‘9-1-1’ Star Ryan Guzman Pulled From His ‘Own Experience’ for Eddie’s Big Talk With Buck

The actor also spills on the story he “fell in love” with, and his character’s relationship with Marisol

Eddie (Ryan Guzman) and Buck (Oliver Stark) in "9-1-1" (Photo Credit: Disney/Chris Willard)

Note: The following story contains spoilers from “9-1-1” Season 7, Episode 5.

If last week’s episode of “9-1-1” marked the tip of the emotional tsunami, “You Don’t Know Me” serves as it’s crash. That’s the challenge series star Ryan Guzman faced in an episode that saw Eddie embracing a whole new side of his buddy Buck (Oliver Stark).

When Guzman first heard that the presumably straight Buck would be pursuing a relationship with a man this season, he thought the arc was “awesome” and a great opportunity for his co-star. “This is going to open up so many incredible things for Oliver to portray, and a whole world that I feel like the fans have been insinuating they wanted to see,” Guzman told TheWrap. But while Episode 4 is all about the butterflies in Buck’s stomach, Episode 5 is about the reality of him embracing a side of his sexuality he doesn’t fully understand.

“You Don’t Know Me” picked up in the logical aftermath of Buck and Tommy’s (Lou Ferrigno, Jr.) budding romance with the two going on a date. But when Eddie spotted Buck and Tommy on that date, the typically fearless firefighter panicked and went out of his way to assure Eddie that he and Tommy are strictly platonic. Tommy gently dumped Buck, telling him that he just isn’t ready for a relationship with a man yet. After some hand-wringing and a solid pep talk from Maddie (Jennifer Love Hewitt), Buck realized his problem wasn’t about his own internalized homophobia. It was that Eddie didn’t know.

After trying to tell Eddie multiple times, Buck eventually came clean about his feelings toward Tommy. Guzman noted that one of his favorite parts about working on “9-1-1” is the amount of “trust” that exists behind the scenes.

“Tim [Minear] had a couple conversations with me, but when it came to that scene, he trusted how I would handle that and what I would do with it,” Guzman said.

The actor went through something similar with a very good friend who had “been having an issue with his own exploration of who he is.” “All I wanted to do in that moment — for me, as Ryan — was make my friend feel safe, make my friend know that he can trust me and that it’s nothing but love. It doesn’t change anything, even if he gives me some information that comes out of left field, and my reaction might not be the best,” Guzman said.

The actor was able to use that experience to guide Eddie’s reaction to Buck. “It was very natural, just from pulling from my own experiences,” he added.

Ryan Guzman and Edy Ganem in “9-1-1” (Disney/Chris Willard)

What’s remarkable about this conversation is how unremarkable it feels between these two friends. Typically, coming out arcs on television are portrayed with a sort of “after school special” energy. That’s not the case when it comes to Buck opening up about his sexuality. As much as their conversation is about Tommy, it’s also about Eddie’s girlfriend, Marisol (Edy Ganem). By the end of the scene, Buck and Eddie’s conversation morphs into one fans have seen a dozen times before: two buds venting about their romantic missteps.

“We’ve lived in these characters for so long now, it’s just second nature. Eddie bumps into Ryan, Ryan bumps into Eddie — same thing with Oliver and Buck,” Guzman said. “We have fun with those kinds of scenes. They’re really intimate but not making it too heavy-handed because, at the end of the day, this is life.”

Speaking of romantic missteps, Eddie has a big one in Episode 5. After Eddie and Marisol decided to move in together, Eddie learned that the woman he thought he knew used to be a nun. The revelation threw him into a spiral that made him question his faith, their relationship and the type of man he is.

For his part, Guzman said he “fell in love” with the story about Eddie’s “religious side” when series co-creator and showrunner Minear brought the idea to him. The actor noted that Eddie leaned on God when he was away at war and that Eddie still has Catholic mannerisms, like signing the cross, even though he isn’t a practicing Catholic.

“I believe that this was a time for him to tap back into his sanctity in his own religious side and find those boundaries. That could give an opportunity for him to see his relationship in new light,” Guzman said.

As for whether he sees Marisol as a possible long-term partner for Eddie, Guzman said, “It looks like that.”

“But I feel like anytime something looks like it, it always finds a way to be ruined. That’s what makes good TV, right?” Guzman joked. “I do see that there is an evolution in Eddie that’s allowing him to slow it down and not get in his own way like he has in the past. So whether the relationship stays or goes, I think that Eddie gets a lot of growth from it.”

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


One response to “‘9-1-1’ Star Ryan Guzman Pulled From His ‘Own Experience’ for Eddie’s Big Talk With Buck”

  1. Iana Avatar

    Don’t really like the direction of 911. Just trying to remake station 19.

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