A quick word of warning before I begin: this story involves childish giddiness and even partial nudity. That’s right, you heard me. Wild and crazy stuff, I hope you all are ready for it.
First, some background information. Jennie (aka tanster from OfficeTally) managed to score us an interview with our local NBC affiliate, NBC11, back in February. We had just rolled out the Supersized Office campaign, and I guess they deemed it worthy enough to garner a mention on their TechNow segment. At the time, I wasn’t really sure what to expect — I was just happy that they thought enough of our little grassroots campaign to consider speaking to us at all. After a few messages back and forth, we decided to schedule the interview for March 30, 10 AM, at my place.
Fast forward to yesterday, the day of the interview. Like any self-respecting engineer, I tend to scoff at anyone who asks me to wake up before 10 AM. Special exceptions are made, however, for this show. My alarm goes off at 9:15, and I’m out of bed by 9:30, going through my usual post-slumber ritual. Jennie arrives at around 9:45, which is cool, because this is our first time meeting in person. After giving her the five-minute tour of the place, we sit down in the living room and chat about the intricacies of maintaining a blog and how to maximize the amount of time wasted at work while doing it.
Our conversation is interrupted briefly by my roommate (also an engineer) who has just emerged from his bedroom dressed only in his boxers. I thought about using a fake name here in order to protect his identity. It was a pretty wimpy thought. His name is Allan. Imagine two doorways on one of our living room walls. One of the doorways leads to a bathroom hallway, and the other one leads to Allan’s bedroom. Walking from one doorway to the other involves crossing the middle of the living room. The significance of this detail will become apparent in a minute. Anyway, Allan heads off to the bathroom to take a shower, while Jennie and I continue to prepare for our shot at minor fame and glory.
Scott McGrew from NBC11 arrives promptly at 10 AM. They decide to interview Jennie first, smack dab in the middle of the living room. As they’re setting up the camera and lighting, I warn them about the possibility of a half-naked guy walking out of the shower in the middle of the interview. Fortunately, the interview is deep enough into the living room for Allan to move about in the bathroom hallway without interfering with the scene, so they shrug it off. Within a few minutes, Jennie’s interview is underway. They lead off with a few standard questions: why do you watch the show, what prompted you to start blogging about it, and so forth. Jennie answers them all brilliantly, of course, while I continue to watch off to the side.
Five or so minutes into the interview, Allan steps out of the bathroom hallway dressed in nothing but a towel and waits behind the camera, eyeing the room for a route to his bedroom that will keep him out of view. At that very moment, Scott’s cell phone starts ringing. I assume that he’ll let it go to voice mail, but he ends up taking the call and then proceeds to hand the phone over to Jennie. Interesting, I thought. A visibly confused Jennie takes the phone and is greeted by a disapproving voice on the other end asking her if she’s doing something inappropriate, and, well, it doesn’t take long for her to figure out that she’s speaking to none other than Angela Kinsey! Yes, THAT Angela. Now, as if all of this wasn’t enough to deal with at once, Allan has also picked this exact moment to make a dash for his bedroom. The camera swings around to catch a close-up of Jennie reacting to the phone call… and a shot of some half-naked guy hurrying in the background. Realizing this, Allan pulls a quick 180 and dives into the kitchen off to the side where he hides for the remainder of the interview.
At this point, I’m basically standing there in stunned silence, partially because of the bizarre turn of events thanks to my roommate, but mostly because I’ve just realized that I might have the chance to speak to Angela over the phone. Meanwhile, Jennie is going nuts on camera. I can’t say I blame her. They spend a couple minutes chatting excitedly, and then she motions me to come over so that she can hand over the phone. As I take the phone, I’m wondering how one of my favorite television stars could possibly be waiting on the other end to speak to me, some random guy who’s being interviewed in his own house for a blog that was a spur-of-the-moment decision six months ago. I try to shake it off, put the phone to my ear, and the only introduction I can muster is a bewildered “Hi, Angela?”.
The rest of the conversation was incredibly surreal, not to mention one of the coolest, most unexpected surprises I’ve ever had in my life. You’ll have to excuse me if I don’t remember all of the details, though I do recall Angela mentioning that she was on her way to meet up with Jenna to help her pick a dress for her appearance on Jay Leno that night. That, and how great it would have been to get the rest of the cast in on this conversation, which would have been amazing aside from the fact that I’m pretty sure it would have been the end of me. What a glorious end it would have been, though.
What happened afterwards was a mere afterthought compared to Angela’s call. They brought the cameras upstairs to my bedroom where they conducted my half of the interview. Asked to run an episode of the show in the background on my television, I immediately picked The Alliance from my Season One DVD, which had somehow found its way outside of my DVD player. Shameful, I know. I then proceeded to answer some questions about Northern Attack and the show in general. Scott’s phone rang halfway through my interview as well, though, alas, no Office stars were waiting on the other end this time around. They finished things off with a few shots of me working on my computer at home, which, incidentally, were of me posting the entry for Michael’s Birthday on Northern Attack that morning. How cool is that?
So, that concludes my detailed account of one of the greatest Thursday mornings of my life. My supremely huge thanks go out to Scott McGrew and Brad the Cameraman from NBC11 for agreeing to cover our humble corner of the Web, to Angela for delivering one of the best surprises I’ve ever received, and, finally, to Jennie (read her personal recollection of the morning) without whom this would never have happened. You guys are the best.
As a final note to those of you who happen to reside in the Bay Area, the interview is set to air twice on NBC11: first, during the morning show (5-7 AM) on Thursday, May 4, and again during TechNow (6:30 PM) on Saturday, May 6. Boy, I sure hope I turn out ok on the air.