Terry Morrow: 'Extreme Makeover' episode blankets warmth of Knoxville

The Watson family, from left, Atley, Mandy, Ava, Daniel and Silas watch a Thanksgiving Day parade at UT this past January that was staged for the ABC show 'Extreme Makeover: Home Edition." (SAUL YOUNG/NEWS SENTINEL)

Photo by Saul Young, copyright © 2012 // Buy this photo

The Watson family, from left, Atley, Mandy, Ava, Daniel and Silas watch a Thanksgiving Day parade at UT this past January that was staged for the ABC show "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition." (SAUL YOUNG/NEWS SENTINEL)

Let's sift through the chaff of what you'll see in the Knoxville-flavored "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" episode, which focuses on building a home for a selfless local family.

Knoxville.com was granted exclusive access to the two-hour "Extreme" episode, which was shot around here in January and brought the community together to build a new abode for Restoration House founders Daniel and Mandy Watson, who are raising three adopted children and helping out struggling single moms.

The splendor of Knoxville

Knox Vegas gets a lot of air time. Market Square and Gay Street are prominent, and a trip to West Town's Sears store is chronicled. The Square Room is also the setting for a massive Thanksgiving celebration.

Giant monsters attack downtown

In a fantasy sequence for the Knoxvile episode, a giant turkey and a enormous turtle fight over downtown.

Spoiler alert: The turkey wins.

Like your Facebook relationship status, it's complicated as why this was part of the show, perhaps too much to go into detail now. But, yes, two monsters go on a rampage and go all "Hulk smash!" on us.

Dancing and stuff

There is a '40s-era dance segment with comedian Jenny McCarthyand one of the designers. It doesn't make a lot of sense as to why this was done, but, hey, you'll be so drugged out from eating turkey when it airs (9 p.m. Monday, Nov. 26, on WATE, Channel 6) that you won't think twice about it.

The weepy stuff

In true "Extreme" fashion, there's plenty of pass-the-tissue moments, much of it coming from the residents of Restoration House. Occupant Schylar Long, a cosmetology student, is engaging as she talks of her dreams of the future and trying to balance that with being a good mom.

The old house had to go

According to the episode, the Watsons' old house was in such bad shape that the floors were rotting, the outdoor pipes had water leaking through and the rooms smelled of mildew.

The drama and the delays involved with a one-week deadline to complete everything

While the delays are noted, the episode doesn't dwell on it too much. Grace Construction and hundreds of volunteers saved the day.

The Watsons' reaction to their new home

Mandy tells the cameras she felt "complete and utter humility" upon seeing the structure for the first time. Daniel weeps.

Team leader Ty Pennington's absence

The episode will explain away team leader Ty Pennington's absence from most of the production by saying he was spending Thanksgiving with his mother. While that may be partially true, it wasn't the whole story.

Pennington, indeed, may have spent time with his mother, but he was also busy doing other ABC projects at the time. During an interview in Los Angeles in January, Pennington told he was working on two "Extreme Makeover" episodes at the same time.

One was in Knoxville while the other is in Texas, which will be the 200th episode of the show and, maybe, the last episode of the series.

Instead of saying all of that, "Extreme" merely says Pennington is with his mom for the holiday, which actually happened months earlier.

McCarthy was brought onto the show to substitute for Pennington until he arrived.

Terry Morrow may be reached at 865-342-6445 or morrowt@knoxville.com.

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