Editing creates show designed to tug at heartstringsHowie and Jessie Huber weren’t sure what to expect before the “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” episode featuring their family aired last night. Though they spent hours in front of the camera, they saw the episode for the first time Sunday night just like everyone else.
By: Brandon Stahl, Duluth News Tribune
Howie and Jessie Huber weren’t sure what to expect before the “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” episode featuring their family aired last night. Though they spent hours in front of the camera, they saw the episode for the first time Sunday night just like everyone else.
“I really hope they’re able to capture the amount of volunteering that made the show possible,” Jessie Huber said before the show. “You get the impression that it’s Ty [Pennington] and the designers that do a lot of the work.”
After seeing the show for the first time at the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center surrounded by hundreds of the volunteers, one could be forgiven if it seemed that Pennington and company did most of the work building the Hubers’ new home, and not the 1,400 volunteers.
But the Hubers said they were still happy with the positive light shown on a community that came together for them.
“They really elaborated on what makes this a great community,” Jessie Huber said after the show aired.
“It’s galvanized our faith in the community, and the goodness in people,” Howie Huber said.
A show designed to tug at viewers’ heartstrings did exactly that at the DECC, as tears started flowing for many in the audience almost as soon as the family was introduced. The show juxtaposed Howie’s role as a firefighter in saving Janie Schulties against the family living in a home so dilapidated that a fuel oil line could malfunction and burn down their home at any time.
“[Howie] literally saves lives in the community,” Pennington said during the show, “but one thing he can’t do is save his family from his house that’s falling apart around him.”
With hundreds, if not thousands of hours of tape squeezed into a two-hour show, there was some of what Howie called “Hollywood magic” — events that weren’t mentioned, or some liberties taken.
It took a day of filming just to create the first five minutes of the show, Jessie Huber said, including multiple takes of the door knock. And the family spent only three days in Hawaii. While there, they never spoke to Ty over the computer — that was a producer off-camera reading lines, doing multiple takes. And their days were rigorously scheduled, down to the clothing they wore.
The room designs were done by show producers, said Thad Whitesel of Builders Commonwealth, and not the show stars.
“I was out there 20 hours a day and I rarely saw those people,” Whitesel said.
Little attention was paid to the 300-400 people who were working on the house at any given time. And Builders Commonwealth got almost no credit for coming up with the home’s design.
“The community built the house,” Whitesel said. “Those guys filmed it.”
Still, Whitesel said he was happy with the overall show and felt during this episode the volunteers got more recognition than during other shows. And the volunteers who filled the DECC erupted in applause at the end.
What wasn’t made-for-TV was the Hubers’ humility and appreciation for the volunteers who built their home. They repeated that message numerous times during the episode and while greeting people after the episode ended.
And now that they won’t be spending time trying to fix their home, the Hubers said they will spend it volunteering in the community.
“With this show and with this event,” Howie said, “it’s refreshing to know that people are kind and good.”