A Possibly Awesome Thing, Part Two

Friday31 March 2006

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.

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THAT!? Is awesome! First, congrats on getting recognized, both you and Jennie, for all the hard work you guys put into your sites. I love checking them out each day! Second, a call from Angela!? Wow, just wow. That is amazing. I mean, just how cool that she called? This cast just keeps getting raised higher and higher on my imaginary pedestal.

1Posted by rspad on March 31, 2006

Cool! You absolutely have to get as much of that footage as possible and share it, mmhmm.

2Posted by Graham on March 31, 2006

That is a great story. If you get the footage up, I'd love to see it.

3Posted by LifeInTheOffice.com on March 31, 2006

No love for GMMR on the interview front for Supersize the Office...lol..haha!! Very happy for you & Jennie - that's awesome

4Posted by KS on March 31, 2006

Wow. That is so amazing James! You and Jennie both deserve the accolades and poor Allan seemed to try and make the best of the situation :)

5Posted by Amber on March 31, 2006

Wow-what an entertaining story! Congrats to you James, and Jennie too. Such a cool opportunity! If it is at all possible to somehow see this interview for those Northern Attack members and Office fans that aren't in the local viewing area, I think I can safely speak for everyone and say we'd appreciate it a bunch!

6Posted by Hattie on March 31, 2006

Thanks you guys! -- it was a really exciting morning.

I think James is going to look into recording the segment.

You can read my report of the day here .

7Posted by tanster on March 31, 2006

That sounds awesome!!! I happen to live in the bay area so I'll try to catch it on May 6. (I'm marking my calendars!!!)

8Posted by Marcy on March 31, 2006

That's a very cool story. You both deserve it for all the work you do. I think the best part is that the cast and crew know about the sites.

Now, who's going to commit to posting it for the rest of us that don't live in the Bay Area?

- - - -
New Scranton Branch Design

9Posted by David on March 31, 2006

all i can say is that sounds like it was amazing!! thanks for posting the story!

10Posted by Eric on April 1, 2006

This is either a very cool story, or a very elaborate April Fool's Day joke. Hmm. I'm hoping for the former.

11Posted by Eli on April 1, 2006

An April Fool's Day joke! -- I didn't even think of that.... :)

12Posted by tanster on April 1, 2006

You're right, this would have made a perfect April Fool's Day joke. That didn't even occur to me.

Thanks, everyone. It was just as ridiculous as it sounds. I'm going to see what I can do about obtaining a recording of the interview when it airs next month.

13Posted by James on April 1, 2006

Wow, James and Jennie (tanster), that is so delightful. What an awesome day you two had. I know we would all love to see the footage of the interview. Kudos on scoring a spot on the news. You're the best.

Here's to hoping your Supersized Office campaign pays off.

14Posted by Lori on April 2, 2006

James,

That is a fairy tale story. I know enough about you to know that you were dazed by this series of events. Good for you, you deserve it !!

I am so glad that you met Jenna and you talked to Angela. I'm jealous, but at the same time, you set this forum up, you helped collect Office fans into one place and you are responsible for helping to fuel the Office Fever. You deserve to meet the cast and interact with them you lucky *****.

Bob

15Posted by Bob Willits on April 2, 2006

How exciting!! Congrats on the well deserved attention :)

16Posted by Jacki on April 2, 2006

Wow, that sounds like it was rocking like Dokken. What a kick ass way to start the day. I actually do reside in the Bay Area, so I'll make sure to check it out.

No, not just 'cause I wanna see a man in a towel. Immature. Grow up, people.

(I wanna see that so bad.)

17Posted by Jake on April 2, 2006

Here's to hoping your Supersized Office campaign pays off.

Thanks, Lori. I certainly hope so, too. 2679 signatures so far!

Wow, that sounds like it was rocking like Dokken. What a kick ass way to start the day.

Most definitely. I should wake up early more often.

Bob, did you mean that I had met Jennie? Just to clear up any possible confusion, I have not met Jenna, though you can bet that there will be a Part Three to this story if that ever ends up happening.

18Posted by James on April 2, 2006

That's fantastic! I wish I was in the area so I could watch it. :)

Congrats!

19Posted by otahyoni on April 3, 2006

Thanks for the kind words and that is Definitely an Awesome Thing!

20Posted by tiff on April 3, 2006

Ack, I live in the Bay Area, but I won't be home that weekend! I must get my dad to tape it for me.

21Posted by Anne on April 3, 2006

I'd just like to add that I thought that they were going to stop taping after the phone started ringing, since that doesn't usually make for good television. Whoops.

22Posted by Allan on April 5, 2006

Hi Towel Guy! :)

23Posted by Jennie on April 5, 2006

Hey, we got a mention on NBC11's Breakfast Blog today.

If that's what being punk'd is, then punk me some more. Please. ;)

24Posted by tanster on April 6, 2006

You deserved it.

25Posted by Jane on April 7, 2006

[...] I could tell you more about this TV shoot — how it involved “punking” the interviewee, and even a brush with a partially naked man, but the guy we interviewed describes it much better [...]