The Coaster Critic Meets Bert the Conqueror

Trip Report: Filming Bert the Conqueror at Carowinds

After signing a few waivers, the group of about 30 of us made our way to Intimidator. It was hours before the park opened to the public and it was neat seeing the normally busy park empty, but not lifeless. Maintenance and groundskeepers were hard at work making sure that Carowinds looked pristine as always. We entered the station where the crew, except Bert, were already setting things up. There was a good bit of waiting around as the crew mounted the camera to the first car for the reverse POV footage. Bert showed up and was introduced to Ty (known as “New Santa” on here on the blog). Bert and Ty climbed into the front middle seats of the second car behind the camera. They did some joking around and even created a special fist pound-handshake thing that didn’t make the show. Then, we embarked. All-in-all, we were filmed riding Intimidator about 6 or 7 times. Each time we rotated seats playing a kind of roller coaster musical chairs.

There was some waiting around between takes and even though it was morning, it was pretty hot and humid. Once filming the ride was over, we were invited to talk with Bert over by the #3 NASCAR replica.  Bert’s a funny guy and he did a good job of getting some entertaining quotes. There were some really funny moments that I was sure would make it, but I guess since they spent so much time in the final cut setting up the park and the ride they just had time for a few sound bites. I’m not complaining of course as my description of Intimidator made the show. It’s just worth noting that a lot of good stuff didn’t make the show. Maybe the DVD will include some outtakes.

We shot Afterburn the next morning and it was a lot like the first day’s filming. It seemed like there was a little more downtime. So I took advantage of it and talked with the Bert and the crew about their experiences taping the show. I also got to talk with more of the people that were there for the filming. Afterwards, Bert was cool and took pictures (like the one below) with everyone.

Some images courtesy of Carowinds Connection. See more images from here.

Favorite Moments: Questionable Grooming & Kicking It With the Crew
The first day was full of fun moments. One of the most memorable  ones involves a guy that Bert was interviewing . Bert mentioned how fit the guy looked and he asked the guy to lift up his shirt to show off his six pack. For some reason, the guy had shaved just his stomach and not his chest. Bert pounded him with jokes poking fun at him for about 5 minutes straight as he tried to understand why the guy had done this. Everyone was nearly in tears we were laughing so hard.The guy was a good sport (pictured in the first photo above) and Bert was so tickled that I wouldn’t be surprised if he included it in his stand-up act some day. This might have been one of those “you had to have been there” moments, but trust me. It was hilarious.

The best part of filming Afterburn was getting to talk to the crew. I had just seen the New Hampshire episode and I got to talk to Bert about the terrible fall he took in the Slush Cup challenge. He also shared that he liked Intimidator better than the enthusiast favorite Bizarro which he had ridden a few days earlier for the Massachusetts episode. He called Intimidator his new favorite roller coaster and he loved that you could ride it all day. The crew wasn’t composed of a bunch of long-time coaster enthusiasts (from what I could tell), but they had just ridden a number of World-class roller coasters thanks to the show. It was fun picking their brains and getting a non-coaster geek’s take on the rides.

Least Favorite Moments: A Rant About Aging & Keep Your Hands Down?
For the Intimidator filming we were asked to keep our hands DOWN! Yes. I’m assuming that this was because it’s standard operating procedure for parks to instructs riders to keep their hands and feet inside rides. Keeping my hands down was one of the weirdest, most counter-intuitive things I’ve done in a long while. For me, throwing my hands up on a roller coasters is like breathing. Some of the enthusiasts and I had to remind ourselves as we climbed the lift hill.

I was mentioning to a college student that I met at the filming how I missed the Top Gun soundtrack playing on a loop in Afterburn’s station. She said that she missed it too. Later, I did the numbers and realized that she wasn’t even alive when Top Gun came out in theaters. To me, it’s strange that there are grown people walking around out there that were born in the 90’s! It’s crazy. I couldn’t have felt more old.

If you’re a teenager now and can’t relate, let me try to explain it like this. One day you’ll meet someone. Not a child, an adult. You’ll see him or her as a peer until the person mentions that they aren’t as familiar with the Toby Maguire Spider-Man movies because they grew up with the 3D Spider-Man reboots (first of which will come out in 2012). Trust me you’ll be flabbergasted and feel old all of the sudden. Now, the college student obviously knew about Top Gun, but she likely viewed it as a classic instead of a current phenomenon as I did when it came out. Anyway, moments like these are inevitable. They’re just weird and seem to come out of nowhere. Okay, my rant about aging is over now.

This concludes my Season 1 Bert the Conqueror coverage. I hope that you have enjoyed reading my updates as much as I have enjoyed writing them. To support the show and let the network know that you’d like to see a Season 2, add a comment on this Travel Channel message board: We Need a Season 2

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Read my recaps and vote for your favorite episode of the season: Bert the Conqueror Episode Recaps

What’s Your Take?
What do you think of my coverage of filming Bert the Conqueror? Did you attend filming? Leave a comment below. Some of the images above are courtesy of Carowinds Connection.