So after Duke beat Wisconsin for the National Championship, a magical British phenomena appeared in the stands. Tyler Hartman, or, as the Internet has dubbed him, #SadTeletubby, made every sad Wisconsin fan feel a little better.
The 20-year-old University of Wisconsin student from Oostburg, Wis., is a, get this, human studies and family development and sociology double major who plans to pursue a master's degree in counseling in the future. He loves fish, Teletubbies, obviously, and Wisconsin athletics. But, we wanted to know what it felt like to be the saddest dude at the NCAA National Championship besides Bo Ryan -- and how proud his mom is of him.
Tyler Hartman: Well, we bought the suits at the beginning of the year, and we planned to pull them out for the bigger games. We wore the suits for the Kentucky game, and decided to wear them again for the championship because, why not? I was definitely anxious the whole game, but I never doubted our ability to win. Going into half with the game tied and then opening the it up to a nine-point lead, I thought we had it. Unfortunately down the stretch, we didn't play like we are able to, Tyus Jones was Tyus Jones, Grayson decided to show up and we lost.
SB Nation: Are you saying cameras didn't pick your amazing costumes after beating Kentucky? And there's a crew of you? How many? Are you guys some sort of gang of colorful scoundrels that attack America's mighty television screens?
Hartman: We got the whole gang! Tinky Winky, Dipsy, Laa-Laa and, of course, me as Po. You could say we raid the television screens. Family and friends saw us, and we read some tweets showing us love. Ha, ha -- but besides the love that fans out on the streets showed us and the many pictures we took with fans in the stadium (even Kentucky fans), we weren't that special.
SB Nation: Your mom had to have looked on TV and went: "Yup, I raised a mighty fine delinquent." Right?
Hartman: Ha, I'm sure her heart broke for me. Once the picture went viral, she sent me a message seeing if I was okay with all of the publicity and the media taking a picture of me in such a "fragile" state. She's a sweetheart. That got a good laugh from me. It's my own fault anyway.
SB Nation: After you got caught on TV looking sad as all hell, how long did it take you to figure out the Internet had adopted you and what did your phone, Facebook and Twitter all look like?
Hartman: We got back to the car, and I got some texts from some friends. I have a flip phone without chat so it's been pretty hard to individually delete notifications and texts. And my Facebook and Twitter have been blowing up. Most of the notifications are memes and pictures that are pure gold, so that's been fun.
SB Nation: What are some of your favorites? You have to have a few.
Hartman: Love the picture with my (or Po's) head in the Notebook scene. Also, the picture of me with a piccolo is pretty hilarious.
SB Nation: Speaking of piccolos, you seem to be fond of Crying Piccolo Girl. Could we see you two as a the world's first Meme Power Couple down the line? Maybe similar to the Joel Embiid/Rihanna couple we never got?
Hartman: I definitely respect how she handled her situation. Out of respect to her, I would ask for her opinion on the first Meme Power Couple; however, I wouldn't be opposed.
Hey, @roxiechalifoxie! Thoughts on Sad Teletubby and Piccolo Girl? Compatible or nah?— Tyler Hartmann (@tyHearty) April 8, 2015
SB Nation: Do you have a proposed name for this Meme Power Couple?
Hartman: Ha, ha -- on the spot, I don't. But maybe we can talk about it and come up with something.
SB Nation: Now in hindsight, you were pretty damn sad that night, but so was Bo Ryan. If there was a contest, who would break the "Sad-O-Meter?TM" Him or you?
Hartman: You know, I love this team. This team represents everything I love about sports. I was sad to see their road come to an end the way it did. That being said, I'm sure Bo Ryan has a relationship with these guys that is way beyond what little Po has with them. Bo Ryan would break the "Sad-O-MeterTM" before me, but then my friend that was dressed up as a giraffe would definitely contest Bo for the saddest person that night.
SB Nation: So does Wisconsin just have a damn factory of ridiculous kids in costumes raring to go to games or what? Is this strictly for basketball season? Or do you guys do a bunch of other sports, too? Or do the Wisconsin Teletubbies and their friend giraffe just do kids concerts in downtown Madison?
Hartman: Cows, turtles, Scooby-Doo, Hazmats. Every now and then you'll see a variety of costumes. For the Nebraska football game this year, we went shirtless and painted "cheese > corn" on our chests in the snow. So, it's not just basketball.
SB Nation: Okay, so I gotta ask: how did you use the bathroom during two games in that suit? Tell me there's some kind of majestic butt flap.
Hartman: Using the bathroom was an adventure. You need someone to un-Velcro you and then Velcro you back up after. You could compare it to a 2-year-old getting help to go potty or a girl at a high-school prom asking her friend to re-zip her dress.
SB Nation: And I'll just assume that there were multiple people at the Final Four watching a crew of Teletubbies unzip themselves to use the bathroom, gets kind of awkward. Wanna explain that whole excursion? I'm sure it's a doozy.
Hartman: I mean we had clothes on under. But it was great. Some guy even got a picture of us and the process of going to the bathroom.
SB Nation: And you just let him do that, huh? Wisconsin breeds wonderful human beings.
Hartman: The process of unzipping ourselves, not the process of going to the bathroom -- ha, ha. But yeah, we let him take a picture and smiled for him. I'm sure the process was pretty comical.
SB Nation: So, how would you rank yourself currently against the current sports memes of 2015? Top 1?
Hartman: The memes of me are okay, but I love the Shawn Oakman memes. He's gotta be No. 1. (I say that out of total fear that he'd come find me if I didn't put him No. 1.)
SB Nation: Yeah he's very terrifying, in terms of the NCAA Tournament itself, do you think you got snubbed from One Shining Moment? We can call Mark Emmert. Well, we can't. But we can try.
Hartman: No way! Maybe if there were tears rolling down my face ...
SB Nation: Do you think your sadness may have been a little over-exaggerated on social media? Some people swore you were sad and others didn't. Set the Internet straight for us.
Hartman: I think it was been over-exaggerated on social media. My friends thought it was funny, but they didn't know if I looked as sad as social media made it seem. There seemed to be other people taking it a lot harder than I was, but I guess Po attracted the camera.
SB Nation: Speaking of Po, how did you and your goofball buddies come to the conclusion that the Teletubbies were the costume of choice for budding college underclassmen? You guys could have been, I don't know, Badgers?
Hartman: Badgers costumes are more appropriate. Teletubbies are more spontaneous. It's not like they haven't been done before, but you can push the limits looking like Po.
SB Nation: Did security not have anything at all to say to you guys at the gate? Did the guards wand the suit and only fluffiness and fun come out?
Hartman: Nah, they loved the costumes! They just laughed at us and were pretty lenient with letting us go where we wanted.
SB Nation: So you made your way to the court and you got to see your favorite team take down an undefeated Kentucky team and push Duke to the limit, what's been the most memorable part of your Final Four?
Hartman: The most memorable part was spending the whole weekend with some of my best friends. We will be able to look back at this Final Four and say that we got to experience something together that few people get to experience. We beat an undefeated team, became celebrity Teletubbies and cheered for the Badgers in the championship game.
SB Nation: Is the Po' suit for sale? I've got around $13 on my debit card, that's enough right?
Hartman: Tell you what: if you can convince Sam Dekker to stay for one more year, you might have yourself a Po suit.
SB Nation: I will take you up on that offer. Speaking of Dekker, did any of the players reach out to you at all? Have you basically accomplished all the cool stuff you wanted to do when this happened? I see you got on the Jimmy Fallon Show, too.
Hartman: Nah, I have never expected any of the publicity. Dressing up as Teletubbies has been fun for us and hopefully for some other fans, but it was never a goal to get any recognition.
SB Nation: Lastly, any regrets during this whole process? Anything you wish you could have done? Any advice to the next crazy ass kid from Wisconsin that feels the need to put on a suit recognizant of a fictional British character? Wait, dude, do you even know your Teletubbies history?!
Hartman: I try to live with no regrets. God placed the Teletubby costumes in our lives for a reason. Who knows what's in store for them next. And yeah. I loved the 'Tubbies growing up! But, they're a little creepy, looking back.