Oliver Stark Proud of '9-1-1' Kiss, Hits Back at Critics: 'Missed the Show's Point'

ABC's '9-1-1' Faces Mixed Reactions to Latest Episode.

by Nouman Rasool
Oliver Stark Proud of '9-1-1' Kiss, Hits Back at Critics: 'Missed the Show's Point'
© Allen Berezovsky/Getty Images

Oliver Stark, who portrays Evan "Buck" Buckley on the massively popular show "9-1-1," has spoken out amidst the reaction to a crucial scene in the landmark 100th episode of the drama. Taking a key scene with Buck and Tommy Kinard—who is being portrayed by Lou Ferrigno Jr.—the episode dares in its storytelling and emphasizes themes of love and acceptance.

Stark's response to the fan reactions, detailed in a heartfelt Instagram Story, underscored his pride and appreciation for the narrative's direction. "I am humbled and overwhelmed by the positive reaction to Buck's storyline," Stark expressed, acknowledging the flood of supportive messages from viewers.

He noted his pride in the storyline's reception, reflecting the show's commitment to representing diverse relationships and orientations with authenticity and respect.

Buck's Bisexuality Backlash

However, the storyline also sparked a wave of backlash from a fraction of the audience, criticizing the decision to explore Buck's bisexuality.

Stark addressed these detractors directly, emphasizing that "9-1-1" has consistently championed themes of love, inclusion, and diverse queer relationships, notably highlighting the portrayal of a profound Black lesbian marriage.

Stark's message to those displeased by the narrative development was clear: the essence of "9-1-1" transcends conventional expectations, and the criticism misses the broader purpose of the show. "9-1-1," a series that delves into the lives of first responders in Los Angeles, has been celebrated for its dynamic portrayal of characters and scenarios that challenge and expand viewers' perspectives on various societal themes.

The decision to explore Buck's sexuality further was a collaborative one, with showrunner Tim Minear discussing the storyline's direction with Stark and Ferrigno Jr., ensuring a shared vision for the character's growth. In the wake of the episode, Stark's reflections in a Variety interview revealed the thoughtful consideration behind this narrative choice, describing it as a truthful continuation of Buck's journey.

The actor's enthusiasm for telling this story highlights a significant step toward more inclusive representation on television. Angela Bassett, Stark's co-star, also commented on the development, acknowledging the surprise element for viewers familiar with Buck's previous character dynamics.

This narrative twist not only enriches Buck's character but also aligns with "9-1-1's" ongoing effort to mirror real-life complexities and relationships, further establishing the show as a leader in progressive storytelling within the procedural drama genre.