you expect to find queer romance on TV, but love just might be in the air in the seventh season of 9-1-1. Fans have long shipped the show’s two hunky firefighters, and recent interviews have now poured fuel onto that flame.

9-1-1 follows a group of emergency responders in Los Angeles. While the series has included queer characters — including Hen (Aisha Hinds), Michael Grant (Rockmond Dunbar), and heartthrob couple TK (Ronen Rubenstien) and Carlos (Rafael L Silva) on the spinoff series 9-1-1: Lone Star — fans have been yearning for a particular match for several years now.

Meet Buck (Oliver Stark) and Eddie (Ryan Guzman): firefighters and best friends whose chemistry is so palpable that shippers have aptly dubbed them “Buddie.” Although the two characters are currently in relationships with women, Guzman teased “something new” for their friendship in a video with Entertainment Weekly

“We get closer than ever this season,” Guzman said. “I can only tease that. There’s a lot of changes in the relationship, in how we interact and all those things,” he added, giving “changes” a pointed emphasis.

“We’re trying to give the audience what they want.”

Is it queer-baiting or is it queer-manifesting? Only time will tell. Either way, the audience promptly got online to tell producers exactly what they want.

Apparently, the dynamic is just as close on set as it is on-camera. In an extended preview with EW, Guzman recalled coming back on set after the SAG-AFTRA conflicts. “One of my first scenes is with Oliver [Stark], and there’s always an ease there,” he said. “So, it took maybe one rehearsal, two rehearsals, and then we were right back into it, and it felt like we never left.”

But even if the two just end up being straight best friends, their close relationship is still important for the procedural genre. “One of the aspects of it that has really spoken to me is that these are two men in this, quote-unquote ‘macho field’ — or what you would expect to be that — and they’re both really open, sensitive, and vulnerable with each other,” said Stark.

“I think it’s just really lovely to see these two stereotypically macho men have this really open relationship where they can confide in each other and they can step up and be there for each other in a way that feels very soft. I just think that’s a really lovely, and in fact [an] important thing to be able to show on this TV show.”

Season 7 of 9-1-1 premiered on March 14 and airs Thursdays on ABC and Hulu.

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