Wiped Out

Get ready Stapletonians, the producers of ABC’s hit show “Wipeout!” are coming to town, specifically the Quebec Square “Mall” — that plot of land that bills itself as a place to purchase goods and services but is more human pinball machine than shopping experience.

For the uninitiated, Wipeout! broadcasts people competing in elaborate obstacle courses with water and mud features, projectiles and about anything else that can be dreamt up to generate wide scale human frustration, embarrassment and futility for the viewing public.

“We were driving I-70 on our way to a shoot in a new edition of the show — Wipeout! Global Newsmakers, in Aspen; our ratings have dipped and we’re thinking outside the box, but that’s another story — and needed to gas up,” says executive producer of Wipeout!, Andrew Sellers. “Quebec Square was just there, so we turned off. We barely got back to the highway with our truck and lives intact!”

And that’s when lightning struck: “What a great place to shoot an episode,” Sellers told his camera crew. “The parking lot designs alone create enough chaos and frustration to ruin anyone’s day — and that’s riveting TV.”

Sellers and crew circled back to the Quebec Square and spent the rest of the day filming a test run.

“What makes Quebec Square such an ideal location for this concept is the combination of people’s need for convenience — you know, they are going to the mall to buy everyday items, groceries, shampoo, duct tape; things they really need to get by day-to-day — and the utter lack of thought on the part of whoever designed this place. It’s a suburban family nightmare — so perfect.”

That mix of time-pressure anxiety with bottlenecked cars, mismatched traffic patterns and pedestrians darting across streets because there are no true cross walks, “creates the magic for what we do — human frailty on display,” says Sellers. “We couldn’t have designed one of our obstacle courses any better — I want to say to the Quebec Square planners, if they are still around, ‘bravo and we’re hiring!’”

One particularly gripping story is that of Gloria “Redacted” — a housewife who was preparing for her son’s 7th birthday and 20 friends arriving at her home in two hours.

“I forgot the eggs for the cake,” Gloria recalls. “I know. I know. I shouldn’t have gone to Quebec Square at the height of the rush, but it was Sunday and I thought the Broncos-Falcons game was on, so people would be home watching. I miscalculated the time difference on the East Coast by an hour — I screwed up.”

Sellers and crew just happened to be at the right place at the right time — Gloria was barreling through the parking lot when her Toyota minivan hit a massive pothole.

“To be honest, we thought it was the beginnings of a sink hole,” says Sellers. “We were filming and I thought ‘what a stroke of luck; that lady’s entire front end was swallowed by that thing.’”

“The eggs I’d just bought were thrown out of the bag and everyone one of them spattered,” Gloria recalls.

“She was sobbing; it was Hollywood magic. I asked if she was OK and her name.”

“Gloria … Redacted.”

“’Redacted, is that Greek?’ — She stopped crying and gave me a stare I’ll never forget.”

“’No’, she tells me, and then paused as if to say, ‘you moron.’ ‘I want to redact my name for the cameras — I’m so embarrassed.’”

“’Of course, of course. Now, let’s go get you some fresh eggs.”

“Eventually, it all worked out, but I’ll never do that again,” Gloria laments.

Unfortunately for Sellers and crew, whoever’s in charge of Quebec Square Mall now has finally caught on to what a disaster trying to navigate the place is —a new traffic signal has been installed in one of the mall’s main arteries and the fever-pitched mayhem has noticeably dissipated.

“We were crushed to learn someone had actually acted responsibly at Quebec Square,” says Sellers. “We have a lot of incredible footage before the traffic signal was installed, and the place is so massive there is plenty of opportunity for more, but that new signalized intersection has really changed the vibe at Quebec Square for the better … or worse, depending on how you look at it.”

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