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Flossie Lewis asked if her ‘Brief But Spectacular’ take would go viral. It did, and now she’s back

At the beginning of her “Brief But Spectacular” take on growing old, Flossie Lewis, then 91, asked director and series creator Steve Goldbloom if the resulting video would go viral.

“This? We hope so,” he replied.

More than two years since the video posted on the PBS NewsHour Facebook page, Flossie’s take has been viewed more than 7 million times.

"Getting old is a state of mind."91-year-old Flossie Lewis is a former English teacher who now lives at the Piedmont Gardens Senior Living Community in the Bay Area. In her spare time, Lewis writes 'light verse' for her local newspaper. She offers her #BriefButSpectacular take on what it feels like to grow old.View more videos from our Brief But Spectacular series: bit.ly/briefbutspectacular

Posted by PBS NewsHour on Thursday, May 5, 2016

Now, Goldbloom and series producer and editor Zach Land-Miller have brought Flossie, now at age 94, back for an extended version of “Brief But Spectacular” — this time, including some of her former students from her time as a high school English teacher.

Goldbloom met Flossie as he was shooting a movie starring Rita Moreno in the summer of 2015, and he “could tell pretty quickly that she was an original, no-nonsense character,” he said. He returned months later to film her for “Brief But Spectacular,” and during the taping, the “most basic questions yielded the most interesting results,” Goldbloom said.

Why do another episode with Flossie? “I wanted to create conditions to show Flossie in her element because I had spent time with her, and I knew how talented she was and how people responded to her,” Goldbloom said. “I wanted to see her in the classroom.”

One of her former students, Daniel Handler — also known as Lemony Snicket, the author of the “A Series of Unfortunate Events” books — said “she has the ability to startle.”

The overall reaction to the video, posted in May of 2016, was bit overwhelming for Flossie, Goldbloom said in this new episode.

“She called me and asked if she was expected to respond personally to each of the thousands of comments on Facebook,” he said. “I assured her that she was not.”

Editor’s Note: For our Bay Area viewers, you can watch the full-length documentary and attend a Q&A with Flossie Lewis, poet Mahogany Browne and Steve Goldbloom on Wednesday, Aug. 22 at The Commonwealth Club in San Francisco. More information available here.

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