This week, we visit the Windy City and the Big Apple. Unfortunately, none of our judges have found better things to do with their time and money than this show.
George, SPANX, Pat, and British Man are still richer than you will ever be. On a sidenote, I attended my first arena football game yesterday at the Staples Center (it was a free ticket, I swear). Who pays money to watch arena football? People who would enter American Inventor, that’s who. Sadly, I could not purchase a Rowdy Hat (TM) at the game because the inventor was rejected on this very show.
Let me preface this recap with a quote from South Park:
Kyle: Dude, thank God for stupid people.
First, Exhibit #927 in the case against delusional old people. Carlo Giansanti, 71, came to this country forty years ago from Rome. Over the past ten years, he’s invested more than $10,000 of his retirement savings into an invention he believes is a medical breakthrough.
“I have the biggest discovery the world has ever seen,” he proclaims in a heavy Italian accent. I have translated his Italianese into Cockney for your enjoyment. Shine yer shoes, guv’nah?
COCKNEY CARLO: “Me name is Carlo. I ‘ave the bloomin’ biggest discoright the bleedin’ world ‘as ever seen. Cor blimey guv, would I lie to you? I’m bloody well 70 years old, I’m stronger than I were 30 years old. Because of copper. Copper on the head eliminates any type of mental sickness, an’ gives vitality ter the ‘oole system. Cor blimey guv! Just yer bloody breathe it, right, George. Also on the head. It gives me total control of me Michael Caine, init?”
ENGLISH TRANSLATION: “My name is Carlo. I have the biggest discovery the world has ever seen. I’m 70 years old, I’m stronger than I was 30 years old. Because of copper. Copper on the head eliminates any type of mental sickness, from Alzheimer’s, strokes, avian flu, TB, and gives vitality to the whole system. You breathe it, George. Also on the head. It gives me total control of my brain.”
Carlo says he was seventy, but the ABC caption accompanying his name says he is seventy-one. The only explanation is that Carlo is a liar, and I refuse to believe any more of his cockamamie. I feel sorry for his wife as he demonstrates his heavy mouth-breathing through a sheet of copper mesh. I guess your sex life does decline as you get older, if you insist on doing things like this.
This is only the beginning.
“Ten years ago, I was dying, and every time I drove, I fell asleep. I started copper, and I figured I put it on my head. And I felt good. I felt good. Then I made a mask, an’ I slept with it. It’s uncomfortable, yet it feels good.”
“My wife no longer enjoys foreplay.”
I hope the DMV revokes his license soon, as I already have to watch out for Asian female drivers. (I may be one myself, but I learned how to drive from my guy friends. So there.) I don’t need narcoleptic senior citizens running me into the median. He allegedly no longer needs glasses, either. With that, he places his copper-lined spectacles on his head and a surgical mask lined with the same thing over his mouth. It’s the fourth year he hasn’t been sick.
“The doctor doesn’t know nothing, he hasn’t seen me for four years, he thinks I’m dead! I know more than anybody in the world about copper.” Heh.
No’s from Pat and British Man, and I assume George and SPANX are in agreement. As he exits, Carlo produces a small, crumpled American flag and sets it on fire. And by “sets it on fire” I mean “waves it while saying, ‘Always, but never give up!’” Carlo plans to live until the ripe old age of 130. “If the United States cannot produce, I will produce in China, maybe.” America, fuck yeah! USA made in China, here we come.
Swim coach James Davis, 49, has invested $25,000 in the Dry Swim Trainer, an exercise machine for the home, designed to do everything you can do with swimming. It’s missing an important element — water. It also looks like the world’s worst gynecological examining table, complete with foot stirrups. His assistant helps to hook him into the bulky machine but “forgets” to strap James’ feet in, perhaps to convince his boss that this machine is a really crappy invention. James flails wildly about and nearly cuts himself in half as George starts giggling. When George starts laughing at your invention, it’s totally over.
Water wings, please.
James really missed the point here. Water makes you buoyant, and without its presence, you’re not going to necessarily learn how to float in it or react to it. You might as well learn how to swim using a Nintendo Wii.
“The point of swimming is the fluidity of water,” says Pat. British Man states the obvious: “You’ve clearly demonstrated that if you want to swim, go to a swimming pool.” I’m inclined to agree. As much as I hate the feeling of water going up my nose, I’d rather go to a pool and do my pathetic doggie paddling than try James’ weird S&M contraption.
Pat Croce will never run out of ugly, expensive shirts.
Tom Jermyn, 44, a self-employed attorney (i.e. ambulance chaser), invented the Body Squeegee Towel Saver. It’s a giant squeegee with three contours for the torso, legs, and arms. You can also turn it sideways to squeegee your shower after you’re done. Nasty. Use Tilex, Tom. He invented this because he used to visit his unhygienic brother, who wouldn’t do laundry. Instead of resorting to moldy towels, he’d use a t-shirt or sock to squeegee himself off.
“I’m really afraid to ask this,” interrupts British Man, “but what’s with the holes?” Dirty!
“I’ve heard enough,” says George. No’s from everyone. “Not into the product at all,” adds Pat. “Keep punching!” encourages George. “Were the cutouts for the woman’s body, squeegee down this way?” asks SPANX. Doubtful. No one’s boobs are as cylindrical as a penis.
Under that hardened exterior is a man who loves stripey socks.
Sophia Kandelaki, 32, dresses like a high class hooker, from the clear acrylic heels of her white patent pumps all the way to her badly bleached hair. She could also be Borat’s wife, dressed up as a New Jersey homemaker with her loud flower print minidress, plastic jewelry, and neck scarf. Her entire outfit was selected from the Forever 21 clearance rack. The camera guy must’ve been desperately horny, because we get a shot panning up her legs to reveal just a hint of the lacy top of her stockings. Her invention targets women around the world, with her 12-in-1 item for everyday use. I expected a vibrator or a push-up bra.
“Do you have a jewelry box in home? How big is this?” she asks SPANX. Well, it’s not only a jewelry box, Sophia assures us. It’s multi-tiered, like a stack of pancakes. It has a webcam, a recorder, a music center, a karaoke machine (“You can sing in front of mirror!”), and even an air conditioner. It talks to you and tells you how beautiful you are today. You can lock it like a car. It has a touch up screen size (whatever the hell that is), and you can even record a sexy guy’s voice. Everything a single girl needs, except the ability to know when her makeup makes her look like a transvestite.
What, pray tell, are “radio dishies”?
But can it wash my dishes? No. And for that reason, the judges unanimously reject her jewelry box on steroids.
If British Man gets such migraines from judging the contestants, why doesn’t he just send in another British lookalike? We’d never know the difference between the “Peter Jones” model and another dour, cynical, uppity type. Well, except for the stripey socks that British Man enjoys wearing so much.
Security guard John Lorinz, 64, has not gone on a vacation or taken a woman to dinner in four years. I think the latter is for reasons other than being so dedicated to his work.
“Ladies and gentlemen, safe sex in a bottle is here!” John asks Pat to assist him in removing his gigantic plastic bottle costume. Underneath is a man who might be a very distant relative of Christopher Walken, judging by the hair. His invention is a small bottle with a condom inside, on a keyring. Ah yes, the novelty gift that nobody wants. You can already get the ones that say “In case of emergency, break glass” at stores like Spencer’s Gifts and Hot Topic. That’s as far as he gets before the judges immediately take a vote. No’s from everyone. British Man: “Message in a bottle from me to you: no.” Message from me to John Lorinz? Get laid.
The judges have yet to find a New York finalist. I am not surprised, with the batch of crazies the producers have shown us. Our youngest inventor, Molly Balevre, is nine years old. She’s flown out with her entire family from New Hampshire, and her mom’s friend “Mrs. Soblitsky” wants to buy her invention first. Well, “Mrs. Soblitsky” is probably an alcoholic.
I hate how patronizing the judges get when kids present their inventions. They might as well offer them a cookie and pat them condescendingly on the head. Molly’s invention is a musical sneaker with a speaker on the tongue and a volume control on the toe. Right now, it’s in posterboard form. You can run and dance while a tune plays. In 1995, light up shoes were the cool thing to have. I was in fifth grade, and couldn’t afford the L.A. Gear kind. My parents bought me a slightly too-large pair from Payless, and the mean girls made fun of me. But I digress.
I told you, Pat has an endless supply.
“Do you run and dance?” asks Pat.
“Yeah, I dance in my room. When I’m alone.”
“Who helped you with the drawing?” asks George.
“My friend Jeremy, he’s a tattoo artist.”
A nine-year-old is friends with a tattoo artist?
George thinks it’s a good idea, and tells her yes. Pat likes the idea, but would like it to be more developed (i.e. not a posterboard), and votes no. British Man says that music in a sneaker doesn’t work since the iPod is around. No. SPANX doesn’t see the harm in giving her a yes, since she needs three to be a finalist. “Two yes’es is pretty good,” consoles SPANX. Molly starts crying anyway. “That’s a pretty sneaker,” says George, giving her a hug. Outside, Nick Smith patronizes Molly further. Are we surprised?
We’re now in Chicago, land of Lollapalooza and the name of a fantastic Sufjan Stevens song.
I’m pretty sure stormy weather is bad for old people, since pneumonia is one of the leading killers of our senior citizens, right? It concerns me that so many of them are waiting in the rain.
Retired athletic director Elmer George gets the straight talk from Nick Smith about being one of those senior citizens Elmer drove over 8 hours (without falling asleep, I hope) from his house in Washington, Pennsylvania. He’s invented Whiz Ball, to improve the cardiovascular system, hand-eye coordination and flexibility.
It’s a low-cost, low-tech game, he says, for anyone from age 12 and up. However, older people should have their physician’s recommendation. He demonstrates by clipping the elastic to his shirt, and slips into the two hand paddles.
I asked for a paddle ball for Christmas when I was in kindergarten. When I received it, the elastic immediately snapped off the wooden paddle and snapped me in the face. I quickly switched to reading books. It’s impressive how athletic and spunky Elmer is. “Sarah would spank me!” he jokes, when asked about his relationship status. You can even use Whiz Ball in a wheelchair.
A life justified on flying balls.
Then it gets serious. “What would it mean to you if you succeeded in becoming an inventor at the age of 78?” asks Peter.
“A lot of things, Peter. It would justify a life. At my age, that’s important.”
How can they say no after that answer? I just really hope that when I get that old, I don’t expect validation from a reality television show. George believes anyone can do it if Elmer can, and looks forward to using it himself. Yes. Pat loves Elmer but doesn’t see the novelty of it. No. SPANX thinks it’s novel and says you’re engaging both hands. She says you can finally play paddle ball with yourself. Umm, wasn’t it always a solitary pursuit? British Man likes Elmer, and says yes. God Bless us, everyone, said Tiny Tim.
Elmer’s a finalist. “They are the smartest people in the country!” he proclaims.
Sandra Erickson, 34, is a communications manager who must hate cleaning the shower. Her invention is a peel-away shower curtain that you can pull off, revealing a clean one underneath. Wouldn’t you want one? George does. I love useless waste and crowding landfills with non-biodegradable plastic sheets, don’t you? Come on. You know what’d be cooler? A shower curtain that was a giant Magna Doodle.
Fitness instructor Christina Raitano, 37, has invented Cart Cure. My concern is that she stole a shopping cart from the supermarket lot. Cart Cure is a handle cover for your shopping cart, which she insists scientists say are dirtier than public restrooms. Mucus, saliva, fecal matter, yadda yadda yadda.
The source of all fecal matter on shopping carts.
Are they dirtier than public restrooms where the toilet has overflowed onto the floor? I don’t think so. A lot of supermarkets are supplying customers with antibacterial wipes for their cart, but I guess a germophobe would buy this. Doesn’t the handle cover just pick up the germs anyway?
John and Henrietta Sparks have an adorable dog named Ludlow. They’ve created the Dogball, a retractable leash attached to a weighted base so the pet doesn’t wander away. They make it through. It would be doubly useful if the base could be flipped over and used as a water bowl as well.
Howard Batterman, 43, feels his entire life has been leading up to this moment. That’s pretty sad. He’s a produce manager and father of three who’s spent over $2000 and one year on his invention. It’s Finger Tunes, designed to give musical enjoyment to children of all ages. He’s wearing a bright yellow glove and tapping tunes. He says that with two gloves, one can be set to drums, the other to piano. “Bomp bomp boomp dootilydootily doo,” he sings. Or you could just get your kid a cheap Casio keyboard, in which case they could actually learn what the notes and keys are.
Howard insists that gloves are more portable, that you could make tunes out of everything you touch. That would get annoying real fast, especially with siblings who love to poke each other in the car and scream, “Mom, he’s touching me!” Howard starts to creep out the judges with his demonstration of what would happen if he set the gloves to voices: “Hello, hello, how are you, how are you, hello, hello, hello, how are you, how are you – ”
“Stop!” says Pat.
Hand piano is ridiculous, says British Man. “Take your hand and get out of there, that’s cold,” comments George.
Time for our weekly Montage of Rejects. Joe Sparks, 50, has developed a belt that attaches with pulleys to your shoes, to teach you to run. While you’re running. Um, no. (But I think there is a point to be made about changing your running stride to increase efficiency)
Dean Rose, 45, dental hygienist, has created the Ins-Tan Abs. You simply place the stencil over your stomach and allow the lines to bake into your stomach — in the same time it would take you actual crunches and sit-ups to produce real abs. This show is truly American.
Steven Frey, 41, is an engineer who wants to transform his favorite six pack of beers into a microkeg. All it appears to do is open your cans simultaneously. “No, it popped and it scared me,” says George. Oh, George.
Whose ugly shirt will reign supreme?
Steve Imes, 37, has invented the Wee Pa. The bouncy chair is entering the 21st century, the private jet pilot insists, and it’s womb-like to make the baby comfortable. In fact, it’s “eggolutionary.” Oh, the puns that would make English majors cringe. “It looks like your baby in Darth Vader’s helmet,” says British Man. It’s a no, and the judges all burst into giggles. Metaphors be with you. Get it?
David Le (it’s pronounced “lay” not “lee,” Nick Smith) invested $2000 and two months into a device that can save lives. He’s Vietnamese. So he must be a nail salon owner. See? My gross generalizations are always correct when applied to ABC shows.
Made out of foam and cardboard tubes (probably saved from the end of the paper towels in David’s kitchen), it’s a helmet attached to shoulder pads. You can still see the pencil lines all over the foam. David insists it’s “unik” and drops conjunctions all over the place. You are the suck, David.
“It’s connect to the shaft, this shaft can be turn around, the rider can turn head without interfere. This shaft connects to the shoulder pads, it has cylinder, can turn by itself.”
David’s model, who I’m assuming is a father, big brother, or uncle, realizes that the judges are laughing at him. Then again, he is wearing the silliest foam/cardboard contraption ever.
This is why Vietnamese people can’t be Samurai.
Let’s vote! Pat says no, George says no, SPANX says no. British Man says the scarecrow safety helmet is a no for him. Time to go back to the nail salon, David!
Will this show never end? Here’s another example of the racial stereotypes perpetuated by ABC. We pan to clips of competitors telling Nick Smith how much they’ve spent on their inventions. “Under a thousand. 500 dollars. 6000. 10,000. 15,000. 27. Every penny, down to my kid’s piggy bank!”
Who do you think was Asian? The guy who spent only 27 dollars.
Wesley Caudill, 39, has spent five years and a ridiculous amount of money on his prototype. His entire family has sacrificed (probably ate beans and eggs for five years, like every other competitor who’s sacrificed on this show). His brothers have also helped him financially. His invention is Expert Racers, the “first die cast competition racetrack, simulating real drag racing.” I don’t think so. Hot Wheels has a FOUR (count ‘em, four) car racetrack, and Wes’ only has two. Weak sauce. He challenges Pat to a race anyway.
Vroom, vroom, goodbye Wes.
He’s spent over $300,000 on this. Wes’ family got a business loan, and also clearly got swindled out of some money. His brothers took mortgages out on their home. Part of being good family is knowing when to stick together, but also having the courage to tell someone they’re wasting their time (and your money). Time to vote!
SPANX says yes, Peter says no. Pat remembers matchbox cars and a time when he didn’t wear ugly shirts. He says yes. George says,”Don’t be discouraged, I took about $300,000 of my own life savings and invested in a boxer and watched it quadruple. Don’t feel bad about the money you spent.” The boxer he invested in was George, so…yeah. Not the same as a Matchbox/Hot Wheels wannabe. He gets a yes from George.
We’re back in New York, and the people are still crazy-clueless. A montage of teary rejects is accompanied by Samuel Barber’s “Adagio for Strings,” because getting four no’s is like being killed in slow-motion on a foreign battleground. Just kidding.
Finally, our last contestant of the day.
Filmmaker Silvio DiSalvatore, 49, is Yonkers. I mean, he’s from Yonkers. He looks like someone straight out of “The Princess Bride” and he’s out to save the day with the first, and only Black Cougar. He lives, breathes it, and craps it 24 hours a day. He’s on an endless mission to cougarize America. He, too, is an eHarmony reject.
Silvo and my friends Katie & Mamut are starting a national phenomenon bigger than Pinkberry.
Silvio and Black Cougar enter dramatically with the aid of dry ice or a fog machine. Black Cougar is the first superhero with the goal of protecting children. If you forget about the Power Pack, Scruff McGruff, and D.A.R.E. (well, the goal was to get children to protect themselves, right?)
Black Cougar appears to be straight out of Comic Con. It took Silvio 22 years to make Black Cougar a reality. In 1985, he wrote a story about Black Cougar saving children from a kidnapping ring. When nobody picked it up, he made the film himself. He freely admits that he comes off as crazy. Self-awareness is refreshing.
Filmed in 2000, “Black Cougar” was allegedly released in the theaters (Silvio’s backyard). He claims that the place was jammed, and that the kids went crazy over the Black Cougar and the one-foot dogs (dolls? I can’t understand his Brooklynese) that assist Black Cougar in beating up the bad guys.
Silvio’s got more moves than a kid who has to pee really, really badly.He’s flailing and gesticulating like the Fonz on speed. He’s also created the Black Cougar superhero action figure. To protect children. In very tight black pants.
“And I can’t believe I’m pitchin’ a cat to a network owned by a mouse,” he finishes. End pitch.
He really should’ve auditioned for SciFi’s Who Wants to Be a Superhero? reality show.
British Man: “So your invention is a cat?”
Silvio: “It’s the only superhero with one goal, and that goal is to protect children.”
British Man shrugs his shoulders, and says no. Pat says no. Silvio starts walking away.
“Wait!” says George. “Sometimes they talk us out of the no’s. “Hey Mikey, I mean Black Cougar, come back,” says Silvio. Oh no. The magic of Black Cougar has been lost. His real name is Mikey. George admires Silvio’s white boots and says yes. SPANX says yes. What’s she got to lose? Silvio urges Pat to say yes. but his vote is still no.
“You could slap a black cougar onto anything and it’d sell!” Silvio insists. “England?” (referring to British Man, I presume.) No.
“Go cougar!” cheers George. And that is the end of that.
Silvio isn’t done. In his post-rejection interview, he goes on to skewer Pat: “Pat Crotchy – nice name! Who gave you a name like that? The 76ers suck! Philadelphia sucks! We don’t care about sports medicine, we don’t care about you Pat!”
On that point, I wholeheartedly agree with Silvio.
Next week: All our judges are replaced with monkeys. Poo-flinging monkeys.