Originally aired on Wednesday, 06/20/2007
Episode Rating: ***(3 stars out of 5)
Episode Overview: American Inventor heads to New York and Chicago to look for the next two city finalists.
- New York City certainly has its share of colorful characters, but not a lot of strong inventions.
- Chicago's auditions go better, with several contenders.
- The judges get a serious case of the giggles when evaluating some of the more absurd-looking inventions.
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The American Inventor judges, George Foreman, Sarah Blakely, Pat Croce, and Peter Jones, along with host Dick Smith, all now head to New York for the next set of auditions.
Their first inventor is a 71 year-old man named Carlo. He's originally from Italy, but has lived in the USA for a while. He's also sunk about $10,000 into his invention. What is that invention? Copper. Sure, you're thinking, isn't copper an element that's exist for millenia? And you would be correct, but his invention is the mesh mask and sleeping mask (yes, wire sleeping mask, sounds cozy, right?) that is supposed to deliver the healing power of copper directly to you. He claims that he has had better health, vision and mental clarity since he started...walking around with a copper mesh insert in his cap. Yep, it's a no.
Next is a swim coach who's invented a dry swim trainer. The prototype is quite wobbly, but honestly, it's a little surprising how dismissive the judges are just based on a bad prototype. They've passed through products without a prototype, and this seems to be a good idea that with the know-how of some major fitness equipment company could turn into a viable product. After all, sure, it's nicer to swim in water, but it's also nicer to bike outdoors or row on a lake, but you can do both of those activities inside at a gym. Anyway, it's a no.
Also a no to an attorney who invented a body squeegee, basically a way to swipe water off your body after a shower just like you use a squeegee on a shower. The judges don't like his prototype again, so he's out.
Now a "32 year-old" woman named Sophia from the Eurasian country of Georgia. She has a poster board illustration of a jewelry box plus karaoke machine plus webcam plus recorder plus...it goes on and it's absurd. No.
Next is Joe Laurence, a man dressed in a giant bottle outfit. His invention is "Safe Sex in a Bottle," a condom rolled up into a bottle you keep on a key ring. Because condoms are otherwise so unweidly and impossible to fit into something you carry around with you, like, say a wallet. No.
A young inventor named Molly now makes her pitch for a musical sneaker. As Peter points out, with the advent of the iPod (really, with the advent of the Walkman back in the day) the need for a musical sneaker disappeared. Also, does any parent really want another way for their child to make noise? So it's a no, although she does get a hug from George when she starts to cry.
Onto Chicago American Inventor auditions. The first yes is for an older man named Elmer. He's 78 years old, and sharp as a tack. His invention is like paddle ball, only instead of the ball being attached to a single paddle, you clip it to yourself and use both hands to thwack it around. He makes an articulate pitch about how it can improve hand-eye coordination, muscle tone and flexibility. George asks if it can be used by someone in a wheelchair, and Elmer confirms this. Pat thinks this inventions isn't unique enough, but Sarah disagrees, and she has a point. The addition of the extra hand work really does make it a better work out. George and Peter go along with it, and Elmer is thrilled.
A few more quick yeses, for a peel-off shower curtain, a shopping cart handle cover, and a portable weighted dog leash holder.
Then a man named Howard presents some musical gloves that a kid could use to play music on anything. Judges don't understand why the children can't just use instruments.
And now a few quick nos: A belt that teaches you how to run, an ab stencil for tan-on abs, a contraption to make your six pack into a keg, and a womblike egg chair for a baby.
The judges are completely slap happy by this point and cannot keep their composure when a David Le brings in his inventions - a helmet with some kind of shaft leading to a shoulder harness. It's not clear what the benefit is, while the drawbacks are numerous. No.
Last is Wesley. He and his family has invested a whopping $300,000 into his invention: a drag race track for mini-cars. At first it seems wildly underwhelming. But when he has Pat demonstate, and shows how each player uses a foot pedal to propel te car, and the lights actually work (i.e., if you jump the start gun, you get a red), it seems pretty fun and cool. It's a nerve-wracking decision for the puppy-eyed inventor, but he gets through. Still a long way to the million, but he feels like this is some vindication.
Back to NYC for our last audition of the night. It's a wild-eyed only-in-NYC type, Silvio. He dresses like a Ramone and is obsessed with the "Black Cougar," a character he invented and made a film about. The innovative part about the Cougar is that he is the only superhero with one mission: to protect kids. Fine, but is that actually an invention? Two quick nos from Pat and Peter, but Sarah and George give him an ego-boosting yes. Not good enough to go on, but it's something.
Come back next week for the next episode of American Inventor!
- Leslie Seaton, BuddyTV Staff Columnist
(Image courtesy of ABC)