Welcome, American Inventor fans (all five of you!) to week two of the semi-finals. Last week we saw judge Ed Evangelista choose to send the Receiver’s Training Pole on to the finals, while the Sackmaster 2000 got sacked and the Un-brella got rained out. (That was bad, I know. There’s not much to work with here!) This week is Mary Lou Quinlan’s turn to
crychoose, and she will be picking one of the following inventions to move on: the Niya Doll, the EZ-X Portable Gym, or the Double-Traction Bike.
Here Comes Trouble
Darla Davenport-Powell is first with the Here Comes Niya Doll. Mary Lou tells Darla that she needs to bring the doll into the 21st century, and to think about changing the song. Please, change the song! That has to be the most annoying ditty since the theme song to that “It’s A Small World” ride at Disney. Darla jumps right in, taking the Niya doll to a design and development group and auditioning girls to sing the theme song. A group of girls is chosen to sing, but Darla is less than pleased with the way they’re singing. After cajoling the girls to be happy, dammit, they finally record the final version. When the final product is revealed, Darla is very pleased. Niya now has a whole slew of little friends, too.
This Kid Is Pretty Smart
Francisco Patino’s Double-Traction Bicycle is next, and Mary Lou’s advice to him is to make the bike “hipper” and safer. He agrees and takes the idea to a focus group of teens. Their reactions are mainly negative, but he doesn’t let it get to him. Francisco talks to his design group about redesigning the seat for safety and wonders whether he should market the bike to parents, or kids. Showing more maturity than many of the adults I’ve seen on this show, Francisco tells his group that they will focus on selling to kids, since adults don’t have as much time to have fun. How right you are, young man. When the remodeled bike is revealed, Francisco can’t believe his eyes. It has a sleeker look, a detachable second seat, and is better balanced for safety.
Lock and Load! Lock and Load!
Jerry Wesley’s EZ-X Portable Gym is the last invention of the night. Mary Lou tells him that the EZ-X should be easier for people to use, and the focus group seems to agree. I don’t see what’s so hard about popping the weights on the end of the handle, but that’s just me. The group disses the contraption, and say that they’d like an instructional DVD to go with it. Stressed out, Jerry tries to call his girlfriend for advice, to no avail. A busy signal is all he can get, and he proceeds to make his instructional video. Well, more like struggles to make it. Jerry seems to have had about five pots of really strong coffee, as he sounds jittery and can’t get his lines out. After about 500 takes, he gets it right, and is ready for the final product reveal. The cover is lifted to reveal a new, color-coded weight system, and Jerry is ecstatic.
And the Panel Says...
It’s time to make their final presentations to the panel of judges, and Darla is first with the Niya Doll. She comes out singing a song, and Peter says he doesn’t get what she was saying. I just wish she’d stop with the singing, already. The judges watch a clip of little girls playing with the new doll, and it doesn’t take long for the doll to malfunction, saying “friends forever” over and over. Regardless, the girls seem to take to Niya and friends. Jerry is next, and shows the judges his clip. The test subjects liked the product, except for the last guy. Seems the clip broke as he was using it, causing the cables to fly back and hit him. I couldn’t quite tell just where he was whacked, but it sure looked painful. Jerry tries to explain what happened to the judges and talks trash about his competition, but they remain unimpressed. Last up is Francisco, and he unveils his new and improved bike. His video clip shows people at the beach trying to ride the bike, and there is definitely a learning curve. After a few practice runs, they seemed to enjoy the ride. The judges like the new look and the removable front seat, but Peter would like to see the front part sold as a kit that could fit onto other bikes. Mary Lou goes off to make her decision, and the invention that will be moving on to the finals is - the Double Traction Bicycle. Francisco gives Mary Lou a grateful hug and runs off to tell his family the good news.
Join us next week as they mercifully combine the last six inventions into one show, and both Doug and Peter get a chance to mentor them. Watching those two sourpusses should be pretty funny.
I wish I could come up with something to patent....firstname.lastname@example.org