Friday, May 12, 2006

American Inventor

Can we talk about American Inventor for a minute? By all rights I should not be watching this show, and in truth I'm not watching the show per say, so much as flipping through the channels, catching it for a little bit, rolling my eyes, getting beligerent in the direction of the tv only to turn the channel only to turn it back to repeat the cycle. I don't enjoy it. It is my personal belief that anything in which Simon Cowell had a hand in making is not meant to be enjoyed, merely tolerated. But I kind of have to watch it and I can't figure out why. I even watched most of the penultimate episode last night. Why? I think because I like to watch people cry, but let's talk about why I shouldn't be watching:

The judges all annoy me and they all remind me of people who are more famous than themselves. The redheaded woman? I had thought that she was the poor man's Catherine O'hara, but now I'm kind of convinced she's more like... O.k. I hate to admit this, but I actually watched Don't Tell Mom, The Babysitter's Dead like five thousand times. And the red-headed boss* who's all sweet to Christina Applegate's character? That's who she reminds me of. The guy with the glasses and the bad hawaiian shirts? Poor man's Dylan Baker, only fatter, with a bigger bald spot and less professional credentials.Or maybe he's when you splice Dylan Baker's and Rick Moranis's genes together. And can we talk about the Hawaiin shirts for a minute? O.k., this guy is supposed to be some big high-falluting inventor dude, and he keeps showing up to every show in a Hawaiin shirt. Do you see your compatriots buddy? They know this show is just as big a sham as you do, but at least they dress nicely.

The English guy doesn't really remind me of one person but reminds me more of a bad emalgum of several English guy stereotypes. Take a nice stock of Anthony Stewart Head, add in some Alexis Denisoff and Hugh Grant to spoil said stock, season with several bad Monty Python and Fawlty Towers stereotypes and add in some "Inventor Cred" and you have this guy essentially. And the one I can not stand is the one guy at the end. Why oh why does he remind me of this guy? I can't figure it out.

The narrator/Ryan Seacreat knockoff that doesn't require a beard that's a Desparate Housewife guy? O.k. first of all, I realized you were trained at the Shatner School of the Dramatic Pause, but you don't have to use it every freaking second of your air time. Secondly, I realize that now that you aren't just nasally narrator dude and now have to be intense moderator dude, you haven't exactly figured out what you're doing on stage with the contestants. But for the love of little green apples don't blue steel them and the viewing audience to death, Mmmkay? And it's all right to be a little jovial with the contestants. You're not telling them they are getting a death sentence, you're letting them know that one of them has a chance a million bucks. Try to loosen up a little bit. Oh, and lay off the fiber. You look constipated.

And the contestants? Sweet Jesus on a Pogo Stick where do I start? Look, don't get me wrong, I love a good schmoopy cry more than anyone else, but God! Stop milking it for all it's worth contestants! You're already on TV. Jesus! Let's take the final four for example. With the exception of the guy with baby seat, no one has a "good" reason to cry per se, but they all do anyway. Every one of these weenies cries like they all saw Steel Magnolias for the first time or like somebody cut an onion up in front of them. But I'm tired of the pulling at the heart strings. Let's take the guy with the word game. The first couple of times he cried, it might've meant something. But good Lawd, put the breaks on. And Francisco? The kid with the bike. O.k., he's kind of my dark horse for reasons I can't quite explain, but he's so weepy. He's acne-fied and bit too passionate for his own good, but mostly weepy and it's driving me Bazoo.

And with the exception of the centrifical force baby seat, none of the inventions are that good. You remember how I said that I get beligerant watching this show? Well I lied. I don't get beligerant. Fighting Nun does. Every episode we watch or paritally watch is met with the following monologue "American Inventor? They're not inventing anything interesting. And they don't know how to sell their product or even make it halfway interesting. These aren't american inventors, these are people with hair-brain ideas that want to try and get them off the ground. I've had better invention ideas in my sleep. My little pinky has produced better ideas. This show sucks." If anything can raise my husband's ire, then it has to be annoying.

But there is a reason I watch it, I think, other than it's fun to watch Fighting Nun get all irate in front of the TV. I think because there's little hidden gems in that show that are just too snarky to pass up. Take the episode in which Car Seat guy won. So he was up against "Bathroom Stall" woman and "Toilet Seat" couple. At the end, the "Bathroom Stall" woman said "I just really wanted to make my mark" to which Fighting Nun remarked quizzically "In the Bathroom?" which is priceless from where I'm sitting. It's the inadvertantly hilarious that make me put up with this show. This show proved a better source for watching the strange parade of life than American Idol has which is saying something.

*Side Note: I just found out that the woman who played the boss in Don't tell mom... happens to be none other than Joanna Cassidy who kicked all sorts of ass in Six Feet Under and thus I feel ashamed to make such a comparison. The woman on American Inventor doesn't deserve such a kind comparison.

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