Welcome to the American Inventor finale recap! Yes, we’ve finally made it to the end of this odd little show. As many viewers have noted, the emphasis has been more on the inventors than their inventions, with hard-luck stories galore and more crying than any makeover show I’ve ever seen. Tonight we are down to the final four contestants, and their last task is to make a 30 second commercial highlighting their new and improved inventions, after which the public can vote on their favorite to win. No escaping the commercials tonight, folks - this show is all about the ads. The final four as chosen by the judges are:
- Erik Thompson - The Catch
- Francisco Patino - D-Tract 2x2 Bike
- Ed Hall - Word Ace
- Janusz Liberkowski - Anecia Survival Capsule
Shiny Happy Audiences
The show starts off with the fantastic four coming out like to wild applause from the audience like they’re pro athletes. Or rock stars. Either way, these people are awfully hyped up about this stuff. They must have promised them free food or something if they pretend to be excited about the show. Or maybe they get a discount on a Therapy Buddy. Anyway, both the finalists and the judges are introduced by our sporadic host Matt Gallant, and they waste no time in getting down to the filler.
What Are We Trying To Sell Here?
Judge Ed is shown going out to meet Erik’s family at their home, and he even brings flowers (aww!). Ed believes Erik and The Catch should win because he has a truly original invention, and Erik is glad he had Ed for a mentor because he understands the working-class guy. The two bond over spaghetti on paper plates, and head off to the ad agency to make their commercial. Erik chooses the pitch he likes best, but tells the production crew that it needs more action. Finding some athletic-looking men to be in the commercial is a problem, however, as a group of skinny goofballs is paraded out. Erik shakes his head and tells them that they need real football players, and they manage to find a local college team to help out. They’re terrible actors, though, and they must be coached through the process. The ad is finally completed, and it shows a receiver in a football game popping off his hand and replacing it with a “catching” hand. The vest is only shown for about 5 seconds near the end of the commercial, and the judges weigh in with their thoughts:
Mary Lou: The invention is better than the commercial.
Doug: The commercial sells hands, not the vest!
Peter: Not enough focus on the vest.
Ed: You have the purest invention on the show.
A Bike By Any Other Name
The invention formerly known as the Double Traction Bike is next, and it has been renamed the D-Tract 2x2 Bike. I’ll just call it the Bike, because that name is a pain to type. Mary Lou was Francisco’s mentor, and she heads out to Queens to pick him up and meet the family, wearing a lime green jacket to match the walls in their house. The earnest kid goes to the same production company as Erik, and I’m wondering if that was a good choice. This company isn’t exactly blowing me away with their ideas, here. They only have 12 hours to shoot the ad, and the special effects that Francisco wants will take a long time to get right. He also loses patience with the actors, and tries to take charge of the set to get the ominous look he wanted. Unfortunately, the police show up and try to shut him down because the filming is interfering with local traffic. Francisco works it out somehow and gets the ad completed - a young man is shown walking down a dark alley and comes across a bike that transforms into the D-Tract, then the guy “splits” into two, with the two men getting on and riding the bike down the street.
Doug: Too much like a Superbowl commercial. Too much drama, not enough bike.
Ed: The kids should have split first, so there was a reason for the bike.
Peter: Liked the CGI graphics. Should have called the bike the Terminator.
Mary Lou: She just loved everything. If you’ve ever watched Paula on American Idol, this is her twin.
I’m So Five Letter Word Starting With B
Ed Hall is the next inventor, and his Word Ace is also the only invention that hasn’t been renamed. Peter was his mentor and tells us that this is the only invention with the potential to be in every American home. Peter travels from London to visit Ed’s family, and he pulls up to the modest home in a full-on black stretch limo. Way to fit in, there, Peter. They pop open a bottle of champagne and head out to make the required commercial. Ed goes to the same ad agency, and their first idea is beyond lame, so Ed chooses the second concept. The ad is shot at a middle school and Ed seems completely at ease around the children. The filming goes off without a hitch until the last scene, when the girl keeps flubbing her line. The finished ad comes out well, as it follows some teens around school as they speak in Word Ace talk, such as “I’m so in four letter word starting with ‘L’ (love). Judges say:
Ed: Liked it. The ad makes you guess the word and play along.
Mary Lou: You nailed it!
Doug: I’ve been tough on you, but I loved the commercial.
Peter: It was outstanding. Well done.
The Strangest Name Award Goes To...
Last up is Janusz with the renamed car seat, now called the Anecia Survival Capsule. It sounds more like something NASA would use to me, but whatever. Doug the Amazing has been Janusz’s mentor, and he drives out to meet the family. As he arrives, Janusz tells Doug that he hopes he likes Polish food. I’m thinking Doug likes any kind of food. A feast fit for ten people is set out, and Doug tells us that Janusz should win because he’s “genuine, authentic, and real.” Doug needs a thesaurus. Meeting with the same crummy ad agency (did they get a deal from these people, or what?) Janusz is not impressed with their ideas, preferring to use his own idea of a crashed car with a swinging, safe baby inside for more visual impact. He takes his idea to the production people and chooses a cute baby girl to star in the ad. Bad weather and an uncooperative baby stall the film crew. The storm finally clears and they finish filming, and the completed ad has everything Janusz wanted: it’s a dramatic scene where a firefighter pries open a wrecked SUV to find the safe, smiling baby in the Capsule.
Mary Lou: You have tapped into every mother’s heart and fear, and given them a solution. Brilliant!
Peter: Still concerned that the seat is a prototype, but loved the commercial.
Ed: Wanted to see the seat moving. Looked too much like a still-life.
Doug: Brilliant. The hair on the back of his head stood up (all five of them!).
That’s it, viewers. The four finalists give one last plea to the voting public as a pile of cash is shown. It’s all over but the voting, as people will call in and decide who will win the million bucks and be named American Inventor. The results of the voting will be shown next week in what is sure to be a filler-packed hour. See you then!
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