If you've seen Jack since June 24, you know that Wipeout was his favorite summer tv show. The network obstacle course competition aired weekly on Tuesday nights on ABC and September's final week brought the 11th and final episode, AKA "the Finale". Jack has been poised, pajama'd and still on the couch each Tuesday nite at 7pm, anxiously awaiting the next set of obstacles and contestants. To say he likes this show would be the understatement of the year. So, pretty quickly our DVR became filled with this season's shows.
And then one day, as I was up in Tyler's room, I heard a shrill scream of "MOMMY!!!" and I knew exactly what had happened. He had deleted one of the shows on accident. Call to Comcast, but no luck. DVR deleted shows cannot be retrieved (thus TiVo reigns supreme with their 'recently deleted' folder.) There was a lot of crying, but eventually he came to terms with his loss.
Then, not a week later, tragedy struck again as a family member, who will remain nameless but is a retired male figure in our family, deleted a 2nd episode by accident.
That night I went into Super Mommy mode. How can I get copies for him of these deleted shows? I googled folks at abc and came up with the email addresses of the President of Television and the Publicity Mgr. for Reality TV.
I shared, with them by email, my plight, hit "send" and prayed. Here's a little of what I shared:
* he knows every contestant, how far they proceded in the competition, and what episode they appeared on
* he reenacts competitions on our couch, nightly
* he has drawn the obstacle courses, in great detail
* we have created 4 qualifier obstacle courses, complete with contestants, out of Legos
* and he is devastated that he has lost 2 previously aired episodes
Not 24 hours later, Alex Wallau, Former President of Television for ABC, sends me a short, succinct email stating that the episodes will be sent to us and to take care. Success! And, not 12 hours after that, a second response is received, this time from ABC's Media Relations Publicity Director (who happens to have a son with autism, of course), who also graciously offers to send us copies of the shows! A day later, we have a set of the full 7 previously aired episodes on our doorstep via overnite delivery!!! Amazing!
Jack was beyond excited. That was a great day. We needed to express our gratitude to the folks at ABC! But how? Jack wasn't into drawing pictures or signing cards this summer, so we decided to make a video. We worked on it for a few days and, with the magic of my new mac, were able to put together a cute video to thank the network folks for their kindness to a little 6 year old boy in Tennessee! Here's the video, because I'm sure you are curious...and it's quite relevant to the rest of the story (and what a story it is!). Be sure to click 'watch in high quality':
I sent an email to the assistant that had mailed the episodes to us and to the Publicity Director, Virginia Mastroianni, and within a matter of hours there were close to 100 hits on our YouTube video! It was flying around ABC and they were loving it!
Next came an email and package from Wipeout's Executive Producer, Matt Kunitz, of Real World, Dog Eat Dog and Fear Factor fame! Matt emailed to say that he LOVED the Lego course and was sending a slew of Wipeout promo items for his new little friend to enjoy. Jack received Christmas in July with 2 Wipeout Hats, a poster signed by the 3 hosts, a t shirt (in Daddy's size!), and a few additional previously aired episodes. Matt included a personal note to Jack and an invitation to come to Los Angeles to visit the set of Wipeout during the second season's taping later this fall. How amazing!!! Virginia Mastroianni also called to see if Jack would be comfortable appearing on the Ellen DeGeneres show to promote Wipeout!!! This was getting crazy! We did say yes to the appearance, but the timing of her show production and the end of the Wipeout season did not meet up and the appearance never came to be.
School started and things were pretty busy around here for a while. We were still enjoying Tuesday nites as the final few episodes of Wipeout aired in September. We finally were all settled in to our new routine of Kindergarten with its early bedtime and homework, so we busted out the camera and made what we like to call "wipeout 2". Jack was really into making this movie, and couldn't wait for "Mr. Kunitz" to see it. Take a gander...
What do you think Jack chose as his costume for Halloween this year? If you guessed a wipeout contestant, you'd be right!!!
I also made him his very own Wipeout tshirt, which he loves.
He also received the remaining episodes from our new friend at ABC, Alaina Killoch, who was sweet enough to email us while on location in Ohio just to say she'd send them as soon as she returned to the studio. Again Jack was thrilled, as 2 of the final episodes were pre-empted for the Jeff Fisher/Titans show. Explain that to a young fan!
Now it is November. And, much to our own surprise, we are headed out to LA this month to be Matt Kunitz's guests on the set of Wipeout (Season 2, scheduled to air next summer). ABC has also been generous enough to offer us Park Hopper tickets to Disneyland and California Adventure during our stay as well. What amazing treatment we have received! We can't wait to go. I think Jack will be amazed, although he truly has no idea how rare this all is! I'll be sure to post an update upon our return...and if Scott gets to try out the course, you know I'll have pictures and video of that to share!