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March 17, 2006

American Inventor

Bruce Nussbaum

So I watched American Inventor last night and the beginning was so bad I actually switched over to the awful movie Gigli with Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck. The first inventor up had a long rubber coat into which you can relieve yourself without anyone seeing it--just in case you get caught out in public. Of course, you have to carry this long rubber coat with you all the time. And the Space Beetles concept, whatever it was, was nutty. So was the car "suit" that you changed depending on destination (beach, work, party).

But I returned, gave American Inventor another chance, and got caught up in it. True, the four judges never reveal their criteria for successful innovation and they don't wait to compare one invention with another to determine their choices and this is not good.

The naked exploitation of emotion on the show is not good either. One of the judges'criteria for giving a thumbs-up to an invention was the emotion of the inventor. Whoever had a great story appeared to have better chance of getting the "yeses." And the judges were often obnoxious in an attempt to generate false conflict and emotion.

And yet, by the end of the program, I was agreeing with most of the choices of the judges. And there were a number of serious inventions that were really good. That big shovel that put sand directly into sandbags was cool. The bike with separate handle bars for kids riding on the handle bars was cool.

In the end, the emotion was good too. The inventors, winners and losers all, were passionate about their inventions. And I liked that.

I think American Inventor is a first step toward public open-source innovation, however icky it may be. I'd like to see all the losers and winners up online as well to make up my own mind.

So despite my misgivings, I give American Inventor a "yes" and hope the judges learn to act as a team instead of a bunch of elbows-out Fox TV show screamers.

04:47 PM

innovation

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"American Inventor" was another example of the nice, long, lubed-up, patriotic hand job that TV execs seem to love giving the American public these days: The family edition of Amazing Race (which ruined the show for me), Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, and to a lesser extent, Dancing with the Stars, etc. That red-headed female judge based almost every decision on how teary her eyes got. "You've got such an American spirit and that's what this is all about. Yes!" No, it's not about that at all. Do you have a good product? Great, you're on. No? Thank you, but keep trying. Such a joke. I saw this as a last gasp for a country who's economy is heading in a downward spiral and will be eaten alive by Asia in the innovative/creative industries.

Posted by: Yawners at March 18, 2006 01:25 AM

Am I the only person getting nervous about using the words innovation, invention, design, and creativity as if they are interchangable? They are not.

Posted by: RitaSue Siegel at March 20, 2006 02:42 AM

It’s a shame that invention now has to be trivialized but on the other hand, I believe shows like this could inspire younger viewers to dig into their imaginations and come up with something neat. What is disturbing here is not so much the judging, but that two countries had Gigli on television around the same time. Yes, we were laboured with it, too. You would think one nation at a time was enough.

Posted by: Jack Yan at March 21, 2006 09:42 AM

who won last nite?

Posted by: anne olson at May 12, 2006 12:22 PM

can anyone email me and tell me who won on the american inventor last night i think that guy who invented the baby seat was amazing

Posted by: janice loughry at May 12, 2006 02:25 PM

The American Inventor Winner

Congratulations to Janusz Liberkowski, inventor of the Spherical Safety Seat! per abc.com

Posted by: Laura at May 19, 2006 05:19 PM

The geeza with the baby seat!

This makes me very happy...

Posted by: Ann Thurston at May 19, 2006 07:02 PM

keep the invention comeing i tape all the shows i would like to be 0n your next show could you let me know if you will have a show with in 300 miles of cincinnat ohio i thank you much ed mckain i would like to hear from you thanks

Posted by: ed mckain at May 23, 2006 08:29 PM

I would agree that there are many "would be" inventors who would benefit from an open source like environment, but how can then protect their ideas?

Posted by: Nick Gustavsson at May 26, 2006 08:51 AM

Awesome show! My kids and I watched it religiously and were brought to tears several times. My 7 year old is trying to come up with ideas for the next show, I wish they had more shows that inspired like this. I loved the shovel, but not the attitude. We all wanted the bike guy to win because he was so gracious for the opportunity he had been given. I personally think the word ace guy had to many forced emotions, with an ungrateful attitude toward the toy company opportunity he was handed. The football guy was awesome. In the end, the car seat was a great choice. Ok, I really loved the bathroom stall idea, imagine it in walmart!

Posted by: shawn myers at June 2, 2006 05:26 AM

If you need your invention made in China. http://www.manufacturingchina.com

We can help!!!!

Posted by: Manufacturing China at June 4, 2006 09:00 PM

I need to talk to the guy that invited the car seat or a car seat maker. Please Please Please Thank You Debbie

Posted by: Deb at July 1, 2006 02:14 AM

ARE YOU LOOKING FOR PEOPLE WITH INVENTIONS ? IF SO REPLY SO I CAN SEND YOU INFO ON ATOOL I INVENTED ,PRETTY INNOVATIVE SAVES TIME MONEY AND SALES ARE STARTING TO TAKE OFF IT'S BEEN ALONG ROAD .AISO I HAVE ABOUT 10 MORE IDEAS ON THE DRAWLING BOARD,SOME READY FOR PROTYPE.I HAVE A GREAT MACHINE SHOP THEY ARE GOOD THIS WOULD PROBABLY MAKE A GOOD STORY AND AN INTERESTING SEGMENT IN YOUR PROGRAM THANKS SIGN JOSHUA EVANS JETOOLSDIRECT.COM

Posted by: JOSHUA E. at August 22, 2006 05:41 AM


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