November 25, 2007 10:26 PM by Joe Blackmon
Written By DA Southern. The mother of all episodes, being the 100th episode, which is a
milestone from a programming perspective, has all of the elements that
make this a classic Extreme episode. In a special two-hour episode that Ty opened by speeding along in a
speedboat on a lake in Minnesota, we see the Swenson-Lee family of 10
in Minnetonka, MN as the recipient of the 100th home build and the
circumstances are really extraordinary as Ty and the gang see in the
Mother, Teri Lee, was murdered by an ex-boyfriend, leaving her children orphans, as their father had been killed in a car accident in 2001. Vicki, Teri’s sister, and Erik Swenson, both teachers and parents of three children of their own and another on the way, invited their nieces and nephews to live with them.
Ty and the gang watched the video as Taylor, the 13 year old that witnessed both the death of her father and her mother, talked about the tragedy and how it has affected the lives of everyone. The young teen told about the night that her mother and the mother’s boyfriend were tragically gunned down by a former boyfriend who had been stalking the family. In the aftermath of the tragedy, Vicki, Terri’s sister lobbied for domestic violence laws to be enacted in Minnesota.
Sister, Vicki, was seen talking about the house and that it was not that it was in bad shape, but just that it had become way to small to accommodate a family of 10. Even the Governor of Minnesota was on the video talking about how he admired the efforts of Vicki and taylor to stem the domestic violence situation.
At 8:48 am on Day One, Ty and the gang rolled up to greet the family and we saw the family of nine and one on the way rush out to meet Ty and the designers. Ty told the family that they were going to Disneyland and for them to show them the house. This house was in great shape as the family had actually tried a remodel several years ago. The house was just build for ten people and no matter of remodeling would change it. The Lee kids, and the Swenson kids were crowded into several rooms and definitely needed more space.
Taylor was seen talking to Paige and telling her that she wanted a room with a beautiful France-inspired canopy bed. She said that she wanted to have a chance to just be a little girl again. Tracy was talking to Samantha who was into volleyball and daughter, Tara, who loved the color pink giving her direction for her projects.
Ty was seen talking to the camera that this build was more than just a build. It was a place to heal and a place where the kids could just let it all hang out.
In one of the most touching scenes ever on Extreme, Ty was seen talking to Vicki, Terri’s sister, and how the family has coped with al that has happened and the changes and the dedication that Vicki has to make a difference in other families lives that may be experiencing domestic violence issues. Ty was so touched and was seen visibly wiping away tears as he talked to Vicki.
Day 2 found us having Ty giving instructions to recycle everything that could be used/donated for other families in need and then welcomed TJB Builders and a cast of thousands to the site for the demo and subsequent build. Tom and Jason of TJB Builders were retrospect that this was more than just a build but a way to focus on the issue of domestic violence as well. Of course, Ty had the video for the family and as he barely made it from the house as the giant claws smashed through the roof.
Day 3 quickly spotlighted Paul as he was building bunkbeds for the younger boys; Michael serving pizza to the crew and Paige deeply involved in the pink room for Tara. Ty was seen is a surprise meeting some of the families that had been helped in past episodes; Waffords, 16th family helped, Burns family, 22nd family build, Piestewa family (38th family), Scott family (13th family), Ripatti family, 75th build, Kuhene family, 56th build and Veronica Gunyard who had her issues as well with domestic violence but was a survivor who was the most visibly touched by the family’s story.
Day 4 saw the pace quicken as time was drawing near for the family coming home. Paul was working on the Volleyball room and the sheet rock was being applied in the house. Ty was seen doing some initial storage cubicles for the playroom he was doing as his secret project.
In a touching scene with Steven, brother of the boyfriend was was also killed in the domestic attack, Michael was seen showing him a memorial that included a tribute to him as well. Our pregnant designer, Tracy, was seen designing an Elmo-themed room for the twin girls who were in love with Elmo. Michael was seen with Veronica Gunyard and her nine kids as they shopped for the Swenson-Lee family in Sears as they attempted to fill the 5600 sq. foot home being built. Michel even took a few minutes in the shopping melee to talk to Veronica and he struggles with domestic violence and Veronica displayed her admiration for Vicki and her taking in the kids.
Day 5 saw the builders passing out domestic violence pins to all on the build to help spotlight the issue of domestic violence and the full-speed look as the house neared completion. Paul DiMeo talked about the provisos builds and how the previous families had become their "kids" because of the relationships they had developed with all involved with the various builds.
The scene quickly shot to Disneyland and Ty talking to the family and how he got them on a special ride and had Mickey Mouse meeting the family as they entered the ride. Vicki Swenson-Lee was retrospect as she was gracious in the ability to have a vacation together; that it gave them a chance to have a bonding experience that they had been unable to have to this point since the tragedy.
Sprinkled throughout all of the moments were flashbacks of the families that had come to assist on the build and how the Extreme Makeover had changed their lives as well as glimpses into their modern lives and how they were adapting into life into their new homes.
Paul was seen having a fun time visiting all of the Minnesota Sports Teams gathering all kinds of sports memorabilia for the boys room form the Vikings, the Timberwolves as well as the hockey franchise. Ty was seen having a police officer or at least, a lady in an official looking uniform, keeping the looky-lues away from his secret room as he worked. Taylor’s France-inspired room was well on its way to completion and the memorial garden was completed by Michael.
Day 6 the landscaping and the furniture start to pour in with local high sports teams helping to stock the house and even Elmo was helping, (but I have a feeling he was getting into the way more than helping) to put the finishing touches on the room for the little girls as the team scrambled to finish before the family was to arrive home the next day.
The families that had come to help on the build invited Ty and the gang to a local park for an appreciation barbecue to commemorate all of the great work Ty and the designers had done. All of the families continued to be touched with the graciousness of Ty and the ABC family and of all the people they have helped. Paul DiMeo gave a touching speech of gratitude for being able to be involved in the builds and Ty finished by giving the helping families a "Wish Card" from Sears for helping. As the families were regaling Ty and the gang, Paige was seen with Bill Austin, the CEO of Starkey Laboratories, Inc., as he was giving a $200,000.00 check to the family while they were in Disneyland for college for the kids.
Day 7 and the family arrives at the new homestead for the Swenson-Lees and the crowd seemed bigger, for some reason. Ty quickly greeted the family and introduced the TJB Builders to the family. Ty sent the family in and Taylor was the first into the beautiful new home. The bottom floor was unusually large and Ty made it a point to show the Vicki and Eric the new washer and dryer and announced that there was another set on another floor. Ty then pulled Taylor over to show her the huge dinning room table that will accommodate the family.
The family all wnt to see their rooms; Samantha was fist into her Volleyball room; The boys then screamed into their "Sports-Themed" room noticing all of the sports memorabilia immediately. Tara’s pink room was next on the agenda as the little girl was blown away by the amount of pink in the room. The twin girls went Elmo crazy as they touched every square inch of the Elmo room and, finally, Taylor was entranced by he France-Inspired room as she laid on her big bed. In a sidebar, she said she was thrilled to have her own sanctuary, finally, and a place to get away from it all.
Eric and Vicki were blown away by their retreat-style room and Vicki announced that they had all sacrificed personal space when Taylor and the other kids came to be with them, but that it was a sacrifice they wanted to make. Ty then appeared and took Vicki, Eric and showed them the video tributes from the other families who helped with the build and, with Taylor joining them, Ty took them out to the memorial gardens to see the tribute to Taylor’s mom.
Ty then showed the family his "Secret Room", the family playroom, and it was a thrill to see the kids romp in the room. For a final show, Ty took everyone out to the backyard to see the play equipment that would make all of us want to become kids again as the designers greeted them once again.
Ty gave the family the "Welcome home, Swenson-Lee family, welcome home" tag line as a special recap of some of the 100 families that Ty and the gang have been involved with over the past five years rolled by quickly.
It was an Extreme episode that was unforgettable and one that truly showcased all that Ty and his designers have done over the years.