Janusz Liberkowski wins American Inventor

Janusz Liberkowski won American Inventor last night, taking the $1 million prize for his spherical safety seat named after his daughter, Anecia.

But everyone else didn’t go away crushed. Representatives from product-placed companies showed up to offer to help develop the products of the runners-up—except for Erik Thompson. Apparently no company thought The Catch was worthwhile, so instead producers brought ABC’s Dancing with the Stars participant Jerry Rice on to congratulate Erik.

Rarely has there been a show that started so strongly and ended so anticlimactically. Incredibly, producers took a brilliant concept and managed to completely fuck it up by not trusting their format and deciding instead to “tell stories” rather than just letting the stories unfold. They also screwed up basically every genuine moment by being heavy-handed and trying to manipulate viewers into responding emotionally.

The finale was even more pathetically fumbled than last week’s waste of time. For example, after the winner was announced, they pushed him aside to drag out a company rep to deal with the runner-up for a few minutes. And before that, excuse-for-a-host Matt Gallant announced the winner by saying, “The winner of American Inventor 2006 is…” Then he waited 12 excruciatingly awkward, silent seconds before saying Janusz’s name. Twelve. Any show that can make one appreciate Ryan Seacrest’s talent is definitely a disaster.

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