The first half-hour of last night's two-hour special American Inventor recapped the four previous episodes of the preliminary rounds where we revisited some very creepy rejects in what I like to call a Loser Parade. I will never forget the resigned sigh of the Therapy Buddy whispering "everything is going to be all right" or the image of his inventor hugging the rotund blue creature to his sad, sad chest. Nor will I be able to purge my mind of the Perfect Pet Petter cooing sweet nothings of "you're a good boy; I love you; kiss kiss kiss kiss kiss." What we viewers missed, and I'm not complaining, is the further paring of the many "inventors" ushered into the next round but not featured in the 50 semi-finalists. Whatever happened to Joey Cup-of-Coffee? And the boy band, what happened to them?

The second hour boiled contestants down to 24 and then further to 12. We said goodbye to the Character Building Bear (good riddance! When I was a kid, I learned character the old-fashioned way: punishment) but retained the Niya doll (essentially a Teddy Ruxpin and undeserving of becoming a finalist). We will see the Restroom Door Clip and Flushpure gain up to $50,000 in improvements (which makes me very happy: my WC paranoia knows no bounds), but the cookie shelves and the cake kits have met their maker. These should not have proceeded so far in the first place. Don't get me wrong: I heart baking to the max, but stackable Tupperware already exists. Also, that blond woman really blew the final plea that should have been a piece of cake. The judges only needed to see a single tear to send her to the finals. Insert joke about being too dry here.

My favorite personality still is EZ X Portable Gym inventor Jerry Wesley, although I agree with Ed (as usual) that he would more likely win the competition with one of the other contestants' inventions. In fact, Robert Amore brings the Tonerbelt to the table, which is more compact, easier to use, and already "as seen on TV." He also has a generic spokesperson face (an advantage, in this case) and can do acrobatics from a standing position.

Flips notwithstanding, I'm still rooting for Janusz Liberkowski's Spherical Safety Seat because it's the most important. Ed Hall's Word Ace would also be a significant contribution to the public; unfortunately he doesn't have the same spark as Erik Thompson and the Receiver's Training Pole. I'm interested to see the improvements on each of these products, especially the Un-brella. Sheryl McDonald really stepped up to the challenge by making her design a reality, and there's no telling what fifty Gs could help her accomplish. Who are you rooting for and why?