Well, here we are, viewers - the final results show for American Inventor. It seems like it’s been forever since we watched the auditions, and...oh, wait. It has been forever. Honestly, they could have wrapped this puppy up in a few weeks, and probably kept viewer interest a little higher. A lot higher. Instead, the powers-that-be decided to drag it out like a bad Lifetime movie, cramming in more useless filler than a cheap 80's beanbag chair. And tonight will be no different, dear readers - in what should have been a thirty minute show, they’ll drag it out to a full hour, crammed full of sappy montages and bad music. I’ll try and spare you the heavy cheese, however, and get to what we all want to know - who won this thing, already?!
Clichés, Clichés, Everywhere
We start out with (you guessed it) more recaps of the final four’s “journeys” to the end. Heavy sigh. We’ve seen everyone’s story ad nauseum, so I won’t bother repeating them. The four finalists come out with their mentors to stand in front of the enthusiastic audience: Erik Thompson (The Catch) with Ed, Francisco Patino (D-Tract 2X2 Bike) with Mary Lou, Ed Hall (Word Ace) with Peter, and Janusz Liberkowski (Anecia Survival Capsule) with Doug. Host Matt Gallant seems awfully squeaky tonight, like his voice is almost gone. Which might be a good thing. Anyway, we get the obligatory shots of the friends and family from the contestant’s respective hometowns: Erik receives a key to the city from the mayor of Detroit; Francisco gets some love from friends at Queens College; Ed gets teary-eyed from a friend’s praise in Chicago; and the Janusz fan club in Los Gatos, California is led by his best friend - also named Janusz! Who would have guessed that. Matt tells us that millions of viewers voted (really?!) and it’s time for one Inventor to be eliminated.
Forced drama ensues as Matt calls the Inventors forward, telling Francisco to stand next to Ed and Erik to stand near Janusz. Very American Idol-like. Which is not a good thing. After a commercial break and an incredibly loooong pause meant to create more drama, we are told that the person with the lowest number of votes is: Francisco! The crowd goes silent for a minute, then applauds as Mary Lou cries and “Hero” is played in the background of Francisco’s “amazing journey” clip. A sniffling Mary Lou tells him that he will be inventing for a lifetime, and...wait! All is not lost, as the VP of Trek Bicycles comes out to offer Francisco an internship at his company, where he will work with the best to develop his bike, and his own skills too. And we’re not done - a cool clip of Lance Armstrong wishing the kid well is next, and Francisco looks shell-shocked. So am I, as I wonder why they didn’t bring out the celebs and big dogs earlier in this show. Why wait until the end to make this thing interesting?
More Cheese Than Wisconsin
It’s time for the next one to get the boot, and after another ridiculously long pause, we find out that.....Erik is out! A gasp arises from the crowd, as he seemed to be a favorite. Erik looks shocked, too, as a cheesy Celine Dion song plays and Ed tells Erik that he is proud of him. Ed says that this is not the end of Erik Thompson, and it’s not - the great receiver Jerry Rice steps out to congratulate Erik, who promptly freaks out. Get that man a Tizzy Tube! The audience chants “Jer-ry, Jer-ry!” (wrong show, people) and Erik regains his composure. Jerry tells him that he learned to catch by using bricks thrown at him (ouch) and that he would be glad to help Erik develop The Catch. Hey, you can’t get a better spokesman than Jerry Rice, and Erik is ecstatic.
Here comes more filler, as we get to watch the same goofy clips of the judges that we’ve seen a million times already. Mary Lou tells us that she will remember the stories and the heart of the contestants (read: the cheesy stuff) while Peter says he will remember the wackiness of it all. Doug says that he’s a big kid and he just loves the spirit of inventing, and for once I believe him. He really gets into this stuff. And yes, he tells us - he really did do all those things he said he did. Like falling into the Arctic. Ed wraps it up by telling us that he will always remember the people and their dreams.
You Spin Me Right Round
Finally, it’s time for the big winner to be announced. But not before we get to see montages of the final two to the sounds of “Over the Rainbow” and “Flying Without Wings.” Good grief. I’m losing patience as we have to endure what must be a five minute pause before the winner is announced - Janusz Liberkowski with the Anecia Survival Capsule! Janusz blows kisses to the crowd as the VP of Hasbro Games comes out to congratulate Ed and offer up his R&D department to develop the Word Ace. Maybe it’s just me, but Ed seems less than thrilled with the offer. I’ll be kind and chalk it up to nerves, because it’s a great chance for him. Janusz is all smiles as the CEO of the Evenflo company walks out to tell him that he will get to work with their engineers, designers and testing department to get the safety seat on the market. Matt hands Janusz the million dollar check, confetti flies, and we are done.
But are we? ABC has decided that it will have a second American Inventor, and I truly hope that they learn from their mistakes on this run, because it could be a pretty good show if they’d just drop some of the shmaltz. It’ll be interesting to see if any of these products actually make it onto the shelves, and hopefully the publicity will bring out some more talent for the next show. See you then!
Breathing a sigh of relief...firstname.lastname@example.org