RIpic.jpgHow often do you get a chance to be a part of one of your favorite television shows???  Well, so far, for me, once.  When I heard that they were looking for volunteers to help dig in and renovate a Cen Penn establishment on ‘Restaurant Impossible’, I jumped at the chance.  Apparently, so did 350 other people.  Alas, I was too late.  My heart was broken but an unexpected email put it right back together again.

A member of the production crew sent me an invite to participate in the ‘before’ segment.  Hungry patrons come in to dine and then give their opinions of the restaurant before the show has had a chance to update and revamp.  Robert Irvine, the host, casually sweeps through the dining room taking note of the customer’s reactions, the look of the food and the way that the staff handles a service.

Give someone my opinion on national television?  Don’t have to ask me twice!  I immediately responded, “heck yes!” eagerly anticipating such an adventure, dragging my friends and family behind.  Well, for the first time in a long time, I only had to ask.  No begging necessary!

We showed up right on time and chatted up a very friendly production crewmember.  She was from Punxsutawney, and what do you know, she had family from good ole Lewistown!  It truly is a small world after all.  We signed our releases, were given the ‘no pictures please, shut off your cell phones’ speech and took our seats inside a restaurant we’d never been to before.

Watching a taping and being a part of the action was beyond fascinating.  I’ve been on stage at the theater, made a few films of my own and had the privilege of being on some pretty cool movie sets but this was different.  It was reality television.  We all had our doubts – doubts that were immediately dashed.

We gave our actual opinions.  We were encouraged to be honest.  Robert Irvine was stoic, momentarily terrifying and then exactly how he appears to be on TV: full of energy, enthusiasm and compassion.  While even just briefly sharing the same breathing space with Mr. Irvine I got this distinct impression that he really cares about what he does and the crew seemed genuinely happy to be there.

Yep.  I got to voice my opinion.  No, I have no idea if it will make the show.  And no I won’t spoil the show by telling you what happened next because this particular show had an interesting twist, one I certainly didn’t see coming.  I can’t wait to have a viewing party when it airs so I can see how the rest of their transformation unfolds along with my family and friends.

I was lamenting to my Mom-In-Law that I wanted so badly to stay and battle through the night to help them tear down and rebuild.  She laughed and said, “Being asked to eat is no problem but I could never do that.”  The very wise Punxsutawney Production Person leaned in and so eloquently said, “Always jump at a new adventure.  Don’t worry if it might cost you a little sleep.” I couldn’t agree with her more!