TV Appearances Gone Wrong!
- February 02, 2017
- Theresa Bertuzzi
Over the years Brigida and I have had quite a few opportunities to appear on local television shows to promote the Tiny Hoppers’ franchise. Not all of these appearances have gone as smoothly as they have appeared on television. It is interesting to hear some people talk about how lucky we are to have been able to build our franchise to its current size and I always smile as everyone only sees the finished product and most people have no idea about the disasters, mistakes and pitfalls that we had to dodge or work our way through to get to this place. If there was a movie about the making of the Tiny Hoppers’ Franchise it would be 2 hours long and our blooper real would be ten times the size of that but that is what makes the whole ride enjoyable.
One of our first television appearances was when Brigida arranged for the A Channel to come and film live from Tiny Hoppers. To start, the host wanted to interview one of us while the other was dressed in the Froggles Mascot costume leading the children through a dance. This would be our opening introduction. This part was not live but was filmed ahead of time. We agreed that Brigida would answer the questions and I would jump into the mascot to lead the children. An hour later I would really regret this decision. Froggles is our Tiny Hoppers mascot and he is adorable but my god the inside of this mascot it like hell on earth. On the outside he is a giant cuddly frog that smells pretty decent but being inside Froggles is like being inside a 500 degree oven with enough old, smelly gym socks to outfit an entire men’s soccer team. You also can not breathe at all as one of our staff members broke Froggles’ mouth which is where the air supply comes from. This is also the area where your eyes peer through so you are essentially blind as well. Not a problem though, we were only filming a couple of segments so I stripped down to shorts and a t-shirt, tied my hair up on top of my head and climbed on into Froggles. In the first segment the host wanted to film himself climbing through our climber before making an announcement. I can’t for the life of me remember what he said on the show but I do remember that it must have taken him about 40 takes to get it right while I bounced and danced in the back ground. I have never wanted to shove someone in the ass so badly in my life. I mean, come one!!!! Just crawl through the friggin climber. I can’t tell you how many two year olds I have chased through those same climbers and I was quickly losing patience as I wheezed and suffocated in the stinky costume. By the time he got it right I was certain I was going to go unconscious. Then it was Brigida’s turn and I guess she felt that if the host got to do a million takes to get it perfect that she certainly should have the same opportunities to get it right. She kept starting over and over again while I danced and danced. In between tries I would whip off my Froggles head so that I could scowl at her with my bright red face and soaking wet head which only egged her on as now taking her sweet time was hysterical to her as she knew I was losing it in the mascot right beside her. We finally got through it but what those watching the show did not know is that I was secretly flipping Brigida the bird inside the Froggles mitten and some of my dance moves were actually me giving her different dirty hand signals because I was literally going to kill her. By the time I crawled out of that costume I was half dead.
On the day of the show we called in our loyal play class members to join us for the filming as we were supposed to do a variety of segments, highlighting our play classes and upcoming summer camps. In each segment we had the children participating in a different activity. We only had seconds to set each segment up. We pulled it off and made it look spectacular and very well done but behind the scenes we were desperately trying to get the children to all cooperate and to pretend like everything was working even when it was not. The slime was too runny and the Rice Krispie Frogs that we were making were not sticking together and they all wanted to voice their disappointment on live TV. So there they were trying to stick non-sticky krispies together while we smiled and smiled and whispered for them all to just “Shhhhhhhh” and keep smiling. You could clearly see in the segment that the children were not really making anything but were instead covered up to their elbows in sticky cereal but hey we went with it. The segment with the parachute nearly went horribly wrong too as I was back in the mascot costume, underneath the parachute, with the children when the parachute knocked me flying into the kids. You can imagine the expressions on their faces as a giant, 6 foot tall frog came flying right at them almost crushing them to pieces. Luckily there were no tears as these children were all used to our crazy play classes so instead of panicking as the giant frog plummeted towards them, they quickly dodged out of the way and jumped right on top of me instead. I love these kids!
The announcer then informed us that he wanted to host the next part of his show while sitting on one of our climbing tunnels and asked if there were a couple of quiet kids who would like to sit beside him while he filmed the segment. Brigida and I grabbed my two boys and threw them to the front as we were taking every opportunity to get them on live TV. I should have remembered that these were my children and would probably not handle the sitting still or quiet parts of those directions. My boys really were adorable sitting beside the reporter on the tunnel. They were only six and three years old and they sat next to him like sweet little angels while Brigida, our staff and I watched on from the front. I was so proud and I knew that Grandma and Grandpa would be thrilled as they were watching and taping the show at home. They were watching from home and they were thrilled and then they laughed right along with us while my oldest interrupted the interview to loudly ask his baby brother “Did you just fart?” to which his little brother giggled and then proceeded to make gassy noises. The host, lord help him, did not miss a beat but continued on with his show while pretending that the farting conversation was not occurring. My staff were hysterical laughing, I was humiliated and Grandma and Grandpa taped the whole thing at home on their television; something to treasure for all time I tell you.
We then ended the show with us and all of the play class members playing with the parachute. We discussed it amongst ourselves during the moments leading up to the big good bye and decided that when they started filming we would all wave good-bye at the camera just as the parachute went down. We were brilliant in our planning and ended the show perfectly. It wasn’t till later, when we watched the show back that we realized that the ending did not feature us waving goodbye after all but had the host saying goodbye while all of us are arguing, planning and plotting our big wave in the background. We had no idea that they had been filming us while we were deciding how to close out the show. The show ended with us turning to the cameras with big smiles on our faces ready to wave and then the stops right before we get the chance to complete our well planned final salute. Boo!
Another regular appearance that we made on television was for the Cutest Baby Contest as Tiny Hoppers sponsored the weeklong event each year. The first year we sponsored, I had just brought home my newborn baby daughter who was only two weeks old. I was breast feeding her at the time and thought about bringing her with me but I didn’t want her to start crying on TV and it would only be a couple of hours so I left my husband stocked with a bottle of breast milk and headed to the studio. At the studio they hooked us up to microphones running the cords through our blouses and then sent us out to do our interview. What I hadn’t counted on was an audience full of moms with their small babies; small crying babies. My own breast milk had just come in the week before and had not yet adjusted to my daughter’s feeding demands which essentially meant that I resembled Dolly Parton at the time and was ready to explode at any second and the crying babies were enough to throw my body into full feeding mode. To my horror I could feel my milk dropping and before I knew it, right on live TV, Niagara Falls burst forth on the front of my blouse and was so bad that no nursing pad in the world could stop this flood. I did my interview with my arms crossed in front of my chest while praying to the lord that I didn’t get electrocuted by my microphone since the wires were running right between my breasts inside of my blouse. I kept looking into the audience trying to mentally will all of those babies to stop crying. Please God, stop the crying!!! When we got off camera I uncrossed my arms displaying myself like I was in some twisted wet t-shirt contest, yanked off the sopping mike and threw it at the mike guy. I am sure he was like “what the hell is all over this microphone???” I tore out of the studio at full speed with Brigida trying to keep up with me while hysterically laughing her head off. I didn’t even stop for the free donuts in the green area which is saying something about how embarrassed I was. In hind sight I probably should have had someone do that interview for me.
These are really just samples of some of the bloopers that we have made on TV as essentially our entire journey in Franchising has been one hilarious misadventure after another. No, it has never been perfect but I don’t think either Brigida or myself would ever change a single mistake, blunder or misstep along the way as it is the unexpected that makes this beautifully broken life that much more interesting.